With the immense success that came with Demon Slayer – Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Muzen Train (2020), and then the incredible second season of the Demon Slayer series, it is no surprise that the show is so popular. As one of the biggest new anime in recent years, Demon Slayer now has its third season looming on the horizon, set to release in April. And naturally, this recently saw the release of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – To the Swordsmith Village (2023) in cinemas. Not only this, but the anime series has spawned an official Demon Slayer World Tour for 2023. However, this is not the best part.
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Although there has been a set schedule of dates for events around the world that the tour will see, anime fans were disappointed that none were set for South Africa. However, this was nothing new as the anime community in South Africa is not as big as other countries…or, at least, so we thought. Much to the surprise of South African anime fans everywhere, Sterkinekor, collaborating with a few prominent anime influencers, has brought the film to our cinemas. In turn, this has provided anime fans with a unique experience so the South African anime community could partake in the Demon Slayer World Tour.
Where and When Will the Film Be Screening?
As it stands, the film was released on Friday, 24 March 2023, and tickets can be booked online at Sterkinekor. A pre-screening was available on Thursday, 23 March, and South African influencers who are large anime fans helped make the experience unique. In Cape Town, the amazing people behind the Engrave Slave online anime novelty store hosted anime Pop-Up stores in varying locations across the city. On the opening night, all fans attending the screenings were given free gifts consisting of a cute anime badge with a character from the film/series alongside a discount code for the store.
This collaboration was done in conjunction with TikTok influencer, TheNotoriousPo, who provided support in Johannesburg. The pop-up stores were available all weekend at Cavendish and Tygervalley malls in Cape Town between 12 am and 8 pm. Then there was Gateway mall in KwaZulu Natal, Baywest mall in Port Elizabeth, and Mall of Africa in Johannesburg. In addition, however, the film is available to watch in all Sterkinekor cinemas nationwide. While no celebrity events were set for the South African Demon Slayer World Tour screening, it was still made special by our national anime community.
And, of course, with Ramadan starting for Muslim families nationwide, fans tried hard to have the initial premiere date moved to 18 March 2023. Unfortunately, efforts proved futile, with many missing the film’s release. However, many Muslim fans took the news in good spirits, wishing others well to go and see the movie. While it is a pity that so many anime fans could not attend because the date could not be moved, the film will still be available in cinemas nationwide for the next while.
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Is Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – To the Swordsmith Village Worth Seeing in Cinema?
There has been much buzz around the film, with many people complaining worldwide that it was just a recap with few new scenes. However, the funny thing about this is that a synopsis of the film is provided before watching it. A large part of the global anime community was aware that the film would be similar in nature to Demon Slayer – Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Muzen Train, which was also a recap film with some added scenes and improved animation. However, for people who may be unaware, the new film consists of the final two episodes of the Entertainment District Arc and a one-hour special episode of the upcoming Swordsmith Village Arc.
A large part of the final fight between Tanjiro, Tengen, Inoske, and Zenitsu against the Upper Six demon siblings was included in the film. It takes up an hour of the movie’s overall runtime and makes for a fantastic experience. If you have finished the Entertainment District Arc, you would know it is worth seeing in the cinema for the incredibly animated fight alone. Not to mention, the film is only available in sub, and for sub-watchers, it is a different experience to watch your favourite anime on the big screen.
The film’s second half consists of an hour-long (technically 45-minute-long) special episode. Without giving away any spoilers, it looks at the aftermath of the fight against the Upper Six demons for both the Demon Slayers and the demons. In addition, it introduces some new characters that manga readers have probably been excited to finally see animated. At that, we get to meet more Hashiras and explore their personalities. Finally, if you thought the animation for Demon Slayer could not get any better, then you are sorely mistaken. However, it seems a large portion of the budget went to animating glass (it will be hard to miss when you watch).
The only complaint about the film is the editing decision not to remove some of the end credits. It was a bit frustrating to sit through three or four batches of credits rolling as this really broke the immersion in the film and made it feel like the episodes were just thrown together. As a result, it does not have the same quality feel as Demon Slayer – Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Muzen Train, feeling more like an episodic binge-watch than a movie-going experience. However, the film would see a four out of five-star rating overall.
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Are Any Other Anime Films Coming to South African Screens After This?
Your Name (2016) director Makoto Shinkai has done it again, releasing yet another masterpiece. Having already been released in December 2022 in Japan, Makoto’s latest film, Suzume (2022), will be coming to South African cinemas this April. Unfortunately, the film will only be available in the English dubbed version, but it is still exciting news. This is in addition to the already-busy month of April that will end on a high note with the Cape Town Comic Con. Of course, other anime films may still be announced throughout the year, but there is one the anime community is holding their breath for.
As Attack on Titan finally reaches its end in the second half of 2023, fans are anticipating a movie-length episode to fit the final fight. So hopefully, the final arc for the iconic series will find its way to cinemas worldwide. And hopefully, the South African anime community can come together once again, so we do not miss out on the experience.
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- Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – To the Swordsmith Village (2023) premiered in South African cinemas nationwide on 23 and 24 March 2023 as part of the Demon Slayer World Tour.
- The experience was enhanced by anime influencers and businesses providing support and free gifts to fans nationwide.
- The film consists of the last two episodes of the Entertainment District arc and an hour-long special of the Swordsmith Village arc.
What anime films are you excited to see this year?