Immediately following its fourth season finale, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba announced that its final season would come in the form of a trilogy of films. It’s a huge, bold move. Given the series’ cinematic nature and its multiple forays with cinema, ending the series with a film isn’t too surprising. But three? Holy shit.

I felt like I should be excited. Instead, I felt conflicted. Seeing Demon Slayer in the theaters is a goddamn treat. I’m also the kind of Demon Slayer viewer who waits until there are one or two episodes left and binges the season. It’s a phenomenal binge show, and what’s a film besides binging a couple of episodes in public and with a big screen?

On the other hand, I enjoy cozying up on my couch with my cats late at night and watching Demon Slayer. And I enjoy the explosions of discussion which happen at the end of the season. Discussions which, because we won’t all go see the movie on the same day, and because Japan will surely get the release months ahead of North America, will now be diluted.

It’s anecdotal, but I conducted a poll on Twitter / X. While most of the respondents were excited, the results were more mixed than I imagined.

So let’s get into it: the pros, and the cons, and try to see which side comes out on top.

Con: is Demon Slayer best as a movie?

This might be a hot take, but I feel like the Mugen Train arc works better as a season of TV than as a movie. The first episode, which isn’t in the film, provides a softer introduction to Rengoku—and therefore does a lot to ground him into the story and our hearts. Even if it’s not in the manga, as someone who only follows anime, the scenes make the tragedy at the end of the arc more tragic.

I’m a very character-driven fan. If I don’t get enough time with characters up front, the big fights in the end don’t hit as hard. When ufotable has time, they do this progression incredibly well.

The Infinity Castle arc is an ending—we won’t be meeting any new heroes. Still, and maybe this is another hot take, Demon Slayer is best when ufotable has space to play. They’ve earned it. I go between worrying if three movies are too many, and hoping that it will at least mean they have enough time to flesh events out to their liking.

To put it another way, Demon Slayer makes for excellent television. It’s a damn good show because it’s a damn good manga. As a general rule, the weekly manga translates nicely to the weekly anime. We all have our little Demon Slayer rituals—a coziness that goes hand-in-hand with declining movie attendance in North America.

But on the flipside …

Pro: (almost) no interruptions

I admit it: I have not read the Demon Slayer manga. But a peer has opined that making the finale into films is the right call, precisely because we won’t have to watch it week-to-week.

Shonen finales are fight-heavy. When you’re watching the same fight week to week to week, the excitement of the action can get diluted. If you’ve watched Dragon Ball Z or even my dear One Piece, you know this feeling.

Contrast that to the feeling of watching a big climactic fight in a movie. Big movie fights aren’t immune to dragging. But even if we’re hopping around from fight to fight in a movie, it’s hopefully contained within one movie, not five, six, or ten episodes of TV. The hype has a better chance of staying fully intact.

Con: staggered release

The biggest con is, arguably, the staggered release.

If Mugen Train and the two compilation films are anything to go by, these films will be released in Japan at least one month ahead of its North American premiere. Which is frustrating, especially when you’re talking about the finale of a series! The Japanese and English-speaking fandoms aren’t hyper-connected (you know, language), but there’s a romance to an episode coming out and everyone around the world having access to it at the exact same time.

Take Haikyuu!!: The Dumpster Battle, a recent film that covers canonical events from the series. The gap between the Japanese release and the North American release was over two and a half months, and the North American release date wasn’t announced until weeks after the Japanese release. Haikyuu!! fans were on the edges of their seats. It was rough.

Internationally speaking, Demon Slayer is a bigger title than Haikyuu!!, so that delay really counts. We’re talking about the finale of one of the most popular series in the world. That’s something that communities, even disparate ones, should ideally experience together.

Pro: cinematic as hell

We’re left with a simple fact: Demon Slayer looks amazing on the big screen.

Ufotable is one of the most talented animation studios in the business. People were using the word “cinematic” to describe Demon Slayer from the get-go. It truly suits the cinema. And if any part of the story is going to be cinematic, it’s the climax of the series.

The Wind and Snake Hashira fight looked amazing on my TV, but when I got to see it in the IMAX … oh my god. And that fight culminates with a dip into the Infinity Castle—a place that has detail and action bursting from every corner. The Infinity Castle on a movie theater screen is an obvious gimme.

Despite any qualms—the staggered release, the having to leave your cats on your couch, the concerns on whether three whole films are justified—we know this for sure: it will look incredible. From a visual standpoint, at the very least, it will justify itself as a cinematic experience.

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