Animated ‘Demon Slayer’ strikes chord with pandemic Japan
The demons are everywhere, sometimes spreading like purple slime, lurking, killing. The terrifying plight depicted in the swashbuckling animated film, “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train,” has struck a chord with pandemic-era Japan, and possibly with the world.
“Demon Slayer” has become the biggest grossing film for Japan, surpassing live-action films and even Hayao Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away.”
The 2020 film, directed by Haruo Sotozaki, got a limited run in Miami, starting last month. A U.S. run is required to be eligible for the 2021 Academy Awards. Nominations are announced March 15, for the April 25 awards ceremony.
Akina Nasu, a Tokyo hairstylist, says the story of a spiritually pure hero trying to save lives despite adversity struck home, especially amid a pandemic.
“There are many characters, but each one, even the demons, have their own unique stories. People can really empathize with their experience,” she said.
Nasu got so enwrapped in a scene she cried in the theater. She said she identifies closely with the main character’s sense of justice.
The theme is perennial: Family love and the universal yearning for that simple normal lifestyle, perhaps taken for granted until the sudden appearance of the demons, or COVID-19, as some fans, like Nasu, are seeing metaphorically.
Like the rest of the world, Japan has been hurt by the pandemic, not only economically but also psychologically. People are worried. Some are in mourning. The nation has seen about 8,000 related deaths, much fewer than some nations, but they are rising. The vaccine rollout has barely started.
Japan has never had a lockdown, and movie theaters are open with social-distancing measures.
The hero of “Demon Slayer” is Tanjiro Kamado, who sets out to become a warrior to save his sister, and ultimately the world, from the demons, or “oni.” Like a cute doe-eyed Musashi, the legendary swordsman, he displays his samurai techniques in a flurry of colorful animation…..read more
Source: AP News