'Demon Slayer' Will Quickly Become Your New Favorite Anime

The ultra-popular 2019 series, with a box office record-breaking movie headed to the US this year, recently became available to watch on Netflix.


When an anime movie, seemingly out of nowhere, dethrones Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away and freakin’ Titanic as the biggest box office success of all time in Japan in just six weeks-during a pandemic, no less-it’s probably time to pay attention to that anime movie. That’s exactly what Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train¬†(phew) accomplished in late 2020, the feature-length follow-up to the first season of the most popular new anime in recent memory.

Airing from spring to fall in 2019, Demon Slayer set off a new wave of obsessive fandom and shot the source manga into the upper tier of all-time best sellers, with more than 100 million copies bought, alongside the endlessly running One Piece and practically ubiquitous Dragon Ball. It’s even bested its modern peer Attack on Titan, easily the most popular series in the last 10 years, on sales by about 50 million copies with fewer volumes available. In late January 2021, the first season of Demon Slayer finally became available on Netflix, after previously sitting on Hulu and Crunchyroll, introducing the existing 26 episodes to a whole new audience on the streaming behemoth and finding a brief spot amongst the front page Top 10 in the US. If you’ve been meaning to take the plunge, and curious about when you can actually see the record-breaking (and Oscars-submitted) movie¬†Mugen Train, read on.

What is Demon Slayer the anime all about?

A boy, Tanjiro Kamado, and his younger sister, Nezuko, travel around Taisho-era Japan as part of the clandestine Demon Slayer Corps after his whole family is killed one night, save for Nezuko, who turns into a half-demon. Aside from demon slaying, Tanjiro’s ultimate goal is twofold: turn Nezuko back into a human and kill Muzan Kibutsuji, a super-evil demon, passing in society as a human who looks like the early 1900s-era version of Jack White, and who can create new progeny by injecting people with his very potent demon blood.

As with all the great shŇćnen anime, it’s not about the destination, but the friends you make along the way, and Tanjiro, always the peacemaker, befriends many. But his eventual core crew becomes fellow low-level demon slayers Zenitsu Agatsuma, a girl-obsessed ball of anxiety who loathes all of the bloodshed of their trade, and Inosuke Hashibira, a feral boar head-wearing, fighting-obsessed foil. Together, they traipse around Japan, negging each other and cutting the heads off of demons, while managing the politics of the Hashira, the nine most-powerful swordspeople of their organization.


Why is it so popular?

The story, its themes, the character design, the animation: Pretty much everything about Demon Slayer works in tandem to create a holistically excellent series. Ufotable, the production studio responsible for other visually stunning work like Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works, melds traditional techniques and a sparing use of CGI that exploits the best parts of the technology to enhance key parts of the animation instead of sending its characters into the bobble-headed uncanny valley. Focusing the computer generation on natural, full-body movement renders many, many gorgeous frames and kinetic fight scenes that make the demon slayers’ sword techniques (which call upon elements of nature like water, fire, and lightning), the freaky supernatural demon powers, and the head slicing look incredibly badass.

Cool fight scenes alone wouldn’t translate to major success; the narrative is another major factor why the series is so celebrated and beloved. Demon Slayer‘s world is mired in tragedy, centered on Tanjiro and Nezuko’s earth-shattering loss of their family, and they become each other’s protective shield, which occasionally calls Nezuko to the front lines with her otherworldly strength and blood magic. Even in a shit world, Tanjiro exhibits an immense amount of kindness and empathy, even toward the demons he slays, choosing to acknowledge they were once human and helping them to reclaim their humanity in death. His compassion guides the core message of the series, avoiding the easy traps of all-consuming ugliness and evil, that has resonated with fans.

Counter to this, however, is its cheeky side, where jokes (both stupid and pretty good) are plentiful and push exactly the correct buttons of specific characters, like Zenitsu getting assigned a tiny sparrow as his communication line where everyone else in the Demon Slayer Corps gets a crow. Calm Nezuko makes adorable affirmation noises and can shrink to fit inside Tanjiro’s wooden box backpack and grow back at will. It’s so cute! Through the good and bad, you’re rooting for these deeply driven characters to succeed.

It also has a very dope opening theme (maybe you’ve heard it on TikTok, if you’ve gone deep enough into AnimeTok) that should absolutely not be skipped.


Is there a Demon Slayer Season 2?

There will be! Just recently, a second season was confirmed for 2021, along with a short trailer previewing the Entertainment District Arc around Yoshiwara in Tokyo, a historical red-light district:¬†The premiere date is TBD, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see this out in the summer or fall anime season. But (hopefully, sensibly) before then: We’ve got a Demon Slayer movie to watch!

Well, when can I see Demon Slayer: Mugen Train?

If you’re in North America, sometime in the first half of this year. Considering its massive success in Japan, the hype abroad is verging on rabid, and fans are champing at the bit for an official release date. Still, it should be sooner than later, given that we now have confirmation on a Season 2 and the chronology of the relevant arcs. How it will be released, given the state of movie theaters in the United States, will be the next big question.


Do I need to have watched the series before watching Mugen Train?

Honestly, yes. Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train is a continuation of Season 1’s final arc, counter to many other movie adaptations of anime series that tend to recap the important points of the previous season(s). And unlike, say, Pokemon the First Movie, which is an original story but tangential and ultimately inconsequential to the central plot, Mugen Train is a two-hour stop-gap that bridges the narrative between Season 1-with the final episode putting Tanjiro, Nezuko, Zenitsu, and Inosuke on the titular train and setting up the powered-up big bad, courtesy of Muzan-and Season 2. Since we’re still waiting on the next season’s release date, you might as well binge what’s available to rile yourself up for the big showdown on a moving locomotive, and beyond. Need help finding something to watch?¬†

Leanne Butkovic is an entertainment editor at Thrillist.


Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2023 in Australia

And what it means to be in the year of the Rabbit.

where to celebrate lunar new year australia

Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.

What is special about the year of the Rabbit?

As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.

What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?

There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.

New South Wales

Darling Harbour Fireworks
When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.

Dragon Boat Races
When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.

Lion Dances
When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining
When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.

Auntie Philter
When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef,¬†Cuong Nguyen¬†will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.


Lunar New Year Festival
When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at the National Gallery of Victoria
When: Celebrate the year of the rabbit at the National Gallery of Victoria’s festival of art, food, and art-making activities for everyone from 10 am-5 pm.


BriAsia Festival
When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.

South Australia

Chinatown Adelaide Street Party
When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Western Australia

Crown Perth
When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.


Our Best Stories, Delivered Daily
The best decision you'll make all day.