The thing about “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba — To the Swordsmith Village” is that, again, it isn’t really a movie. Instead, it’s a compilation movie comprised of the last two episodes of season 2, plus the first episode of the upcoming third season. Fans are storming theaters to literally watch 30 minutes of new footage they can watch in just over a month, when “Demon Slayer” comes back on April 9, 2023. As such, the film’s success encapsulates everything about the power of the theatrical experience and its communal aspect. It would be easy to wait four weeks or so, but there are few things quite like watching an anime movie in a packed theater full of excited fans.
This is not as big an opening as “Demon Slayer: Mugen Train,” but that film was composed of entirely new footage and there was no guarantee it would play on TV later on, so it felt even more like an event. Following “Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero” and “Jujutsu Kaisen 0,” there is definitely a market, and a proven one at that, for turning shorter manga storylines into films rather than shorter seasons. This not only translates to a lot of money at the box office, but it gives animators time and resources to show off their skills.
If anything, this goes to show anime movies are finally getting the theatrical releases they deserve. Gone are the days when you’d be lucky to have a single screen showing an anime movie an hour’s drive away from you. Now, they get wide releases so fans all over the U.S. get to share their fandom.