• Kyodo, Jiji


An animated movie based on the blockbuster “Demon Slayer” manga series has taken 45 days to become the second-highest grossing movie ever in Japan, its distributors Aniplex Inc. and Toho Co. said Monday.

The film amassed ¥27.51 billion ($265 million) by drawing an audience of more than 20 million across Japan, overtaking “Titanic,” the smash-hit 1997 American film about a romance aboard the ill-fated cruise liner of the same name, which racked up ¥26.2 billion.

The “Demon Slayer — Kimetsu no Yaiba — The Movie: Mugen Train,” directed by Haruo Sotozaki, the sequel to an anime television series aired in Japan last year, was already the first film in Japan to earn over ¥10 billion within 10 days of opening.

Director Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 animated movie “Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi” (“Spirited Away”), which raked in ¥30.8 billion, remains for the moment the highest-grossing film in Japan.

The tale of the “Demon Slayer,” set in Japan around 100 years ago, features an adolescent boy fighting human-eating demons after his family is slaughtered and his younger sister Nezuko is turned into a demon.

It is based on a manga series by Koyoharu Gotoge that appeared in major Japanese publisher Shueisha Inc.’s Shukan Shonen Jump weekly magazine between February 2016 and May this year.

A promotion campaign related to 'Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba' is held at a Tsutaya rental chain store in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward in October. | KYODO
A promotion campaign related to ‘Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba’ is held at a Tsutaya rental chain store in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward in October. | KYODO

The manga series, now a global hit, has been translated into 14 languages and is available in 33 countries and regions, according to Shueisha.

The first to 22nd volumes are now on sale, and the 23rd and final volume of the series will be released Friday. The final issue will come with unpublished illustrations related to the manga.

The series dominated the first through 22nd spots in the comic sales rankings in Japan in 2020, according to data released by Oricon Inc. on Sunday.

This was the first such breakthrough since Oricon, a provider of music and other pop culture information, started to compile comic book sales rankings in 2008.

The 18th volume of Demon Slayer ranked top, with estimated sales of about 4.393 million copies, followed by the 19th volume, with 4.243 million copies, and the first volume, with 3.703 million copies. In the 22nd place was the 21st volume of the series, with sales of some 2.655 million copies.

The movie centers on the hero Tanjiro Kamado’s efforts to save the lives of passengers aboard the “Mugen Train,” named after the Japanese word for infinity, on which countless people have gone missing.

Its English-dubbed and subtitled versions will hit movie theaters in North America in early 2021, following a similar launch in Taiwan on Oct. 30, according to Aniplex.

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