'The power of the original work, the attitude towards adapting it to anime, and the environment.'
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba producer Yuma Takahashi recently spoke to The Mainichi Shimbun's online news site Mantan-Web regarding the success of the anime in the wake of the Demon Slayer – Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train (Kimetsu no Yaiba: Mugen Ressha-Hen) film's record-breaking opening weekend sales. He identified three main factors to the success: The power of the original work, the attitude towards adapting it to anime, and the environment.
"To get many people to watch your work, it takes many different factors working together, but a big underlying factor is the appeal of the original manga," he said. "Although there may be people who learn about the manga through the anime, that in itself does not generate a hit. Regardless of anything else, the original manga is interesting. We earnestly tried to adapt it into anime without losing any of the manga's appeal. Because of the foundation laid by the high-quality original work, ufotable was able to make a wonderful anime. Their hard work, their earnest attitude towards adaptation, and their techniques were also factors."
Takahashi also discussed the changes in the anime-viewing landscape within the past few years. "Throughout the past few years, it has become commonplace to watch anime not just on television but through streaming platforms. This change in the environment is also a big factor. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba streamed on various services. It's certainly not as if two-cour anime are nonexistent, but by airing for two cours, Demon Slayer had the time to build up an audience. While the anime was airing, the story being serialized in the manga was heating up, so the timing was also ideal. It wasn't as if it suddenly became the center of attention; I feel that it steadily picked up fans and expanded its audience."
Takahashi's opinion is similar to an earlier one stated by Weekly Shonen Jump editor-in-chief Hiroyuki Nakano. In an interview earlier this year, he said that normally, a manga gradually sells more copies throughout the anime's run, but Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba's sales shot up straight after the anime ended, indicating that a large number of people watched the anime through streaming services after it ended rather than watching it weekly. "The way people interact with anime has changed, and I feel like we've entered a new phase."
The Box Office Mojo website reported on Monday that the Demon Slayer – Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train (Kimetsu no Yaiba: Mugen Ressha-Hen) film had the highest-grossing opening weekend globally for the October 16-18 weekend. The film sold 3,424,930 tickets and earned 4,623,117,450 yen (about US$43.85 million) in Japan in its first three days.
The film sold 910,507 tickets and earned over 1,268,724,700 yen (about US$12.03 million) in its opening day alone, making it the highest weekday opening day ever in Japan. The film sold 1,270,234 tickets and earned 1,701,723,350 yen (about US$16.14 million) on its second day. It sold 1,239,752 tickets and earned 1,652,669,400 yen (about US$15.67 million) on its third day. The Saturday and Sunday totals combined make Japan's highest weekend opening ever.
The main staff members of the previous Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba television anime returned for the sequel film. TOHO and Aniplex are handling the film's distribution in Japan. Last year, ANN interviewed Yuma Takahashi about the development of the television anime.
Thanks to Hach8man for the news tip.