Yoshiyuki Tomino Praises Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, But Describes Its Cultural Success as a 'Coincidence'
posted on by Kim Morrissy
Livedoor News posted an interview with Mobile Suit Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino on Thursday, where he discussed his thoughts on the hit anime series Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. First, he described the modern anime landscape, remarking that because anime has become so mainstream, a work needs to be created with real seriousness in order to stand out these days. He brought up Demon Slayer as an example of an anime that has transcended demographic boundaries.
Tomino professed that he initially felt jealous about Demon Slayer because of how the property was able to attract such a dedicated and talented staff. Tomino, who takes a keen interest in headhunting and finding the right people to work on projects with him, remarked on how he's had experiences where people who were suitable at one time become incompatible or fade out of the picture.
"That's why when Demon Slayer came along, I thought, 'Damn! Those guys did it good!' when I discovered the team they had assembled," he said. "The voice actors are great, the composer of the song that everyone knows is great. So many talented people showed up! In that sense, what I felt surpassed envy, and I started thinking, 'Man, those guys sure are something!'"
Tomino then continued, "Having said that, I don't think that Demon Slayer is a calculated or contrived work. I think that its assemblage was quite a coincidence." He went on to say that he thought that the vocalist must have been really passionate about the anime. "It's strange to have encounters that align so perfectly," he said.
In the anime industry, he explained, people often get chosen for a job because they just happened to be there, or because their schedules happened to align at the right time, or other coincidences of a similar nature. It can be rare for people with exactly the ideal talents or innate qualities to get chosen.
Later in the interview, Tomino also shared his belief that Japan's anime films have reached a "limit" in terms of the peak amount of popularity they can achieve. "In the past two or three years, we've been seeing a trend among live-action films where even they have been going digital without reluctance. Seeing that, I have to honestly say that we're currently at the limit. [Anime films] probably won't spread further than this. There is the possibility that something will show up that becomes representative of the era, but in the end I think Demon Slayer was a coincidence as well. The elements that made it a hit were assembled through coincidence, so I get the impression that its level of popularity is the upper limit."
In Japan, Demon Slayer – Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train has surpassed Hayao Miyazaki's 2002 Spirited Away film, the last rival for all-time highest earnings in Japanese box office history. (Spirited Away earned 30.8 billion yen in its original run, but has since earned a total of 31.68 billion yen after this summer's revival screenings.) Demon Slayer is currently the second highest-earning Japanese film of all time worldwide behind Spirited Away.