‘Demon Slayer’ would make Oscar history with Best Animated Feature win

Cartoons aren’t just for kids anymore. Funimation’s animated film “Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train,” based on the popular Japanese TV series, is hoping to become the rare R-rated Oscar nominee for Best Animated Feature. The last such movie to pull off this feat was “Anomalisa” (2015), a stop-motion picture filled with swearing, nudity and sex; it lost to the much more family-friendly “Inside Out.” Can “Demon Slayer” make Oscar history by becoming the first R-rated toon to win the award? (Watch the trailer above.)

“Demon Slayer” is recommended for adults due to its excessive violence and gore, but that’s not necessarily a hurdle that will stop it from earning Academy Awards love. After all, violent movies like “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “Joker” and “1917” all took home Oscars just last year. In American culture, violence has always been much more palatable to audiences than sex and nudity, which helps explain why violent movies and TV shows regularly top the box office and Neilsen ratings.

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Director Haruo Sotozaki‘s film tells the story of Tanjiro Kamado, a man who becomes a monster hunter after his family is killed and his sister turns into a demon. The film has already been nominated by various awards groups, including the Satellite Awards and the Japanese Academy Awards. It’s also the first Japanese film (and first anime movie) to rake in more than $400 million at the worldwide box office, surpassing the previous record-holder, “Spirited Away,” which won the Best Animated Feature Oscar two decades ago.

Critics’ reviews for “Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train” have been positively glowing. Jim Schembri writes, “You certainly emerge from ‘Demon Train’ absolutely saturated by the experience, testament to the film’s extreme devotion to its formidable fanbase.” And Andiee Paviour proclaims that the film is “a demented paradox of animated grace.”

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