Times Square was packed to the brim on Saturday night as Crunchyroll aired a two-minute promo for the final episode of Demon Slayer: Swordsmith Village Arc in the famous New York landmark. The crowd cheered when the massive screens encircling Times Square began the broadcast at 9:00 PM EST; many of them had arrived almost an hour in advance just to get a good viewing spot. The promo continued to loop for a full hour, giving New Yorkers a taste of one of anime’s most popular franchises.
Crunchyroll’s promo focused primarily on the main heroes and villains featured in the Swordsmith Village Arc, with stylish montages of each character in action on the smaller screens juxtaposed with the character’s portrait on larger ones. At one point towards the end, the video proclaimed in bold letters: “SEASON FINALE TOMORROW. BINGE IT ALL.”
While the promo was the highlight of the event, the fans in attendance made the night even better with special contributions of their own. People chatted about memorable scenes, debated who was the best Hashira, and voiced their feelings about the season. Several cosplayers came by and posed for photos, which prompted someone near me to tell his friend at one point, “at least talk to the hot Inosuke, dude!” Representatives from Crunchyroll also interviewed plenty of excited attendees for their livestream and handed out Demon Slayer shirts.
One group of fans even went so far as to bring a custom Demon Slayer-themed cake for the event, which the bakery was apparently reluctant to make. “We had to beg for like 40 minutes,” one of them told me, as he cut pieces for the crowd. “We really schmoozed the guy into letting us do it.” It’s a good thing they schmoozed him, though: the cake was nearly gone by the end of the night.
As successful as the event was, arguably the biggest takeaway was how thrilled everyone felt just to see Demon Slayer promoted in a place like Times Square. Even after the promo aired, many people stayed and continued watching it as it repeated, taking photos and videos, and looking for new details they might have missed. Others simply took the opportunity to enjoy the moment and chat with other Demon Slayer fans. “I’m not big on a lot of anime, but I love Demon Slayer, so I had to come out!” one cosplayer told me. But when I asked him how he felt to see an anime get such massive public exposure, he cut right to the point: “It’s about time!”
The finale of Demon Slayer: Swordsmith Village Arc airs on Crunchyroll at 10:35 AM PDT on June 18th. You can vote for it in our weekly poll. The season already ended in Japan and a new one, covering the Hashira Training Arc, has been announced.
©Koyoharu Gotouge / Shueisha, Aniplex, ufotable