Mugen Train Movie Made $503 Million Dollars, The Author Was Paid $19,201

Mugen Train Nezuko Anger
Written by Theo J Ellis

Demon Slayer: Mugen Train is an anime movie with insane amounts of success. Especially in a short space of time.

Within 3 days of opening in theatres, it made over $40 million dollars.

In total, the Mugen train movie made over $503 million dollars. Making it the top selling anime movie of all time.

But below the surface the picture isn’t as good looking as it sounds.

YouTube video


Koyoharu Gotouge, the female writer and author of Demon Slayer only got $19K out of the deal.

A amount to be grateful for, yes, but in reality it’s a disrespectful amount of money for the success that’s come from Demon Slayer.

Especially when talking about Mugen Train’s success in particular.


So why was Demon Slayer‘s author paid relatively little?

As explained by Crunchyroll:

“Sugimoto explained that because Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is Gotouge’s first serialized work, they are seen as a new writer, so the upfront payment for use of the work for theatrical rights can run incredibly low.

To add to that, according to Sugimoto, Mugen Train was only decided to become a film during the early broadcast of the Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba TV anime series, the popularity of the franchise wasn’t as high as it is now.

Both of these two aspects mean that, at most, Sugimoto estimates the fee given to Shueisha for the rights for the story was only around 4 million yen ($38,372), with only 2 million yen ($19,201) going to Gotouge directly for the theatrical release.”

The real widespread issue with manga authors in Japan

demon slayer manga

Manga authors and copyright holders in Japan don’t ask for royalties enough.

The way the system is set up makes that a challenge, of course. But I’m surprised so many don’t unify and demand royalties for their work. Whether they’re considered a “new” writer or not.

Upfront money looks good, but long term money taste’s better and is always the better choice.

In this case, Demon Slayer‘s author is a new writer so that’s part of the reason she was paid relatively little. And didn’t get as many privileges.

The companies in question weren’t willing to risk it since the writer has no track record to speak of. And that’s fair.

But in reality, it’s also because author’s don’t know any better in general. Or they don’t want to cause a hassle.

After all – they’re doing it for the love, not the money. But at what cost is the question you have to ask.

show me the money anime

Manga authors as I’ve suggested before, should build up their platform. The internet gives them leverage if they have good manga.

That way, they can:

  • Demand higher royalties (or royalties at all).
  • Get paid more.
  • Negotiate better contracts.
  • Win better deals.

And have more control over the process.

Having a platform gives you leverage, making everyone come to you. Putting you in a position of power.

That’s my thoughts on the amount Koyoharu Gotouge was paid vs the amount the Mugen train movie made in total.

What do you think?

Original sources:


Demon Slayer Kimetsu no Yaiba  - Part 1 Collector's Edition [Blu-ray] Start Shopping
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Very Misleading. Yes she chose not to get paid for a % of royalties. But its a calculated risk basedo nthe fact most top manga to anime adpatation movies don’t make this level of amount.

Also she has made tens of millions from both the Anime and this film indirectly. Manga sales, merchandise royalties and other IP related things are a huge income for popular series.

Josiah Wadleigh
Josiah Wadleigh
Reply to  Theo J Ellis

Manga author’s tend to make around 8-10% royalties off each of their tankoubon volumes(japanese volumes). In Japan the volumes are about $5 each, so the author makes $0.50 for each volume sold. Now we take $0.50 and multiply it by the 82,000,000 manga volumes sold, and we come to find she made $40,000,000 off manga sales alone.

Ran dom
Ran dom

Also making new platform for manga production won’t really help because companies like shounen jump invest money in promotion etc without it many of those manga won’t be that successful. there are independent writer how successful are they?

Mark Louie Adame
Mark Louie Adame
Reply to  Ran dom

one pieceauthor networth $200 million because he is wise and understand the business. Kimetsu author did not use a consultant she knows her series is a hit she should have consult on the movie hits and should get a royalty hoping she learn from her mistake on her next project and must be paid correctly

Ran dom
Ran dom

Compare demon slayer manga sale before and after anime

Ran dom
Ran dom

Demon slayer Writer probably would get more in merch
Real money come from here.

Ran dom
Ran dom

Also in many cases writers are offered two option to either get lum sum or get royalties. for example witcher writer had decided to take lum sum because there was lot of risk involved in witcher video game success. he would have got less money it if was not successful but it was very successful and it had helped in making his books popular all over the world before game it was only popular in slavic countries and he made lot of money from witcher books sales in other countries. and was able to sell his story to Netflix because… Read more »

Reply to  Ran dom

Clearly you have no idea how japanese media works when it comes to the pay. This is literally less than 1% hell less than .5 percent of the earnings that were here. Japanese manga artists aren’t treated as such. I doubt she even had the option considering the article mentions that first time artists get less. I dont think she had the option. Only to agree or not take it.

M Shehryar Khan
M Shehryar Khan

Such a Nice Article.More detail like What the animation staff got etc would also be nice. Really loved the article and hope you will post more articles like these in the future.

Ran dom
Ran dom

For example jk Rowling have earned lot of money from harry Potter because her franchise was already very successful before movies so she had got royalties. you would get more money if you sell a successful IP. It all depend if you are selling already successful story or your story is getting successful because of video game or anime or live action or if it novel than manga adaptation.

Ran dom
Ran dom

Demon slayer popularity of both manga and franchise was boosteed by Ufotable without them it won’t have been phenomeno and because of Ufotable it is 11 th highest selling manga. there was lof of risk involved in producing demon slayer which had new author. Ufotable deserve money but I agree writer should get more more money but they already have earn lot of money because of Ufotable through manga sale

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