Reviewby Zac Bertschy, Mar 29th 2003
Just when things start settling down for Kagome and Inu-Yasha, a hair-spinning demon named Yura swoops in and snatches away the Shikon no Tama! To make matters worse, the human hating, viciously vindictive Sesshoumaru enters the fray, making Inu-Yasha?s decidedly more frightful form burst forth! Will Kagome and Inu-Yasha survive these trials and reclaim the Jewel of Four Souls?
Rumiko Takahashi has a long history of writing series that run forever and feature bitchy girls smacking around incompetent guys. The newest version of this storyline is Inu-Yasha, a series enjoying incredible success in both America and Japan. I'm not sure what it is about Inu-Yasha that fails to entertain me; perhaps it's the repetitiveness or the complete lack of likable characters. Either way, Inu-Yasha just isn't doing it for me.
That's not to say the series is completely devoid of quality. The animation is handled by Sunrise, who is no slouch when it comes to fluid and consistent character animation. The colors are vibrant, and the music isn't half bad, either, invoking a calm balance between archaic and modern styles to fit with the theme of the series. Indeed, the problem with this series is twofold: one, the plot moves along about as quickly as a snail that's been buried beneath six feet of concrete, and two, it follows a very tired yoma-of-the-week formula that gets old very, very quickly.
Some people claim to like the character designs for this series, but they lack the charm of Takahaski's other efforts. All the women look the same: rail thin with long black or brown hair. The costuming is similarly uninspired, with a whole lot of shrine maiden outfits and traditional Japanese priests and so forth running around. The show just isn't very interesting to look at--at least not as much as Urusei Yatsura was. Some people really enjoy the Inu-Yasha aesthetic. I am not one of those people. It's just too generic.
Pray you don't get tired of seeing some demon steal a piece of the Shikon no Tama and run off with it only to later fight with and lose to Inu-Yasha, since that's the basic story of nearly every episode. To top it off, Viz has elected to release this series three episodes at a time. Consider that episode 105 just aired in Japan, and you're looking at purchasing 35 DVDs just to get to where they are now. At $24.99 per disc, you'll be spending nearly 900 dollars to basically see the same thing happen 105 times.
This volume introduces the cold and distant Sesshoumaru, Inu-Yasha's brother who hates anything bipedal that calls itself human. The second this character appeared in the anime, they had to reinforce the Hoover Dam to prevent gallons of fangirl drool from flooding the American southwest. He figures in heavily in the anime series and appears in countless episodes, and this volume is his first appearance, so that'll make it a big deal for anyone obsessed with mink stole-wearing dudes with Sailor Moon symbols on their foreheads. Personally, I found the character off-putting and downright uninteresting. To top it off, his sidekick, an obnoxious little green frog-looking guy, is given a LOT of dialogue, which means the viewer is forced to sit through minutes upon minutes of his raspy-tongued oral diarrhea. The Japanese voice for this character is intolerable, and the English one manages to make it worse; do yourself a favor and just hit mute whenever he appears on screen.
The episodes contained on this disc are very typical of the series as a whole. There are a few fairy-tale style stories, a bunch of strange demons, and so on and so forth. They recycle the "Osuwari!" (sit!) gag a few hundred times. There's very little in the way of extras: a line art gallery, and nothing more. It's hard to recommend this disc to anyone who isn't either a diehard Takahashi fan or already obsessed with Inu-Yasha. There are better monster-of-the-week shows out there.
Overall : C
Overall (dub) : C-
Overall (sub) : C
Story : D
Animation : A
Art : B-
Music : B+
+ Good animation, nice music, will appeal to Takahashi fans and fangirls alike
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