Inu Yasha Vol. #03 (of 56) (Mania.com)

By:Luis Cruz
Review Date: Thursday, July 17, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, February 04, 2003



What They Say
Brothers in blood yet never in heart, Inu Yasha and Sesshomaru square off, neither having ever been certain of their place in their father's affections. Elsewhere, a pale and pretty princess is imperiled by a puffed-up, would-be prince. Then, it's the final showdown between Inu Yasha and the Thunder Brothers. But can Inu Yasha defeat the demon duo while trying to protect Kagome at the same time?

The Review!
Fathers and Sons aptly describes this set of three episodes. Inuyasha and Sesshomaru finish their battle in their father’s tomb. An evil toad holds Princesses captive, and Shippo joins Inuyasha and Kagome to avenge his father’s death at the hands of the Thunder Twins. The quest for the Jewel begins…

Audio:
For my primary viewing session, I listened to the Japanese audio track; a hearty dose of action provided some nice directional effects across the front soundstage. Dialogue was sharp and clear with no discernable problems. The music sounded great and really caught my attention this time. It blended well with the action and made the show even more enjoyable.

Video:
One would be hard pressed to find flaws with the video transfer; it remains sharp and colorful with no noticeable defects. The subtitles remain large and yellow, but I am becoming more accustomed to their size.

Viz continues to replace the original credits in the opening and ending with an English version. This would not present a problem if the credits were rendered as subtitles; instead, Viz continues to place the credits directly onto the video transfer. Since the disc does not contain a clean opening or ending in the extras section, this becomes more of an annoyance.

It is a shame that this drum still has to be beaten upon, but there is no reason why credits should be placed directly onto the video rather than be rendered as removable subtitles. If Viz ever rectifies this, their discs will receive the much deserved "A" grade that the transfer cries out for.

Packaging:
Inuyasha with Tetsusaiga in hand, Kagome, and Sesshomaru grace the front cover. The Japanese logo is in the upper right corner while the English logo is across the bottom. The volume title is above the English logo while the episode titles are below it. Absent again is a clear indicator of what volume you hold in your hand.

Viz remains consistent on the back cover. The episode titles are just below the standard boilerplate description of the series with screen shots from the show below the titles. The rest of the back cover is given over to a tiny line indicating the disc features and a listing of the production credits.

Inside the case is a one-page insert that has the front cover shot on one side and the chapter listings on the other.

Menu:
Consistency is the key to Viz releases, and the main menu retains the look and feel from previous volumes. Background music plays while clips from the show are playing around a series of rotating images. Just to the right of the rotating images are the actual menu options. Sub-menus contain no music and only a static image from the show.

Extras:
There are no surprises with the extras on this volume. There is a list of Japanese and English voice actors, a line art gallery of some character design sheets, and the Japanese promos for the episodes.

A clean version of the opening and ending sequences was absent once again. If this continues, we will probably never see the translations of the opening and ending songs.

Content:(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Showdown! Inuyasha Vs. Sesshomaru concludes the battle for Tetsusaiga. After Kagome manages to free the sword, Sesshomaru fires a blast of poison at her. Inuyasha believes that she is dead; enraged, he manages to score a hit on Sesshomaru. Kagome reveals that she is alive, saved by the power of the sword. She hands it to Inuyasha as Sesshomaru transforms into his true form, a giant demon dog!

Tetsusaiga does not seem to contain much power as Inuyasha first wields it. The sword’s true power is revealed after he tells Kagome that he will protect her. Inuyasha slices off Sesshomaru’s left arm causing him to retreat. Kagome learns from Kaede that the sword was forged by Inuyasha’s father to protect Inuyasha’s human mother. The sword only responds when it is used to protect human life.

We get a light breather in The Toad Who Would Be Prince as Kagome and Inuyasha have begun to search for the remaining Jewel shards. They come across a clumsy, slightly dimwitted samurai named Nobunaga. Much to Kagome’s disappointment, he is Nobunaga Amari rather than the more famous Nobunaga Oda.

Amari’s traveling companion is a small, white monkey named Hiyoshimaru. Together, they are looking for Princess Tsuyu who is rumored to be held captive by an eccentric and evil husband. Inuyasha and Kagome help him infiltrate the castle where she is held and discover that the lord of the castle and Tsuyu’s husband has been taken over by the 300 year old Toad of Tsukumo.

Amari loves Tsuyu and begs Inuyasha not to kill the Toad as it would kill Tsuyu’s husband as well. A bit of quick thinking by Kagome separates the Toad from the lord allowing Inuyasha to kill the demon and retrieve their second piece of the Jewel.

The quest for the Jewel continues in Shippo and the Thunder Brothers. Inuyasha is enjoying some cup noodles brought back by Kagome when they are interrupted. A fox child distracts them and tries to make off with the jewel shards. The fox child turns out to be Shippo, and he needs the jewel shards to get revenge on the Thunder Brothers for killing his father.

The Thunder Brothers, Hiten and Manten, are roaming the country and are killing any demons that have a piece of the Jewel. Hiten has collected three pieces while Manten has collected two pieces, one of which belonged to Shippo’s father. Shippo wants to draw them out by using Kagome’s pieces as bait.

After another clever trick, Shippo manages to tie up Inuyasha’s hands and make off with the pieces. Kagome gives chase but ends up getting kidnapped by Manten. Shippo regrets his actions and frees Inuyasha so they can rescue Kagome. The volume ends as Inuyasha and Hiten begin their battle.

Inu Yasha continues to be a fun ride. The quest for the Jewel seems to have started in earnest, and we are finally seeing what is happening to the scattered pieces. With an unknown amount out in the world, I am sure there will be plenty of interesting battles ahead for our heroes.

With Sesshomaru losing a limb to his hated younger brother, one can bet that he will be back at some point and will be very, very angry. It will be interesting to see how his attempts at revenge will be woven into the larger plot.

The fellowship also grows by one as Shippo makes a delightful appearance. He is clearly the Jariten to Inuyasha’s Ataru. I kept expecting Shippo to start breathing fire while chasing Inuyasha around. While the character dynamic is nothing new, it works well with these two characters as they give it their own unique spin.

My only complaint with the releases so far is that there are only three episodes per disc. It is difficult to only be able to sip this series when I want to gulp it down in large quantities.

Will the quest for the Jewel turn out to be a boring series of demon battles? Or will it continue to develop a solid storyline? Future volumes hold the answer, and I for one will be watching to find out.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Pioneer DVL-919, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and audio cable.




Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 24.95
Running time: 78
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Inu Yasha