Inu Yasha Vol. #07 (of 56) (Mania.com)

By:Luis Cruz
Review Date: Saturday, September 27, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, June 24, 2003



What They Say
Inuyasha, Kagome, and Shippo along with their new companion Miroku fight desperately against Sesshomaru’s attacks, now that he’s taken the Tetsusaiga from Inuyasha. How can they fight against a sword that can slay a hundred demons in a single stroke?

The Review!
Inu Yasha and Sesshomaru conclude another duel while Naraku’s backstory is expanded in this seventh volume. Despite some good character interaction and decent fights, this set of three episodes is little more than predictable but necessary plot building.

Audio:
For my primary viewing session, the Japanese audio track was listened to; as with previous volumes, the front soundstage was utilized well during the action sequences while the dialogue was sharp and clear. There were no discernable problems during playback providing a rich audio experience. Spot-checking the English track shows that the actors are still doing a decent job with the material; the English track should provide dub viewers with an equally enjoyable experience.

Video:
Viz continues to give this series a great video transfer; the picture is sharp, colorful, and, to my eye, defect-free. The only minor quibble one could have would be with the size of the subtitles; they still feel a bit too large considering the amount of action that takes place during the episodes. However, it does not detract significantly from the viewing experience.

As with every Viz disc I have reviewed, this volume replaces the original credits and title cards with English equivalents placed directly onto the video transfer. While this practice does not bother most, my preference is to have the original video intact from start to finish. It is even more of an annoyance since Viz has stopped placing clean versions of the opening and ending in the extras section of every volume.

As other company’s releases have borne out, DVD technology allows the original Japanese credits and English translated credits to coexist on the same disc. Viz is not utilizing this technology on this volume, and my video grade reflects that.

Packaging:
Kagome, Inu Yasha, and Kikyo are set against a light green background on the front cover. The rest of the front cover is consistent with the previous volumes in its placing of the titles and logos. A volume number is still absent from the cover.

The back cover follows suit as the placement of the text, screenshots, credits, and specifications is consistent with previous volumes. 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:
There is not much to say; if you have seen one Inu Yasha menu, you know what to expect. A brief transition animation is played when flipping between menus providing the only delay in using the menus.

Extras:
The extras are a list of Japanese and English voice actors, a line art gallery of some character design sheets, and the Japanese promos for the episodes. Since this volume features a new ending sequence for episode twenty-one, a textless version has also been included in the extras section; unfortunately, the song was not subtitled.

Content:(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
We rejoin the battle previously in progress as Go Home to Your Own Time, Kagome! opens. Inu Yasha manages to rip Tetsusaiga away from Sesshomaru but suffers a grave wound in the process. Realizing that the danger is only going to increase, Inu Yasha takes the Jewel from Kagome and shoves her down the well. Without the Jewel, Kagome cannot return to feudal Japan.

The events leading up to this are what make this episode the best out of this batch. Inu Yasha is growing weary of seeing the women in his life harmed and decides to push Kagome away from him and the dangers that follow him. On the other hand, Kagome is beginning to see that there is more to Inu Yasha than he reveals outwardly and begins to develop a schoolgirl crush. You know these scenes are predictable and a bit sappy, but there is just something about the way they are written that gives the sappiness an honest feel to it.

The last two episodes used some token action to do some predictable but necessary plot building. Royakan, a normally peaceful forest guardian, is used as a pawn by Naraku to kill Inu Yasha while he is injured. In between battles with Royakan, Kaede provides some background information on a thief named Onigumo that Kikyo tended to in the days before her death. Onigumo was badly burned and injured and wanted to poison the Jewel with evil. He died mysteriously the same day as Kikyo.

Back in the present, Kagome dwells on Inu Yasha’s behavior and wishes she could return to see how he is doing. Without fail, that does indeed happen, and it is a good thing that it did. Without Kagome around to protect, Inu Yasha cannot realize his true fighting potential and is having a hard time dealing with Royakan. After he and Kagome reunite in the past, Royakan is quickly dispatched.

We then get another piece of the Naraku puzzle from the demon himself. Onigumo sacrificed his soul to countless demons in exchange for the power to control Kikyo and the Jewel. The demons devoured his soul and formed the demon now known as Naraku. Inu Yasha manages to attack Naraku and reveal one more clue, a burn mark on Naraku’s back in the shape of a spider.

These two episodes are heavy on exposition, and the action sequences are fairly bland. It does a decent job of building up Naraku’s character, but it does it in a predictable, "by the numbers" manner. This volume would have benefited from having one or two more episodes of action to balance out the exposition. As it stands, it builds the story up more but fails to do it in an entertaining fashion.

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: B
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: 24.98
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Inu Yasha