Inu Yasha Vol. #08 (of 56) (Mania.com)

By:Luis Cruz
Review Date: Sunday, October 19, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, August 12, 2003



What They Say
When a soul-collecting demon comes a?-knocking at the homes of the recently departed, Inuyasha and the others are asked by a nobleman to protect his daughter?s spirit. Although the demon is dispatched easily enough, the question remains as to who is collecting the souls of the dead?and why?

Later, hearing that Kikyo may still be alive, nothing anyone can say can stop Inuyasha from going ? alone. Before Inuyasha can locate Kikyo, however, Kagome stumbles upon her. Bound to a tree and reduced invisible to anyone but Kikyo, Kagome eventually bears witness to Inuyasha?s true feelings...

Finally, rumors that Demon-Slayers are said to live where the Sacred Jewel was born send Inuyasha and the others racing to the scene. Is there any truth to these rumors, or are they just another false lead?

Includes episodes:
A Wicked Smile; Kikyo?s Wandering Soul
Kagome?s Voice and Kikyo?s Kiss
Enter Sango, the Demon Slayer

The Review!
The love triangle heats up while a new cast member is introduced in another narrative laden batch of three episodes.

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. Dub fans will have an equally enjoyable experience as a spot-check showed that the English track is on par with previous volumes.

Video:
The video is on par with previous volumes; 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:
On the front cover, Kikyo and Inu Yasha share a kiss while Kagome is in her "surprised look" pose. 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. It is odd that Viz does not have textless versions of the opening and closing songs; every other Viz disc I have come across includes this as an extra, but Inu Yasha seems to be the exception to this rule. But why?

Content:(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
We are nearly a fifth of the way into Inu Yasha which means that the overall plot is going to be developed over a span of several episodes throughout its lifetime. This volume picks up where the previous one left off and eases off the action in order to build the plot through narrative and character interaction.

A Wicked Smile; Kikyo?s Wandering Soul brings Kikyo back again to build up the love triangle between her, Kagome, and Inu Yasha. Kikyo managed to survive her fall from the cliff but is essentially dead once more. She needs the souls of women to prevent her golem body from growing cold and immovable. Inevitably, Inu Yasha and the rest of the group learn that Kikyo is alive and follow her soul stealing demons back to her location.

Kagome?s Voice and Kikyo?s Kiss finds Kagome trapped by Kikyo. Despite her attempts to reason with Kikyo, Kikyo still desires to kill Inu Yasha. Vengeance against Naraku will not bring her back to life, but she wants to turn Inu Yasha?s love into hate so that he will never forget her. Inu Yasha arrives on the scene but does not see that Kagome is trapped.

Inu Yasha confronts Kikyo and confesses that he has never stopped thinking about her. As Kagome hears these words, her emotions begin to fall into turmoil. Kikyo kisses Inu Yasha rendering him unconscious and allowing her to slowly drag him down into hell with her. Kagome?s emotions get the best of her, and her voice finally snaps the hold Kikyo has over Inu Yasha.

The final episode introduces us to Sango, the daughter of the leader of a village of demon slayers. Through Naraku?s machinations, Sango becomes his latest pawn in his quest to slay Inu Yasha. Essentially, these three episodes put some final pieces into place for the current story arc but does so in a lackluster way.

Building a story up through narrative does not bother me; when done well, it still draws the viewer in and captivates them. With this volume and the previous one, Inu Yasha has been failing to capture much of my attention with its narrative. It is not that the stories are written or directed poorly; after watching numerous other Takahashi titles, the subject matter feels too familiar.

Perhaps someone not so familiar with Takahashi will be drawn in more by the building of this particular love triangle. With a few more pieces in place, I am hoping that the plot will pick up some steam. At the moment, the series is quickly becoming a chore to watch as it is bringing little new material to the table.

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: 24.95
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Inu Yasha