Inu Yasha Vol. #09 (of 56) (

By:Luis Cruz
Review Date: Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, August 26, 2003

What They Say
Believing Inuyasha responsible for the death of her kin, Sango, the Demon Slayer, launches an attack against Inuyasha and the others. Eventually convinced of Naraku?s duplicity, Sango returns to the Village of the Slayer for healing, her injuries preventing her from pursuing the insidious demon further. There, Sango takes the group to an ancient cave where the Sacred Jewel of Four Souls was said to have been born.

Later, and now joined by a more-recovered Sango, Inuyasha and the others come to a large lake said to be ruled by a water god. When it?s discovered that this so-called ?god? is required child-sacrifices, the possibility that a Jewel Shard is involved is raised...

Includes episodes:
Naraku?s Insidious Plot!
The Secret of the Sacred Jewel Revealed!
The Lake of the Evil Water God

The Review!
The action heats up and the jewel?s history is revealed as Sango joins the fellowship of the jewel.

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.

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 Japanese credits and episode 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 Japanese video intact from start to finish.

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.

Against a bright yellow background stands Kikyo, Inu Yasha, and Sango on the front cover. The remainder of the front cover is consistent with the previous volumes in its placing of the titles and logos. With a series that will span over 120 episodes, one would expect some sort of volume number to appear on the cover. As with this and other Viz titles, this is not the case; the only volume indication is a cryptic catalog number on the spine.

The back cover follows suit as the placement of the text, screenshots, credits, and specifications is consistent with previous volumes. However, the bright yellow background works against the white text making it very difficult to read. Inside the case is a one-page insert that has the front cover shot on one side and the chapter listings on the other.

If Viz ever changed the menu system for this title, I would be very surprised. But, they have no cause to as the menus remain functional and easy to use. The only technical gripe would be the brief transition animation played when switching between menus.

The extras are the standard fare of the Japanese and English cast list, a line art gallery, and the Japanese promos for the episodes.

Content:(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After six tedious episodes, the action and plot picks back up as Naraku?s Insidious Plot! opens this volume. Sango has unwittingly become Naraku?s latest puppet as he leads her to Inu Yasha. However, her wounds threaten to take her life before she can exact vengeance; Naraku offers her a jewel fragment to help her achieve her goal, and Sango foolishly accepts.

Once they reach Inu Yasha, a battle ensues and results in Naraku making off with Kikyo?s large jewel fragment. With an ailing Sango in tow, the fellowship takes off after Naraku and manages to recover the fragment. Their victory is hollow, as Sango was not the only puppet being manipulated. Naraku hid himself while a demon puppet version of himself confronted Sango and Inu Yasha. Where Naraku actually was provided a nice surprise; it was a simple but effective plot twist that I did not see coming.

Sango decides to join the fellowship of the jewel and reveals to them the origin of the jewel. Near the demon slayer village is a cave; entombed within the cave are many demon carcasses and the body of Midoriko. Centuries ago, Midoriko was a priestess that could purify the souls of demons.

Inside the cave, she fought a fierce battle against a horde of demons; in the end, she captured the soul of the fiercest demon within her but could not purify it. Instead, her and the demon?s soul burst out of her chest and formed the Sacred Jewel, also known as the Jewel of the Four Souls. It is said that their souls still war inside the jewel in an effort to cleanse or corrupt the jewel.

This episode is a perfect example of what was lacking in the previous two volumes. While the story was light on action and focused more on narrative, it does so in a way that draws the viewer into the narrative and expands the mythos of the series at the same time. The most interesting part of this story is the concept of having the warring souls trapped in the jewel itself. Will these souls come into play later on in the series? Only time will tell, but it makes for a potentially interesting subplot.

The volume ends on a mediocre note with The Lake of the Evil Water God. Much like the episode after Miroku?s appearance, this episode serves the purpose of integrating Sango into the group by showing her what Inu Yasha can do and how they can all work together toward a common goal.

A water god that is demanding child sacrifices from a nearby village; thinking that this "god" might be a demon with a jewel fragment, the fellowship decides to put an end to this barbarous practice. The action was fun despite being predictable and managed to incorporate a few humorous moments as well.

This volume managed to rekindle the embers of my interest; it blended action and narrative in an engaging way as it has in the past. With any long running series, one can expect lows as were seen in the previous two volumes. Over the next 100 plus episodes, I am hoping that there will be more volumes like this one.

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