Inu Yasha Vol. #10 (of 56) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, October 07, 2003
What They Say
In rescuing a damsel in distress, Miroku’s Wind Tunnel starts to unravel. Will he be swallowed whole by the void? Later, Kohaku – brought back from the dead by a shard of the Sacred Jewel – is implicated in several murders. Sango is ordered to steal Tetsusaiga from Inuyasha, or else Kohaku will die a second time!
The second season of Inu Yasha begins as the scars of battle weigh heavy on our heroes. Three enjoyable episodes await as the second season manages to continue the momentum from the previous volume.
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.
Viz shakes things up in the packaging department as the show enters its second season. On the front cover, Kagome and Sango share a dip in an onsen while Inu Yasha appears to be standing guard in front of them. The upper right corner of the front cover bears a new logo consisting of the words "Second Season" in small print next to a kanji character embedded in a silhouette of a running Inu Yasha.
At the bottom of the front cover, some scenes from the episodes are displayed in muted blue tones. The English logo is three-fourths of the way down from the top of the cover; below it are the volume title, episode titles, and the Japanese logo respectively. There is still no volume indicator on the front cover.
The back cover remains mostly the same but does shuffle around the items a bit as a few more screen shots are used. The episode numbers are difficult to read as the color used for them blends too much into the background color. Inside the case is a one-page insert that has the front cover shot on one side and the chapter listings on the other.
In my review of the previous volume, I stated that I would be surprised if Viz ever changed the menu system. Well, color me surprised; Viz has provided a very clean menu system, one removes my complaint of it being too busy. A simple picture of a temple gate is in the background; the menu items are within the temple gates.
Tetsusaiga is in the left portion of the screen and has scenes from the show playing on its blade, a very subtle effect. The final touch comes at the bottom of the screen as Shippo’s head pops up in different areas while music plays in the background. A brief animation between menus is the only delay; the menus are intuitive and easy to use and look really sharp.
Sadly, Viz did not shake things up in the extras department. The extras are the standard fare of the Japanese and English cast list, a line art gallery, and the Japanese promos for the episodes. The only addition is a promo for the US Playstation game; however, there is no actual footage of the game in the promo, which probably speaks volumes about the quality of the game.
Content:(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first season of Inu Yasha managed to end on a high note, and the second season opens with the same energy and character development the previous three episodes had. The action opens up in the first episode as the fellowship is smoking a demon out of a village. Miroku follows a beautiful woman that catches his eye; unfortunately for him, the woman is a mantis demon in disguise.
The demon is no match for Miroku’s wind tunnel, but his victory comes with a price. The mantis managed to nick his wind tunnel while being sucked in; if Miroku attempts to use the tunnel, the nicks will widen the tunnel and shorten his life further. As the fellowship sleeps, he slips away to visit the only man who can repair the damage. Mushin is the priest who raised Miroku after Miroku’s father was consumed by his own wind tunnel. After giving Miroku some medicine, Mushin is ambushed by a Demon Worm Charmer and is used to try to kill Miroku.
The Worm Charmer unleashes a horde of demons that quickly overwhelm the ailing monk. Death seems inevitable, and Miroku seems to welcome death by the demon’s hands, as it would be preferable to the slow death by his own. The rest of the fellowship catch up to him and manage to pull him from the brink of despair and death; as a bonus, Inu Yasha manages to tap into the true power of Tetsusaiga in the process though he does not know how.
What struck me the most about this episode was development of Miroku’s character. After seeing his father die by the same curse he carries, we can understand why Miroku acts the way he does. Why should he not "eat, drink, and feel up Mary" because tomorrow he could be consumed by his greatest power. He is not only out for revenge for the curse placed upon his family, but he fights an internal battle every day knowing that death could take him at any moment. It is a heavy burden, and this episode showed that he is starting to grow weary of carrying it.
The remaining two episodes center around Naraku’s latest plot to destroy the fellowship. Naraku has brought Sango’s younger brother Kohaku back to life using a jewel shard. After luring Sango into a more private conversation, his demands are simple; bring him Tetsusaiga, and he will grant Kohaku eternal life through the shard. Sango’s emotions are divided, but she eventually succumbs to the desire to be reunited with her brother.
She steals Tetsusaiga, and the rest give chase; the chase ends up leading them to the castle where Naraku has been hiding. As he lurks in the shadows, he hopes that Sango will kill her brother thus allowing the jewel to consume more evil. His plans are thwarted as Kagome taps into her powers and drives him away with a few well-placed spirit arrows. Naraku retreats taking with him Kohaku and the knowledge that Kagome possesses the same powers as Kikyo.
While Sango’s internal struggle was predictable, it made for both a good story and a good setup for future conflicts. After the battle, she readily admits to the group that she could betray them again if Kohaku is involved. Despite this admission, the group is even more resolved to keep her with them to both strengthen her and to strengthen themselves.
The plots may not be literary masterpieces, but they are proving to be entertaining. They are providing a good dose of action and comedy while building some interesting characters. Without the character development, the show would lapse into a tedious romp in the "monster battle of the week" genre.
While I enjoyed the episodes, there were two items that proved to be annoying. First, Viz has been front-loading trailers onto the discs starting with volume eight. It was not worth noting at the time because you could skip past them simply by pressing the "Menu" button on your remote as soon the trailers began. With this volume, that ability has been taken away; you can still skip the trailers, but you must now hit the "Next Chapter" button for each trailer.
The last item was the subtitle translations; they felt a bit looser in how the dialogue was translated in places than previous volumes. Perhaps it was the colloquialisms they decided to use in certain areas, but there were spots that seemed like an attempt to liven up or modernize the script.
Overall, these items did not detract much from the overall enjoyment of this volume, but they were annoying enough to mention. Unless Viz makes some changes down the road, this series will span over forty discs; this one easily ranks as one of the few worth purchasing.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles
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: A-
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Viz Media
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Inu Yasha