Inu Yasha Vol. #16 (of 56) (

By:Luis Cruz
Review Date: Wednesday, April 07, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, April 06, 2004

What They Say
Two deadly new incarnations of Naraku! Juromaru and Kageromaru confront Inuyasha and Koga. Can they stop fighting each other long enough to defeat the new demons? Later, Kikyo discovers a fatal flaw within Naraku, which puts her in danger. Fearing for Kikyo?s safety, Inuyasha comes to an important decision...

Juromaru and Kageromaru
Oniguno's Heart Still Beats Within Naruku
Return to the Place Where We First Met!

The Review!
While light on action, this volume of Inu Yasha managed to pull the right emotional strings and draw me into the episodes.

For my primary viewing session, the Japanese audio track was listened to; as with previous volumes, Viz provides a solid stereo track that utilizes the front soundstage adequately during the action sequences. Dialogue was sharp and clear, and there were no noticeable problems during playback.

Viz continues to do an excellent job with the video transfer; the picture is sharp, colorful, and, to my eye, defect-free. Three front-loaded trailers are still present when you insert the disc, but you can fortunately use the "Next" button on your remote to skip past them.

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.

Set against a dark, cloudy background, the front cover collage consists of Kagome, Inu Yasha, and Naraku's latest creations Juromaru and Kageromaru. The upper right corner of the front cover bears the "Second Season" logo. At the bottom of the front cover, some scenes from the episodes are displayed.

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. In an unprecedented move, Viz added a small volume indicator just above their corporate logo; while it is not very prominent, it is a decent start.

The back cover retains the placement of the synopsis, screenshots, and disc specifications seen on previous second season volumes. Inside the case is a one-page insert that has the front cover shot on one side and the chapter listings beneath some screenshots on the reverse.

The main menu consists of a simple picture of a temple gate 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 has Kagome's cat poking its head up at the bottom. When you select a menu item, a brief animation of the cat plays. The menus are intuitive, easy to use, and look really sharp.

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)
As the final minute of this volume ticked away, I was left wondering why Inu Yasha cannot be as smartly written every episode as it was for these three. The first episode appears to be the standard "monster of the week" episode, but it sets up two episodes that manage to pull all the right emotional strings to get the audience to care about the characters.

In his quest to avenge his comrade?s deaths, Koga is seeking Naraku and stumbles across the fellowship much to Inu Yasha's annoyance. The fellowship and Koga come across Naraku's latest incarnations, Juromaru and Kageromaru. This leads to the inevitable conclusion; the monsters are defeated leaving Koga and Inu Yasha at each other's throats. Kagome attempts to make peace making Inu Yasha jealous. Kagome and Inu Yasha fight once again, and once again, Kagome heads for home.

While Kagome is in the present, Easy Bake Kikyo is targeted for death by Naraku; he sends a giant soul catcher to drain away the lost souls that keep her secret blend of mud and bones together. Kikyo's escape conveniently leads her into Inu Yasha's arms; Inu Yasha confesses his desire to protect Kikyo from Naraku and give his life for her.

After Easy Bake spurns Inu Yasha, he turns around to find that Kagome has overheard the entire conversation. His eyes reflect his intentions, and Kagome realizes that he chooses Kikyo. The remainder of the volume sees both Kagome and Inu Yasha struggling to come to grip with their emotions and the consequences of them.

While the end result is predictable and maudlin, the events unfold in a way that is true to the characters that have been built. The dialogue is smartly written and has the supporting cast playing strong sounding boards for Inu Yasha and Kagome's feelings. It is smartly written and managed to suck me right into the story, something that has not happened in a number of episodes.

This enthusiasm is tempered a bit though by the knowledge that the show is not even reached the halfway mark. The turn the relationship has taken is a great step forward, one that has been coming for quite some time. However, the relationship still has a long way to go, and I fear that moments like these will continue to be few and far between.

In summary:
Light on action, this volume instead makes a significant stride in the relationship portion of the story. It pulls the audience into the story and draws a strong emotional response. While the past few volumes can be easily skipped, this is one to consider picking up, as it is one of the pivotal moments in the love triangle.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery

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: A-
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