Inu Yasha Vol. #18 (of 56) (Mania.com)

By:Luis Cruz
Review Date: Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, June 01, 2004



What They Say
Inuyasha finds out from Totosai that the only way for the Tetsusaiga to get lighter is for him to surpass his father in power. To do so, Inuyasha heads out to find Ryukotsusei, a dragon-like demon that his father was able to seal away, but only into dormancy.

All Inuyasha needs to do is stab the heart of the sleeping demon and his legacy-sword should get lighter. But when Naraku awakens Ryukotsusei, things start to look much more difficult...

The Review!
Another three episodes of Inu Yasha go by bringing more power to the title character. Despite being formulaic, it managed to be more entertaining than the previous volume.

Audio:
The Japanese audio was used for my primary viewing session; Viz maintains the high quality of audio that has been present throughout the series. The action sequences utilize the front soundstage very well, while the dialogue was clear and blended well with the music. The track was free from distortions, drop outs, or other problems.

Video:
Viz also maintains the high level of quality on the video in this volume. From the lush, green forests to dark, foggy canyons, the scenery is detailed and contains vivid colors. The video appears to be free from any problems associated with the digital transfer. As with previous volumes, the original Japanese credits and episode title cards have been replaced with English equivalents placed directly onto the video transfer.

Packaging:
Inu Yasha does battle against Ryokotsusei on the front cover making for one of the more eye-catching covers in the series. 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. A small volume indicator is just above the Viz logo.

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.

Menu:
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 Bokusen-Oh's face appearing on the posts of the temple gates. When you select a menu item, a brief animation of Bokusen-Oh's face plays. The menus are intuitive, easy to use, and look really sharp.

Extras:
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)
This was the most difficult volume of Inu Yasha to grade so far; everything in the episodes is predictable and is purely a "power up the hero" plot device. Trapped in the poison cocoon, Inu Yasha's anger finally boils over and unleashes his demon side. Inu Yasha violently dispatches the demon and the bandits that served it. Not even heeding Kagome's voice, it takes Sesshomaru's powerful sword to stop Inu Yasha's rampage.

Sesshomaru decides not to kill Inu Yasha, as there is no satisfaction in it. Inu Yasha is a blind monster that does not even know himself when the blood rage is on him. Once he wakes up, Inu Yasha has no memory of what occurred, but he sees and smells the human blood on his claws. He comes to the realization that the next transformation could see him turn his claws on Kagome.

To prevent this, Inu Yasha sets off alone to find Totosai and learn if there is a way to make Tetsusaiga lighter. This would allow him to retain possession of it easier and prevent future transformations. Reluctantly, Totosai tells Inu Yasha that the only way to make Tetsusaiga lighter is to surpass his father's power. To do this, Inu Yasha must kill the dragon demon Ryukotsusei; Inu Yasha's father could only seal this demon and was unable to kill it.

Inu Yasha heads off to the valley that holds Ryukotsusei and ends up in a difficult battle that pits him against the demon without and the demon within. The viewer can see the end result coming, and the episodes do little more than give Inu Yasha a power upgrade. What tipped the scales for this volume was the humor interspersed throughout the episodes.

The comedic touches were well placed and breathed a bit of life into the characters that has been missing over most of the past few volumes. It provided some chuckles and got me to connect with the characters once again. Without this connection, this would easily be in the "rent or Adult Swim" category. However, it manages to just lift itself above the previous lackluster volumes

In summary:
Sometimes it is not about the destination but rather about the journey. With Inu Yasha, the journey is becoming extended and a bit tiresome, and the destination does not seem all that important any more. This volume serves as a decent reminder of why and how the journey and destination could be so much more. While the plot and action is predictable, the comedic touches make the episodes worth watching. Marginally recommended for purchasing rather than rental.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Line Art Gallery,Japanese Promos

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