Inu Yasha Vol. #36 (of 56) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Saturday, December 31, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, November 29, 2005
What They Say
Suffering from the aftereffects of Mukotsu’s poison, Kagome, Miroku and Sango are on the brink of death. Unless Inuyasha and Shippo can find a safe place for the three to recover, his friends are sure to die. But the prospect of finding such a safe haven, with members of the Band of Seven after them, is easier said then done. And when Renkotsu’s deadly trap is sprung, will Inuyasha’s companions survive?!
Another member of the Band of Seven is revealed and provides another unique wrinkle to the latest pawns in Naraku's plan.
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; the dialogue was clear and blended well with the music. The track was free from distortions, dropouts, or other problems.
Viz has yet to disappoint in the video transfer for the series, and this volume is no exception. Colors are lush allowing the scenery and detail to be readily apparent. The video appears to be free from any problems associated with the digital transfer resulting in a clear, sharp picture. The original Japanese credits and episode title cards have been replaced with English equivalents placed directly onto the video transfer.
The front cover is a montage of Inu Yasha, Kagome, Renkotsu and Ginkotsu. The series logo is across the top of the cover while the volume name and other logos are pushed to the bottom. The back cover contains the requisite synopsis, screenshots, and disc specifications. Inside the case is a one-page insert that has the front cover shot on one side and the chapter listings with a few screenshots from the episode on the reverse.
The main menu features a picture of Inu Yasha and Tetsusaiga on the left of the screen with rotating images overlaid on the moon to the right. Menu items are along the bottom of the screen. Transition animations are kept to a minimum, and music loops in the background. While very clean and functional, the menus have a sterile feeling compared to others Viz has produced for the series.
The extras include the standard fare of the Japanese and English cast list, two line art galleries, and the Japanese promos for the episodes. Rather than a plain text list for the cast, each character has a picture with the English and Japanese voice actor's name next to it. For the some of the line art, you can zoom into the artwork and move across it.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With Naraku hidden for quite some time, Inu Yasha has been missing a multi-dimensional villain that does nothing more than stalls the fellowship for an episode or two. The introduction of the Band of Seven is filling this gap nicely as each member has their own idiosyncrasies that could affect the plot in the future. The previous volume introduced Renkotsu as the intellectual of the Band; he wonders why Naraku has resurrected them and is uneasy about the lack of information on Naraku's plans and goals. Using the carnage he caused at the temple and a dead monk's robes, he tricks Inu Yasha into trusting him and opening up about why the fellowship is chasing Naraku.
Inu Yasha confides in Renkotsu that Naraku is using the Band of Seven merely as decoys while Naraku regenerates into a new, powerful form. Before Renkotsu can enquire further, Ginkotsu arrives at the temple and attacks Inu Yasha once again. Unable to gain any further information due to the interruption, Renkotsu takes Kagome's jewel fragments, sets fire to the temple, and reveals his true nature to Inu Yasha. In order to save Kagome, Inu Yasha defeats Ginkotsu but leaves Renkotsu to escape.
However, it appears that Inu Yasha has arrived too late; Kagome and the rest have stopped breathing despite Shippo's best efforts. Anyone that has watched a fraction of Inu Yasha knows this to be the standard plot device to show the human side Inu Yasha has developed. The moment feels less than genuine making it difficult for the audience to invest any emotion into the sequence.
This was the weakest portion of the volume, but the introduction of another member of the Band manages to salvage the remainder. Kikyo is unable to approach Mount Hakurei due to its strong purifying aura. She wanders into a village to find a doctor that possesses a jewel shard. Suikotsu has been resurrected by the power of the shard, but Kikyo is amazed to find the shard completely free from evil.
Suikotsu may not know that he is the walking undead, but he is haunted by ghastly, violent nightmares. The sight of blood also produces a strong psychological reaction in him that would make Lady Macbeth proud. It is not until the rest of the Band of Seven and the fellowship converge on the village that Suikotsu awakens to his violent self.
Suikotsu's split personality is the most interesting concept the series has presented in recent memory. There are a number of directions this character can be taken in, the most obvious one being the "even an evil man can find redemption" theme. Whatever direction they take, this is an unexpected and welcome twist to the dynamic of the Band of Seven. This and Renkotsu's distrust of Naraku has managed to renew my interest in the series and has me looking forward to seeing what direction their characters take.
The middle act of this volume feebly attempts to provoke some emotion out of the audience, but the plot device used has been done too many times in the series to be effective. However, the characters of Renkotsu and Suikotsu manage to provide interesting bookends. Suikotsu's split personality and Renkotsu's distrust add two wrinkles to the dynamic of the Band of Seven that have renewed my interest in the series. I find myself in the unusual position of wanting the next volume to arrive to see if these wrinkles will pay off at some point in the story arc.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Panasonic RP-82, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and optical audio cable
Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A-
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