Inu Yasha Vol. #37 (of 56) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, November 29, 2005
What They Say
The evil side of Suikotsu’s psyche is revealed, confirming Inuyasha’s beliefs that the “good doctor” is really a member of the Band of Seven. Suikotsu and Inuyasha clash, but the effects of the sacred Mount Hijiri causes Suikotsu’s transformation to revert, making the resurrected mercenaries to flee the area. The retreating mercenaries regroup with their leader, Bankotsu the leader and most powerful of the Band of Seven.
The final member of the Band of Seven is revealed, and Naraku finally makes a brief appearance in an exciting volume of the series that refuses to quit.
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, Kikyo, and Suikotsu's dual personas. The series logo is across the top of the cover while the volume name and 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 Koga 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 brief 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. The latest ending is given the textless treatment on this volume also.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After last volume's failed attempt to elicit an emotional response from the audience, the series manages to get it right in this volume. Suikotsu has awakened to his evil persona and battles Inu Yasha while the other members of the Band attack the rest of the group. Kikyo is injured in the fray and begins to lose the souls keeping her alive. Some of the children from the village begin to sway Suikotsu's mind back toward his good side; the Band decides this is a good opportunity to retreat and ensure that Suikotsu remains fused to his evil side.
As Kikyo lay unconscious, only Kagome is able to see that a barrier is preventing the soul catchers from restoring Kikyo. Does she stay silent and allow Kikyo to die once again, or does she tell Inu Yasha how to save Kikyo and possibly lose Inu Yasha's love? Kagome makes the only decision her conscience allows and saves Kikyo. The sequence takes no more than a minute or two but manages to make a genuine connection with the viewer's emotions. You could feel the turmoil raging in Kagome, how her heart was breaking at seeing Inu Yasha worriedly watching over Kikyo simply through subtle gestures and expressions.
It is one of the more touching moments of the series in recent memory; the remainder of the volume manages to build on this momentum and compliment this emotional scene with a mixture of humor and action. Bankotsu, the leader of the Band, finally reveals himself and calls the remaining members together. He has finally found the castle of the daimyo that had them killed. It is time to combine their revenge along with bait to lure Koga and Inu Yasha to their deaths.
While Koga and Inu Yasha race towards the Band of Seven, Sesshomaru trails Kohaku and finds a clue to Naraku's location on Mount Hakurei. Bankotsu and the Band of Seven are called away from their battle with Koga and Inu Yasha to deal with Sesshomaru; before Inu Yasha can pursue, a puppet of Naraku stands in his way but is easily defeated. The puppet reveals a similar clue to Naraku's location to the fellowship.
I was hoping for more development of Suikotsu and Renkotsu's characters; Suikotsu did not receive much attention, but we did get more insight into Renkotsu. His distrust of Naraku stems from the fact that Renkotsu is much like Naraku. Renkotsu attempted to hide Kagome's shards from Bankotsu; his ruse was discovered though also showing that Renkotsu is to some extent afraid of Bankotsu's power.
It is clear that Renkotsu has ambitions of his own and is attempting to use the same devious and deceptive tactics Naraku is famous for. It may be a simple piece of character development, but it has enabled me to perceive the story as something more than linear. There are a number of possibilities on how this could affect the story, and my mind is racing with all of them making me eager to see which direction the series takes.
There are volumes of Inu Yasha gets things right from start to finish, and this one can easily be included in that group. The volume starts off with a genuine and powerful emotional moment from Kagome and launches into some great action tinged with some humorous dialogue. It closes out with a simple but effective piece of character development from Renkotsu. The Band of Seven continues to be the most interesting villains encountered to date, and their storyline is helping to rekindle my interest in this long running series.
Japanese Language,English 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