Inu Yasha Vol. #40 (of 56) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, April 04, 2006
What They Say
"How can a man, revered in life as a Saint, be helping Naraku?!"
Miroku and Sango climb deep into Mt. Hakurei, trying to determine the source of the sacred barrier that surrounds the mountain. They discover the remains of a revered monk, Saint Hakushin. But why is this revered spirit helping Naraku by creating the barrier around the mountain?
Meanwhile, Inuyasha is forced into the barrier during a battle with Renkotsu of the Band of Seven. But instead of purifying him, it turns him to his human form. How will Inuyasha survive without his demon powers?!
Contains episodes 118-120:
Into the Depths of Mt. Hakurei
Divine Malice of the Saint
Fare Thee Well: Jakotsu's Requiem
So close to a major showdown... So very close...
The Japanese audio was used for my primary viewing session; after one hundred plus episodes, it would take an extreme blunder to ruin the audio quality Viz has maintained over time. This volume exhibits the same high quality, problem-free stereo track you can find on every volume of Inu Yasha.
As with the audio, Viz has their routine down pat and turns in another stellar video experience. At this point, anything I can add to this section is redundant. Viewers will have a gorgeous viewing experience to match their audio experience.
The front cover is a crowded montage of Human Yasha, Miroku, Sango, and St. Hakushin. 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 episodes on the reverse.
The main menu features a picture of Kikyo 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.
Viz stays the course and provides a Japanese and English cast list, three brief line art galleries, and the Japanese promos for the episodes.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I have been writing a mental note to Inu Yasha for the past volume or two. "Dear Inu Yasha, you cannot keep your audience puttering around Mount Hakurei indefinitely; any steam built up behind a potential Naraku showdown is nearly evaporated. Please move the plot forward again. Respectfully submitted." Fortunately, it seems that the series must have received that message and have moved the plot, albeit only slightly, forward towards some sort of appearance by Naraku.
Sango and Miroku find themselves confronted by Kagura and a host of demons. Luck and a touching love scene propels them past the danger and into the resting place of Saint Hakushin's mummy. Saint Hakushin tells them how regret left his soul in darkness. Naraku provided an outlet for his grief in the form of hatred for humanity. Miroku manages to break down Hakushin's barrier, but it is Kikyo who finds the fleeing Saint and redeems his lost soul. The remainder of the volume pares down the Band of Seven to the Band of One. With the barrier around the mountain dissipated, Inu Yasha smells Naraku's scent and races towards it. But, Bankotsu is close behind him.
What started out as a potentially fun and intriguing cast of supporting villains has come to a disappointing end. The Band of Seven had an interesting dynamic of personality quirks and ulterior motives, but these elements were underdeveloped during the arc. Rather than helping to drive the plot, the quirks served as window dressing as the Band of Seven became just another group of cannon fodder.
Conversely, Kikyo continues to be a well-used secondary character. The best moment of this volume is her confrontation with Hakushin. She breaks down his emotional barrier, and he finally achieves salvation. She also saw her life reflected in his making the moment poignant. She has managed to save Hakushin, but who will be able to save her?
There just have not been many plot or character developments to pull me into the story and build up some heat. There are some other decent moments sprinkled in this volume, but it failed to make me anticipate another confrontation with Naraku.
Inching the series closer to a major confrontation with Naraku, volume forty provides some memorable exchanges between some of the characters but again provides some frustration that the Band of Seven were not better developed and utilized as villains. Naraku's reappearance looms, but the volume does little to build any excitement or tension leading up to it. While worth a rental, this volume does not get me geared up and eagerly waiting to pop in the next one.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitiles
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