Inu Yasha Vol. #42 (of 56) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, July 07, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, June 06, 2006
What They Say
After the long period of searching for Naraku, Inuyasha and his friends find themselves face to face with their greatest enemy. Despite their combined efforts to attack Naraku, they find the newly reborn Naraku much more powerful than before. Naraku leaves Inuyasha and the others to die inside the now crumbling Mount Hakurei. Before they can pursue, Naraku drops the previously captured Koga into the depths of the mountain.
Inuyasha and the others have no choice but to save Koga and the two shards of the Sacred Jewel inside his body. Meanwhile, Naraku is free to go after the one thing he has desired for so long - the death of Kikyo!
Contains episodes 124-126:
Farewell Kikyo, My Beloved
The Darkness in Kagome's Heart
Transform Heartache into Courage
It's a trap!
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 collage of Inu Yasha, Kagome, and Naraku Mark IV and V. 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 Kagome 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, two brief line art galleries, and the Japanese promos for the episodes.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As the fifth season ends, we finally receive a small and bittersweet pay-off for all of the wandering around the mountain wondering what Naraku was planning. While Inu Yasha and the rest are busy escaping from the crumbling Mount Hakurei, Naraku pays a visit to Kikyo and explains why he has been hiding for so long. He has been slowly separating his body from the human heart that prevents him from harming Kikyo.
With his heart removed, Naraku easily strikes down Kikyo, killing her for a second time. Sesshomaru briefly appears and tests Naraku's new powers, but Naraku once again eludes Sesshomaru's grasp. Inu Yasha arrives next to find that he has failed to protect Kikyo once again. He begins to vent his anger on Sesshomaru, but in a rare moment, Sesshomaru provides Inu Yasha with some stern, brotherly advice. Naraku killed Kikyo, and you, Inu Yasha, were the one who did not save her. Your fight is with Naraku, not me.
The remainder of the volume focuses on the endless struggle both Inu Yasha and Kagome have with their emotions. Inu Yasha still deeply cares about Kikyo and selfishly mourns her loss without considering how it affects Kagome. Kagome allows herself to briefly fall under the spell of Naraku's child-sized incarnation due to her jealousy of Kikyo.
However, they realize the depth of their emotions and come to an understanding. Kagome realizes that Inu Yasha's heart will always have a space occupied by Kikyo, but she cannot help but love him and accept this fact. Inu Yasha has finally realized that his obsession with Kikyo could have lost him another person close to him. There were small moments that made this resolution beautiful and satisfying; it is another example that the strength of this series is the relationships between the characters.
It is sad to see Kikyo depart the stage; her character was given some of the better dialogue and was a key ingredient in the development of the characters. However, her departure means that the character dynamic will change and grow once again, and I am finally interested in seeing where the series takes the characters next. Kagome and Inu Yasha now have few obstacles to becoming the true lovers they seem destined to be. The road to find Naraku (again!) will be long, but if the series has the good sense to leave Kikyo dead, it can be an entertaining journey with a fresh angle on the story.
What has attracted me to Inu Yasha has always been the character development; the series is at its best when the plot serves less as battles to find Naraku and more as battles that shape the characters and their relationships. The tragic ending of season five emphasizes this point elegantly. Still, the pay-off is relatively small compared to the ponderous journey to arrive at it. However, it does provide hope that the series can grow the characters in a new direction; it also has managed to renew my interest in the series making this volume an easy one to recommend purchasing.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Line Art Gallery
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