Inu Yasha Movie #4: Fire on the Mystic Island (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, August 01, 2006
What They Say
Within the dark recesses of Horai Island, a group of half-demons live under the demonic rule of the Four War Gods. Escaping with barely a shred of hope, Ai, the youngest of the half-demons, returns to the island with Inuyasha, who must face not only the Four War Gods, but also the past he left behind on the island fifty years ago.
The fourth Inu Yasha movie features Four Gods, some great eye candy, but a forgettable story.
My primary viewing session consisted of the Japanese 5.1 audio track. The track is very sharp and utilizes the front and rear soundstages throughout the entire film. There were no distortions, dropouts, or other problems; music, sound effects, and dialogue are balanced very well. The rear soundstage was utilized particularly well to provide great ambiance for each setting.
The big screen means a big budget and results in a stunning video experience; Viz has translated the big screen experience into the digital realm flawlessly for this anamorphic print. There were no noticeable defects caused by the digital transfer. From the bright sunshine to the dark recesses of a hellish castle, colors are vibrant providing a lot of lush detail. The film is a visual delight from start to finish. The only slight against it is having the credits hard subtitled onto the print itself.
Inu Yasha, Kagome, Kikyo, and Sesshomaru all grace the front cover front cover, though Inu Yasha is more prominent. The logo and movie title are at the bottom of the cover. The back cover contains the standard synopsis, screenshots, and disc specifications. Both sides are rendered to appear metallic almost to the point of looking like the foil packaging used for trading cards. The character designs and this metallic look help separate this title from the various TV volumes sitting next to it on a store shelf. Inside the case is a one-page insert that has the front cover shot on one side and the chapter listings on the other.
After a small animation plays, the main menu loads up and features Inu Yasha and Kagome as a static image. A sample of music plays in the background while fireflies flit about; menu items are along the bottom left of the screen. Transition delays between menus are minimal, and the menus are intuitive to use.
Viz provides a decent batch of extras for the film; included in the extras are three line art galleries, Japanese trailers for the film, and a clean version of the opening and ending sequences. Also included is a section of "special" footage consisting of favorite scenes and lines picked by the cast and staff. The final extra is a card from the Inu Yasha collectible card game.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Every few decades, the mystic Horai Island appears off the shore of Japan; fifty years ago, Inu Yasha and Kikyo stumbled across it while lost in the fog. There they encountered the Four Gods; these ruthless demons were terrorizing the remaining survivors, all half-demon children, of the island. Now, the island has appeared once again, and Inu Yasha seeks to destroy the Gods and remove their mark from his back. That is the MacGuffin used to propel Inu Yasha and the rest through the fourth theatrical Inu Yasha appearance.
There is little else to say about the plot of the film; you sit back, put the brain in neutral, and watch the pretty battle sequences. The Four Gods are boring enemies that resemble a scaled back version of the Band of Seven from the TV series. There is the sword-wielding leader with an attack that calls down lightning from the sky, a cannon wielding minion, and an ambiguously gendered minion. The only unique member is a giant turtle that shoots fireballs from numerous orifices in his shell (Gamera is officially jealous).
Sesshomaru and Kikyo make their token appearances and provide some timely assistance in defeating the demons, but all of the battles are not very exciting despite their visual appeal. The pacing of the film does an adequate job of keeping things moving, but there just is not enough material to sustain the film's running time. By the end, you are looking at the clock and wondering what they are going to pull out next to eat up the remaining ten minutes.
Beyond the artwork, there did not seem to be much effort put into the production of this film. It is decent enough to sit through once, but it will not leave a lasting impression to draw you back for repeated viewings.
The fourth theatrical outing for Inu Yasha features a paper-thin and predictable plot, uninspired villains, and bland battles. It is a shame that the film could not produce a story or an action sequence to rival the quality of the artwork. Despite running ten minutes too long, it is still a decent title to rent on a rainy day, but it will not find its way into the collection of those who are not die-hard fans.
Japanese 5.1 Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Line Art Gallery, Japanese Inuyasha Movie Promos, Special Inuyasha Footage.
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: B
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Viz Media
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Inu Yasha