Inu Yasha Vol. #45 (of 56) (Mania.com)

By:Luis Cruz
Review Date: Monday, August 28, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, August 22, 2006



What They Say
In a special double episode, our travelers come upon a seaside village where a mysterious woman waits for the one she loves - Inuyasha's half-brother Sesshomaru! Her clever plot to capture Inuyasha's sword Tetsusaiga as a gift for Sesshomaru revives old memories and bitter feelings.

Contains episodes 133-135:
Inuyasha Special: The Woman Who Loved Sesshomaru (Double Episode 133-134)
The Last Banquet of Miroku's Master

The Review!
Sesshomaru fans will love this volume, but we do manage to get a tiny but important piece of the plot out of an otherwise forgettable volume.

Audio:
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.

Video:
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.

Packaging:
The front cover is a collage of Sesshomaru and Sara. 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.

Menu:
The main menu features a picture of Sesshomaru standing by a banner waving in the wind. A piece of Japanese scenery floats by in the background. Transition animations are kept to a minimum, and music loops in the background.

Extras:
Viz stays the course and provides a Japanese and English cast list, two brief line art galleries lacking the zoom functionality seen previously, and the Japanese promos for the episodes.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
A "very special" hour long Inu Yasha had the chance to flesh out Sesshomaru's character but ended up as an hour long battle to stay focused on the screen. Shortly after Sesshomaru had his left arm cleaved off by Inu Yasha and Tetsusaiga, he recovered near a castle inhabited by the Princess Sara. Sara fell in love with the handsome dog but never had a chance to tell him her true feelings.

In the present day, Sara is succumbing to disease when Inu Yasha walks by. In that instant, she gives her soul over to demons in order to steal Tetsusaiga and present it to Sesshomaru as a token of her love. She succeeds but fails to win praise from Sesshomaru. Eventually, Sesshomaru kills all the demons that had possessed Sara and allows her soul to depart the world in peace.

For most of the episode, Sesshomaru successfully mimics an inanimate object; he simply stares stoically and occasionally utters a denigrating statement. After hauling Rin around for a few seasons and actively keeping her safe, it would have done his character a service to somehow tie in this encounter with why he has been doing this. Instead, he remains one dimensional able to only sling insults at all the "insects" around him. His appearance can make the fan girls squeal, but so much more could be done with him and his relationships to Rin and Inu Yasha.

Rounding out the volume is a story about the imminent death of Miroku's teacher Mushin. The Fellowship tries to make Mushin comfortable in his last days and fulfill his final wishes. Hilary just barely ensues; predictably, Mushin is not dying but believed he would be the next monk murdered. Very spiritual monks have been murdered recently, but Mushin has very little reason to worry about being next.

At the end, we finally get a piece of the plot puzzle from the Naraku spawn. The monks are being murdered to peer into the border between life and the afterlife. The final shard of the Jewel lies in this place. My hope that this season will pick up any time soon and regain my interest happens to reside in the same place.

In Summary:
If you are a rabid fan of Sesshomaru, this is not a volume you can pass up; others can give it a pass as it does nothing to develop him beyond his one dimensional attitude of stoic disdain. There are a few chuckles in the final episode but only the final minute of it is really worth it. We inch forward in the plot in that minute, but the season really needs to turn up the heat and start moving forward again.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Line Art Gallery

Review Equipment
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
MSRP: 24.98
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Inu Yasha