Inu Yasha Vol. #48 (of 56) (Mania.com)

By:Luis Cruz
Review Date: Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2006



What They Say
Hakudoshi, the newly evolved incarnation of Naraku, has switched from hunting highly spiritual monks and priests to demons in his continuing attempts to see into the border between this life and the next.

Meanwhile, Inuyasha and friends come across a young river otter demon searching for his dead father's body. Shippo, seeing himself in the young demon, convinces them to help in the search.

Contains episodes 142-144:
Untamed Entei and Horrible Hakudoshi
3000 Leagues in Search of Father
Hosenki and the Last Shard

The Review!
Oh, look! We have to go to another mountain; whee!

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 Inu Yasha, Sesshomaru, Shippo, and the Otter family. 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 Kagome 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)
When did exactly did our heroes become so blatantly stupid? When did they lose the ability to stop and think about an alternate solution rather than rushing headlong into another Naraku trap? These are the questions I came away with from the latest volume of Inu Yasha. It all starts when half of mini-Naraku evolves into a pre-teen calling himself Hakudoshi. Hakudoshi quickly acquires Entei as his steed and decides that humans are too weak for his purposes.

Demons might be powerful enough to peer into the mists of the boundary between life and death. He begins to behead powerful demons in order to determine the location of the last Jewel fragment. He also tosses Inu Yasha a bone by sharing the rough location of the fragment with him. Headless demons roam the countryside, and in a maudlin episode, a young otter demon wants the Fellowship help him reattach his father's head to its body.

Cue the segue music as this is the thin hook needed to pull Sesshomaru back into the plot and to give both brothers the precise location of the Jewel fragment. It resides somewhere near the grave of their beloved father. Just one small problem, the black pearl (Damn you, Jack Sparrow!) they used to get there previously is now useless. Myoga suggests that Inu Yasha look up Hosenki, an old friend of his father who created the black pearl.

If you guessed that Hosenki is dead, you would be correct; mark the appropriate box on your cliché bingo card. To compound their frustration, Hosenki's son could make a similar pearl, but it will take him 100 years to master the techniques and produce one. While the Fellowship broods over their situation, Kagura arrives and tells them that there is one other way to reach the grave. A gate to the underworld is conveniently located in a mountain in the Realm of Fire (inset Ackbar cliché here).

Let's review the situation here; to get to the fragment, we have to travel to the underworld and visit the grave of Inu Yasha's father. Our options to get there are to travel to the Realm of Fire and a certain trap by Naraku or to wait 100 years for Hosenki II to produce another black pearl. Now, does any of our heroes realize that they have a time traveler in their midst, someone who can go forward 500 years into the future? No... they simply must rush headlong into the trap.

Seriously, it is not as if Kagome has gone native in the feudal era; she has dragged so much junk from her time to the past including prancing about in her school uniform. She and Inu Yasha have even battled a demon in her time that had lain dormant for hundreds of years. And she couldn't even figure out that they could at least take a bit of time to send her to the future to see if Hosenki II could have created one or more pearls and hidden them for her to find?

It might be a long shot to work, but you know that even if Naraku beats you to the underworld fragment, Koga still has a pair of fragments, a fact they even mention in this volume. You can find Koga and protect him while Kagome runs back to the future. But no, that would be asking too much to have the plot take an interesting turn rather than send us into Naraku trap version 4.55. It makes it difficult to form an emotional investment in the characters and their plight when they repeatedly make the same hair brained mistake. This volume was not as bad as the previous, but this plot turn makes it very close.

In Summary:
Some movement of the story is better than none, but this volume of Inu Yasha still does not put any fire back into the series. Our cast is headed to another mountain and another obvious trap, and I have a difficult time investing any emotion or interest in this fact. It is a remarkably idiotic move given the options available to them if they simply thought about it for one minute. You could have squeezed these three episodes down to one and not lose anything in the process. Not quite as bad as the previous volume, this one still does little to focus my attention on the screen.

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

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