Inu Yasha Vol. #49 (of 56) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, December 25, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, December 05, 2006
What They Say
Long ago, a beautiful priestess came into possession of the Shikon Jewel, the sacred jewel said to bestow any demon with great powers. At the same time, a young half-demon seeking his place in the world sought a way to become more powerful. This is the story of Inuyasha and Kikyo, form their first meeting to their tragic parting. This is their tale, a tragic love story of destiny.
Contains episodes 145-148:
Bizarre Guards at the Border of the Afterlife
The Fiery Bird-Master, Prince Abi
The Tragic Love Song of Destiny Part 1
The Tragic Love Song of Destiny Part 2
Well... That was pointless.
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 Kikyo and Human Yasha. 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 Kagura 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.
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)
Pardon me a second; I have some salt in my wounds. See, this volume of Inu Yasha begins with Kagome back in her own time. She is gathering up supplies for the fellowship's journey to Naraku's fireside trap. Despite going forward in time well over a hundred years, it still did not occur to her or anyone else to have the jewel making demon try to leave some magic pearls hidden for her to find in the future. Not one rational thought crosses their mind to find an alternate solution to their problem other than running headlong into a trap.
If they went straight to the latest mountain, I could grit my teeth and bare this lack of temporal awareness. However, they take the time to go back to Kikyo's village, send Kagome forward in time for supplies, but still do not realize they could try to hide pearls and pick them up in the future. Common sense and good writing, where art thou?
Unfortunately, the volume finishes no better than it started. The trip to the mountain was a waste; even if you get the gate open, it will turn you to stone before you can cross over the boundary between life and death. So, both the fellowship and Naraku must find an alternate path. Naraku appears to already have one in mind and enlists the aid of Princess Abi and her blood sucking birds as his latest pawn. However, Abi is not quite charmed by the half-demon's attempts and is skeptical of his motives.
Ending the volume is an hour long special that serves as an overview of how Kikyo and Inu Yasha first met and their first tragic end. This was well written and executed, providing some fresh insights into how the pair fell in love and why Naraku has a spider tattoo on his back. However, this special really should have come much earlier in the saga; rather than having an emotional impact, it appears to serve more as a warning to the audience. "Remember this painful thread in Inu Yasha's heart? We wanted to remind you because we are probably going to tug on it again." The preview for the next episode lends credence to this possibility.
The problem lies with the lack of development of Kagome and Inu Yasha's relationship since Kikyo's last departure. Why should the audience care if the Kikyo card is played once again? Little has changed between Kagome and Inu Yasha; they have grown no closer or further apart since she vanished. There are no new wrinkles for the trio to deal with if they are put together again. If this were aired when the trio was actively dealing with each other, it would have hit a number of emotional cords. At this point, it is just a case of too little coming too late.
I have only one reason to suggest this volume for purchase; it has four episodes worth of content on it. Beyond this novelty, the content alone is barely worth recommending. While well written and executed, the special overview of Kikyo and Inu Yasha's ill fated meeting comes far too late in the saga; it would have been better served earlier when it could still have a solid emotional impact. Add in the pointless two episodes prior to it, and this is one volume best left as a rainy day refresher of the series.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Line Art Galleries
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