Inu Yasha Vol. #51 (of 56) (

By:Luis Cruz
Review Date: Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2007

What They Say
Princess Abi continues to terrorize the countryside, sending her bloodsucking demon birds to collect blood to heal her sick mother, while Inuyasha and his friends search for the birds' nest. But the question on their minds is why would the half-demon Naraku be helping them? And how does Naraku plan to open the pathway to the border of this life and the next?

Contains episodes 152-154:
Protect and Plunder!
The Cruel Reunion of Fate
The Demon Linked with the Netherworld

The Review!
Finally, a volume of Inu Yasha delivers some decent character development.

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 Princess Abi, Kagome, and Inu 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 Miroku 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. A clean version of the new opening is also included.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Inu Yasha finally regains some momentum and provides some emotional moments for some of the characters. It all starts with the various players converging on the castle housing Naraku's baby. Princess Abi decides to attack it because her mother believes Naraku is involved with it. They both want to sever their ties with Naraku because they do not trust him any longer. Naraku has sent Kanna and Kohaku to the castle to watch over the baby.

The Fellowship just happened to be staying in the city below when Abi and her horde of birds attack. Kagome senses Kohaku's jewel fragment during the battle, and Sango heads off to find him. With the castle falling under Abi's assault, Naraku orders Kohaku to kill everyone around him and take the baby away. Sango arrives too late to stop the bloodshed, but her words stir something deep within Kohaku. As Kagura spirits him away, Kohaku regains all his memories and vows to kill Naraku even if it means his own death.

Sango's heart is tearing itself in two over these events; seeing Kohaku slaughtering innocents is chilling. However, she learns that there is some kindness left in him; before Naraku directly controlled him, he saved the lives of a group of men in the castle. The remainder of the volume has Sango struggling with what to do if she encounters Kohaku again. She cannot allow him to harm any more innocents, but can she really bring herself to kill her only remaining family? This conflict even leads to a touching scene between her and Miroku.

The remainder of the volume finds Inu Yasha meeting with Kikyo once again. Kikyo outlines Naraku's master plan and passes along a special arrow to Kagome. She warns Inu Yasha that Naraku is after Kagome's eyes, and his plan is to trap them all at Princess Abi's nest. Despite her warning, Inu Yasha leads the charge to the nest and finds Naraku opening the gate to the afterlife.

While the battles and path towards the afterlife did little to fire me up, my interest was piqued by the development of Sango and Kohaku's relationship. It marks a strong turning point for both of them and brings their relationship a few steps closer to a resolution. Where the main love triangle seems to be stalled, the secondary characters are picking up the slack and providing some interesting material. I am more interested in seeing how Sango, Kohaku, and Miroku's triangle plays out than anything else at the moment.

In Summary:
The plot finally lumbers forward towards the jewel fragment in the afterlife, but it is the secondary characters that are providing the interesting material. Sango and Kohaku's tragic tale takes a dramatic turn and is the one interesting plot thread I want to follow. The battles that bookend their portion do little to spark my interest, but you can feel Sango's heart breaking in her scenes after meeting Kohaku. This makes this volume worth watching.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Line Art Galleries,Japanese Promos,Clean Opening

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