InuYasha (Action Edition) Vol. #04 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Saturday, May 22, 2004
Release Date: Sunday, June 01, 2003
Translated by:Mari Morimoto
What They Say
Coming to the aid of a young fox-demon, Inuyasha and Kagome face off against a pair of demon brothers, Hiten and Manten, whose already awesome powers have been boosted even more by shards of the Shikon Jewel. Then, Kagome returns to present-day Japan, only to find herself in the middle of an eerie ghost story. Can Kagome - alone - save the lost soul of a little girl from being dragged into hell...?
Once again, Inuyasha and Kagome take center stage, with a shot of Inuyasha in action in the background and a cute shot of Kagome holding her bow and arrows set against some flowers in the foreground. Both portraits are about the same size, so neither character dominates. It shows that at this stage of the story, even though the title of the series is "Inuyasha," the story is just as much about Kagome as it is Inuyasha himself. The back is in a soft shade of orange-yellow gradient and features Hiten on the battlefield.
This is the standard artwork that we've come to expect from the series. Nothing really stands out in this volume except for a really nice shot of Inuyasha killing Hiten that spreads across two pages.
For one chapter, we get treated to Kagome addressing Shippo as "Shippo-chan." This doesn't last long though, by the next chapter she's back to using no honorific. With the volume originally published back in 1998, had Viz chose to continue using the honorific, the style of using honorifics might have become more commonplace earlier than the last year or so. It was really nice reading that and I'm hoping that the honorifics will be restored to the series much as the proper attack names were in volume 17.
Most of the book is devoted to the outcome of the Thunder Brothers arc while the final chapters put Kagome in a unique situation where she solves a problem without having to find a Shikon shard or even using Inuyasha to help her.
The book picks up where volume three leaves off, with Kagome theatening Manten with her bow and arrows. She fires, but only grazes him. Shippo believes Kagome is dead and runs off and realizes when Manten kidnaps her that she's alive. Filled with guilt over abandoning Kagome, Shippo releases Inuyasha and they pursue them.
Kagome is taken back to meet Hiten, whom she manages to convince that she's Inuyasha's lover and that he has the Shikon shards he wants. Hiten and Manten take her to meet up with Inuyasha, and quickly discover that Kagome isn't Inuyasha's lover, but that they do have shards. So Hiten gets into a fight with Inuyasha while Kagome manages to push Manten off the thundercloud they're on. He falls to the ground and so does she after the cloud she's sitting on dissolves. Shippo saves Kagome, enraging Manten in the process when Shippo's fox magic causes the last of his hair to fall out.
Meanwhile, Hiten manages to snap Tetsusaiga from Inuyasha's hands and everything looks lost. However, Inuyasha manages to fling Tetsusaiga at Manten, killing him. Hiten snaps and takes Manten's Shikon shards (eating his heart along with it), becoming more powerful than before. But when Hiten attacks now, Myouga yells at Inuyasha to use his sheath. The sheath manages to repel the lightening attack. Shippo, as repayment for Kagome saving his father's pelt, transforms into a bow, which enables Kagome to destroy part of Hiten's weapon. Inuyasha manages to get in a couple of strikes, but Hiten proves to be too powerful.
Shippo tries to get Tetsusaiga back, but Hiten quickly engulfs both him and Kagome with his attack Just as Inuyasha's sheath is about to break, it calls out to Tetsusaiga, causing the sword to come shooting back to him and he quickly cuts Hiten in half, destroying him and getting all the shards. But Inuyasha is convinced that Kagome and Shippo have died in the process and starts to freak out, but it turns out that Shippo's father's spirit used the last of his strength to dissolve his pelt into a foxfire shield that protected Kagome and Shippo.
The rest of the volume is a ghost story that follows Kagome in the modern time. A friend of Sota's has been in the hospital for a long time after a fire in which his older sister, Mayu, was killed. Kagome discovers that Mayu's spirit, bitter over the circumstances of her death, is haunting her mother and trying to kill her brother. Kagome realizes she needs to stop Mayu before she can harm her family - and before Mayu's soul is stolen by a normally gentle youkai.
Most of the volume is very action-oriented, with the fight against the Thunder Brothers. It's one of the first fights where Inuyasha and Kagome, along with Shippo, really band together to fight the brothers. At each point, each displays a weakness, but they also show their strengths. Following the fight, Shippo officially joins the party.
The second story focuses almost soley on Kagome, with Inuyasha mainly serving as a voice of reason and a method of transportation. It really gives us some insight into some of the power she has a miko - she can see ghosts - and also her strength of character. Kagome's willingness to ensure that Mayu's soul finds peace and working to help her when most others would have given up shows the type of personality that will keep her sane throughout the rest of this ordeal.
It's nice to have this view of Kagome, because it puts her in a position to where she stands on her own as the series heroine. While she does constantly get into a position where she needs to be saved by Inuyasha, she clearly shows that she is very intelligent and can break out of situations on her own as well.
Other than Shippo joining the fellowship, as Luis says in his reviews of the anime, there's not that much plot advancement. The relationship between Inuyasha and Kagome, despite the little "lover" subplot, is about the same as it was in volume three. You start to wonder if this will be the continued pattern of the series, but knowing what lies ahead, it's easier to take these stories in stride. If you've developed an interest in the characters, that is what is going to take you past here to volume five.
Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translatin Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
Size: Tall B6
Orientation: Left to Right