InuYasha (Action Edition) Vol. #19 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, September 10, 2004
Release Date: Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Translated by:Mari Morimoto
What They Say
Sango's brother Kohaku has been freed of Naraku's spell - or has he? With Kagome's life in danger, Inuyasha and the others set out after her. Who is more to blame for the deception? Naraku for causing it, or Inuyasha for believing it? If Kohaku is truly to become himself again, first he must face the horror he himself has committed. But can Sango ever forgive the death of their parents at her little brother's hand?
One again, we get the original cover art used in the Japanese tankoubon, a move that I am always happy with. We get a large shot of Inuyasha with Kagome, Sango and Miroku in front. Missing from here is Shippo, who really doesn't have much of a role in this book. Someone who does play a sizeable part in this book, Sesshomaru, is featured on the back. It's always good to see Fluffy again!
The drawback to this cover is the summary provided. While it does accurately depict some of the action in this volume, it really doesn't strike at the heart of it and what will drive it to finish up the on-going arc.
Rumiko Takahashi's art will never be like Yu Watase, Nobuhiro Watsuki or Kosuke Fujishima. However, I am amazed by the progression she's made from her Maison Ikkoku days. As time goes by, I've gotten more and more affectionate of her style - especially seeing it mature the way it does. This volume features some gorgeous full panels, especially at the end when Inuyasha gets his first glimpse of Ryoukotsusei, the massive demon that took down his father (known affectionally to fans as Inu-papa.)
I've had relatively few gripes with how Viz translated this series - until now. This book is riddled with mistakes that a simple check by a good copy editor that's familiar with the material would have caught. The first is something very basic. In the cast of characters given at the beginning, Totosai's information is given, but Kagura's picture is next to it. Now, unless either Kagura or Totosai have had sex change operations and Takahashi has failed to inform us of this, it's a pretty big error. The second comes when Naraku is talking to Inuyasha and mentions that he sent Kagome after Kagome. Actually, he sent Kohaku after Kagome. The final is when Sesshomaru is talking to Bokuseno. Bokuseno mentions that Inuyasha is Sesshomaru's step brother. Inuyasha is actually Sesshomaru's half brother.
With this coming on the heels of the modernization of a chapter in Maison Ikkoku (Mitaka was shown to have a DVD player instead of a VCR), I'm very disappointed with the editing job that Viz has done on their Takahashi works. With three months between volumes, I would expect much better editing. It's starting to make me fear for some other titles I like, such as Alice 19th and Rurouni Kenshin.
Review (please note that contents of a review may contain spoilers):
While the majority of the last volume focused on the Kikyo/Inuyasha/Kagome triangle, this book immediately pushes that to the background and finally gives some pivotal growth to Inuyasha himself. Throughout the entire volume, you see Inuyasha confront some situations that cause him to make some pretty mature decisions. That, combined with a devestating event, cause him to reevaluate his goals as he originally set them at the beginning of the series.
We finish off the latest round of sibling angst with Naraku revealing to Inuyasha the truth about why Kohaku is brainwashed - not only is Naraku using him to kill Kagome, but he is oddly enough doing him an act of mercy. By being brainwashed, Kohaku does not remember that he killed his father and the other members of the demon exterminator's village and critcally wounded his sister. But the down side is that he's become another puppet of Naraku's.
We get the first sign of the growth that Inuyasha experiences in this volume as he tells Sango not to kill Kohaku and vows that they will get him back from Naraku. As shown from previous promises to Kikyo and Kagome, we know that this is a vow that Inuyasha takes seriously.
We then pick up where we left off with Inuyasha's problem of transforming into a full demon and how to lighten Tetsusaiga. The next incident of this comes with tragic results as Inuyasha, in his full demon form, slaughters a group of human bandits. When he's revived and sees the resulting fear that the humans has for him, it shocks him to the core.
It's here when the tone of the series takes a major shift. Inuyasha has stated from the very first chapter that he wanted to get the Shikon Jewel so he could become a full demon. The reasons for this, as laid out in the volumes leading up to this one, basically lead back to neither side accepting him as a half-demon and his bad experience with Kikyo turned him off from becoming human. But, when he realizes the devestation that his full demon side causes, Inuyasha figures out that being a full demon isn't what he wants. "The demon that I wanted to become...the strength that I wanted...it wasn't for this," he thinks at one point. And he realizes something even worse - the next time he becomes a full demon, he could wind up killing Kagome.
Not only this, but thanks to Sesshomaru, Inuyasha discovers the reason why his father created Tetsusaiga for him. Knowing that mastering the sword now means life or death to him, he seeks out Totosai to find out what he must do in order to make the sword light. The answer? Defeat the enemy that killed his father - Ryukotsusei.
While there is plenty of character growth strung through this series, this is the one volume that really takes the lead character and pushes him to the next level in a way that I've not seen in a Takahashi series before. It was at this point in the anime that I truly started to like Inuyasha as a character and the manga does not disappoint. Because of this, one of the original goals set early in the series is completely shattered. In the process, we also learn a new side to Sesshomaru as he seems to mellow a bit, and everyone gets their share of action here. If any, the one lacking character development here when given the chance is Sango. Although she gets a good bit of the first half of the book, it's the same angst that we get from her at the beginning of her plight.
Mania Grade: A+
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A-
Text/Translatin Rating: C
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
Size: Tall B6
Orientation: Left to Right