Inu Yasha Movie #3: Swords of an Honorable Ruler -

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Mania Grade: B

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  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 90
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Inu Yasha

Inu Yasha Movie #3: Swords of an Honorable Ruler

By Luis Cruz     September 19, 2005
Release Date: September 06, 2005

Inu Yasha Movie #3: Swords of an Honorable Ruler
© Viz Media

What They Say
Many years ago, the Great Dog Demon wielded the Three Swords of the Fang. Upon his death, he bequeathed a sword to each of his sons, Inuyasha and Sesshomaru, leaving the third sword, the wrath-filled Sounga, locked away forever. Now that the Sounga's power has been awakened, these two battling brothers must put away their sibling rivalry and face off against a force that spells doom for all mankind!

The Review!
Despite 100 minutes of Inu Yasha and Sesshomaru, the third time is not a charm for the latest theatrical release of Inu Yasha.

My primary viewing session consisted of the Japanese 5.1 audio track. The track is very sharp and utilizes the front and rear soundstages throughout the entire film. There were no distortions, dropouts, or other problems; music, sound effects, and dialogue are balanced very well. The rear soundstage was utilized particularly well to provide great ambient noise for each setting.

The big screen means a big budget and results in a stunning video experience; Viz has translated the big screen experience into the digital realm flawlessly. There were no noticeable defects caused by the digital transfer. From the bright sunshine to the dark recesses of a hellish castle, colors are vibrant providing a lot of lush detail. The film is a visual delight from start to finish. In a surprising move, the original opening and ending credits are left intact with no subtitles or overlays.

This film is all about Inu Yasha and Sesshomaru, and the front cover captures this quite well though Inu Yasha is more prominent. The logo and movie title are at the bottom of the cover. The back cover contains the standard synopsis, screenshots, and disc specifications. Both sides are rendered to appear metallic almost to the point of looking like the foil packaging used for trading cards. The character designs and this metallic look help separate this title from the various TV volumes sitting next to it on a store shelf. Inside the case is a one-page insert that has the front cover shot on one side and the chapter listings on the other.

After a small animation plays, the main menu loads up and features the brothers as a static image. A sample of music plays in the background while images from the movie float behind the brothers; menu items are along the bottom of the screen. Transition delays between menus are minimal, and the menus are intuitive to use.

Viz provides a decent batch of extras for the film; included in the extras are forty character design sketches, thirty-two setting sketches, and Japanese trailers for the third movie. Also included is a section of "special" footage; sadly, this is just a series of clips from the TV episodes that outline the conflict between the brothers and the powers of Tetsusaiga. The final extra is a card from the Inu Yasha collectible card game.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This is the film Sesshomaru fans have been waiting for; rather than playing a bit part in the plot, Sesshomaru factors into the entire story. While the film is mainly for those that actively watch the series, it is still surprisingly accessible to the casual viewer. The film opens up with the Great Demon Dog gravely wounded from a previous battle but rushing to the side of Izayoi. Izayoi is the mortal woman he has fallen in love and conceived a child with. He manages to make it in time to use the sword Tenseiga to bring Izayoi back to life and see his son who he names Inu Yasha. His last living act is to save Izayoi and Inu Yasha from the samurai who want to destroy them all.

Flashing 700 years forward in time, Kagome is enjoying herself at school while her grandfather is airing out an ancient sword back at the temple. The sword turns out to be Sounga, the living sword of hell once possessed by the Great Demon Dog. Breaking the seal that has bound it to the sheathe, it seeks out a powerful demon in the area who just happens to be Inu Yasha.

Sounga attempts to fuse itself to Inu Yasha and take over his body; remarkably, Inu Yasha manages to resist long enough to head back to the feudal era. Kagome follows bringing along the sheathe and Saya, the spirit that was responsible for the seal. While the battle for Inu Yasha's mind rages on, Sesshomaru senses the presence of his father's sword and heads off to find it.

Eventually, the two brothers meet, and their battle results in Sounga being separated from Inu Yasha and launched into the sky. Sounga eventually finds a new host and raises a hellish palace to lure the pair and destroy their swords Tetsusaiga and Tenseiga. The brothers fight each other and Sounga's minions along the way refusing almost to the end to do the one thing that will destroy Sounga for good -- work together.

What worked well for this film was the insight we get into Sesshomaru's relationship with his father and why he wants Tetsusaiga. He seeks the Way of Conquest that can only be achieved through power, specifically the power of his father's swords. It is also interesting to see that Sesshomaru's father tried to teach him that true power comes from having someone to protect and fight for, but his words have yet to be truly heard by Sesshomaru. We also get some insight into Inu Yasha's feelings about his father; he never had a chance to know his father and is jealous that Sesshomaru did.

Unfortunately, these insights are offset by the jagged pacing of the film. The film goes back and forth between exposition and action, but the elements do not blend well and tend to drag on longer than necessary. Rather than finding myself absorbed by the story, I found it difficult at times to focus on the screen and what was happening. While it would reduce the running time, tighter editing would have made this a short but exciting film rather than one that seemed like it was searching for ways to make it to the 100 minute mark.

In Summary:
While still accessible to the casual viewer, the third Inu Yasha film is little more than fan service for Sesshomaru lovers. It does provide some good background on both brothers and explores their relationship a bit. However, the film could benefit from tighter editing; parts of the narrative drag on too long as do certain action sequences. Overall, it is entertaining but requires the audience to consciously pay attention rather than simply lose themselves in the story.

Japanese 5.1 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Character Sketches,Setting Sketches,,Trailers,Clip Special

Review Equipment
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Panasonic RP-82, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and optical audio cable


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