Inu Yasha Season Set #6 (also w/Deluxe Edition) - Mania.com



DVD Review

Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 13+
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 99.99/119.98
  • Running time: 900
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (Mixed/Unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Inu Yasha

Inu Yasha Season Set #6 (also w/Deluxe Edition)

Inu Yasha Season Set #6 DVD Review

By Bryan Morton     March 04, 2010
Release Date: December 02, 2008


InuYasha Season 6 Box Set
© Viz Media
The end is in sight for Inu Yasha's first incarnation, with just one season left after this set is out of the way.  With this volume missing the undeniable quality of season five's Band of Seven, though, is there enough here to keep the interest up for another 20 episodes..?
 
What they say
As if battling demons and searching for the Sacred Jewel shards weren't tough enough, Kagome also faces the battles of a very modern-day student, like preparing for a school festival and a love scene in the class play! But demons wait for no one, and soon enough Kagome is back in the past, encountering demon women that test the bond between Miroku and Sango, a woman who's mysteriously in love with Inuyasha's brother Sesshomaru, and an ancestor of the boy with a crush on Kagome in the present day!
 
The Review
Audio:
Audio is provided in both English and Japanese stereo, and as usual I listened to the Japanese track for this review.  The audio is perfectly serviceable, with good use made of the soundstage during action scenes while dialogue comes across clean and clear, without being drowned out by background music or effects.  There were no obvious defects.
 
Video:
Inu Yasha seems to have had plenty of TLC lavished on it in the video department.  The series tends towards brighter colours, which come across vividly on the transfer with no visible banding or other defects.  
 
Packaging
The set comes on 4 discs contained in a glossy cardboard gatefold box, itself wrapped in an outer slipcase.  The card used is definitely on the flimsy side, but reinforced inside with plastic disc holders, so the set feels suitably hefty and solid in the hand.  Opening the set up reveals a very nice piece of artwork featuring Sesshomaru & Sara; a short piece of promotional blurb that attempts to summarise the season; and the discs themselves, each featuring a black-and-white piece of character artwork and set on a parchment-style background.  An inlay sheet contains the episode running orders for watch disc.  The front of both the main package and the slipcase features a split image, with Kagome and Inuyasha at the top and Hakudoshi and his fiery steed below.  Overall, I have to say that it's very well presented.
 
Menu:
Each disc features a static images of one of the show's characters (Inuyasha on discs 1 and 3; Sesshomaru on disc 2; and Hakudoshi on disc 4), with options for Play, Setup, Scene Selection and, on disc 4, Extras.  There are no transition animations between the screens, so it's all pleasingly quick and simple to use.
 
Extras
Along with the traditional creditless opening and closing sequences, there's a 6-minute short, "Down the Well: Inside the Feudal Fairytale", which uses scenes recycled from the series to provide a potted summary of the show's setting presented by Totosai and Myouga, with the emphasis firmly on the youkai.  Interesting enough, but hardly essential viewing.
 
Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
This being Inu Yasha, it shouldn't come as any surprise that there's a decent amount of filler scattered around the four discs that make up this set, so let's get those out of the way first.  There's a decent range of storylines covered by them, from Kagome accidentally carrying some demons from the feudal age to her school culture festival, through Shippo having to deal with the weight of expectations after his reputation as a brave fighter somehow manages to get out of hand, and some fun with invisibility that proves both useful and troublesome for Shippo and Sango.  Filler episodes are always something of a mixed bag – on the one hand, you can often get some really good comedy out of them, but all too often you can also find yourself wishing the series would just get on with it and get back to the main storyline.  Across these ones, there's a fairly good balance struck, with no long runs of filler and short scenes with Naraku or his sidekicks often inserted into episodes just to remind us that no, he hasn't disappeared, and is actually up to something behind the scene.  I've watched some truly dreadful filler over the years I've been watching Inu Yasha, and I can honestly say that this season compares quite well to some that have gone before, so while I can never get overly enthusiastic about plot-light episodes, there's not too much here to complain about.
 
There's also plenty to like about how the main story arc is developing, too.  With the search for the shikon shards now concentrating on the one remaining unaccounted-for shard (we're ignoring the shards 'owned' by Koga and other fringe characters for the time being, it seems), Naraku has – as ever – delegated his dirty work to someone else: a new offshot, who first appears as a rather creepy infant who has the full faculties of an adult, but who later reappears in the older form of Hakudoshi, and who is accompanied and assisted by Kagura.  One of the main problems with Naraku as a villain is that he doesn't do much of his own dirty work – Hakudoshi, on the other hand, does, and a lot of time is spent proving his bad-ass credentials.  He's also fully aware of the shaky ground that Kagura's on with Naraku, and he's not at all hesitant about messing with her on that front – which in turn raises Kagura's hackles and brings the loyalty issues she's been having back to the fore.  In short, search for the final shard notwithstanding (and that isn't resolved in this season), Hakudoshi and Kagura make this season worthwhile all on their own.
 
Inu Yasha also isn't Inu Yasha without a decent dose of romance and romantic comedy, and this season has that too, with most of the usual love polygons getting an airing: some movement on the Miroku – Sango front, the return of Akitoki to add to the ever-growing list of Kagome's admirers, and a feature-length special, The Woman Who Loved Sesshomaru, which deals with… well, the woman who loved Sesshomaru, and the misunderstandings that lead her to offer Sesshomaru the one thing she believes he's been wanting for years: Inuyasha's head on a plate.  Sesshomaru has long been my favourite character in the series, well ahead of any of the core cast, so there are no complaints from me to him getting a special of his own.  It does no harm that the story in it is surprisingly decent too, with former princess Sara – the woman of the title – being almost a character you can pity, even while she causes real problems for Inuyasha and the others, as you realise early on that she's got no chance of seeing her own wishes granted as Sesshomaru just doesn't tick in the way that she thinks he does.  Good stuff.
 
In summary: 
Season six of Inuyasha doesn't quite come up to the standard of season five – the Band of Seven arc from that season really is the show's high-water mark – but there's still plenty to entertain here, from intriguing new villain Hakudoshi right down to the inevitable filler episodes.  It's also one of the shorter seasons, which makes it a bit easier to plow through without losing track or interest.  Inuyasha regulars will know what to expect from the series by now, and while some past seasons have strayed too far from the main story for comfort, this one won't disappoint.
 
Features
Japanese Language 2.0, English Language 2.0, English Subtitles, Down the Well: Inside the Feudal Fairytale, Textless Opening and Closing
 
Review Equipment:
Toshiba 37X3030DB 37" widescreen HDTV; Sony PS3 Blu-ray player (via HDMI, upscaled to 1080p); Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.
 

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