Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: B-
- Age Rating: 13 and Up
- 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
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Inu Yasha
Inu Yasha Season Set #7 (also w/Deluxe Edition)
Inu Yasha Season Set #7 Anime Review
By Bryan Morton
January 19, 2011
Release Date: April 28, 2009
Inu Yasha Season Set #7
© Viz Media
It's the end of Inu Yasha. But then again, it's not. After 167 episodes, this set sees the end of the first series based on the long-running manga - but it leaves the story incomplete, waiting for Inu Yasha: The Final Act (a 26-episode sequel series) to finish the story. So yeah, don't be expecting Naraku to get his comeuppance just yet...
What They Say
The story of the priestess Kikyo and half-demon Inuyasha ended in tragedy. Will Inuyasha and Kagome's story have a happier ending? Each battle draws the group closer to their ultimate goal - the border of the afterlife and the final shard of the Shikon Jewel. But the last stage of their journey is the most difficult of all. In their final battle with Naraku, will the bond between Kagome and Inuyasha prove strong enough to vanquish him at last?
Contains episodes 147-167.
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.
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.
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 Princess Abi; 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 an image of Inuyasha and Kagome, with Naraku looming ominously behind them. Overall, I have to say that it's very well presented.
Each disc features a static images of one of the show's characters (Inuyasha on discs 1 & 3, Sesshomaru on disc 2, and Inuyasha and Kagome 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.
Along with the traditional creditless opening and closing sequences, there's an 8-minute video segment of the Japanese cast talking about the finale, and a similar 20-minute segment featuring the English-language cast. That's your lot.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
With this being the last set in the series, you would expect that - after all the messing around we've been through to get the gang properly on Naraku's trail - we'd finally be getting down to the serious business of killing the Big Bad. After all, it's clear now where he's going - the afterlife, where the final shard of the Shikon no Tama is waiting for someone to collect it - and with a growing band of people trying to kill him (Inu Yasha and the gang, Sesshomaru, Kagura, and a few other familiar faces added to the list over the course of the set), there are only so many places a power-hungry demon can hide, or people he can avoid.
And up to a point, action is what we get. There are two set-piece confrontations with Naraku in these episodes, one in the afterlife and another in the closing feature-length episode. But what we don't get, no surprise at all, is any sense of closure or success - Naraku has planned in detail for these confrontations and has made himself damn near immortal, through what is either clever trickery or complete bull (depending on how well your suspension of disbelief is working), so that - no matter how they may try or how powered-up Inuyasha gets - even being reduced to itty-bitty pieces just means a short interlude for Naraku while he, quite literally, pulls himself back together. There's one memorable scene were Naraku: is hit by Inuyasha's new, powered-up, sure-kill attack, the Adamant Barrage; is then struck by a similarly-powerful attack from Sesshomaru (Tenseiga conveniently is a killing sword in the afterlife, doubly so if you're not meant to be there in the first place); and, just to tidy things up, is then struck by one of Kikyo's holy arrows, which should in theory purify any evil from targets it strikes. And yet he lives to fight another day. Uh, okay....
So that's one failing: the unbearable urge to shout at the screen, "Oh, ffs, just die already!!". For the second failing, the clue's in that last paragraph as well: Kikyo. Now, I'm aware that my old pet hate of "the dead should stay dead" perhaps isn't relevant with her, as she was always dead as far as this series was concerned, but a lot of emotional manipulation was put into her apparent "proper" death scene not that long ago, in story terms. But colour me entirely unsurprised when she turns up once again, with a new body created by her new attendant shikigamis, and ready to be the cause of much new angst between Kagome and Inuyasha. I was never much of a fan of Kikyo anyway, but her return really did annoy me - it's not pointless, as she certainly plays a role in these final episodes, but it just smacks too much of "reset button" for my liking.
Far more interesting this time around, though, are Kagura and Kohaku. Kagura's disloyalty to Naraku is well-known - she's been looking for a way to do away with him for quite some time, and her efforts are if anything redoubled here. She's identified Sesshomaru as the best option for having her master killed, and keeps supplying him with a constant stream of useful information to help the big guy in his search for Naraku. But new to her little conspiracy is Kohaku, who regains his memories of Sango and his life pre-Naraku over the course of the set and begins to turn his own attention to trying to find a way to gain his freedom. His story is made particularly interesting by the way he goes about it - he's fully aware that Naraku is permanently suspicious of his minion, keeping a constant watch on them, and so forces himself to continue to act as normal as possible so as not to clue Naraku into what's going on - even though that means, in places, having to attack Sango while knowing full well who she is and wanting to reach out and be with her again. This is probably where the set got the most emotion out of me (there's one episode that essentially devoted to Kohaku's dilemma, which is one of the best in the set), and it's a shame that the matter isn't resolved before the series ends.
Add in a few filler episodes and you get a set that, while it has its epic moments, probably isn't as epic as it really should be. This is the thrilling conclusion of a long-running series, after all (four years in broadcast terms, as the show reminds us at the end - the DVD release took even longer), and you expect it to go out with something a little more dramatic than "our story continues..." But that's what we're stuck with, and I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed at the way it just petered out like that. That said, if you've stuck with Inu Yasha through seasons 1-6, it would probably take season 7 to screw up in some monumental way to persuade you to skip over at this point - in which case rest assured, there's nothing here that bad. Some wasted potential, sure, but the end result is still enjoyable and, under the circumstances, a perfectly acceptable send-off.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing, Cast Specials
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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