Inu Yasha Vol. #02 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: A-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 24.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Inu Yasha

Inu Yasha Vol. #02

By Luis Cruz     July 15, 2003
Release Date: December 10, 2002


Inu Yasha Vol. #02
© Viz Media


What They Say
The precious, priceless "Jewel of Four Souls" having been taken by Yura of the Demon-Hair, Kagome and Inu Yasha fight to regain it. Later, a confrontation with the cruel Sesshomaru—Inu Yasha's older brother—reveals to Kagome another, more human side of her half-demon, not-always-quite-so-faithful companion.

The Review!
Kagome adjusts to living life in the present and the past while Inuyasha faces some unwanted sibling rivalry and a peek into his past. One cliffhanger is resolved but another one takes its place in the second volume’s mix of action and narrative.

Audio:
For my primary viewing, I listened to the Japanese audio track; there was a bit more action in this batch of episodes that provided some nice directional effects. The dialogue was sharp and clear with no discernable problems.

While the English dub had no major problems, the dialogue did sound like it was mixed lower than the Japanese dialogue. I had to adjust my volume a few times during playback, but the English track is solid otherwise. The main cast continues to do a fine job, but the secondary characters can sound a bit flat at times.

Video:
Inu Yasha continues to receive a solid transfer; colors are rich and vibrant, and there were no discernable problems or issues with the video during playback. The subtitles were yellow and rendered as a large font. This makes them very readable at the expense of taking up more of the beautiful scenery. My preference would be to have the subtitles rendered in a slightly smaller font.

What should be a solid "A" video grade is once again dragged down by the hard subtitles on the opening and ending credits.

Packaging:
The front cover features Inuyasha, Kagome, and the demon-haired Yura set against a purple background. The Japanese logo is in the upper right corner while the English logo is across the bottom. The volume title is above the English logo while the episode titles are below it. Absent again is a clear indicator of what volume you hold in your hand.

On the back cover is the same layout used for volume one and probably all subsequent volumes. The episode titles are just below the standard boilerplate description of the series with screen shots from the show below the titles. The rest of the back cover is given over to a tiny line indicating the disc features and a listing of the production credits.

Inside the case is a one-page insert that has the front cover shot on one side and the chapter listings on the other.

Menu:
The main menu is quite busy as you have background music playing while clips from the show are playing around a series of rotating images. Just to the right of the rotating images are the actual menu options. Sub-menus contain no music and only a static image from the show.

There is a transition animation when you enter a sub-menu, but it is brief enough to avoid being an annoyance.

For this volume, the setup menu allows one to choose the language and subtitles independent of each other. This cleared up the most annoying issue from the first volume. The main menu is still a bit too busy for my tastes and could do without the clips running in the four corners.

Despite this gripe, the menus allow one to get setup and into the show quickly.

Extras:
The extras start off with a list of cast members that has the Japanese and English voice actors listed side-by-side. Next is a line art gallery of some character design sheets, mostly for the characters introduced in this batch of episodes.

Rounding out the extras are the Japanese promos for the episodes. Missing in action were the textless versions of the opening and ending sequences. This was an unexpected and large step backward for a Viz disc.

Content:(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Volume two picks up right where the volume one cliffhanger left off. Kagome has fallen back down the well and into her own time. Inuyasha is desperately trying to avoid the unseen hair of Yura, and Yura has stolen Kagome’s shard of the Jewel.

As Yura of the Demon-Hair begins, Kagome is back in her own house enjoying the life she is used to. Her grandfather has sealed up the well and expects nothing to get through. Back in the past, Inuyasha tracks Kagome to the well and jumps into it himself. Despite the best efforts of Kagome’s grandfather, the seals on the well are no match for Inuyasha; he tries to convince Kagome to return to his time. She agrees after seeing a lock of Yura’s hair on Inuyasha and realizes that she is the only one that can see it.

Aristocratic Assassin, Sesshomaru introduces us to Inuyasha’s older, half-brother Sesshomaru. Sesshomaru is a full-blooded demon searching for their father’s grave and the legendary sword "Fang" contained within it. Kagome is adjusting to her new life as she brings her bike and medical supplies back to the past; the usual argument breaks out between her and Inuyasha.

This episode also introduces us to the minute Myoga the flea; he arrives to warn Inuyasha of his brother’s plan. Little does either of them know, but Sesshomaru’s plan involves tricking Inuyasha into revealing the location of the tomb. He claims to have brought Inuyasha’s human mother back to life!

The final episode, Tetsusaiga, the Phantom Sword, continues the story line as Sesshomaru succeeds in finding the tomb. Due to a powerful spell, he is unable to claim the sword for his own. Myoga claims that only Inuyasha can pull the sword from the bone; however, Inuyasha’s attempt fails as well. Inuyasha is about to face death by his brother’s hands when Kagome manages to free the sword, ending the volume in another cliffhanger.

This volume provides a great mix of action and story building. We get more details on Inuyasha’s parents and his relationship with them and his full-demon sibling. His father was a powerful demon known as Phantom Dog while his mother was quite human. His mother is a painful subject for him and the cause of scorn from his full-demon sibling Sesshomaru.

Kagome’s powers increase as does her will to find the remaining shards of the Jewel. Her powers derive from being the incarnation of Kikyo, but what was in Kikyo’s past that could allow Kagome to wield a powerful demon sword?

Takahashi is slowly weaving a number of different plot lines. Why does Inuyasha’s past drive him to desire becoming fully demon? For what purpose does Sesshomaru want the "Fang"? Just how powerful can Kagome become? And where have all those Jewel shards gone?

The end result of this volume is that we get a great and what is sure to be a reoccurring villain in Sesshomaru for the show along with Myoga, the band of hero’s comic relief. My one major complaint with the story so far is the complete acceptance of the situation by Kagome and her family. None of them seem fazed in the slightest by the fact that Kagome’s life will be in constant danger. Quite the opposite, we get “Bye mom! I’ll be staying in the past for a few days!” “Okay, dear! Don’t forget to take some medical supplies.”

With Kagome having Kikyo’s reincarnated spirit in her, I can see why she would be willing to rush head long into danger, but it is just a bit farfetched to me that the mother would not try to stop her at all.

Despite this logical thorn in my side, Inuyasha continues to entertain me with its balance of action, comedy, and narrative. With several characters yet to be introduced and the quest for the Jewel yet to really begin, I am looking forward to seeing just how large and grand this story will turn out to be.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Pioneer DVL-919, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and audio cable.


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