Inu Yasha Vol. #11 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • 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. #11

By Luis Cruz     December 16, 2003
Release Date: October 28, 2003


Inu Yasha Vol. #11
© Viz Media


What They Say
A half-demon who lives peacefully with his Ma, tending herbs, Jinenji is tormented by villagers who fear his strength. Sensing something of his own struggle in the gentle giant’s plight, Inuyasha decides to help when Jinenji is unfairly accused. Later, a toxic fog attributed to Naraku leads Inuyasha and the others into its deadly spell. How is Kikyo connected?

The Review!
Another three episodes down, a whole lot more to go. Into the Miasma puts a few more plot pieces in place. However, do not expect much excitement or action from this volume.

Audio:
For my primary viewing session, the Japanese audio track was listened to; as with previous volumes, the front soundstage was utilized well during the action sequences while the dialogue was sharp and clear. There were no noticeable problems during playback providing a rich audio experience. Dub fans will have an equally enjoyable experience as a spot-check showed that the English track is on par with previous volumes.

Video:
The video is on par with previous volumes; the picture is sharp, colorful, and, to my eye, defect-free. The only minor quibble one could have would be with the size of the subtitles; they still feel a bit too large considering the amount of action that takes place during the episodes. However, it does not detract significantly from the viewing experience. The front-loaded trailers are still present; fortunately, you can use the "Next" button on your remote to skip past them.

As with every Viz disc I have reviewed, this volume replaces the original Japanese credits and episode title cards with English equivalents placed directly onto the video transfer. While this practice does not bother most, my preference is to have the original Japanese video intact from start to finish.

As other company’s releases have borne out, DVD technology allows the original Japanese credits and English translated credits to coexist on the same disc. Viz is not utilizing this technology on this volume, and my video grade reflects that.

Packaging:
The front cover is a collage of Kagome, Inu Yasha, Kikyo, and Naraku. The upper right corner of the front cover bears a new logo consisting of the words "Second Season" in small print next to a kanji character embedded in a silhouette of a running Inu Yasha.

At the bottom of the front cover, some scenes from the episodes are displayed in muted blue tones. The English logo is three-fourths of the way down from the top of the cover; below it are the volume title, episode titles, and the Japanese logo respectively. There is still no volume indicator on the front cover.

The back cover remains mostly the same but does shuffle around the items a bit as a few more screen shots are used. The episode numbers are difficult to read as the color used for them blends too much into the background color. 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 consists of a simple picture of a temple gate in the background; the menu items are within the temple gates. Tetsusaiga is in the left portion of the screen and has scenes from the show playing on its blade, a very subtle effect. The final touch comes as Myoga hops about the menu. A brief animation between menus is the only delay; the menus are intuitive and easy to use and look really sharp.

Extras:
The extras are the standard fare of the Japanese and English cast list, a line art gallery, and the Japanese promos for the episodes. A promo for the US Playstation game makes its return in the extras section; however, there is no actual footage of the game in the promo, which probably speaks volumes about the quality of the game.

Content:(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With any long journey, there will be periods when you travel quickly and periods where you travel rather slowly. In the journey known as Inu Yasha, we seem to have arrived at a point where we are traveling in circles. The character dynamics have been established, yet the trio of episodes in Into the Miasma spend most of their time treading over ground already covered.

The volume opens up with our heroes recovering from the encounter with Naraku in Jinenji, Kind Yet Sad. Inu Yasha and Kagome head off to a village to find some medicinal herbs to cure the poison flowing through Kirara's system. Once they arrive, they learn that the villagers are being devoured by a demon. Their scapegoat is Jinenji, a shy half-demon that lives with his human mother and tends a farm. Jinenji has been mistreated his entire life simply because his father was a demon; once the real demonic threat is revealed, Jinenji finds his inner strength thanks to Kagome treating him like a normal person.

The episode ends on a touching note as Inu Yasha opens up and shares some of his feelings with Kagome. You can see the walls both of them have put up between them are starting to crumble. It was a brief but beautiful moment; even though one could see it coming, the emotional impact is still believable as it happens naturally and effortlessly.

The final two episodes bring Kikyo and Naraku back onto the stage. Kikyo is tending to wounded soldiers when she is summoned to a castle. The lord of the castle has been ill for a long time but has not let any physicians near him. Kikyo forces the issue and walks into his chambers; the lord of the castle turns out to be a recovering Naraku. Naraku is surprised to see that Kikyo is indeed alive despite his scheming fifty years ago.

Meanwhile, Inu Yasha and the rest of the fellowship are investigating the source of a rather strong miasma. They follow it to the base of a mountain and discover that it is actually a rather powerful spell that attracts demons. The demons then battle until one is left standing; that demon then absorbs the powers and bodies of the fallen demons increasing its power exponentially. Kikyo is also drawn to the mountain where the souls keeping her alive are drained into the demon within.

As Inu Yasha attempts to protect her, her last ounce of strength manages to break the spell. Unfortunately, the demon is released and absorbed by Naraku to form his new body. He also takes possession of the immobile Kikyo and attempts to use her as his new pawn.

Kikyo has other plans though and manages to overpower Naraku's jewel fragment control. As the fellowship attempts to pursue Naraku, they are drawn into a forest containing plants that force a person to face their greatest fears. The end result has Kikyo taking Kagome's jewel fragment and giving it to Naraku. Kikyo has seen through Naraku and realizes that he needs the jewel to become a full-fledged demon, the same goal Inu Yasha sought fifty years ago.

The only other insight we gain from these two episodes is the fact that Kikyo finds her new "life" more liberating. Free from her responsibilities as a village priestess, she can pursue whatever emotions and goals she desires. Otherwise, the episodes do nothing to further the characters and their relationships. The fears they all face in the forest have been well established in prior episodes. Nothing really worked well for me in these two episodes. The action was minimal, yet there was not enough character or plot development to compensate. They should have been compressed into one episode making for a tighter story; as it stands, it is just a drawn out and boring affair.

In summary:
Despite some further insight into the characters and some small plot developments, this trio of episodes provides little entertainment and brings far too little new material to the table. This is one volume that could easily be rented rather than taking up shelf space.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery,Japanese Promos

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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