Inu Yasha Vol. #12 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • 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. #12

By Luis Cruz     January 01, 2004
Release Date: December 02, 2003

Inu Yasha Vol. #12
© Viz Media

What They Say
An old demon named Totosai comes asking to see the Tetsusaiga. Claiming to have forged the sword for Inuyasha's father, Totosai begins a series of tests to determine if Inuyasha is worthy of the blade. When Sesshomaru appears, demanding that Totosai forge a new sword for him, Inuyasha must come to Totosai's aid - but not before learning that only by mastering the powerful "Wind Scar" technique can Inuyasha defeat his brother.


Episode 34: Tetsusaiga and Tenseiga
Episode 35: The True Owner of the Great Sword
Episode 36: Kagome Kidnapped by the Wolf-Demon, Koga

The Review!
Swords of Destiny introduces us to a few new plot developments and a few new characters. While mediocre, the three episodes manage to be more entertaining than the three previous.

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.

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.

The front cover is a collage of Kagome, Inu Yasha, and Sesshomaru against a fiery red background. The upper right corner of the front cover bears the "Second Season" logo. At the bottom of the front cover, some scenes from the episodes are displayed. 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 retains the placement of the synopsis, screenshots, and disc specifications seen on previous second season volumes. Inside the case is a one-page insert that has the front cover shot on one side and the chapter listings beneath some screenshots on the other.

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 Totosai's three-eyed cow flies around the menu on a cloud. When you select a menu item, the cow flies towards the screen. It is an amusing touch and provides only a brief delay between menus; the menus are intuitive and easy to use and look really sharp.

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. It is clear that the game promo is included to serve as a commercial rather than as an extra. The final extra is a textless version of the new opening sequence.

Content:(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the lackluster trio of episodes in volume eleven, the plot begins to pick up a bit of steam as we are introduced to Totosai, the man who forged Tetsusaiga. Myoga has found the old smith and had convinced him to test out Inu Yasha's ability with the sword. Upon seeing Inu Yasha handle Tetsusaiga, Totosai believes it would be best if Tetsusaiga were destroyed rather than being wielded by someone who cannot unlock its true power. However, Totosai will help Inu Yasha unlock the power if he protects him from the person trying to kill him.

The person turns out to be Sesshomaru; Sesshomaru wants Totosai to forge him a sword more powerful than Tetsusaiga. Totosai refuses on the grounds that Sesshomaru already wields a powerful sword known as Tenseiga. Long ago, Inu Yasha and Sesshomaru's father ordered Totosai to forge two swords from one of his fangs. Tetsusaiga was to be given the power to slay one hundred demons with a single stroke and would be bestowed upon his youngest son. Tenseiga would be bestowed upon his eldest son and would be Tetsusaiga's opposite, having the power to resurrect one hundred souls in a single stroke.

A battle ensues between the brothers, but Inu Yasha is the victor as he finally sees the "Wind Scar", the source of Tetsusaiga's power. Sesshomaru is only saved from death by the power of Tenseiga. In the aftermath, Sesshomaru ends up finding an unlikely friend in a young orphan girl named Rin while Kagome finds herself kidnapped by a wolf demon named Koga who carries jewel fragments in his right arm and both legs.

While the action is standard fare for this title, the introduction of Tenseiga into Inu Yasha and Sesshomaru's relationship adds some interesting wrinkles. If Tenseiga can prevent Sesshomaru from dying, what can Inu Yasha do to stop him and his plans? It is clear that their father did not want them to fight each other, but he also equipped them with the tools to fight together for the common good. Tetsusaiga can slay demons while Tenseiga can revive those that have fallen victim to demons or evil men. It is a well-thought out plot element, one I hope is expanded upon throughout the series.

Another element to watch will be how Rin affects the development of Sesshomaru's character. It seems clear what they intend to do with Rin and Tenseiga in terms of Sesshomaru and his involvement in the plot, but I am hoping that the series will be able to pull a few surprises. One item that did not work for me in this volume was the use of Jaken, Sesshomaru's companion. He has been used for a bit of comic relief in the series at times, but this volume had him going way over the top. It seemed forced and out of place for him to be wailing and moaning about his plight.

I am undecided about Koga's character at the moment; he appears to be "Inu Yasha Lite" and has yet to add any new spark to the cast. It seems likely that he will be joining the fellowship, but it is unclear just how he will fit in with the rest of the cast.

In summary:
This volume continues to build Sesshomaru up as the more interesting character in the series. It will be interesting to see how they continue to grow his character through Tenseiga and Rin. This was a mildly entertaining but mediocre volume overall; some decent action resulted in some decent plot development. It is not a great volume, but I suspect that the bulk of the remaining series will be of this caliber.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery,Episode 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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