Inu Yasha Vol. #14 - 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. #14

By Luis Cruz     February 25, 2004
Release Date: February 03, 2004


Inu Yasha Vol. #14
© Viz Media


What They Say
Koga and Inuyasha continue their battle to the death. Unable to convince the Wolf-Demon that they have been set-up by Naraku, the two have no choice but to fight. What will Koga do when he learns the truth?

Later, Naraku sends Kagura and Kanna, his two new henchmen, created from his own flesh, to lead Inuyasha and the others into yet another deadly trap...

Features three action-packed episodes!
The Deadly Trap of the Wind Sorceress, Kagura
Kagura's Dance and Kanna's Mirror
The Wind Scar, Defeated

The Review!
More characters are thrown into the mix as Viz presents The Wind and the Void in this three episode volume. Unfortunately, the series continues to annoy me with its endless need to pad episodes out with flashbacks.

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 and have grown to three now; 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, Kagura, and Kanna against a green vortex. 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 reverse.

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 has Kikyo's soul serpents flying about. When you select a menu item, a brief animation plays. The menus are intuitive, 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. The Playstation promo is absent, but a worthy replacement was provided. Viz provides a clean, text-free version of the latest ending; unless Viz changes things, this will be the only disc this clean ending will be on.

Content:(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Having been introduced to Kagura, "The Wind" in the previous volume, we are introduced to her older sister Kanna, "The Void" in this volume. Before her introduction though, we must wrap up the battle between Inu Yasha and Koga. Koga continues to press the attack and eventually lays a serious beating on Inu Yasha. Believing him defeated, Koga turns away to find that Kagura was the one who killed his comrades. Unfortunately, the jewel fragment in his arm is a fake and is really a poisonous trap.

As Koga lay powerless due to the poison racing through his system, Inu Yasha manages to gather what strength he has left to face Kagura. With the help of Kagome's sacred arrows, Inu Yasha manages to drive Kagura away. As she departs, everyone notices a spider-shaped burn scar on her back. Miroku quickly determines that Naraku's powers have grown to the point where he can separate one of the demons's that created him into a separate entity under his control.

Of course, Naraku does not stop at one minion and creates another from his essence. Kanna is the older sister to Kagura and carries a soul-sucking mirror that can also reflect nearly any attack. The final two episodes revolve around Naraku's plot to steal Kagome's soul and bring Inu Yasha's head to Kikyo as payment for her jewel fragment.

There is not much else to say about this volume; the action serves primarily to introduce the latest pawns in Naraku's plans as well as give Koga a reason to come after Naraku as well. The comedy is minimal, and the relationship aspects of the story are not advanced at all. What has increased is the amount of flashback and recap sequences padding out each episode. While I can see the need to provide a brief recap of Naraku's plots, did we need the exact same recap sequence two episodes in a row? Do we need to be reminded of what just happened one episode ago? No, I do not need nor appreciate having each episode padded out in an effort to drag out the plot line for as long as possible. It is becoming tedious and is slowly stripping away my enjoyment of the series.

Fans of the series keep telling me that it gets better as this arc continues. I just do not see it getting any better at the moment. While I do not expect each episode to be a masterpiece, they should at least advance the plot and provide a reason to keep watching. I could easily have skipped over this volume and a few of the previous ones with no difficulty or regrets. Future episodes will likely summarize things for me anyway.

The series started off fine and drew me in, but it just seems to have hit a rut now. None of the characters or their interactions are clicking with me, and the plot feels like it is progressing at a glacial pace. Will it get better? I hope so, as each volume has become more of a chore to watch than an entertaining hour and a half.

In summary:
Fans keep telling me that this series gets better as this story arc continues. I certainly hope so, as the incessant flashbacks to events, some that happened just one episode ago, continue to sour my opinion of the series. It still has its entertaining moments, but there is little in this volume that would make me recommend purchasing this volume. The only reason I can provide would be for the clean version of the new ending. Beyond that, I am hoping that the fans will eventually prove to be right and that the series will draw me back in.

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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