Inu Yasha Vol. #15 - 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. #15

By Luis Cruz     April 06, 2004
Release Date: February 24, 2004


Inu Yasha Vol. #15
© Viz Media


What They Say
Naraku sends his latest incarnation after Inuyasha and the others. The new demon, Goshinki, is able to read minds, making him a deadly opponent. His attacks useless, Inuyasha is struck as the Tetsusaiga in broken in two. Yet, somehow, when the sword does break, it reveals a new secret about Inuyasha and his legacy sword...

Features 3 action-packed episodes!
Tetsusaiga Breaks
Kijinbo's Evil Sword
Sesshomaru Wields Tokijin

The Review!
Evil Inu Yasha makes his first appearance, sans goatee, in this round of three episodes. A few additional plot points manage to rekindle a spark of interest in the series.

Audio:
For my primary viewing session, the Japanese audio track was listened to; as with previous volumes, Viz provides a solid stereo track that utilizes the front soundstage adequately during the action sequences. Dialogue was sharp and clear, and there were no noticeable problems during playback.

Video:
Viz continues to do an excellent job with the video transfer; the picture is sharp, colorful, and, to my eye, defect-free. Three front-loaded trailers are still present when you insert the disc, but you can fortunately 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:
Set against a yellow background, the front cover collage consists of Kagome, Evil Inu Yasha, and Goshinki, Naraku's latest creation. 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 Jaken near the gate while Rin capers 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.

Content:(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It is no secret that this series has been growing stale for this reviewer; it was time for the writers to provide some new elements that would reinvigorate the plot. The writers were obliging enough to do just that in the three episode contained on Broken Fang.

We find Inu Yasha still recovering from his wounds inflicted by the reflected power of the Wind Scar. He does have enough strength to crawl to see Kikyo and learns that she did indeed give Naraku her portion of the Sacred Jewel. However, she warns Inu Yasha that not all is what it appears to be and tells him to stay alive so she can be the one to kill him.

Soon after, Goshinki, Naraku's latest creation arrives to confront our fellowship. Goshinki can anticipate any attack by reading his opponent's minds; he proves a formidable foe and manages to snap Tetsusaiga in half with his fangs. Near death, Inu Yasha begins to transform into a full demon; Evil Inu Yasha dispatches Goshinki but still desires to spill more blood. Kagome manages to talk him down from his demonic high, and the group rests while Totosai reforges Tetsusaiga using a fang from Inu Yasha.

The remainder of the episodes revolves around Sesshomaru having the fangs of Goshinki forged into a powerful sword. Kaijinbo, an exiled student of Totosai, forges a powerfully evil sword known as Tokijin. After Kaijinbo dies while trying to attack Inu Yasha with Tokijin, Sesshomaru takes possession of the sword and attempts to determine how and why Evil Inu Yasha appears.

There are a number of new wrinkles added to the plot in these episodes; the most significant is the appearance of Evil Inu Yasha and his relationship with Tetsusaiga. Most interesting is how this growing demonic side will affect both Kagome's and Easy Bake Kikyo's relationship with our dog-eared protagonist. Another amusing aspect is the growing relationship between Sesshomaru and Rin; Rin does not fear Sesshomaru and manages to retain her childish innocence around him. She provides a cute and humorous counterpoint to Sesshomaru's stoicism.

One item that pleased me was the relative lack of flashbacks and recaps; the narrative was allowed to flow along without endless rehashing of previous events. This was one of the largest reasons for my lack of interest in the last few volumes. The audience is given credit for keeping up with the series and is rewarded with three episodes that managed to intertwine exposition with action.

In summary:
It is becoming increasingly difficult to find much to say about this series. Inu Yasha has settled into a rhythm that changes little from volume to volume. A series manages to hold my interest when it can move the plot along smartly introducing new wrinkles and elements along the way. This volume managed to recapture a portion of what made the opening act of the series enjoyable and engaging. Part of this comes from eliminating repetitive flashbacks while the remainder comes from introducing plot elements that matter rather than ancillary characters that do not. The writers have managed to restore a portion of the story's foundation, and I hope the next volume continues to do the same.

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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