Inu Yasha Vol. #19 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • 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. #19

By Luis Cruz     July 26, 2004
Release Date: June 01, 2004

Inu Yasha Vol. #19
© Viz Media

What They Say
It is said that the path to enlightenment and finding true wisdom takes years of training to attain... but when a demonic tree offers an easier way, the weak-willed take the easier, evil path.

Inuyasha and the others come upon a temple inhabited by a false mentor, who feeds upon others who want to become sages. When Kagome is captured and the night of the new moon is upon Inuyasha, can he rescue her without any of his powers?

The Review!
We enter a third season of Inu Yasha, and the series seems to be coming back to life.

The Japanese audio was used for my primary viewing session; Viz maintains the high quality of audio that has been present throughout the series. The action sequences utilize the front soundstage very well, while the dialogue was clear and blended well with the music. The track was free from distortions, drop outs, or other problems.

Viz also maintains the high level of quality on the video in this volume. From the lush, green forests to dark, foggy canyons, the scenery is detailed and contains vivid colors. The video appears to be free from any problems associated with the digital transfer. The original Japanese credits and episode title cards have been replaced with English equivalents placed directly onto the video transfer.

Viz went with white subtitles for this volume rather than the yellow they have been using until now. I am not sure why they made the change, but I find the white subtitles less readable than the yellow. Both the opening and ending theme songs remain unsubtitled.

A new season means slightly new packaging; one the front cover, Human Yasha and Kagome battle the sage Tokujin. The upper right corner of the front cover bears the "Third Season" logo. At the bottom of the front cover is the series logo and volume title; the volume number is just above the right of the series logo.

The back cover contains the requisite synopsis, screenshots, and disc specifications. Inside the case is a one-page insert that has the front cover shot on one side and the chapter listings next a screenshot from the episode on the reverse. This is the cleanest, most readable packaging for the series I have seen in recent memory.

A new season also means a new menu layout, and Viz has done an amazing job with them. After a brief animation of Kagome firing the arrow that shatters the jewel, the main menu appears; it is rendered as pieces of parchment paper containing line art of Kagome and Inu Yasha. Each menu item has a jewel fragment next to it; sub-menus appear after a brief, unique piece of animation and continues the parchment paper motif. The menus look great and balance being artistic with being functional. Great job, Viz!

The extras are the standard fare of the Japanese and English cast list, a line art gallery, and the Japanese promos for the episodes. However, Viz has put a new spin on the cast list and line gallery. Rather than a plain text list, each character has a picture with the English and Japanese voice actor's name next to it. The best change is with the line art; there are only three pieces of artwork, but Viz allows you to zoom into the art work and move across it in this close-up mode. It is a great feature, one I hope Viz continues to use while finding a way to include more pieces of work.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The second season of Inu Yasha was a bit of a rollercoaster. At times, it was as good as the start of the series; at others, it was mediocre. It did manage to end with a hint of promise; I am pleased to say that the opening of the third season opens strong and capitalizes on the end of the second season. As we open up the third act, the fellowship arrives at a village but sense no jewel fragments or demons around. They all decide to take a much needed break and relax; Sango and Miroku go off to explore the village, and Shippo leaves Inu Yasha and Kagome to give them some time alone together.

While lounging about, Shippo witnesses some kids bullying a small girl; he chases the bullies away and finds himself squarely in the midst of his first youthful infatuation. Satsuki is an orphan living in the village and clings to the hope that the jewel fragment she holds can fulfill her wish of bringing her brother home safe from the war. Her fragment turns out to be fake, but a demon Miroku exorcised from the village head's house decides to hold Satsuki for ransom in exchange for a real jewel fragment.

The episode is very funny and very touching; it captures what makes Takahashi's work so engaging. It is the "human" aspect of the story that draws you in; Shippo carries the story quite well, as his first crush is something everyone can relate to. The comedic touches were well-placed and fit seamlessly into the story; it is this blend of comedy and solid yet simple storytelling that made the beginning of the series enjoyable and is what has been missing for most of the second season.

The remainder of the volume is just as strong; the second episode revolves around the burgeoning relationship between Sango and Miroku that everyone except for Inu Yasha can see developing. There are amusing scenes where Kagome is attempting to explain the "mood" women want to Inu Yasha; these explanations are quickly followed by Miroku showing how to instantly ruin the mood.

We end on a cliffhanger, when the fellowship encounters Tokujin, the sage of Togenkyo. Tokujin is feeding humans to a tree that bears human-faced fruit in hopes that it will bear the fruit of longevity. Sango has left the fellowship to repair her hiraikotsu, and Inu Yasha has reverted to human form since it is the night of the new moon. Underpowered, the fellowship is reduced to miniature forms and helpless, as Tokujin powers himself up with Kagome's fragments.

All three episodes exemplify what drew me into the series initially; the stories are simple, well written, and draw you into them. Comedy is well-placed and fits into the situations rather than being forced in for the sake of a joke. Good storytelling is what has been missing from this series for awhile, and it is great to see it return. I hope this continues and does not fall back into the cycle of "get tricked by Naraku and then power up more".

In summary:
The third season of Inu Yasha is off to a strong start; it returns to a simple yet engaging form of storytelling that allows the characters and their relationships to develop in a way that draws the audience into their plight. Action and comedy are not sacrificed to do this; the writers balance all three well across this volume. This is what drew me into the series at the start and is what makes this volume worthy of purchase.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 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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