Inu Yasha Vol. #22 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • 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: 24.95
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Inu Yasha

Inu Yasha Vol. #22

By Luis Cruz     November 01, 2004
Release Date: October 05, 2004


Inu Yasha Vol. #22
© Viz Media


What They Say
Dark Priestess Tsubaki was once Kikyo's rival to be Keeper of the Sacred Jewel. Now, unable to forgive and consumed by her ambition to control the jewel, she uses a shard in her eye to devour demons and gain their power, and Inuyasha is next on her list! Later, Wind Sorceress Kagura, plans to escape her evil master Naraku by using jewel shards ripped from Koga's legs!

The Review!
After the brilliance of the previous volume, Inu Yasha slows things down in order to setup the next major story arc.

Audio:
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.

Video:
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 continues to use white subtitles which I am finding less readable than the yellow subtitles used previously.

Packaging:
The front cover is graced by Inu Yasha, Kagome, Miroku, Tsubaki, and a demonic visage. They are set against a bright, yellow background. 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.

Menu:
The main menu 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 continue the parchment paper motif. The menus look great and balance being artistic with being functional.

Extras:
The extras are the standard fare of the Japanese and English cast list, a line art gallery, a textless version of the new opening theme, and the Japanese promos for the episodes. However, Viz has put a unique 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 continues to be 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)
Every long running series has to take a few episodes and set up the next story arc. We begin this volume where we left off; Inu Yasha and the fellowship are hot on the trail of the dark priestess Tsubaki. Tsubaki has broken the seal of the demon and absorbed it into the Sacred Jewel embedded in her eye.

The fellowship arrives and faces a fifty foot tall transformed Tsubaki. Where the action of the previous volume succeeded, this battle failed to provide much entertainment. Tsubaki postures and flashes back to the events that led to her turn to the dark side; this continues until the inevitable Backlash Wave destroys her demonic form.

Tsubaki is only destroyed though when Kagura retrieves the Sacred Jewel from Tsubaki's eye. After the build-up of Tsubaki's character, her end was anti-climatic with no real struggle to defeat her. It was also disappointing to see her character removed; she was an intriguing character that helped bring Kikyo back into the story in a well-thought out manner.

The next episode has the fellowship fighting a giant centipede; rather than being a powerful demon, it falls from one blow by Miroku's staff. The villagers plagued by the centipede hold a feast for the group, and each of them falls into a peaceful sleep. The sleep is disturbed when a sleep walking Sango attacks Miroku; believing it to be the work of the dead centipede, the group attempts to seal off its power.

Suddenly, Miroku appears to be possessed and attacks Sango. He then suddenly chases after Kirara and Shippo until he trips and regains his senses. Inu Yasha is the next to suffer from the strange possession and chases after Kirara and Shippo. After most of the episode has been given over to this bizarre turn of events, the audience is finally given the punch line; the group has been possessed by Shoga, the arranged bride for Myoga.

She has been chasing him in an attempt to marry him and used their bodies in order to hunt him down. If ever there was an example of bad comedy, this episode is a top contender; nearly most of the episode is used to setup a joke that falls completely flat. After the laughs of the previous volume, this entire episode was a disappointment.

The volume ends on a slow but necessary note, as Kagura takes center stage. It is the night of the new moon which means Inu Yasha is powerless. This comes at the worst time too; Naraku's scent has been particularly strong and is leading them to his hidden castle. Koga has picked up the scent as well and looks to avenge his fallen comrades.

Sitting in the castle, Kagura wonders why Naraku's barrier is weakening and realizes the cause is due to Naraku's monthly mysterious absence. Kagura has little time to ponder the obvious fact that has just crossed the audience's mind; Kanna's mirror shows Koga near the castle. They fight, and Kagura takes the jewel fragments from his legs. Deciding she wants to be free of Naraku, she takes them to Sesshomaru to strike a bargain.

Most of the episode is given over to narrative with the only action being a token fight between Koga and Kagura. However, the purpose of the episode is to introduce Kagura's betrayal and the fact that Naraku is a half-demon like Inu Yasha. It serves this purpose well, but it is slow-paced and likely to bore the average viewer.

Kagura's betrayal has been setup in previous episodes, and it is good to see this particular plot thread coming to the forefront. After countless betrayals by Naraku, it will be interesting to see how the writers deal with someone using Naraku's favorite methods against himself.

In summary:
This volume ends up as a mixed bag of episodes; Tsubaki's story comes to an unimpressive end. The attempts at comedy fail and fail spectacularly in one entire episode. The only bright spot is the final episode that allows Kagura's plot thread to build up some energy. This is easily one volume that can be skipped over.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery,Textless Opening,Japanese Promos

Review Equipment
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Panasonic RP-82, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and optical audio cable

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