Inu Yasha Vol. #23 - 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. #23

By Luis Cruz     November 08, 2004
Release Date: October 26, 2004


Inu Yasha Vol. #23
© Viz Media


What They Say
Shippo gets to be the star of an episode, and Naraku produces another disturbing offshoot of himself. The third season of Inu Yasha keeps going strong.

The Review!
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 a montage of Inu Yasha, Sango, Miroku, Koga, and Kagura. They are set against a purple 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 scenes from the episodes. 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, 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)
The third season of Inu Yasha has been strong on the whole; however, the previous volume proved to be a low point. The humor and action did not provide much entertainment, but it did end with the beginning of an interesting plot thread. As this volume opens up, we pick up this thread where it left off.

Kagura has decided to approach Sesshomaru with a modest proposal -- kill Naraku in exchange for the Sacred Jewel fragments she and Naraku possess. Sesshomaru coldly refuses her offer and insults her by saying that if she could not face him alone, then she has no hope of winning her freedom. Kagura storms off and continues her flight from Naraku's castle.

Inu Yasha, Koga, and the rest of the fellowship are close behind her and eventually overtake her. Koga foolishly rushes into battle and finds himself at Kagura's mercy. To save Koga, Inu Yasha shows his mortal side to Kagura just before the sun rises. Naraku's demons save Kagura from death by the Wind Scar leading her to believe Naraku is unaware of the treachery.

She is quite wrong though when she finds Naraku's grotesque, recharging form in the basement of the castle. The episode ends with Koga regaining his Jewel fragments and the fellowship figuring out that Naraku faces the same monthly dilemma as Inu Yasha. The episode is a great example of how action and plot development can be combined into an entertaining whole. One aspect I wish they would explore more is the relationship between Rin and Sesshomaru. They have another brief but priceless exchange; these exchanges always hint at larger developments in both of their characters.

Shippo gets to carry the next episode of the volume, as the last member of the Raiju clan challenges him to a duel. Soten is out to avenge the deaths of the Thunder Brothers from back in the first season. Much like the second episode of volume twenty-one, this one provided a healthy dose of humor. Soten turns out to be a child the same age as Shippo; the ensuing "duel" provides a number of sight and verbal jokes. None of the humor felt forced and just flowed from the story and the characters naturally.

The humor continues into the opening of the last episode, as we find Kagome has returned home. Her forays into her own time-line are also something I wish they would explore more; her interaction with her friends and her family reveal a facet to her personality that the other characters cannot bring out. While Kagome is having fun in her time, Inu Yasha and the rest are facing Naraku's latest offshoot.

Naraku produces a giant, purple blob from his arm; this blob eventually turns into a faceless, naked man. Despite not having a face, this man can speak and voices his desire for a face. He quickly finds a face and soon acquires a sword and a taste for killing. Nothing sates some inner desire that he cannot identify; it is not until he faces Inu Yasha near Kikyo's village that he learns what he desires. He spots Kagome and finds her to be what is driving his desires. The episode ends with Kagome falling into his clutches.

This volume was a bit bittersweet; all three episodes embody what I find entertaining about the series. Great action sequences help advance the plot and character development; comedy flows naturally from the characters and their situation rather than relying on forced or contrived setups. What makes it bittersweet is the brief development of the Kagura thread. Lasting only two episodes, it ends before picking up much steam behind it. We get a hint of things to come, but it was an interesting enough thread that could have lasted at least one more episode. It does make for an effective tease though, making you want to stick around long enough to see the thread come to fruition.

In summary:
With nearly every episode of the third season, one is left wondering where these writers were during the second season. This volume continues the crisp writing that blends comedy, action, and plot development quite well. The pacing of the episodes avoids the "monster of the week" and "power-up" pitfalls. Shippo's episode alone makes this volume an easy title to recommend.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Bilingual Cast List,Art Gallery,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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