Inu Yasha Vol. #25 - 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. #25

By Luis Cruz     December 21, 2004
Release Date: December 07, 2004


Inu Yasha Vol. #25
© Viz Media


What They Say
Inuyasha and his friends head to the coastal region to confront a horde of Bat-Demons. There, Inuyasha meets Shiori, a young girl who is also a half-demon. He sympathizes with Shiori because they are from both the world of demons and the world of humans. But, when Inuyasha learns that the only way to increase his power is by killing the young girl, can he go through with it?

The Review!
Bats and cats are the order for the day in the next volume of Inu Yasha.

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, Shiori, and Taigokumaru set against a blue 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 entertaining for a number of reasons. Primarily, it is managing to have the characters and their development advance the plot rather than relying on huge "power-up" battles. The previous volume ended with the focus on Inu Yasha and how his personality and temperament has changed over time. We continue this theme in a two part story in this volume.

Myoga finally catches up with Inu Yasha and informs him that there is a way to make Tetsusaiga strong enough to destroy Naraku's barrier. Inu Yasha must kill travel to the nest of the Demon Bat clan and destroy the guardian demon that generates a barrier around their nest. Tetsusaiga will increase in power if it absorbs the blood of the demon.

Once they arrive at the village near the nest, the fellowship encounters a slight wrinkle in their plan. The new guardian of the nest is a half-demon girl named Shiori; her mother fell in love with the son of the Demon Bat's leader. While he was alive, the Demon Bats did not attack the village. Now that he is dead, the Bats have returned to the old ways, and Taigokumaru, Shiori's grandfather, has demanded her as tribute to stop the attacks.

Shiori serves as a mirror for Inu Yasha, as he can understand Shiori's dilemma. The people of the village do not want or care for her because she is half-demon; the demon world only wants to use her for her powers because she is half-human. There is no place for her in either world, and the love of her own mother is all she has.

Inu Yasha knows he cannot kill a small child just to increase his own power; a battle ensues between Inu Yasha and Taigokumaru. With Shiori's help, Inu Yasha finally manages to defeat Taigokumaru and power up Tetsusaiga without harming her. As a perfect capstone for the story, the fellowship gives Inu Yasha a good ribbing about how mature he has become. It is another example of how well the writers are blending in the comedy with the plot rather than forcing it. The exchange is priceless with every character getting into it.

The final story on the volume involves Sesshomaru and a clan of Panther Demons that crossed his path fifty years ago. Inu Yasha has no knowledge of the events since he was sealed on the tree during that time. What is clear though is that they are after Sesshomaru's head; the leader of the Panther Clan goads Sesshomaru into coming to their castle to finish the business between them once and for all.

Meanwhile, the fellowship learns from Miroku's tanuki friend that Sesshomaru and his father fought the Panther Clan fifty years ago but does not know the reason why. The fellowship, including the wandering Koga, is drawn into the conflict when the Panther Clan kidnaps Kagome and her jewel fragments. The pursuit leads them to a convenient barrier for Inu Yasha to test his new upgrade. The volume ends with Inu Yasha preparing to destroy the barrier which will lead to him and Sesshomaru fighting the same foe.

While Inu Yasha's past has been illuminated over the past seventy episodes, we have seen little of Sesshomaru's past other than the fact that he and Inu Yasha do not get along. With all the focus around Naraku, this is an intriguing detour for the series to take. A past foe comes to settle the score with him, and Inu Yasha is thrown into the unlikely role of possibly helping him. It makes for a good hook to keep you watching and is a breath of fresh air from the continual battle against that wily Naraku.

There is one complaint about this volume though; during the action scenes with the Demon Bats, there were a number of "action stills"; rather than animating Miroku or others fighting the demons, a still of them is shown with a moving background. While the characters are detailed, it still feels like a production shortcut in order to meet deadlines or reduce the budget.

It was a bit disappointing to see that the action sequences have been sacrificed a bit. However, the series is on a great stride in terms of plot and character development. As long as the series continues to weave stories this funny and compelling, it can be forgiven the occasional animation shortcut.

In summary:
When others have told me that Inu Yasha would get better, I was skeptical as the second series did little to entertain over most of its run. The third series continues to prove these people right and dispel my skepticism. This volume is another example of how to write a good action series that features solid plot and character development with a healthy dose of humor. Some animation shortcuts do mar the volume slightly, but there is enough material in here to overlook them and easily recommend this volume.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Line Art Gallery

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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