Inu Yasha Vol. #26 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A-
  • 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. #26

By Luis Cruz     September 09, 2005
Release Date: February 08, 2005

Inu Yasha Vol. #26
© Viz Media

What They Say
Using the crimson-bladed Tetsusaiga's new barrier breaking abilities, Inuyasha uncovers the Panther Demons' hideout. While Inuyasha searches for the kidnapped Kagome and battles hoards of Panther Demons, Sesshomaru arrives on the scene and orders his younger brother to leave. But Inuyasha decides to stay and fight alongside his brother. With the revival of the Panther Demons' leader at hand, can Inuyasha, Koga and Sesshomaru work together long enough to defeat the great demon and rescue Kagome?

The Review!
The Panther clan attempts to extract revenge on Inu Yasha and Sesshomaru in the on-going saga of Inu Yasha.

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.

The front cover is a montage of Inu Yasha and the Panther clan 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.

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.

The extras are the standard fare of the Japanese and English cast list, a line art gallery, and the Japanese promos for the episodes. Rather than a plain text list for the cast, each character has a picture with the English and Japanese voice actor's name next to it. For the line art gallery, there are only three character reference sheets, but you can zoom into the art work and move across them.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The third season of Inu Yasha has picked up a lot of momentum making the story and characters fun to watch once again. With any long running series, the story must take a bit of a pause before picking up more momentum. When the pause adds to the characters or even to the overall story, it is easy to bear as it allows the audience to catch their figurative breath before plunging back in. However, the culmination of the Panther Clan story adds nothing new to either making the breath turn into a literal yawn.

Inu Yasha and Koga have arrived at a dead end after chasing the Panthers; quickly using the new found barrier breaking power of Tetsusaiga, Inu Yasha, Koga, and the rest of the fellowship press on in search of the Panthers and Kagome. As for Kagome, she and the villagers of a peaceful city are going to be the sacrifice that will in combination with Kagome's jewel fragments bring the master of the Panther clan back to life.

For the remainder of the first two episodes, the group battles their way to the heart of the Panther camp encountering Sesshomaru along the way. The master is resurrected and feeds on his own clan to regain his full power. He is finally beaten when Sesshomaru uses Tenseiga to revive the fallen Panthers allowing Inu Yasha to finish the job with Tetsusaiga. Sesshomaru leaves without a word, and the Panthers consider the feud to be ended.

After building this up as an age old feud between the Panther clan and Inu Yasha's clan, these two episodes were extremely anti-climatic; there was plenty of exposition about the feud and the events around it broken up by the occasional bit of action. The episodes just did not flow well to tell an engaging side story; the only purpose it seemed to serve was to show Sesshomaru that Inu Yasha has learned a new trick for wielding Tetsusaiga.

The writers had a chance to further the relationship of the brothers beyond the contempt they already have for each other. Yet, the opportunity to use two episodes worth of time to give their relationship additional depth is disappointingly squandered.

But, the writers manage a small redemption with the final episode of the volume. As the group travels along, Sango is approached by the Takeda clan with an overly generous offer to slay a demon that is rampaging around their castle. She wants to refuse the offer but is prevented from doing so when the head of the clan personally asks her.

The pair actually met once in the past when Sango and her clan defeated a demon at the same castle. At that time, Kuranosuke, soon to be the head of the clan, fell deeply in love with Sango and vowed to marry her one day. With their paths finally crossing, he confesses his love and proposes to Sango in front of the whole fellowship.

Kagome quickly assumes the role of high school busybody and attempts to push Miroku into confessing his love for Sango. Miroku will only say to Kagome that the decision is Sango's and that it is none of his concern. There is only a brief bit of action in the episode as most of it is given over to snatches of dialogue and quiet reflection.

In contrast to the Panther story, this is a pause that does add to the characters; they and the audience are given a chance to pause and reflect on Miroku and Sango's relationship and better understand why they continue to keep each other at a distance. Sango cannot be truly happy until she avenges her clan and is reunited with her brother; Miroku quietly respects this and understands that while they may have feelings for each other, they cannot build a life together until Sango accomplishes these two goals.

It would be easy to dismiss this episode as a cute interlude, but the episode shows how much can be said with so few words. If the previous two episodes focused more on growing the characters, this volume would have been more palatable.

In Summary:
The third season of Inu Yasha has been building momentum for nearly every episode; however, the momentum is slowed down by the two Panther clan episodes on this volume. The meeting of Inu Yasha and Sesshomaru seemed only to serve the purpose of having Sesshomaru see Inu Yasha's new sword trick. The exposition and action do little to add anything new to the brother's relationship or to the overall plot.

However, the last episode is a touching and subtle piece involving Sango and Miroku's growing relationship. This pause in the story is a welcome one; it allows the viewer some insight into why the pair tends to keep each other at arm's length. One episode though cannot carry an entire volume making this outing a bit routine and uninteresting.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitle

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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