Inu Yasha Vol. #34 -

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. #34

By Luis Cruz     November 09, 2005
Release Date: October 04, 2005

Inu Yasha Vol. #34
© Viz Media

What They Say
Inuyasha and his friends are lured into a deadly trap that makes each of them live out their worst fears. Later, while traveling over a snow-covered landscape, Miroku encounters a woman from his past… along with his children!? Plush, Inuyasha, his friends and Koga find themselves at the beginning of a long battle against a deadly group of mercenaries known as the Band of Seven!

The Review!
Cracking the one hundred episode mark, the latest volume of Inu Yasha introduces the first of some powerful new enemies for the fellowship of the jewel but does little to help the fifth season start on a strong note.

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; the dialogue was clear and blended well with the music. The track was free from distortions, dropouts, 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, the snow spirit Koyuki, and a frozen Sango and Miroku. The series logo is across the top of the cover while the volume name and logos are pushed to the bottom. The back cover contains the requisite synopsis, screenshots, and disc specifications, but the background colors and the font make the text less readable than previous volumes. Inside the case is a one-page insert that has the front cover shot on one side and the chapter listings with a few screenshots from the episode on the reverse.

Viz changes the menus again but continues to produce clean, usable menus. The current iteration of the menus features a picture of Inu Yasha and Tetsusaiga on the left of the screen with rotating images overlaid on the moon. Menu items are along the bottom of the screen. Transition animations are kept to a minimum; while not as visually appealing as previous designs, the menus continue to be well done.

The extras include the standard fare of the Japanese and English cast list, two brief line art galleries, 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 some of the line art, you can zoom into the artwork and move across it.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Now exceeding the one hundred episode mark, Inu Yasha takes two episodes to cover ground it has already tread upon numerous times. The volume opens up with the fellowship stomping through a forest that appears to serve as a demon's nest. The demon in question appears before them and is remarkably familiar; the group comments that it is Gatenmaru, the moth demon they faced many episodes ago. The demon corrects them and tells them that he is a recycled character design called Garamaru, and he will imprison them in his "Forest of Sorrow" in order to devour their souls.

Save for Inu Yasha, the group is imprisoned in cocoons and begins to live out their worst memories and fears. Dispatching Garamaru does not free the captives, and Inu Yasha can only shout out his unique brand of encouragement to the group. Eventually, the prisoners realize that with Inu Yasha by their side there will always be hope; this liberates them from Garamaru's spell, and the group is on their way once again.

It was refreshing to see the group realize that their relationship with Inu Yasha has become a powerful bond that strengthens all of them. This was the only scrap, and a small one at that, of new character development; the worst memories and fears of the group has changed little if at all from the first time each character was introduced.

We come to one of the weakest episodes in recent memory when the fellowship faces a snow demon. The demon resembles a woman that saved Miroku from a snowstorm seven years ago. There is a humorous running gag between Miroku and Sango in this episode, but the episode is a perfect example of filler material. The story and action was as frigid as the snow demon's domain.

Fortunately, the last episode finally introduces us to Naraku's latest plot to destroy those seeking him. Hiding in the shadows, Naraku has sent Kohaku with some jewel fragments to resurrect the specter of Kyokotsu. Kyokotsu rampages through the land of the Northern wolf demons. Cue the entrance of Koga to ensure the audience remembers that he is on the same path as the fellowship.

Koga manages to dispatch Kyokotsu by ripping the jewel fragment from Kyokotsu's forehead. One of Naraku's bugs flees with the fragment, and we end with Kohaku talking to a mysterious man about facing Inu Yasha. It is clear that the story is finally moving towards another showdown with Naraku, and that the path to him will go through some new, powerful enemies.

It is difficult to be overly excited about this fact though, as the audience has seen this course before. Instead of throwing demons from his own body at the fellowship, Naraku is now resurrecting the dead to do his bidding. The tactics remain the same, but there will ideally be more to this latest plot than an endless series of battles.

In Summary:
This was one of the weakest volumes in recent memory by being little more than a rehash of the character development over the past ninety-nine episodes. The action and humor that makes the series enjoyable was noticeably absent from the bulk of the volume. Saving the volume from complete mediocrity is the introduction of Naraku's latest plot and the hope that the story will finally be moving in a forward direction. If not for this, the volume could easily be labeled as filler material and discarded without a second thought.

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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