Inu Yasha Vol. #39 -

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: 24.99
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Inu Yasha

Inu Yasha Vol. #39

By Luis Cruz     March 14, 2006
Release Date: February 28, 2006

Inu Yasha Vol. #39
© Viz Media

What They Say
The Band of Seven's attacks on Inuyasha and the others continue. While their leader, Bankotsu, meets with Kikyo, the rest of the Band of Seven has split up their forces to attack. Jakotsu and Suikotsu attempt to kill Sesshomaru by using Rin as bait, while Renkotsu tries to kill Inuyasha and the injured Koga using his explosives.

Meanwhile, Miroku and Sango continue their search for Naraku on Mount Hakurei. Inside the sacred mountain's barrier, they come face to face with Kagura. How will they all manage to survive against the Band of Seven's unrelenting attacks?

Contains episodes 115-117:
Lured by the Black Light
The Exposed Face of Truth
Vanished in a River of Flames

The Review!
And then there were three... But are we any closer to a major showdown?

The Japanese audio was used for my primary viewing session; after one hundred plus episodes, it would take an extreme blunder to ruin the audio quality Viz has maintained over time. This volume exhibits the same high quality, problem-free stereo track you can find on every volume of Inu Yasha.

As with the audio, Viz has their routine down pat and turns in another stellar video experience. At this point, anything I can add to this section is redundant. Viewers will have a gorgeous viewing experience to match their audio experience.

The front cover is a crowded montage of Inu Yasha, Kagome, Sesshomaru, Jakotsu, and Suikotsu. 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. 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.

The main menu features a picture of Kikyo on the left of the screen with rotating images overlaid on the moon to the right. Menu items are along the bottom of the screen. Transition animations are kept to a minimum, and music loops in the background. While very clean and functional, the menus have a sterile feeling compared to others Viz has produced for the series.

Viz stays the course and provides a Japanese and English cast list, two brief line art galleries, and the Japanese promos for the episodes.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
There are periods when Inu Yasha seems to lack forward progress in the relationship story line and the defeat Naraku story line. Currently, the series seems to be stuck in one of these periods despite the winnowing of the Band of Seven. This volume gives Sesshomaru fans plenty to cheer about but does little else.

As the volume opens, Kikyo encounters Bankotsu and engages in a discussion about the fate of the walking dead like themselves. The main thrust of the conversation is to differentiate the evil glow Bankotsu's jewel fragments from the pure glow Suikotsu's doctor persona displays. At the moment, that persona is subdued by the violent persona and is helping Jakotsu attack Sesshomaru.

The battle rages on but abruptly ends when Rin plummets into a ravine; washed away by a river, she wakes up to find herself in the arms of Suikotsu, now seemingly possessed by the good doctor. Once again, Suikotsu finds himself in the village at the base of Mt. Hakurei; however, the doctor persona is all a ruse, as the mountain no longer affects the evil persona.

Suikotsu and Jakotsu use Rin to lure Sesshomaru into the mountain's barrier and attempt to finish their battle. Despite the barrier's power, Sesshomaru manages to hold his own and seemingly score a victory. But the power of the jewel fragments enables the Band to play on and place Rin's life in jeopardy. A timely arrow from Kikyo puts Suikotsu down, so they can all share a special moment together as the doctor persona begs Kikyo to release his soul.

She hesitates to do it, so Jakotsu does it for her by forcefully retrieving Suikotsu's fragment. Kikyo recognized the good in Suikotsu and wanted to believe that if he could be redeemed then perhaps there was hope for her. While it is an interesting point, the scene lacked the emotional power the series has managed in the past; it felt hastily setup and did not manage to make a meaningful connection between the pair.

We end the volume with Inu Yasha and Kagome carrying Koga and crew to a cave. Said cave is soon blocked off by a river of flame as Renkotsu seeks revenge for Ginkotsu's death. Inu Yasha fends off the various explosive devices Renkotsu uses but appears to die in one of the blasts. As Renkotsu finds Bankotsu and the news that only three of the Band is left, we find Kagome weeping when Inu Yasha shows up alive and unharmed.

Giving a small glimmer of hope for some forward momentum in the next volume, Sango and Miroku finally locate a cave that could lead to Naraku. Little do they know that Kagura and a horde of hungry demons are waiting for them. There was some decent action in this volume, but the story lacks a compelling element to make me excited for new episodes. The Band of Seven started out as an interesting and diverse group of villains; there is still tension between Bankotsu and Renkotsu, but the Band has served little purpose than to be cannon fodder to delay the reveal of Naraku for as long as possible. Add in the lack of building up any of the relationships, and the series feels like it is only spinning its wheels.

In Summary:
Sesshomaru fans will enjoy this volume as it showcases his skills against the Band of Seven, but there is little else to enjoy in terms of the ongoing story. The more interesting aspects of the Band of Seven have been glossed over; instead they continue to be used only to delay revealing Naraku. Stalling on that front is also accompanied by stalling any progress in the various relationships in the series. One can only hope that Sango and Miroku's discovery of a demon laden cave can pick things up in the next volume.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,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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