Inu Yasha Vol. #41 -

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. #41

By Luis Cruz     July 05, 2006
Release Date: April 25, 2006

Inu Yasha Vol. #41
© Viz Media

What They Say
With the barrier of Mt. Hakurei broken by Miroku and Sango, Inuyasha is faced with Bankotsu, the strongest of the Band of Seven. Bankotsu wields his giant halberd, already strong enough to thwart Inuyasha's huge sword, but now with shards of the Sacred Jewel imbedded in it!

Then Sango and Miroku rejoin the others at the center of Mount Hakurei. Suddenly, at long last, they find themselves face to face with their long-sought after nemesis: the newly reborn Naraku!

Contains episodes 121-123:
Final Battle: The Last and Strongest of the Band of Seven
The Power of Banryu: Duel to the Death on Mt. Hakurei
Episode 123: Beyond the Darkness - Naraku Reborn!

The Review!
Naraku is back, but for how long?

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 one of the more striking images in recent memory with Inu Yasha and Bankotsu staring each other down. 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 episodes on the reverse.

The main menu features a picture of Kagome 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)
The more vocal fans of Inu Yasha have told me in the past that the "Band of Seven" story arc would really heat up the series. It became a familiar refrain; "just wait; it gets much better when the Band of Seven show up". This volume has the Band exiting the stage, and I find myself wondering what will replace the Band in the fan's refrain.

Inu Yasha finds his path to Naraku blocked by Bankotsu deep inside Mount Hakurei. Their duel appears to be at a stalemate as they counter and parry their best efforts. Bankotsu makes one costly mistake that allows Inu Yasha to unleash the Backlash Wave and destroy Bankotsu.

The battle featured some of the best animation of the series in recent memory. The colors were sharp, and something about the flow and movement managed to keep the eye glued to the screen. But, the plot leading up did not provide much emotional investment in the actual battle. What could have been a memorable showdown between a powerful, well-defined villain ended up as just another roadblock delaying us from reaching Naraku.

Suikotsu is an example of what the Band's story arc could have been. There was an emotional tie to the character built up by watching him struggle to control the evil within him. His character was one I could care about and was interested in what their fate would be. Most of the Band had the potential to be more than how they were portrayed.

Perhaps I set my expectations too high for this arc and hoped too much that the Band of Seven would become more than Naraku's pawns and add a more complex dynamic to the story. Despite my criticisms on what could have been, I can say that this has been an entertaining storyline, better than some other material the series has produced. However, it is not the best material the series has produced but certainly had the potential to be.

The volume ends with Naraku finally reappearing in his new body, grotesque but beautifully detailed, and battles with Inu Yasha. Or has he truly reappeared? Kagura flies away from the battle with a rather mysterious and chatty bundle. Kikyo and Sesshomaru are also making their way to Naraku's location. With fifteen volumes left, Naraku's reappearance is sure to be brief, but it will hopefully revitalize the series and rekindle my interest.

In Summary:
The Band of Seven story comes to an end but leaves me wishing more had come of it. It was an entertaining arc, one that casual fans can enjoy; but the story did not build much emotional attachment to the Band making their individual demises little more than prolonged delays on the path to Naraku. The final battle with Bankotsu does feature some of the better animation in recent memory, and Naraku's new design captures the sense that he is a melange of demonic parts. Aside from the pretty pictures, there was little steam behind Bankotsu's final battle; I can only hope Naraku's return can lead to something more than prolonged battling around a mountain.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitiles,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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