Mania Grade: A
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- Art Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: A
- Text/Translatin Rating: A-
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Released By: Viz Media
- MSRP: 8.95
- Pages: 192
- ISBN: 1-59116-331-5
- Size: Tall B6
- Orientation: Right to Left
InuYasha (Action Edition) Vol. #18
By Megan Lavey
July 26, 2004
Release Date: June 01, 2004
Translated by:Mari Morimoto
Adapted by:What They SayThe Review
The demon Naraku's origin as a human may prove to be his secret weakness, as the priestess Kikyo has begun to realize. Can the evil mastermind bring himself to kill the woman he once desired, or will his residual lust prove his downfall? Then, Inuyasha may have to make a similiar choice between his lost love for Kikyo and a possible future with Kagome. Packaging:
Much like the artwork for this volume, the cover is a very pretty and simple montage. Kikyo and Kagome get equal play here with each taking up half of the cover while Inuyasha is tucked up against Kagome on the bottom. The logo strips across the middle and is not intrusive at all. The back features a small portrait of Kohaku wielding his scythe.Artwork:
Rumiko Takahashi's art will never be like Yu Watase, Nobuhiro Watsuki or Kosuke Fujishima. However, she does go the extra length in this volume. With the exception of the wrapup of the Juromaru/Kageromaru tale and the beginning of the next story centering on Kohaku at the end, the majority of the action centers around character growth rather than fighting. So, throughout, we have these gorgeous panels with closeups on Inuyasha, Kagome, Kikyo and Naraku that reflect a range of emotions. One picture that leapt out at me was Kagome pausing at one point to study Goshinboku. The next page features a large panel of her touching the tree that is just as moving. The minimalistic style works well here, causing us to see the characters' emotions better. Takahashi has come a long way from her early works here.Text:
After commending Viz for using the original attack names for the majority of the last volume, we return to the status quo here with Sango using a "Boomerang Bone" instad of "Hirakotsu." The move that Viz tried in volume 17 was one that I was pleased with, and it was something bold to try with the series. As we move into volumes 19 and 20, I would love a return back to the way the attacks were handled in volume 17. Please, be consistent with attack names, etc. Other than that, the translation is clean and managed to convey the delicate feelings being discussed here well.Review (please note that contents of a review may contain spoilers):
This volume starts and ends with action, as the Juromaru/Kageromaru fight draws to a close and the gang encounters Kohaku once more at the end. It's standard fighting at the beginning as Inuyasha and Koga fight Naraku's extensions and each other at the same time. Just as it's starting to get really old, it ends and the focus immediately shifts to the growing problem of the love triangles.
What happens here is a false climax of sorts. Kikyo learns the extent of Naraku's feelings for her, something that's been part of the story for the past 11 volumes, but is now fully realized. Naraku finally has a plausible weakness and he loathes it. The scenes between Naraku and Kikyo are some of my favorite, and I always enjoy it when these two managed to get one on one with each other. Kikyo's undead state allows her to reveal her true emotions, and it's fun to see her rage pitted against Naraku's coldness.
But a lot centers here on Inuyasha's choice - Kikyo or Kagome. Well, lack of choice. After all, if he fully chose Kikyo or fully chose Kagome, there wouldn't be much point in the series continuing from this point except to find Shikon shards. His decision makes the love triangle even more complicated, and it's not until the later volumes of the manga that it will begin to even out. At first, you read the book and it swings in one direction. Then his lack of desire to carry out that choice and a decision on Kagome's end causes things to swing in the other direction. These chapters are open to interpretation here. My way of seeing it? At this point, he wants to protect one and to love the other. In order to protect the one, he can't love the other. Not until he's repaid his debt from what happened 50 years earlier.
There's also some great emotion from Kikyo and Kagome both and it makes me regret that the anime has painted Kikyo to be more cold-hearted than she actually is.
For all the growth we've seem from Inuyasha, he is still hot-headed. His fierce desire to protect both Kikyo and Kagome overshadows reason at times, and you can see this as he vows to do one thing, then start to regret it. Still, his actions do show a lot of maturity that wasn't there at the beginning of the series.
Finally, the focus shifts back to Sango and Kohaku, and it's something that's starting to get repetitive. Once again, Sango angsts over Kohaku and does her best to try and pry him from Naraku's clutches just as Kagura shows up. Right now, it's almost a rehash of what happened in volume 11-12 when they first discover that Naraku's kept Kohaku alive and I'm hoping the next volume shows something different in regards to that storyline.Comments
The beginning and the end of the book is the standard fare from the series, but the middle is what elevates this volume into one of my favorites. There's a lot of naked emotion here as the key players in the series struggle with their feelings and how their actions reacts with each other. The extra dimension for me is the time spent on developing Naraku a bit more, especially in regard to his lust for Kikyo. He's trapped in this just as he was trapped in the burned shell that was Onigumo. The events force Inuyasha's hand and he makes the decision that will allow the status quo to proceed for a few more volumes at least. Character drama is what Rumiko Takahashi is known for, and when she does it right, it blows everything else out of the water.