Recently, it came to the attention of anime fandom that the long-running shonen series Inuyasha will be coming to an end this June. Manga-ka Rumiko Takahashi has finally decided to put her demon half-dog to sleep.
Though some fans are understandably upset, the end of Inuyasha is not necessarily a bad thing. Manga and anime series in general are well-known for rambling on after the story's main climax played out ages ago, but if there was an award to be won for taking this flaw to the extreme, Inuyasha would surely win it.
Part of the problem lies in the story's potential for never-ending generic conflict. Inuyasha chronicles the adventures of a young girl and a half-demon who must search for shards of a sacred jewel (the Jewel of Four Souls) before evil spirits, particularly the nefarious half-demon Naraku.
Next time you drop a brittle object, take count of how many shards of said object go skittering across your kitchen floor. The number will be brutal. Even after you sweep up the big chunks, you'll doubtlessly be picking near-invisible splinters out of the bottom of your foot for the next month. That's how many shards of the Jewel of Four Souls need to be found in the Inuyasha universe.
It's also the reason I gave up on the series after several weeks of faithful viewing. I noticed that, despite the introduction of new characters and monsters, nothing was particularly happening beyond demon-hunting and shard collecting. I kept waiting for the relationship between Kagome and Inuyasha to develop into something (or they were welcome to rip each other up—I'm not choosy). Then when I learned through a bit of trivia that Inuyasha is one of anime's longest-running series, I knew I was in trouble. Nothing interesting had developed as far as I watched the show, and if Takahashi-san was boasting the longest storyline in a genre not known for quick jaunts, there was no reason for the show to develop into anything interesting.
Therefore, I present a few reasons why I'm glad to see the white-tailed back end of Inuyasha.
It's An Anime Fetch Quest -- Week one: find a jewel shard. Week two: find another jewel shard. Week three: The lecherous monk Miroku grabs some girl's ass and pulls Inuyasha and Kagome into trouble that's still related in some watery way to a jewel shard.
I'm no stranger to anime series that present the same premise again and again. One of my favourite series is Mushishi, which has a tendency to reuse themes, but at least there's a distinct effort made to develop the plot and the characters with more than teasing hints.
”It's Freakin' DBZ for Girls!” -- VGCats.com creator Scott Rasoomair attained notoriety in the anime fandom for drawing this NSFW rant about the Inuyasha series. Rasoomair has a point, though: between the agonizingly long and aimless story, the over-powered characters and pointless fight scenes, Inuyasha is indeed a lot like Dragon Ball Z. DBZ certainly trumps it in one category: Toriyama's casual take on romance and friendship is far more entertaining than watching Kagome and Inuyasha making googly-eyes at each other once every hundred episodes.
Maybe People Will Cosplay as Someone Else Now -- The Red Sea that drowned the Egyptian armies in the Old Testament has nothing on the crowds milling at an anime convention. Inuyasha has consistently been the top dog of cosplay for years, and come the Con season, the halls of convention centres are a-flutter with red robes. It's as if no one considered that maybe there are other anime series out there, with cooler dogs who deserve love and attention (Ein from Cowboy Bebop).
God Forbid Anyone Use It As a History Lesson -- Inuyasha stars Kagome, a girl from modern times who stumbles into ancient Japan and totally fits in without anyone so much as throwing a rock at her and calling her a witch. Native characters, such as Inuyasha, have American accents and use slang like “ain't” and “gonna.” If Inuyasha has inspired you to register for advanced courses on feudal Japanese history, I advise you to swallow a bag of rocks and immerse yourself in the nearest lake.
Oh, but it's all in good fun. Inuyasha does deserve some credit for holding into an audience for 558 chapters. Let's give it a round of applause and a basket of Milk Bones.