Kagome, a girl from modern Tokyo, falls into the Bone Eater's Well, which
happens to be a portal to and from ancient Japan. When she finds herself the
carrier of the Shikon Jewel, the jewel of four souls, the demons arrive,
forcing Kagome to release Inuyasha, a half-demon, to protect her. But when a
second demon tries for the jewel, the ensuing fracas ends in the jewel being
shattered and the pieces spread all over Japan. Unwillingly at first, Kagome
teams up with Inuyasha to gather the pieces of the Shikon Jewel, which brings
them all over ancient Japan, encountering gods, demons and spirits aplenty in
I'll admit I went a little overboard on my original review of Inuyasha. I
am, after all, a big fan of Takahashi's work, which includes Ranma ½, Mermaid
Forest and, yes, Inuyasha. I've also looked by Urusei Yatsura with some
interest, but haven't gotten to the part of looking any more into that for
now.) So those of you who don't share my love for Ms. Takahashi might want to
take what I have to say with a pinch of salt.
That being said, I'm very pleased with the way Inuyasha has turned out.
Unlike Ranma ½, this series follows the manga almost to the letter, with only
some minor changes so as better to suit an animated medium. And good animation
Inuyasha is colorful, has nice character design, and taken into account
that it is a TV series, the animation is more than adequate. Perhaps not quite
up to the level of Fruits Basket or Happy Lesson, but it works and works well
I am, however, less pleased with the music. The in-series music is okay.
Mostly ambient, and mostly very good. The opening and ending themes are
starting to grate on me, however, even though they tend to change over a
period of twenty to thirty episodes. They are more fitting a pure action show
and while Inuyasha does have its fair share of action scenes, the series does
run a little deeper than that.
The Japanese VAs deserve nothing but praise. They do their roles and they
do them well. The English ones are more of a mixed bag, with Sesshoumaru's and
Sango's voices being excellent but Kagome's and Kaede's being not quite as
good. Kagome starts out being voiced rather badly, but improves a lot as the
series progresses and Kaede is suffering from bad and unfitting accent
syndrome. I have no idea why they have her talking like ye olde pirate, but
they did. (Hell, even Kikyo doesn't talk like that, and she was Kaede's big
Anyway, that leaves only the story.
Before we start with that, let me just get this straight; Inuyasha is
mainly rather lighthearted stuff, but the Takahashi magic does show its
presence rather heavily here -- after all, it's her stories that are being
animated -- and she does have a knack for writing intricate person to person
interaction scenes, not to mention the way she puts these characters up
against each other. And while some characters might share similar appearance
traits -- like Kagome and Kikyo, but for rather obvious reasons -- their
personalities is a far cry from being copies of each other. And as the series
progresses, more and more stuff about each characters past is discovered, and
how they crossed -- well, mainly Inuyasha's and Kikyo's pasts in that. And
while it was, like I said, mainly lighthearted stuff, it does get rather
serious and dark-ish at times. I'll tell you this, though; not everything is
as it first seems.
Now, with well past a hundred episodes made, it's blindingly obvious that
there will be filler material that I don't know for sure whether they are from
the manga as it hasn't been released in English this far yet. This being said,
the series does descend into the "villain of the week" syndrome from
time to time, but the way a lot of these are handled saves it from becoming
tedious. Let me just say this, though; not all of them are defeated in fights,
but leaves the story with some parting thoughts for you to ponder. Not
incredibly deep Zen stuff, but certainly not something to be dismissed as
unworthy or simple-minded either.
So what we have is a rather good popular TV show built on what makes
Takahashi Rumiko's stories and characterizations work, and work well at that.
I personally recommend this series for your collection and, given Viz's slow
release pacing, it shouldn't ruin your budget much either. And if you do
possess some semblance of patience, I'm sure Viz will release season packages
of Inu Yasha like they have with Ranma ½, which might be much better value
for your money.