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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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02/19/2007 Archived Entry: "Anime review: InuYasha Vol. 48 and Vol. 49"

Inuyasha Vol. 48 and Vol. 49 (DVD)

Review by Tom Good

It may sound odd to suggest that newcomers to an anime series could easily begin by watching episode 147, but for InuYasha it would not make a bad starting point. Episodes 147 and 148 in Volume 49 form a special story called "The Tragic Love Song of Destiny" that fits chronologically before Episode 1, so new viewers won't be missing any vital information. The story explains how the half-demon InuYasha first met the priestess Kikyo, and how the two went from being friends to foes. We also get to see Kikyo carrying a whole, unshattered version of the Shikon jewel. This magical gem is later broken, and much of the series revolves around quests for its shards. Loyal fans will treasure the new background information and enjoy seeing younger versions of some of the characters.

A series doesn't make it to over 100 episodes without doing something right, and InuYasha has certainly found many fans through its consistent quality, supernatural action, and humor. Volume 48 contains some fun comedic exchanges like this one:

"How come you disguised yourself as a human girl?"
"Pa told me to. He said if I pretended to be a human girl whenever I left the mountain, some idiot would always come to my rescue!"
"Your father sounds very perceptive."

The potential drawback to having so many episodes, though, is the danger that the series may start to feel stale. After a while, even the most devoted fan will recognize some repetitive qualities in InuYasha. The characters keep searching for jewel shards and battling demons, often using the same stylized tactics in one episode after another. To some extent it becomes a "demons-of-the-week" setup, but the cleverness and care in the implementation of the formula keeps the show interesting.

For example, Episode 142 in Vol. 48, "Untamed Entei and Horrible Hakudoshi," features some fun new characters. Rengokuki is a hideous, horned monster who rides the demon horse Entei and can shoot fireballs from his mouth. He develops a crush on the sorceress Kagura and tells her, "In time I'm going to rule the world, and you'll be my wife. Not a bad deal, is it?" That first sentence may be pure bad-guy cliche, but the second one cracks me up because it suddenly shifts the mood completely, as if he is a salesman pitching a time-share. It's a great little piece of writing, and the voice acting makes it work.

Unlike Rengokuki, the demonic child Hakudoshi is not played for humor. His smirking, condescending attitude and creepy purple-eyed face set him up as a model villain, but the flourish that makes the character design extra effective is the fact that he looks about 6 years old. It's bad enough to be thwarted by a jerk, but when the jerk is a small child convinced of his own superiority, that makes it truly maddening. The creativity of the series takes two enemies who could have been just "generic demon 1 and 2," and instead turns them into memorable characters.

Volume 48 is simply a good disc, but the "Tragic Love Song of Destiny" story in Volume 49 makes it a must-see.

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