Based on the Shogakukan award-winning manga of the same name, InuYasha follows Kagome Higurashi, a fifteen-year-old girl whose normal life ends when a demon drags her into a cursed well on the grounds of her family's Shinto shrine. Instead of hitting the bottom of the well, Kagome ends up 500 years in the past during Japan's violent Sengoku period with the demon's true target, a wish-granting jewel called the Shikon Jewel, reborn inside of her.
After a battle with a revived demon accidentally causes the sacred jewel to shatter, Kagome enlists the help of a young hybrid dog-demon/human named Inuyasha to help her collect the shards and prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. Joining Kagome and Inuyasha on their quest are the orphan fox-demon Shippo, the intelligent monk Miroku, and the lethal demon slayer Sango. Together, they must set aside their differences and work together to find the power granting shards spread across feudal Japan and deal with the threats that arise.
#1: "Change the World" by V6 (eps 01-34) #2: "I Am" by Hitomi (eps 35-64) #3: "Owarinai Yume" by Nanase Aikawa (eps 65-95) #4: "Grip!" by Every Little Thing (eps 96-127) #5: "One Day, One Dream" by Tackey & Tsubasa (eps 128-153) #6: "Angelus" by Hitomi Shimatani (eps 154-167)
#1: "My Will" by Dream (eps 01-20,166-167) #2: "Fukai Mori" by Do As Infinity (eps 21-41) #3: "Dearest" by Ayumi Hamasaki (eps 42-60) #4: "Every Heart - Minna no Kimochi" by Boa (eps 61-85) #5: "Shinjitsu no Uta" by Do As Infinity (eps 86-108) #6: "Itazurana Kiss" by day after tomorrow (eps 109-127) #7: "Come" by Namie Amuro (eps 128-148) #8: "Brand-New World" by V6 (eps 149-165)
Sometimes I think back on my experience with Inuyasha and my conclusions about it have always been conflicted. It was the first anime that I watched whole heartedly, and it was the first thing that brought me into the realm of Japanese media and culture. I've come to love anime and manga, appreciate the history and the different styles and subtleties that come with every genre and now consider it a very large and colorful part of my life. Naturally I look back on Inuyasha with a sense of fondness,the yellow volumes and DVD's on my shelves only a small testament to the dedication I had to the story. However as I said, Inuyasha is something I think about with a degree of conflict. It was the work that introduced me to the magical world of Japanese television, however in its own right Inuyasha is the most chaotic and exasperating anime I've probably ever seen.
There are flaws in the overall composition. Things one might ask themselves like; why, if you KNEW you we're going to be trekking across feudal Japan for months on end, would you bring only one outfit? And more importantly why would it be your Junior High School uniform - i.e. a bright green miniskirt?
Regardless, the story itself is very weak, as its the random plot arcs and ridiculous character relations that really make the show. To summarize, a young girl falls down a well at her family's shrine, only to be transported back in time to feudal Japan, where she frees a grumpy dog eared half demon man who is stuck to a tree (The result of a bad breakup) and ends up breaking a magical mystical artifact that then shatters into a bazillion pieces. Ditzy teenage girl and pissy dog demon guy now must work together to find all the shards of "The Sacred Jewel" before the bad guys do. Sure there's another load of subplots - pointless, funny and romantic alike - but we'll get to that.
Although the premise is simplistic it does expand further along in the story, but only if one likes the show enough initially to move on in the series through the 160 + episodes.
The subplots and the arcs are what make this series entertaining. (And also agonizing if the arc you're in bores you to tears) We'll have run ins with random demons and get mixed up with numerous characters who may or may not come and go. Each plot brings changes and the characters do a very good job of growing and evolving as a result. The series does, despite its episodic nature, still follow some sense of linearity. Development in the characters remain as they would in a real person. (This excludes the Inuyasha movies, unfortunately)
Despite all that, its still one of those series that makes it very easy to drop in at any time and figure things out eventually. I watched from the middle first before I decided I loved the show and went back to see the beginning - which was drastically different to me considering the amount of change that takes place from beginning to middle to end.
I can't go into detail very well considering the story, as there is so much of it its hard to find a place to start. The elements of the setting and time really come into play with the presence of the spirits and demons all of which offer a uniqueness all to its own. The multiple love triangle issues are superficial but also complex, so there is a degree of decent conflict in that regard. I also really appreciate personally how the development of the relationship between the two main characters, Inuyasha and Kagome, is gradual.
Coming to the characters, there are many. Too many to identify them all in this review. This is a great thing about the show, but can also be annoying and for the casual observer, confusing as hell. I'll touch on the main characters at least:
Kagome is a really plain Junior High School girl. As a heroine she starts out pathetically dull and often comes off as a total ditz. However if you give her a chance she does show you how she can grow to be a capable human being despite the fact that she is a 15 year old idiot running around feudal Japan in a miniskirt. Throughout the show we find shes short tempered, opinionated and rash, but she does keep a sense femininity intact somehow. She also retains an ability to sympathize with and care for the people she comes to know. What I love about her is that she starts out completely incompetent. Literally she is nothing but a Mary-Sue-ish teenage airhead with little care in the world aside doing well in school, and she morphs (gradually) into a priestess who can use a bow and even protect herself. She - going through the show constantly compared to the priestess Kikiyo (Details will become clear if you decide to watch the show) she makes a deliberate effort to break free of that confine and become her own person, and I like that.
Inuyasha is also a great source of character development. I know I keep saying "Development development development!" but really is one of the biggest things this show has going for itself. I almost see this anime as some kind of document of how Inuyasha becomes a man. Hes over 50 years old but despite that he is extremely childish, boorish and often rude and annoying. He also works pretty hard to gain strength and create a name for himself. He is an 'underdog' (lol puns) and also has a bit of a Gary-Stu thing going for him. Being a half demon with a snobby older brother and a messed up undead ex-girlfriend gives him a lot of stuff to complain about.
The characters ARE shallow. But their relationships are entertaining and - if you get all the way to the end of this series and the short Inuyasha Sequel: Inuyasha the Final Act - are rewarding to see until the end.
I'll keep the review of the art quick in saying that it is very traditional for the time it was made. Its got a lot of square and rectangular shapes and brightly colored character designs that fit in well with its shounen genre. The style is very consistent, budget obviously allowed for lots of attention to detail and a tone of seriousness. It has its own sort of beauty, very reminiscent of Takahashi's earlier works like Ranma 1/2 and the like, which aired in the late 1980's. Almost a retro anime style if you get my meaning. Movies have much more bold and sharp lines. Character designs could use work (I can't get over the miniskirt thing, I'm sorry. Its just too stupid. And I get really sick of Inuyasha never wearing anything but his giant red.. thing)
Even quicker, my opinion of the sound. The music is diverse and beautifully complex. One of the best parts of the show. Multiple opening and ending themes, background music all magical and perfectly suitable to the time period. Voice acting is always better in Japanese. English is very harsh on the ears, I strongly dislike it nowadays.
Very long review and I've only just scratched the surface. Inuyasha, as I see it, is a classic shounen. Its time in the limelight long passed when it made room for Naruto and Bleach to move in on the scene. For those of you who can take a long series and like the sound of this show, give it a shot. Perhaps google a list of filler episodes you might feel like skipping if this does tickle your fancy. Inuyasha does have something for everyone. From the action to the supernatural, to the romantic and the historical. Its a story hard to place and hard to review with a fair share of chaos and confusion. Its a mess, really. But its a big fun mess if you're willing to see it through.
As always, keep good humor in mind while watching. This show is bananas and it will make you want to throw objects at the screen from time to time.
For now, I tip my hat to Inuyasha. I thank it for showing me this world, showing me complexity and hilarity, and for showing me how flaws can be celebrated for their entertainment just as well as the parts that shine.read more
Inuyasha was one of the earlier anime that I had watched and is one of the few anime that are over 100 episodes that I have stuck with. However, this is also one of the series that I am seriously conflicted with.
The story of Inuyasha is one that I feel drags on for a bit too long. It starts with the simple story of Kagome who is transported to another world and accidentally breaks apart a crystal called the Shikon no Tama that she has to put back together. Along the way she meets people who become her friends and enemies. However, Inuyasha is one series that I feel the story that goes on for longer than necessary. The main enemy nearly always makes clean escapes and comes back stronger. The heroes then receive an upgrade to fight the new empowered villain and this goes on for a while. While this is typical of a lot of anime, the pacing is what ultimately hurts it. The earlier episodes have great pacing, but towards the middle and later episodes, it feels like it was beginning to drag out to the point where it became a formula. The earlier parts of the series even had more interesting Youkais that existed in Kagome's world as well. The one episode that keeps coming back to my mind is the one where one of the main characters is walking through a sacred mountain and has to avoid thinking perverted thoughts and staring at the butt of a female character. I felt like that was not necessary.
I really like the art style of this series for some reason. The effects used for special abilities felt like they were something that did not belong and ultimately, I felt that it was a good thing because it emphasized how Miroku's Kazaana could be supernatural and otherworldly in nature. The thing that I dislike is the fact that a lot of character faces look too similar to one another. I did not notice it at first, but it became problematic in the latter part of the series as they introduced more characters. However, it seemed like they gave up entirely with generic villagers and I sometimes felt like they were just running into the same few people who always got into trouble.
The sounds of the series definitely contributed to the feel of the series. One thing I liked is that they were very consistent with the usage of their music, such as that one song they play whenever a fight is coming up. The opening songs were kind of strange to me for some reason and felt awkward and out of place. Then again, I do remember the first one very well so maybe it did its job after all.
The characters that I liked in this series were the ones that received only some character development, such as Sango. She had a strong reason for fighting and the way she was introduced set her up as a tragic heroine. This was done well, but there are other times when characters like Inuyasha spend too much time thinking about which girl he feels closer to when one is an undead clone that will fade away and Kagome trying to figure out whether she loves a minor character boy from her own time or Inuyasha.
Overall, the series was mediocre at best. It has a strong beginning, a very weak middle, but improves again towards the end. It gets much better with the sequel series that is also the conclusion. However, this one felt disappointing as it went on.read more
Overall, Inuyasha is very enjoyable. The art is brilliant although in the movies the art does slip because Rumiko Takahashi (the mangaka) helps with the drawings.
The storyline is basic and very easy to follow, however the story does seem to drag on, so if you have patience with animes this could be for you.
The characters are pure genius, each with their own running joke. Each character (with the exception of Kagome) has a dark and kind of upsetting past often including the death of a loved one. My favourite is Miroku by far. He is a perverted womanising monk who flirts with pretty much any girl. However, some characters, like Shippo (an adorable fox demon), have a minor role with little or no fight scenes. (Then again that's a small part of his jokes).
The fights are good, lots of blood in some places. However the fights are short and it seems to always be Inuyasha doing most of the work. (As he has stated a few times). The others seem to be back up and use the same moves. For example, Sango, a demon slayer, uses her Hirakotsu (a giant boomerang often used hitting Miroku when he flirts with other girls or touches her butt) but she has a sword which rarely gets used. I think I've seen it 3 times and then I can only remember when she is about to use it on Kohaku (her little brother who has no memory of killing their whole village because he's being controlled by the main bad guy).
The romance is my favourite part in all of the series. It's more sweet than it is romantic. But it's the sort that makes you feel all warm inside. I'm sad to say that the romance barely progresses. (Apart from Miroku and Sango). And there is a really big love net. But like I said, it sweet in a LOT of places.(Oh, for you fan girls, I know Sesshomaru, Inuyasha's brother, is a favourite. Oh, I'm not a fan girl.)
All in all, Inuyasha is a good anime (and my favourite). Watch it if you have patience and love a good laugh, fight sometimes full of blood and sweet romantic bits in an anime. read more
The jokes got old fast, InuYasha and Sesshoumaru were the only characters with much character development, the fights were boring (InuYasha was a bad fighter, anyway), and the romance was like a cheap soap opera. The romance never progressed, nor did anything else, really. It's sad, because the characters were potentially very likeable, but as I said before, Sango, Miroku, and Shippou had no character development at all, and Kagome only had a little.
There's really not much of a plot. Think of it as Dragon Ball for girls, and you've pretty much got it. Kagome, Inuyasha, and friends search for pieces of a broken jewel. They find half of the jewel within the first couple of episodes, but another 150 episodes, give or take, go by after that with the jewel still incomplete. The series goes on seemingly forever with little progress in plot or character development. The seemingly infinite, pointless filler episodes that provide no character development and little, if any, entertainment, while also making up over half of the series, don't help matters.
Some of the fight scenes in the first few episodes were rather exciting, so this made up for the lack of character development. After all, it's pretty much natural for an action series to sacrifice character and story development for good action scenes. But as the show went on, InuYasha relied more and more on one big, flashy attack that finished every fight. The same animation of InuYasha using that attack was used in many of the episodes, as well. And instead coming up with a variety of different ways to stop InuYasha's technique, they just relied on the use of the same device over and over again. So the fight scenes, like much of the series, became very repetitive.
There are good aspects to this show. The artwork is beautiful, even if the fights reuse the same scene of InuYasha using his strongest move for nearly every fight. InuYasha is a very touching character, and Kagome is a character that is easy to identify with. However, anyone who knows the series Fruits Basket can see quickly that InuYasha and Kyo Sohma are nearly identical in personality, so InuYasha and Sesshoumaru's pretty faces, Kagome, and the occasional episode that's actually funny (a couple of them were hilarious) end up being the only really good reasons to watch.
Overall, it's mainly the plot (or lack thereof) and lack of character development that stop this anime from being great. Of course, being an action series, a lack of character development would've been fine if the fights were entertaining, but the entertainment value of the fight scenes is rather low. I definitely recommend watching a few episodes. There's fun to be had with this series, but the sub-par aspects of the show drag it down, making it something that's far worse than the sum of its parts.read more
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