InuYasha The Movie 2: The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass

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mdchan's avatar By on Dec 9, 2015

The second Inuyasha movie, yet the last one I've gotten around to reviewing.  The first time I watched it, I found it interesting (particularly as the series hadn't concluded yet, and it was difficult to find later chapters of the manga at that time as well).

However, re-watching it, there are so many questionable plot holes in the beginning that it's hard to even tell where to start.

Plot

The movie opens up with the gang fighting Naraku and supposedly defeating him.  Miroku's Kazaana even disappears, so the group splits up to take care of unfinished business (Sango with Kohaku, Miroku returning to the shrine, while Inuyasha, Kagome, and Shippo continue after the shards).

In the meantime, we see that Kagura gets her heart back as she's wandering around with Kanna, and Kanna is on an odd mission to collect five element-related treasures in order to bring back the sealed Kaguya for some unknown purpose.

Characters

To be honest, I found the protagonists slightly out of character in the first half of the movie.  Inuyasha, Kagome, and Shippo pretty much stay in character, and Sango a little bit, but I have difficulty believing that Miroku would leave Sango at this point.

The movie came out between episodes 95 and 96, and at that point, it was obvious that Miroku is in love with Sango.  As such, though it's possible to presume that he would briefly return to the temple where he grew up to let Mushin know about Naraku's defeat (and pray to his father), it's nigh impossible that he would go looking for any other woman afterwards except for Sango.

Inuyasha is also slightly out of character in terms of his wish.  While in the anime up to this point he complains about his human side and wanting to be stronger, I don't recall him restating his wish to become a full youkai ever since his experience with his youkai side in Season 2.  In fact, in episode 95, he even states that he's fine just the way he is.  This is evidenced by his behavior in later episodes, as well.

Kagura is also out of character here.  She desires freedom more than anything, and upon Naraku's death, wouldn't have followed Kanna around.  Instead, knowing her, she would have taken off the second she realized he was dead.

Kikyo also makes an appearance and does a little more in this movie, though her actions are still as controversial as ever and she doesn't have a large role. 

Sesshoumaru only appears during the introduction of the movie when the characters were listed, which I believe was completely unnecessary.  By now, with the exception of the third movie, I've determined that Sesshoumaru making a cameo in the movies is just to appease his fanbase.  Plus, it was sort of a poor decision to include him in the list of characters in the beginning of the movie when he doesn't appear for the rest of it.

Animation & Sound

I don't usually make a section for this in my reviews, but I have to go over a couple of things.

The animation is...well, hardly aesthetically pleasing.  The characters are drawn strangely for 3/4 of the movie, and often times feel too "thin" while the lines are a little too thick.  Rather, it feels a little like some sort of technique meant to save time, and doesn't compare even a fraction to the series (and Final Act).

As for the sound, there were no problems with the BGM, particularly in dramatic moments.  The credit song was also great as per usual with Inuyasha songs, and the filler song was very beautiful.

However, it's the filler song I have a problem with (it plays during a scene between Kagome and Inuyasha).

While it certainly does stir up the emotions of the scene, and plays highly on how Kagome likes Inuyasha for who he is, the song placement feels random at the same time.  It only plays for about a minute and 20 seconds, and occurs directly after a humorous scene.

If there was a little more buildup to the scene where the music played, or less humor directly before it, then it wouldn't have felt as awkward.

Overall

The best part of the movie was probably the climax; the fight scene was very well done, though many of the characters just sort of brushed off their wounds as if they were mere paper cuts (which made it just a tad unrealistic).

In any case, this is where I start to go over all the errors.  It's going to be a little difficult, considering that the first half of the movie was chock full of them, so I'm sure I'll miss a few here and there.

The story, itself, feels like it's all over the place, particularly for the first half of the movie.  Many anime use the legend of Kaguya/the Moon Princess, so I can't exactly say it's original, yet this movie had the potential to make it original and managed to fail with the slightly hodgepodge way the first half of the movie attempted to fit together.

I'll have to go over a little bit of SPOILERS, though I'll try to keep major ones out as usual.

Like I said, the first half of the movie past the fight with Naraku is completely a mess.  Even that fight was rather lackluster, and it just felt like they were fighting another youkai rather than their arch nemesis; it lacked tension.

The real fault of the movie comes as Kanna (and Kagura) gather the items needed to undo the seal on Kaguya, and this is where it gets scattered as the movie bounces back and forth between their little quest and what the other characters are up to.

Sango finds and rescues Kohaku, who mysteriously has one of the items needed for Kaguya's revival.  How he got it and how he knew it would be bad if it was stolen is unknown; one could argue that perhaps Naraku gave it to him to fulfill his goal, but since Kohaku knew that something bad would happen if Kagura stole it, that theory has holes in it.

This point was never explained anywhere in the movie, and seems to be in there only to involve Sango (who had gone off on her own to find Kohaku) in the major plot and reunite her with the group to fight against Kaguya.

In other words, it seems to be there for the sake of the plot.

Another inconsistency is Inuyasha's fight against Kagura.  At this point, Inuyasha is probably equal if not stronger than Kagura, yet he was getting beaten back rather easily.  I could have bought it a little more if the reflection of the Bakuryuha was the cause of his fire-rat robe tearing, but not so much as Kagura's wind attacks.

Yet another convenience in the plot is that Kikyo stumbles upon a village which has been ravaged by youkai seeking some strange bowl.  A little girl gives it to Kikyo before she dies, and Kikyo being Kikyo gives it to Kagura.

That was both in character and out of character, as Kikyo's goal was Naraku and she doesn't seem to care much about fighting his minions.  She's also highly driven by self-preservation, so it would make sense for her to hand over the bowl without a fight.  However, I don't recall Kagura asking for it, yet Kikyo knew immediately what Kagura wanted when they met.

Add another point to a head-scratching moment.  Can Kikyo read minds?  How did she know Kagura came for the bowl?

Many situations in the first half of the movie seem to occur only for the sake of the plot (or to gather the characters) rather than to make any real sense.

The latter half of the movie picks up on things which didn't make sense in the first half (such as why Kanna was doing all of this), and I don't have as many complaints/nitpicks about the latter half/climax of the movie as the rest of it.

One of the few nitpicks I do have is that Kagome is captured...again.  Is this some sort of trend?  We've seen that Kagome is a fierce fighter when she has to be, so it's just rather annoying to see her constantly kidnapped.

Granted, in this case, it's presumed that the reason is because Kaguya couldn't remove the arrow (though she didn't try, so this is just a theory) from Kagome in order to get the celestial robe, so she took Kagome with her as well.  However, she didn't even attempt to remove the arrow to get at the robe, so this is just probably a loophole for the plot in order to get Inuyasha at the castle.

The other annoyance was mentioned earlier; in the final battle, there are a few blows which should have been a little more devastating, yet the characters seem to shrug them off as if they had merely been pricked by a sewing needle instead of slashed or impaled.  This takes away from the fight scene.

Honestly, for an anime which typically has no trouble showing blood, they picked a strange time to be squeamish about it (that, or just lazy with the animation).

In the end, while I don't think this is the worst of the four movies (that honor goes to Movie 3), it certainly vys for a spot next to it as one of the worst Inuyasha movies.  I actually feel I was rather generous in the overall rating.

The beginning is confusing as heck, and only makes up for it in the climax.  The emotional scenes seem rather downplayed even though one of them (Kagome's statement that she likies Inuyasha the way he is, as a hanyou) is a huge turning point in the story.

5/10 story
6/10 animation
7/10 sound
6/10 characters
5/10 overall
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roriconfan's avatar By on Jun 9, 2012

This is the second Inu Yasha movie, taking place after the hero has learned the barrier breaker technique. The scenario takes advantage of a possible sequel after the main objective is completed. So imagine the heroes managing to destroy Naraku 200 episodes earlier and are thinking of what to do with their lives now that the threat is over. This alone gave a lot more focus to every one of them and how they are now trying to settle down in a peaceful world.

Of course this is not meant to last because there is a demon who rivals Naraku’s power and whose plan can be achieved now that he is dead. So it’s like an after story scenario where trying to fix things only manages to make them worse. Also, the villain is based on a fairy tale and a poem, and her motives seem quite strange for most of the movie, so everything feels far more mysterious and elaborate. Unlike the first movie the plot is not that predictable and it is surely not about huge explosions either. The conflict is far more esoteric and despite not feeling as threatening or powerful as the villains of the first movie, it definitely manages to build up far better tension and excitement. After all, saving the flow of time sounds more cool that just saving the world once more. Plus, I liked how it took everybody’s effort to weaken the villain instead of just being about the hero and his kill-all sword as usual. Combined all that with far better production values than the tv series and you got yourself a very interesting filler mission.

Although I enjoyed the whole “what happens next” flavour, the movie is otherwise not exactly trying to offer something we haven’t seen already. It would fit nicely as a final mission a little bit before the canon finale but for the time it takes place it just tells us what we already see in the main series. Also, once you see past the mysterious goals of the villain you realize that half the movie is just a dull build up.

The movie will better be appreciated by those who prefer mystery or comedy than action, as there isn’t that much of the later. Plus, it is much closer to a metaphysical journey than shounen action. Nothing amazing in overall but at least it is different than the usual stuff you get in the main series.

7/10 story
9/10 animation
8/10 sound
7/10 characters
6.5/10 overall
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CaseyJewels's avatar By on Jan 28, 2012

The movie was decent, but, like the first Inuyasha movie, it feels more like an arc in the show than an actual movie. I love the series, but, at the same time, it can feel very repetitive, and I didn't feel like there was anything new in this movie that isn't explored in the series.

Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy watching it, but there were a few bits I found a little boring. However, there was also several very emotional moments that really got to me--both happy and sad, and the opening fight was very well done, I thought.

6/10 story
7/10 animation
7/10 sound
8/10 characters
6.5/10 overall
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