InuYasha follows the exploits of a fifteen-year-old girl called Kagome, after she inadvertently falls down a well, and is transported five centuries back in time to feudal Japan. There, she encounters the half-demon boy InuYasha for which the series is named, and discovers that she is the modern-day reincarnation of a powerful priestess, felled fifty years earlier at the hands of an evil demon tyrant. Her adventures begin after she shatters the Sacred Shikon Jewel; said to grand its wielder unrelenting power. Along with InuYasha, she swears to collect all of the shards before they fall into the wrong hands.
Considering the fact that it is admired still by thousands of fans across the world, the combination of noticeable plot holes and overused character interactions appears to suit InuYasha just fine. For such a series, there is really no need for a plot development deeper than, “You two were in love fifty years ago?” That single phrase sums up large amounts of the story, simply due to the fact that InuYasha is, in short, a romantic time-traveling fairy tale with a demonic twist. It is captivating enough to absorb members of a mainstream audience, but should without a doubt stick within the zone of comfort that it presents to those viewers, while attempting to swerve away from more critical thinkers. Now, that isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy it, because I most certainly did. Still, I must be practical, because even with the elements of fantasy and adventure that it overlooks, the plot of InuYasha remains so-so at best.
It was evident since episode 1, that InuYasha was a fairly high-budget series. With drastic alterations in art styles spanning from the original manga by Rumiko Takahashi, it takes on a much more colorful and clean effect. Nevertheless, there were several moments when the animation thrust itself downhill, particularly close to where it was cut short at episode 167. It quickly regains its original momentum and vigor whenever key plot elements are introduced however. The character designs were bold and easy on the eyes, but reminded me somehow of a higher-budget Rurouni Kenshin. The battle sequences were poorly done, most likely because the animators had already spent so much money on the series’ gorgeous backgrounds. The swings of enormous swords and boomerangs were often represented by flashing white lines, which were enough to get the basic point across, but went no further than that. Overall, InuYasha’s animation was pretty, but nothing truly spectacular.
Kauru Wada delivers a breathtaking score to InuYasha, coupling with its J-pop opening and closing themes. I admit that I listen to the tracks quite often on my free time, singularly the main theme, which combines cellos, violins and drums to create a beautiful effect. These pieces highlight the action and sorrow sequences perfectly, and in my opinion, are one of the major reasons why the InuYasha anime has been so well respected throughout the years. As I recall, my very favorite background themes always incorporated pan flutes at some point. This really took to my fancy because I simply adore flutes. As another category for sound, I was truly impressed by the English dub of the series, which I first watched as a part of the Adult Swim program on Cartoon Network when I was 7. The voices are all well performed and suite the individual characters, especially in comparison to quite a few dubs I’ve heard in the past.
The characters in InuYasha are poorly introduced and poorly developed. They hardly manage to accent the series at all, and almost hurt it each moment a new character is established. In this case, I am specifically noting InuYasha himself. Although he grows in terms of emotional baggage, he remains both arrogant and selfish throughout the series. Considering the fact that there were many instances when I was able to predict his words before he spoke them, his personality is cliché as well. The relationship he shares with Kagome wasn’t truly interesting either, and again, was reminiscent of Rurouni Kenshin. This truth becomes especially noticeable when InuYasha’s transformations into a full demon are introduced. Every other character in InuYasha fits into a specific category. Shippou for example is the cute sidekick, and Miroku is the lecher with a dark past. I could go on much further, but I wouldn't want to ramble, and I believe that my basic point was made clear.
InuYasha was certainly not a bad anime, far from it in fact. It was appealing enough that I managed to finish the entire series, as well as read the remainder of the manga and watch The Final Act when it was released. Still, there was just something about it that reminded me too much of Rurouni Kenshin. Nevertheless, Nobuhiro Watsuki's manga remains brilliant through my eyes, whereas InuYasha was easily forgotten, and composedly thrust beneath a mound of temporary highlights. With that said, I conclude by review of Rumiko Takahashi's, InuYasha.
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