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The general gist of the plot is Kagome, a modern schoolgirl, winds up in feudal times and must help a half-demon(Inyasha) recover the shards of a jewel of ultimate power.
One might say that Inuyasha combines the best of both Shonen and Shojo stylings. The world of feudal Japan is laced with ghosts, demons and other critters who roar, slash, dash, slice, splat and snarl, and at least one of these beasts duke it out with the title character per episode. On the other hand, there is romance, guilt, past betrayals and secrets to be discovered, not to mention sight gags and running jokes.
The visual quality is a step above pocket monsters and moon princesses as well. The show is thankfully devoid of giant sweat-drops, fountain tears and misplaced mouths.
It takes patience to watch the series, with 100+ episodes and long-running character development, it would take a fortune of DVD purchases or steadfast loyalty to the television at 1:00 am (as of this writing)to get the entire story down.
But even so, I highly recommend this show to anybody yearning for more than just flaming mesomorphs and pocket monsters.
The series is a juvenile one, but not offensively so. I really enjoy the epic nature of the series. There are the standard "filler" episodes, but there are long stretches where the story just presses on. The writers often don't feel pressed to end the story withing the 30-minute format and so a certain tale can go on for a few episodes. Filler episodes are used to allow the viewers (and the writers) to catch their breath before plunging in again. But in recent episodes (starting at the late 90's into the 110's), the stories have dragged much longer than they should, just to extend things (IMO). However, things have improved with the current season in Japan. The fun filler episodes are back, but then the action episodes are more like the early season's in nature rather than last season. So my enjoyment has gone back up this year (2004).
Characters are another nice touch to this series. Characters are allowed to grow to a certain degree though relationships don't grow beyond a certain point. I would have liked to have seen Sango and Miroku do more at being a couple rather than just eyeing each other. That may have been fixed in episode 132. Also, I would like the writers to advance the Kagome/Inuyasha romance and we may see that this season. The other problem is that after a while, Inuyasha becomes the only character to do anything. Everyone else just stands around looking stupid rather than jump in and try to help. I hear that it will get better (based on the manga apparently) so I keep my fingers crossed.
The English dub is pretty well done, though the show felt a tad more juvenile in English than it did in Japanese. The DVD subtitles aren't to great, so if you are used to the excellent job done by the fansubbers (Anime-Kraze), you'll be in for some disappointments.
Bottom line: Nicely drawn and interesting characters & good (and sometimes humorous) writing make this otherwise juvenile series very enjoyable to watch.
The characters are what make "Inuyasha" so awesome. Without the characters, the show wouldn't be the success that it is. We start with Kagome Higurashi, a typical Japanese teenage girl --- until she stumbles into an ancient well that transports her back into Japan's Warring States Era. There, she meets a canine-based half-demon named Inuyasha and after shattering the Shikon Jewel, or the Jewel of Four Souls, they have to work together to find the fragments before demons can use those fragments to enhance their own abilities and use them for evil. They largely fail in the whole "stopping demons from using the Shikon Jewel shards" deal, because by the time they find a jewel shard, a demon already has custody of it and is using it for evil. So they have little choice but to fight the aforementioned demon and take the shard from him or her once they achieve victory. The funny thing is that Inuyasha initially hates Kagome, as she is the reincarnation of Kikyo, a priestess he loved (until she pinned him to a tree with a sacred arrow). However, he grows fond of Kagome and obviously comes to love her, but he won't admit it to anyone. Things don't get any easier when a portion of Kagome's soul is stolen and used to animate a facsimile of Kikyo's body made from clay, resulting in a rather disturbing love triangle.
Then there are the supporting characters, which I'll name in order of appearance. There's Shippo, a kitsune (fox spirit/demon) whose father was killed by a duo of demons called the Thunder Brothers. Next, there's Miroku, a monk who's overly fond of women and has a "wind tunnel" in his hand, a void that can consume demons but will eventually consume him. Then there's Sango, a tough-as-nails demon slayer whose family and tribe were slaughtered by Naraku's demons. To add cruel insult to already-grievous injury, Naraku has reanimated Sango's brother's body with a shard of the Shikon Jewel and placed him under his control.
Now I have to explain the villains of "Inuyasha." The two main villains of "Inuyasha" are Sesshomaru and Naraku. Sesshomaru is Inuyasha's half brother and a full demon, as Sesshomaru's mother was a demon woman and Inuyasha's mother was human. Their father gave each brother a sword; Inuyasha received Tetsusaiga, a sword that can slay a hundred demons in one swing, while Sesshomaru received Tenseiga, a sword that can save a hundred lives in one swing. However, it is only in later episodes that Inuyasha learns how to use Tetsusaiga's powers. Sesshomaru hates Tenseiga, as it is a sword of life and thus he cannot kill anyone with it. He especially doesn't want to save human lives, as he has no respect for humanity at all. Ironically, he uses Tenseiga to restore the life of a little girl named Rin when she's killed by wolves. For being a villain, Sesshomaru is very complex; he's not pure evil so much as semi-evil.
Naraku, on the other hand, is undeniably and unforgivably evil. He is the fusion of hundreds of demons and the soul of a human bandit named Onigumo who lusted after Kikyo. He apparently desires the Shikon Jewel, but he may have other reasons beyond the obvious. Naraku's primary skill lies in twisted schemes designed to make Inuyasha and his allies suffer. He started by turning Inuyasha and Kikyo against each other, continued by cursing Miroku's grandfather with the wind tunnel (a curse that would ultimately be passed on to Miroku), and recently orchestrated the slaughter of Sango's tribe. As another person who commented on this anime said, Naraku is the consummate "supervillain."
Besides the obvious action, there are also elements of romance-comedy to be found in "Inuyasha." For example, the Inuyasha/Kagome/Koga triangle. Koga is a wolf demon that falls in love with Kagome and declares her "his woman." Inuyasha gets extremely jealous, especially when Kagome is nice to Koga, and yet he cannot figure out why he's so jealous. Then there's the interaction between Miroku and Sango. Miroku constantly gropes Sango and she constantly slaps him for it, but if you read into their actions, it's fairly obvious that they care deeply for each other. If only Miroku would stop groping her so much . . .
These are the reasons why "Inuyasha" is awesome and if you haven't figured that out by now, then read the manga or rent one of the DVDs. You won't regret it, and if you do, it's your own fault.
"Inuyasha" is an anime I was 95 % sure it wouldn't work, but it did. With it's virtuous mix of romance, comedy, action, adventure, fantasy and horror (causing some of it's episodes to be censored in some countries) this is simply a great show that sucked me in. Although it's too long (the only major flaw, since the 160 episodes watered down the story) and has some weak episodes, "Inuyasha" is nothing short of brilliant, and it seems it's characters will never become boring: from Miroku, who is always touching woman's butts and asking them if they will have a baby with him up to Kagome who is trying to maintain her good grades in school while fighting in medieval Japan. This is what "Dragonball" should have been, but wasn't. Also, some sequences stand out:
1) Sesshomaru, the bad guy, was exhausted in the woods. Rin, a little orphan girl, saw him and wanted to help him. She went to her village to get him some food but the cruel villager's beat her up. She still managed to get Sesshmoaru some food but he declined. Yet he asked her where she got those bruises and she was happy he noticed her effort. Later on Rin was killed in the forest and Sesshomaru accidentally found her dead body. After a little thinking he took his magic sword and, despite being evil, brought her back to life. From there on, they had a mutual bond.
2) In the episode with those demon bats who terrorized a village a young mother gave birth to a half-demon bat girl, Shiori. Shiori was molested by "normal", human kids, who kicked her. Before she entered her house she wiped away her tears and pretended to be happy so that her mother wouldn't notice she couldn't fit in.
3) When Kagome finds out Inuyasha is alive she runs towards him, passing by Kouga, all the while her tears are falling on his sad face.
These situations stand out because they look as if taken from real life. I know I will never forget at least those three precious moments mentioned above. After these very emotional and powerful scenes one might ask yourself if the "Inuyasha" authors are not making this for commercial sake but for real, for a deeper statement and inter sociological and racial messages.
Even if it has some characteristics of soap opera, it goes well beyond that, as the animation and the plot go very well together. I am hooked already and I am barely in the middle of the second season. In a week or so I will probably cry in anger for the lack of more episodes, but hey, that's life.
"flawed" main character, especially an animated one (the only
other time this has happened was Vegeta from DBZ). I've only
seen the English dub on Adult Swim, but it really seems that
Richard Cox and Inuyasha the character were a perfect match; the
voice-acting is one of the biggest draws.
As for the show itself, anyone who's a fan of Buffy the Vampire
Slayer and Angel will love this. The storyline about an ancient half- man/half-demon and a young modern girl does have that base
parallel to Buffy and Angel, as well as incredibly good storytelling
that defies just as many genres. But from there it goes off on its
own particular mythologic twists and turns that make it so unique
and powerful. After every 24 minute episode I'm amazed at how
much has been accomplished and developed, all while giving a
fair balance to the cast of characters, all sharply-delineated and
possessing their own unique appeal. The scoring is equally
wonderful and often difficult to get out of your mind.
All in all, who cares about gritty or anything near that when for once
in a long time you can get swept up in the romance and fantasy
and drama of it all? This is a rare series, and one bound to get
rarer, particularly when all the networks (American at least) seem
to care about these days are reality shows or "realistic" dramas
uninterested in strong character-based plot developments. Anime
seems to be one of the last realms where you can find good
stories told exceedingly well with the emphasis where it should
always be, on the characters; that there's action, adventure,
romance, drama, or comedy is merely secondary.
Anyway, here's a summary. A girl named Kagome is pulled down her family's well and she ends up in feudal times Japan in the same location that she lives in modern-day Tokyo, except of course it's feudal times. In feudal times she meets a half dog demon, Inu Yasha. She finds this magic jewel, but ends up shattering it into hundreds of tiny jewel shards. So that's one of the main points of the show, the quest for the sacred jewel shards which are extremely powerful. Some of the other characters include: Miroku, a kind but somewhat perverted young monk(my favorite character, that's why I put him first ^_^); Sango, a butt-kicking girl whose village was destroyed by the evil demon Naraku; Shippou, a cute little fox demon with the ability to shape-shift; Kikyo, a whacked out priestess (seriously, she has major problems) of whom they think Kagome is the reincarnation of; Sesshomaru, Inu Yasha's evil demon brother who happens to be quite good looking; Naraku who is an evil demon person who's out to get the sacred jewel shards; and there are tons of other people too, who either aren't as important, or just show up a few times. Now, if you've never seen this anime (who hasn't seen it?) I suggest that you do.
It started out new, exciting and fresh. And I really liked it then. Kagome was a good female role model for the show. And Inu-Yasha was funny and hot-headed.
Then, it just kept falling more and more downhill as the series progressed... and I'll tell y'all the reasons why. (Warning: SPOILER ALERT!!)
Okay, they basically destroy Inu-Yasha's relationship with Kagome early on, by reviving his 50 year old dead girlfriend, who's drippy, sappy, and a total waste of time.
They introduce a pervert named Miroku, who's supposed to be a sort of religious figure for the show. (Which really bugged me,'cause it was out of place and stupid.) Then, they introduce a demon slayer named Sango, whose only purpose in life is to try (and fail) to save her brainwashed brother.
The big bad of the show, Naraku, while starting out as a really good bad guy, lost his touch after a while. (He got pretty old pretty fast. And it bothered me that he was the only baddie in the show who did anything.)
The characters all became wooden, and unemotional. And then, the ending of this terrible series was a disappointment to any anime fan out there. Nothing happened. Naraku never got killed or defeated. Kagome and Inu-Yasha never fully fell in love ('cause he was still all in love with his 50 year old dead chick.) Plot holes were left open. The animation got worse and worse as the series progressed. And nothing changed in the plot. (I mean,they dragged it out to over 150 episodes, and nothing changed in the plot... at all.) And they expected me (as well as other fans of the show) to be satisfied?? I was disenchanted, disgusted, and annoyed as crap. I at least had high hopes that there'd be a good ending to the series. Instead, all I got was a dragged out commercial for the manga.
Seriously, if you wanna see a good anime about swords and stuff like that, I strongly recommend "Rurouni Kenshin". That show progresses and goes somewhere, plus it has really good animation too.
But stay far away from this bland excuse for anime, as best as you can.