06 November 2005

Starting Simple? InuYasha Overview and Review

InuYasha was originally released in 1997 by Rumiko Takahashi, and it was a long running 30 minute series that eventually made it state-side. After 7 seasons, 167 episodes and 4 movies, the series ended in 2004. State side you will meet many fans of this show, but also those who say InuYasha is garbage and does not do anime justice. What is the reason for this stark difference of opinion?

Let me give you a brief overview of InuYasha (- spoilers). InuYasha is a "dog-demon" and also notably a half demon (his mother was human), and he foolishly but nobly falls in love with a priestess (miko) named Kikyo, who is in charge of a powerful item called the Shikon Jewel. The evil character in the series, Naraku, tricks the two lovers into turning against each other resulting in the death of Kikyo and the suspended-animation of InuYasha (pinned to a tree by Kikyo). Kagome, a resident of modern Japan, travels down a magical well that connects the two time periods and ends up freeing InuYasha, and thus begins the hunt for Naraku. Miroku, a priest, is cursed with the equivalent of a black hole in his palm that must be covered at all times and will eventually consume him-- also Naraku's doing. Others who have a vendetta against Naraku or his henchmen also join the group (Sango, Shippou).

Back to the split opinions of this series: It has to do with the fact that the series ran for 7 seasons. I have watched the entire series beginning to end in Japanese with English subs. When I began watching, I found the series enticing, the characters unique but somehow engagingly familiar, and the story common but compelling. However, somewhere around episode 60, my interest in the show began to decline. Why? Repetition. The previously captivating storyline became what could be compared to level-griding in a MMORPG...tedious, boring, no plot advancement. I watched the series from this point on because I was still attached to the characters (specifically to the ongoing budding romances between several of the characters in the show), and of course to get to the end!

So, I can see where those who seek to criticize this show find their ground. It does get quite "mindless" at times, especially (and I don't mean to be sexist here but I find it true) to men because I feel they get less attached to the cute romances. Also, there are a lot of cut-and-paste sequences in it (reused= cheaper), which gets annoying. The music isn't that great, either

However, though I do agree with the critical minds, I also see where the InuYasha fan-girls/boys come from. It's a funny, cute, fuzzy-warm series that you can enjoy sitting down to watch. Call me a fence-sitter, though I do lean slightly to the side of the critical on this one.

I can't brand this anime as a "must-see", because it's a cult sensation. You simply have to WANT to see this one to be interested enough to watch all 167 episodes. Plus, now that they are state-side and airing on Cartoon Network, one must battle with the fact that they are forced to watch English dubs. Though I am not TOO much of an elitist here (some dubs for anime can be decent), the dub for InuYasha is HORRIBLE. Watching the show in subtitles and then trying to talk to someone who has watched the dubbed version is like talking about two totally different shows-- all of the special moves, items, etc are referenced very differently. But, this is a gripe for a different post.

I won't give away the ending to InuYasha, but I'll just say it's very "anime-esque"

My overall experience with this series is pretty good. As I said before, an acquired taste. From a rating of (Excellent-Good-Fair-Poor-Horrid):

Plotline: Fair
Characters: Excellent
Music: Poor
Animation: Fair


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