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InuYasha – SECOND SEASON BOX SET (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

February 24, 2009 by  



“’Another excellent box set as the season 2 steps up the action and drama.  More characters are introduced, more action-packed battles and the love triangle between InuYasha, Kagome and Kikyo continues to become even more complicated.  Overall, an awesome season of ‘InuYasha’!”

© Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000

DVD TITLE: INUYASHA – SECOND SEASON BOX SET

DURATION: 675 minutes (27 Episodes on 5 discs)

DVD INFORMATION: Original Uncut Episodes, Stereo, Bilingual (Japanese and English), English Subtitles

COMPANY: Shonen Jump Home Video/Viz Media

Originally created by Rumiko Takahashi

Director: Masashi Ikeda

Character Design: Yoshihito Hishinuma

Art Director: Shigemi Ikeda

Music: Kaoru Wada

Featuring the following voice talent:

Kappei Yamaguchi/Richard Ian Cox (Inuyasha)

Satsuki Yukino/Monica Stori (Kagome Higurashi)

Kouji Tsujitani/Kirby Morrow (Miroku)

Ken Narita/David Kaye (Sesshoumaru)

Houko Kwashima/Kelly Sheridan (Sango)

Kumiko Watanabe/Jillian Michaels (Shippo)

Toshiyuki Morikawa/Paul Dobson (Naraku)

Noriko Hidaka/Willow Johnson (Kikyo)

Taiki Matsuno/Scott McNeil (Koga)

Izumi Oogami/Janyse Jaud (Kagura)

Akiko Yajima/Alex Doduk (Kohaku)

Together with their friends Miroku, Shippo, Sango and Kirara, InuYasha and Kagome continue their search for the shards of the sacred jewel.  Their task, however, is not made any easier by Naraku who continually seems to be inventing newer and more dangerous ways to thwart them.  Adventure and romance, demons and fantasy-come enter the world of INUYASHA in this second exciting season.

There are not many long running anime series that I find wonderful but for “InuYasha”” is one of those special titles that is what you can call a total package.  Cool characters, cool storyline, cool animation, cool art background… A good balance of everything that you can want in an anime.

But it’s something that I expected no less coming from a manga series from Rumiko Takahashi, one of my favorite manga-ka’s in Japan known for anime TV series hits such as “Urusei Yatsura”, “Maison Ikkoku”, “Ranma 1/2” and “InuYasha”.

I have to be truthful and say that I am actually a late bloomer to the “InuYasha”” TV series.  As a big fan of Rumiko Takahashi’s earlier works and “Ranma 1/2” really helping me get into anime nearly 16 years ago, having enjoyed the three previous hits, I felt that I enjoyed them so much, what if I didn’t enjoy this new series (which aired in Japan back in 2000)?  So, nearly a decade I have caught a few episodes that would air on television but never watched the series from the beginning and what better time to do it but now.

“INUYASHA – SECOND SEASON BOX SET” comprises of episodes 28 through 54 which the viewer can watch with Japanese or English voice over.  In season one we were introduced to:

InuYasha – The half demon/half human who drawn a liking towards the human Priestess Kikyo and has some feelings for Kagome but his ego prevents him from saying anything about his emotions.  Has the ability to leap far distances, has quite a few special attacks including claws that can cut through anything.  Also, wields his father’s sword, Tetsusaiga.  His goal is to take control of the Jewel of Four Souls to turn into a demon.  Wears necklace that forces him to listen to a single command from Kagome.  When Kagome says “sit”, he drops or literally is thrown down to the ground harshly.  He and Kagome are constantly bickering.  In the first day of each month, he resorts back to human form.

Kagome Higurashi – A high school student who is a reincarnation of Kikyo.  Carries a bow and arrow as a weapon but a human who has the ability to go back to her time period through a well in her home and a well in the feudal period.  Has conflicted emotions towards InuYasha but always caring for other people.  Has the ability to control InuYasha by a special bead necklace on InuYasha that forces him to listen.  She has the ability to sense and see the jewels and the shards from long distances or on a monster.

Shippo – A young orphan fox.  Human in appearance with a big fox tail.  His father was killed by a demon and eventually gets himself into trouble while trying to obtain the crystal shards to become powerful and get revenge on the demons that killed his father.    He has nowhere to go and is eventually taken in by InuYasha and Kagome.

Miroku – A Buddhist monk who travels the countryside and performs exorcisms.  He’s a bit lecherous and likes to take people’s belongings and sell them for a profit.  But his goal is to find the evil Naruku who has taken Miroku’s right hand and given him the power of “wind tunnel”, a powerful ability that can suck anything into a black hole like void in his hand.  The hole is growing and eventually he will be sucked into it unless he finds the person who cursed him with it and gets his life back.  He eventually travels with Kagome, InuYasha and Shippo in search of Naraku.

Sango – Sango is a demon slayer who’s family was slayed by demons.  The person responsible is Naraku, thus joins Kagome, InuYasha, Shippo and Miroku to go after him.  Her main weapon is a large boomerang that is powerful and able to cut monsters in half.

Sesshoumaru – The brother of InuYasha.  A demon who can’t stand InuYasha because he’s half demon and half human and blames their father for being so weak and trying to protect a human.  The two despise each other and twice in season one, he and InuYasha fight to the death.  Has the ability to turn into a white wolf and much stronger and ruthless than InuYasha.

Kikyo – The Priestess who used to wear the Jewel of Four Souls.  Cared for InuYasha but believed he is the one that fatally injured her.  In season 1, she is brought back to life as an undead and wants her revenge against InuYasha.

Kaede – The sister of Kikyo, she is shown in past clips of Kikyo as a young little girl but currently she is 50+ years older, wears an eye patch and assists InuYasha and Kagome with information in their missions when they need her.

Naraku – The main evil who has manipulated everyone in order to get his hands on the crystal shards.  Very evil demon and the main enemy everyone is after.

In the second season, we are introduced to even more characters and storylines that deal with those characters.   The episodes can be classified people joining InuYasha’s side,  others joining Naraku’s side and Sesshomaru’s side.  In season 2, we are introduced to:

Kikyo: Continuing from the first season, we learn that Kikyo was brought back to life and driven by her hatred towards InuYasha for deceiving her.  Eventually she finds out the true facts about what took place the night she passed away and  learns that it was Naraku’s evil work in play to deceive both of them.  She vows to get her revenge on Naraku.  But to do that, she must stay close with him and thus she pretends to be on Naraku’s side.

Koga: The other important character we are introduced to is Koga, the wolf-demon (episode 36).  Koga is the leader of the southern yokai-wolf tribe and has three shards that give him incredible speed and power.  He develops a crush on Kagome (especially since she can sense the jewel shards) and thus he and InuYasha are often fighting with each other.  Koga wants revenge on Naraku because his tribe was nearly all wiped out because of his deception.  Although he is there to help Kagome and even InuYasha, he is on no one side but is their ally.

Kohaku: The younger brother of Sango brought back to life by Naraku (episode 29).  Has an impure jewel shard given to him by Naraku that keeps him alive but he has lost all memories of his sister and can easily be used by Naraku to fight against InuYasha and friends. He is part of Naraku’s crew.

Kagura: Naraku’s creation and second “detachment”.  She is a wind sorceress (introduced in episode 40) that is lethal and deadly and has killed many innocents but at the same time,  she hates Naraku and wishes to be free of him.  Thus she tries to play the hands of InuYasha and possibly use him to kill Naraku.

RIN: An orphan girl who helps nurse Sesshomaru in the woods after he was badly injured in a fight against InuYasha (episode 34).  Rin’s family was killed by bandits and so, she has been living alone by having to steal food.  She’s mute and but communicates via hand gestures or facial emotions.  Because Sesshomaru wields the Tenseiga (which heals), he returns the favor back to the girl after she was killed by wolves.  Despite Sesshomaru’s uncaring attitude towards humans, he appears to tolerate her for some reason.  Rin shows a loyalty towards him and eventually becomes part of Sesshomaru’s group.

So, without spoiling anything, the majority of the episodes of season two focuses on the new characters and InuYasha and friends adventuring through villages to find Naraku.

Also, a good number of episodes are dedicated towards InuYasha learning how to use his sword, the Tetsusaiga.  As for Sesshomaru, he learns about his sword, the Tenseiga but also trying to take InuYasha’s sword.

So, the second season of “InuYasha” was easily enjoyable as things really start to ramp up action-wise as more characters are introduces and Naraku does what he can to defeat InuYasha’s group.  And as much as Sesshomaru is a villain as well, you also start to see him differently than the way he was in Season 1.

Now there are two versions of these box sets.  The first is this regular edition and then there is a limited deluxe edition for each season that comes out with a certain item.  For the second season, the deluxe edition comes with the Hanko Blocks.

Also, for those wondering if there is any version between this re-release and the 2005 Season 2 release, I don’t think so.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

For an anime created back in 2003, the second season of episodes holds up pretty well since it has only been six years since it aired on television.  There are some stair effect on edges which may be due to the upconverting from my Blu-ray player but overall, the colors are vibrant and the overall animation was done quite well.

If you are a big Rumiko Takahashi fan, you know what to expect from her character designs and the animation was well done.

As for the audio, audio is presented in 2.0 and both languages are done quite well.   The English dubbed seems a bit more clearer and a little louder coming through my front speakers over the Japanese track but overall, it’s a purely dialogue driven anime and there are no 5.1ch tracks, so you get the dialogue in stereo.  For “Ranma 1/2” fans, you will see the reunion of Ranma 1/2 voice actor Kappei Yamaguchi (Ranma) return as the voice for InuYasha which was pretty cool and also Noriko Hidaka (“Ranma 1/2” character Akane) as Kikyo.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

There are a few special features inluded:

  • INUYASHA SPECIAL FOOTAGE – In Japan, especially after a long season, some series tend to have special episodes which condenses the more important episodes in order to get those viewers prepared for the following season (or season finale).  The first special shown on Japanese television for InuYasha focuses on what happened in Season 1.
  • CHARACTER INTRODUCTIONS – A text and picture (sketches of the characters) which you can click on via your remote and read a brief character summary.
  • MOVIE TRAILER – This trailer is for the second film.
  • TEXTLESS OPENING – Starting with episode 35, InuYasha’s second opening theme is “I Am” by hitomi
  • TEXTLESS ENDING – Starting with episode 42, InuYasha’s third ending theme features “Dearest” by Ayumi Hamasaki.

I feel that when it comes to an anime television series based on a Rumiko Takahashi manga, you really can’t go wrong.  Her first three are classics in their own right and “InuYasha” will surely join the others as not only popular hit manga series but also great anime TV series of all time.  There are not too many manga creators who have a lot of their works get the anime adaptation that spawn many films, CD drama series and soundtracks and also a lot of merchandise.  For Rumiko Takahashi, she’s had three decades worth of series that have lasted for a long time and even today, fans still crave her works because they can be watched any time and they are good now as they were then.

But when it comes to “InuYasha”, where I’ve had such a strong affinity towards her previous releases and even “Ranma 1/2”, I have to admit, “InuYasha” is a solid series and there was not many episodes that were bland or “OK”, they were all very good and again, there are not many TV series where I want to continue watching nearly every episode in one sitting.

So, everything is fantastic about this series but are there any negatives?  Well, compared to current VIZ Media releases such as “DEATH NOTE” or “Busou Renkin” Season Box Sets, they do add the interviews with the English dub voice talent but considering those were 2008 releases and this was released back in 2004.  I think VIZ has learned throughout the years  and have given fans what they want with current releases.  But for this older release, it’s a classic and you do get special features, just not a lot.

The second season was quite enjoyable as there was more action, more humor but also because the first season established character development for each of the main characters, the second season introduces more characters but yet still keeping the core relationships intact.

InuYasha, Kagome and Kikyo.  Miroku and Sango.  And then, whatever brotherhood rivalry continues between InuYasha and Sesshomaru, this second season definitely had a lot more to offer.

Overall, an exciting second season and for fans of “InuYasha” or Rumiko Takahashi’s work, this second season box set is easy to recommend.  Definitely worth checking out!






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