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InuYasha: The Final Act DVD Set 1 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

November 21, 2012 by  



For eight years, anime fans have waited for the conclusion of “InuYasha” which last aired back in 2004.  Here we are now in 2012 and it all comes down to these final 26-episodes!  It’s a race to collect the final fragments and with the evil Naraku not far behind, a character dies, others nearly die and things are starting to look grim for InuYasha and friends.  Find out who dies and who survives in the first half of “Inuyasha: The Final Act”!  Recommended!

© Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000

DVD TITLE: InuYasha: The Final Act DVD Set 1

DURATION: 315 minutes (13 Episodes on 2 discs)

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

COMPANY: Viz Media

RELEASE DATE: November 20, 2012

Originally created by Rumiko Takahashi

Director: Yasunao Aoiki

Series Composition by Katsuyuki Sumisawa

Music by Kaoru Wada

Character Design: Yoshihito Hishinuma

Art Director: Shigemi Ikeda

Anime Production: Sunrise

Featuring the following voice talent:

Kappei Yamaguchi/Richard Ian Cox (Inuyasha)

Satsuki Yukino/Kira Tozer (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)

 

Kagome is an ordinary schoolgirl who finds her destiny linked to the half-demon Inuyasha and the powerful Shikon Jewel. In their quest to restore the shattered Shikon Jewel, Inuyasha and Kagome face their ultimate enemy, the demon mastermind Naraku.

 

Meanwhile, Sesshomaru learns the truth behind his sword Tenseiga, and Kikyo discovers a secret that could defeat Naraku! With the jewel nearly complete and in enemy hands, the race to collect the remaining shards intensifies, and an epic battle is brewing on the horizon!

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”.

In Japan, Takahashi has written 56 volumes for “InuYasha” and the first 167 episodes aired on Yomiuri TV from 2000-2004.  As many long anime series go on break in order for the mangaka to work on the manga series or the animators create a story on their own that is different from the manga, fortunately the anime series was put on hold for several years in order to have Takahashi finish the series.

By 2009, the second series “InuYasha: The Final Act” (26-episodes) began airing on Yomiuri TV from Oct. 2009 through March 2010 and now will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Viz Media with the first 13 episodes slated for release in November 2012.

“InuYasha: The Final Act” is based on the last 21 volumes of the manga series.  The original staff and cast of the series returned for this final season and would feature the continuing storyline of InuYasha, Kagome, Miroku, Sango, Shippo and Kirara searching for the final fragments of the shattered shikon jewel and prepare for their final battle against Naraku.

In the first half of the series, InuYasha and friends to all they can to find the remaining final shards but so is Naraku.  The fight against Naraku continues as one character is killed and another uses power to the maximum to the point of nearly killing themselves.  Meanwhile, one confesses their love and in the process, their power grows.

Find out who lives, who dies and who becomes more powerful in the first half of “InuYasha: The Final Act”.

“InuYasha: The Final Act” features the following characters:

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 a 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. Later in the series, Kikoyo has been awakened and thus his feelings are split for both Kikyo and Kagome.  Meanwhile, he does not get along with his brother Sesshomaru because he is half demon and because he possesses the family heirloom.

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.  She cares a lot for InuYasha.

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.  Later in the series, Miroku and Sango fall in love with each other and in “Final Act”, Miroku will do all he can to protect her.

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.  In the beginning, she was always being hit on by Miroku but eventually, she begins to fall for him.  Sango is often seen accompanying her faithful demon-cat companion, Kirara.

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 antagonist who has manipulated everyone in order to get his hands on the crystal shards. Very evil demon who is responsible for Kikyo’s death, Miroku’s curse and the death of Sango’s faily.  He is driven to become a full demon, possessing a fully corrupted Shikon jewel and possessing Kikyo.:

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 was eventually freed from Narku’s grasps and became good friends with Rin.

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.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“InuYasha: The Final Act” definitely shows the animated differences from the previous seasons created nearly a decade ago.  With today’s use of computers and better utilization of CG and more detailed artwork, “InuYasha: The Final Act” looks better. Not only are art backgrounds much more detailed but you can tell that Sunrise didn’t lax on this TV series, they did a wonderful job in animation and with the art backgrounds and making Rumiko Takashi’s manga series come alive!

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 it’s pretty much a front-channel driven soundtrack. 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:

“InuYasha: The Final Act” comes with:

  • ORIGINAL JAPANESE TRAILER – The Japanese trailer for “InuYasha: The Final Act”
  • ORIGINAL CAST CREDITS IN ENGLISH

When it comes to anime series, especially long running series, rarely do you see one going on hiatus in order for the manga artist to create newer material or to finish up their series.  We have seen it many times before with series such as “Dragon Ball z”, “Naruto”, “Bleach”, long series that had its challenges of trying to allow the author to develop the manga series and so, what ends up happening is that readers are treated with many filler episodes.  Or similar to “Fullmetal Alchemist” or “Hellsing”, the writers create their own storyline.

But in Japan, there are few mangaka where studios will bow down to when it comes to creator control and one of the most well-known mangaka in Japan is Rumiko Takahashi, creator of “Urusei Yatsura”, “Maison Ikkoku”, “Ranma 1/2” to name a few.

And with a hiatus that has lasted eight years, the manga series and now the anime series is now complete in Japan and with the release of “InuYasha: The Final Act” on Blu-ray and DVD, fans who have waited a long time, can now finally watch and see how the series will end.

I have always felt 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 with this DVD release?  Well, I’m sure one can argue that they wish all 26-episodes were released as one volume and some can wish that there were more special features included.  But it’s hard to argue since Viz Media has always broken up their DVD’s into volumes and rarely release full collections.  And as for special features, while past “InuYasha” collections had some rare swag included in the limited edition releases, pretty much all you’re going to get is a Japanese trailer.   Yes, Japan’s DVD release of “InuYasha: The Final Act” received a bonus DVD, a calendar and DJ CD but Viz Media has not really released limited edition DVD releases for many years now.

But as for the series itself, “InuYasha: The Final Act” is what many people expected to see.  Characters risking their lives to take down Naraku and not only does a character die, but we also get to see others nearly get killed as they sacrificed themselves for the greater good or to save the person they love.

Right now these 13-episodes are just a build-up of what is coming up for the second and final half.  Things have been slowly building from the final fragments being found to those making decisions on who’s side they will fight on and why.  Others have developed purpose, courage and a few secrets will be revealed.

Sesshomaru learns the truth about his sword Tenseiga, Kikyo discovers a secret regarding Naraku and the race to obtaining the shards becomes deadlier.

I personally can’t wait to see how “InuYasha: The Final Act” ends and if you are a fan who have watched the series for a long time and have been waiting for this conclusio of this anime-series, it’s a no-brainer…”InuYasha: The Final Act DVD Set 1″ is recommended!

 






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