Thursday, December 8, 2016

Inuyasha: Complete Series

Age Rating: 16 and up
Rating: 8 1/2 out of 10
Episode Count: 193
Genre: Supernatural, Action, Romance, Comedy
Format: English Dubbed

Official Synopsis:

"Based on the Shogakukan award-winning manga of the same name, InuYasha follows Kagome Higurashi, a fifteen-year-old girl whose normal life ends when a demon drags her into a cursed well on the grounds of her family's Shinto shrine. Instead of hitting the bottom of the well, Kagome ends up 500 years in the past during Japan's violent Sengoku period with the demon's true target, a wish-granting jewel called the Shikon Jewel, reborn inside of her.

After a battle with a revived demon accidentally causes the sacred jewel to shatter, Kagome enlists the help of a young hybrid dog-demon/human named Inuyasha to help her collect the shards and prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. Joining Kagome and Inuyasha on their quest are the orphan fox-demon Shippo, the intelligent monk Miroku, and the lethal demon slayer Sango. Together, they must set aside their differences and work together to find the power granting shards spread across feudal Japan and deal with the threats that arise."

My Review: 

Inuyasha is one of the most popular franchises from prolific mangaka, Rumiko Takahashi, and was many fans first introduction into the supernatural side of feudal era Japan. With everything from scintillating spirits to scary spooks, confounded curses to comforting cures, ferocious fiends to fiery friends, and renegade revelries to roaring romances, Inuyasha is an EPIC tome that has it all!

Although RINNE was the series that introduced me to Takahashi-sensei’s work, Inuyasha is what truly cemented my deep and abounding respect for her as a story teller. Takahashi-sensei has a magical way of weaving a tale. Thoughtfully tying each of the meticulously crafted elements together, she puts her decades of honed experience to work with every brush of the pen and stroke of the typewriter. Using her impressive skills as a writer, she masterfully conveys the subtle nuances of each of her creations like the pro she is. Incorporating her classic Japanese style humor and signature spirited characters, she always creates an exhilarating environment and expansive universe for her viewers to revel in, and Inuyasha is no exception!

In addition to featuring Takahashi-sensei’s trademark elements, Inuyasha prepared for battle donning regalia such as:

·         Rambunctious relationships rarely seen in this day and age
·         OSTs that sound like they’ve been taken straight out of a music box
·         Simple, straightforward sentiment
·         Hidden philosophical messages
·         Primal, aggression fueled battles
·         A feisty cast of mismatched characters

As the saying goes “They don’t make them like this anymore!”

On top of all that, Inuyasha houses one of the knarliest villains ever to grace the small screen… Naraku. Just saying his name sends shivers down my spine! Out of the many demented, deranged, and downright rue-able villains I’ve encountered in anime, Naraku is easily the most heinous of them all. Throughout its almost two hundred episode run, Naraku’s sinister schemes remain a constant driving force for the progression of this series.

Because of his presence you can feel an almost tangible undercurrent constantly coursing through this anime. Without ever crossing swords there’s a perpetual battle going on between the darkness the dwells within Naraku, and the light that stems from our heroes. Who was it that once said, “The light shines brightest when it has darkness to overcome?”

What really made Naraku such a grotesque and inhuman bad guy wasn’t his physical form made up of thousands of evil spirits, or his unsympathetic past compelling him to his acts of malice, but his unfeeling treatment of every living thing around him. Physically and mentally abusive, behind all of Naraku’s morally bankrupt and depraved actions lays a distinct air of either nonchalant indifference, or twisted joy at his victim’s suffering; depending on his mood and connection to them. A force to be reckoned with, Naraku was the perfect opponent for Inuyasha.

Because Inuyasha’s actions were fueled by the desire to become a full fledged demon (technically he’s a yokai, but I’ll follow the English dubs translation just this once) and he longed for greater power, he could have been perceived as an anti-hero, especially towards the beginning of the series. However, Naraku’s utterly despicable nature quickly cemented Inuyasha as this series good guy. By not only giving the audience a hate-able villain and a hero to root for, Naraku’s very existence served as the catalyst that thrust our protagonists together and sent them on their arguous journey.
Having an enemy in common is what brought Inuyasha, Kagomi, Miroku, Sango, and Shippo together, forever changing not only them, but the many fans that joined them along the way. You could say, without Naraku there would be no Inuyasha. For a story is only as great as its hero, and its hero is only as great as his foe!

Despite the gritty animation due to its age, and it is somewhat difficult to get used to dub, Inuyasha has stood the test of time and continues to be revered as a cult classic to this day. It is just another perfect example that entertainment has no expiration date!

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