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Inu Yasha #49: Tragic Love Song of Destiny PDF Print E-mail
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R1 DVD Reviews
Friday, 23 July 2010 00:00
Inu YashaSo, the search for the final Shikon shard is leading Inuyasha and the gang back to the grave of his father - which makes it kinda unfortunate that Kagome didn't pick up its presence last time they were there. Would've made life so much easier. This time around, without Sesshomaru's help in getting there, the path is somewhat more dangerous...

145 - Bizarre Guards at the Border of the Afterlife
Inuyasha and the others are following Naraku's Saimyosho - Hakudoshi is making certain that they're following the path that Kagura told them of, which makes it seem all the more likely that they're being sent into a trap. On arrival at the Land of Fire, their destination seems to be at the bottom of a deep crevasse, where the gate to the afterlife awaits them. But crossing over is no simple matter - the gate is guarded by two giant stone statues, who are awakened by the gangs arrival. Only the dead may pass through the gate, and their job is to make sure that if Inuyasha and the others are to pass them, they're to do so in the proper state...

Watching from a safe distanceGuardians

146 - The Fiery Bird Master, Princess Abi
The visit to the gate in the Land of Fire has been one of mixed blessings - good, by confirming that the final shikon shard truly is in the afterlife, as Kagome was able to sense it there; but bad, in that the gate really isn't a practical way to cross over - Inuyasha and the gang will need to find another path. As they travel onwards, they reach a village where the inhabitants have all been recently killed, each one having had their blood sucked out of them - and at the next village, the same story. The culprit isn't far away - Princess Abi and her flock of demon birds who live on human blood, and who have just had a run-in with Naraku. Kagura, meanwhile, is trying to figure out how to break Naraku's hold on her once more...

Princess AbiNot kidding about 'fiery'

147/148 - The Tragic Love Song of Destiny
Fifty years ago, Kikyo was at the height of her power and her rivarly with fellow shrine maiden Tsubaki was at its strongest - but already, the demon that would become Naraku had already set its sights on her, having survived when the rest of its companions had been killed by her. It was then that she came into possession of the shikon crystal, which was given to her by demon-hunters from Sango's village for purification - and which caught the attention of the young Inuyasha, thanks to its awesome power. The first meeting between Inuyasha and Kikyo was hardly love at first sight, but circumstances conspired to bring the two of them together

Kikyo. Still breathing.Pinned down

NarakuGot the Shikon

I'm going to start at the end with this volume, as it's the more interesting half of the disc. Before anyone goes nuts at Kikyo's apparent resurrection, it's worth reminding that this story takes place long before the start of the show's main storyline, when Kikyo was still very much alive, and deals with events that have been touched upon many times over the course of the series but never pulled together into one place: the relationships between Inuyasha and Kikyo and, in turn Kikyo and Onigumo; the transformation of Onigumo into Naraku, and Naraku's first scheme, that saw Inuyasha sealed to the sacred tree by Kikyo as the result of a tragic misunderstanding created by Naraku.

None of this is new, of course - in many ways it's a straigtforward recap episode, but it also contains a fair amount of new animation and background to that story that fills it out, not just to fill the double-length episode, but also covers more of the backstory than we've seen before and in particular makes the hum'ing and ha'ing that we've had between Inuyasha and Kikyo (at least until her latest death) seem far more understandable. All this also took place at a time when Kikyo had more personality to her, which adds to the appeal of the story.

Going back to the first two episodes on the disc, we find Inuyasha and the gang still searching for a way back to the grave of Inuyasha's father. As I touched upon in the introduction, a nitpicker could have great fun with the final shard turning up there - it's not like the gang, including Kagome (she who can sense a shard a quite some distance when it suits the story), haven't been there before. So why, then, did Kagome not sense the shard then? Seems a bit remiss to have to retrace ones' steps in this way. And since Sesshomaru was able to open the gate to the afterworld in the space of about 5 seconds, with none of this messing about with guardians or trying to discern Hakudoshi's traps, might it not be an idea to, y'know, just as him to do it again? After all, if that'll help inthe ultimate defeat of Naraku, then it would fit in with Sesshomaru's aims as well, a win-win situation for all.

But I'm being too picky. This is Inu Yasha, after all, and no straightforward solution will ever be used when there are hoops that the gang can be made to jump through. I also have to admit that I'm quite enjoying Hakudoshi as the villain of the piece, and don't have any objection to him hanging around for a bit - he's far more engaging that Naraku will ever be. The running thread at the moment with Kagura's growing resentment also has plenty of potential to become a good storyline, and I wouldn't want to see that sidelined just yet. Even bit-part villain Abi is enjoyable enough, with her flock of demon birds both sounding and looking like the creatures from Vin Diesel movie Pitch Black to raise a grin with me (the movie pre-dates the episode by about four years, so it's certainly possible that there was some inspiration there).

All told, then, plenty here to keep the interest - with the added bonus that it's effectively a four-episode disc instead of the usual three. Bonus! The best volume that Inu Yasha has produced since the end of the Shichinintai arc, and well worth seeing.

Rating - ****

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