Thursday, October 24, 2013

Anime DVD Review: Inuyasha First Season Box Set

The Inuyasha First Season Box Set includes five DVDs that contain the first 27 episodes in the first season. The first three discs contain five episodes, the fourth disc contains six episodes, and the fifth disc contains six episodes and bonus features.



The story of Inuyasha begins in feudal Japan, where a half-demon named Inuyasha steals the Jewel of Four Souls; this is an artifact that can increase a person or demon's power enormously. However, Inuyasha is stopped by a priestess named Kikyo, who shoots a sacred arrow at him. The arrow seals Inuyasha indefinitely to the sacred tree. Kikyo, however, is mortally wounded; before she dies, she asks her younger sister Kaede to burn the jewel with her body.




In modern Tokyo, a middle school girl named Kagome Higurashi lives at an old shrine, where her grandfather is the caretaker. One morning, as she's about to head off to school, Kagome goes into the well house to retrieve her cat. While she's in the well house, a centipede demon reaches up through the well and pulls Kagome down into it.



Kagome discovers that she was traveled back in time to feudal Japan. As she explores her surroundings, she sees Inuyasha sealed to the sacred tree. Nearby villagers find Kagome, seize her, and take her to the village. The village elder is Kaede, and she recognizes Kagome as the reincarnation of Kikyo after discovering that the Jewel of Four Souls is inside Kagome's body.



The centipede demon attacks again, and Kagome is forced to release Inuyasha from the seal. After defeating the demon, Inuyasha attempts to take the jewel from Kagome. Kagome is able to subdue Inuyasha with magical prayer beads that were given to her by Kaede; the word she uses to activate the beads is "sit."



The jewel attracts the attention of more demons. While battling with a carrion crow demon, Kagome accidentally shatters the jewel into numerous shards; the shards spread across Japan. Inuyasha and Kagome must team together to locate and recover all the missing shards.



During this set, Kagome gets to meet Myoga the flea, Inuyasha's older half-brother Sesshomaru, and Sesshomaru's servant Jaken. There's a three episode arc that explains what happened to Inuyasha's parents, and going to his father's tomb where he gets a sword called Tetsusaiga. Inuyasha is able to pierce Sesshomaru with his new sword.



This set also sees the introduction of Shippo, an orphaned fox yokai who likes to play tricks; he ends up joining Kagome and Inuyasha in their search for the jewel shards.An ogress sorceress named Urasae steals the Kikyo's ashes and is able to resurrect the body; however, Kikyo's soul has already been reincarnated in Kagome. The lecherous monk Miroku is also introduced in these episodes, and he becomes another member of the party looking for the jewel shards. The main villain, Naraku, is also introduced near the end of the set.



The last character introduced in this set is Sango the demon slayer. She along with her brother, father, and some other demon slayers, go to slay a demon. Instead, they are attacked by Naraku, and Sango is the only survivor of not only this attack, but also an attack on their village. After initially being tricked into believing that Inuyasha attacked her village, Sango ends up joining Inuyasha and the others on their journey. Sango is accompanied by her demon cat, Kirara.



As you can tell from the description, quite a few of the episodes in this box set are devoted to introducing many of the main characters of Inuyasha, as well as establishing the world that they inhabit and the main elements of the story. While there's a lot of establishing going on, the episodes are anything but boring. By the time I finished watching this box set, I found myself invested in the characters that I had been introduced to over the course of these 27 episodes. The series impressed me enough that I really wanted to be able to watch the next box set to find out where the story would be heading to next.



When it comes to the DVD set itself, you can watch the episodes with either the English dub or with the original Japanese audio with English subtitles.



There are a total of four special features that appear on the fifth disc in the set. The first is a character relationship guide, which is a web of pictures of all the characters. I have to admit that I had a hard time figuring out the interface for this feature right at first; however, I soon figured out that you need to click on an arrow on a rectangle with the words "Special Features" on it, then you progress your way through the web. On the left-hand side of the screen, it tells what kind of a relationship each pair of characters have with each other. This was an informative feature, but the web was already somewhat complicated to follow due to the various relationships introduced in the course of the 27 episodes that appear in this set.



Next, there are five movie trailers that run back-to-back for Inuyasha: Affections Touching Across Time. The trailers have a Japanese language track, but there are no subtitles included. Unless you can understand Japanese, the viewer has no idea what's being said. I wish Viz had gone to the effort to include English subtitles for the trailers.



There is also a textless version of the opening credits, as well as textless versions for both sets of ending credits that appear in the first season. These are truly textless versions, because there are also no subtitles included. I don't fault these particular features for the lack of subtitles, though, because it doesn't affect the viewer's enjoyment of them.



The extras that appear in this set are what I have come to expect from Viz Media over the past few years, so there's really no surprises here.



If you're a fan of the Inuyasha fan and want to include the series in your home video collection, then the Inuyasha First Season Box Set would be a good step in the right direction for collecting the series.



I wrote this review after watching a copy of the Inuyasha First Season Box Set that my husband purchased for me as a gift.
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