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Inuyasha Season 5 Box Set

VIZ // Unrated // July 29, 2008
List Price: $99.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Todd Douglass Jr. | posted October 2, 2008 | E-mail the Author
The Show:

InuYasha has become one of the most identifiable anime franchises over the time that it has been on the airwaves. From its original run in Japan from 2000 to 2004 right up through its airing on the Cartoon Network and presentation on DVD from VIZ, there's no denying that InuYasha is darned popular. It all comes from the mind of Rumiko Takahashi, who created Ranma ½ and Urusei Yatsura prior to piecing together her latest masterpiece. With a handful of movies, a multitude of manga volumes, and 167 episodes you'd be hard-pressed to say that InuYasha isn't epic by the standards of anime.

Here in the States, InuYasha fever has taken off and you can't walk through an anime convention without seeing a few cosplayers strolling around in costume. As far as the DVDs are concerned, VIZ is still releasing them via boxed sets, individual volumes, and movies. Each of the films is already available, but the show itself is still coming out. A couple of seasons remain, but the fifth has recently hit store shelves so fans have something else to cheer about.

InuYasha follows the adventures of a half-demon named InuYasha of course. When the show begins he's attempting to steal a sacred jewel from a village, but is stopped by a priestess named Kikyo who winds up sealing InuYasha in a tree. Fast-forward centuries later, and a young Japanese girl named Kagome is inadvertently drawn through time and lands in this period. She discovers the village, hears the story about the jewel, and eventually has to free InuYasha to fight off another demon. During these events the jewel is shattered across the land and in an effort to retrieve all the pieces, Kagome and InuYasha reluctantly team up. Along the way they meet several others such as Shippo the fox demon, Miroku the monk, Koga the wolf, and even InuYasha's older brother, Sesshomaru. As you'd imagine there are also plenty of villains in the series as well. Sesshomaru plays a big role in that regard as does Naraku, who is up to no good in this collection of episodes, I assure you.

The previous four seasons featured episodes one through ninety-nine, so the fifth kicks things off with landmark number 100. Rather than have a grand opening with some dramatic moments, I found this storyline to be rather traditional and episodic. It featured a familiar moth demon and all of the characters are forced to face their nightmares. From here the show meanders for a couple of episodes before the real story arc from this season picks up.

Up to this point Naraku has been a big influence on many of the events in the show and he has become a viable threat for InuYasha and company. In this season, even though it was thought that Naraku had been defeated, it appears as though that wasn't the case. He's back, badder than ever, and he's got a jewel shard powered posse working for him known as the Band of Seven. Originally the Band of Seven was a group of mercenaries who were executed for being the evil bastards they were. Naturally they pose a viable threat for our intrepid heroes.

The Band of Seven storyline comes and goes throughout this season, comprising most of the show's events. Some side-stories are peppered in between arc episodes, but overall you can expect to see the Seven put up quite a fight for InuYasha and company. Every hero has their chance to square off against a member of the Band and of course everything that happens is all on the road to Naraku, who seems to have been reborn with even more power and desire for evil.

The most impressive thing about the fifth season is the way the story unfolds. Rather than present a small step here, or a nugget of something there, the season is full of a plot that constantly builds upon itself. Some big dramatic moments come later in the season as the group closes in on Naraku, and in between each battle with the Band of Seven presents its own outstanding elements. The jewel continues to be a major focus as well and so does the relationships between characters. This is a season that seems to have it all and it remains strongly focused from start to finish.

In many ways this is probably one of the best seasons of InuYasha to date and it remains an action-packed, endearing, and dramatic show that only gets better with time. If you're a fan of the series then picking this set up is a no-brainer, but if you have yet to discover InuYasha consider the series for your next anime purchase. It's a big investment, but it's definitely one heck of an entertaining show.

The DVD:

Video:

InuYasha's fifth season is presented on DVD with its original 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio. Like the previous outings on DVD, the transfer here is solid with a clean image, vibrant colors, and very little in terms of flaws to complain about. Some grain appears here and there, and aliasing crops up now and then, but other than that the video quality here is smooth sailing. It's not the most impressive looking show ever crafted or brought to DVD, but it's a nice, cleanly animated production that is pleasing on the eyes.

Audio:

Both the English and Japanese languages are presented with Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo for this release. The dubbing quality for both language tracks is very good, though I leaned more towards the Japanese track due to my personal preferences. The presentation quality for both tracks is strong as can be for a 2.0 stereo package. The soundstage features little to no front channel separation and some of the more dramatic moments feel subdued to the limitations in range. All in all it's not a bad presentation for the show, but it's not quite as strong as it could have been with a 5.1 inclusion.

Extras:

The supplemental features here aren't very impressive with a textless ending animation and an eleven minute collection of original Japanese footage that acts as a refresher for the first 99 episodes. Strangely enough the refresher is included on the fifth disc and not on the first.

Final Thoughts:

InuYasha is a very enjoyable series and its one that continually becomes more popular here in America. From the manga to the films and anime, InuYasha is an epic series from the mind of one of the industry's most prolific creators. This fifth season is a lot of fun and it is probably one of the most dramatic collections of episodes yet for the series. If you've been following the show to this point then consider the set an easy recommendation, but if you're new you'll definitely want to head back to the beginning and check out the show from the first episode. Overall this is a strong release for InuYasha that will definitely please fans.


Check out more of my reviews here. Head on over to my anime blog as well for random musings and reviews of anime, manga, and stuff from Japan!

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