Three years after its first release in Anime format, Inuyasha
has become a massive hit worldwide. It gained widespread recognition
in North America after Cartoon Network's Adult Swim aired
the Anime in 2002, and is still going strong. With over 120+
episodes now under its belt, the series definitely has its
own essence of uniqueness and originality within. The story
revolves around Kagome, a regular junior high school girl
who lives with her family at a historical shrine. Her life
was turned upside down when she fell into a well and ended
up in the Sengoku era thousands of years ago where humans
and demons alike were waging war against each other. It was
there when she first met Inuyasha, a hanyou (half-human, half-demon)
who has been sealed at the holy tree Goshinboku for 50 years
after Kikyou, the village priestess had shot him with a purity
arrow. Kagome released him from the seal and he was free again.
As the son of a great demon lord, Inuyasha had incredible
powers, even as a hanyou. He was archrivalled by Sesshoumaru,
Inuyasha's older brother who is a full demon and Naraku, another
powerful demon who never does the dirty job himself but likes
to set up traps and play with his enemies' emotions.
The main plot of the story focuses on the Shikon No Tama
(The Sphere of Four Souls), a magical item that can bring
immense amounts of power to demons and humans who wish to
use it with evil intentions. 50 years before, Kikyou was trusted
to guard the Shikon No Tama from enemies, including Inuyasha
who wanted to use it in order to become a full demon. The
two met and fell in love but one day, either felt betrayed
by one another and both ended up killing each other. The Shikon
was burned along with Kikyou's remains, never to appear again.
But this is where Kagome's story sets in. When she first came
into the feudal era, she brought a Shikon with her (which
was originally just a souvenir from her grandfather). Further
misfortunes happened and the Shikon No Tama was broken into
tiny shards, now scattered all over the world. Given her ability
to detect the presence of the shards, it's now her and Inuyasha's
task to regain all the pieces back, defeating evil monsters
(and humans) who happened to possess one. Along the way, they
meet little fox boy Shippo, the delinquent monk Miroku and
Sango, a youkai exterminator. The three decided to join them
in their quest to defeat evil and reclaiming the Shikon shards.
Things became more complicated when Kikyou was revived. Thinking
that Inuyasha had betrayed him, her restless soul was fueled
by hatred and will not pass on until she gets her revenge.
It turns out that Naraku impersonated both Kikyou and Inuyasha
50 years before, causing the rift between them by assuming
each other's forms. Not only that, he was also responsible
for the death of Sango's whole village tribe and created the
air void in Miroku's right hand. On the other hand, Inuyasha's
brother Sesshoumaru was after his Tetsusaiga, a powerful sword
inherited from his father. After failing to get the sword,
he now vows to kill Inuyasha on his own.
The storyline of Inuyasha has a serious, rather tragic feel
to it. Although comedy is never far off, it centers mostly
along the party's quest against Naraku, their biggest enemy
who caused Inuyasha, Sango and Miroku much despair in the
past. Naraku, armed with a handful of Shikon shards, uses
the power of other demons (and sometimes his own detachments)
to finish off Inuyasha and his friends. To add as a twist,
Kagome fell in love with Inuyasha, who himself is still loyal
to Kikyou and wants to be with her until the end. Now what
makes Inuyasha such a great Anime are the colorful,
unique enemies the party has to deal with. Each has their
own traits and abilities, adding to such a brilliant variety
of characters. Even, most of the filler episodes were great,
either focusing on one of the individual main characters or
defeating mere one-off enemies. Some of the minor enemies
were far too easy to be defeated though.
But the series is not without its faults. For one, it bears
certain resemblance to creator Rumiko Takahashi's other famous
work, Ranma ½. (Heck, just compare that Myouga flea
to old pervert Happosai, they're basically the same.) Ranging
from Inuyasha's attacks to his relationship with Kagome, some
of similarities were too painfully obvious to be ignored.
Others might find it boring after about 50 episodes, saying
that the story has strayed off a bit and is now swarmed with
fillers and the same plot revolving over and over again.
That said, no one can deny Inuyasha's popularity and
success. For me, it's a brilliant Anime with an incredible
storyline, worthy of your free time. For those who's looking
for a good dose of action and emotion, this one's for you.
It serves up as a great medium for new and old Anime fans
alike. Although not perfect by any means, Inuyasha
is definitely one of the best series to come out in recent
years. Watch it.