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 . (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.


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