01 September 2011


(CREDIT: to the owners... you know how it goes...)
RANK: 4 out of 5 <-- the alpha of long shonen anime

When Kagome discovers a well that transports her to feudal era Japan, she unwittingly frees a half-demon, Inuyasha, and shatters the sacred Jewel of Four Souls. Now they must work together to restore the jewel before it falls into the wrong hands...
(From an ad in a manga released by VIZ media.)

Another anime that goes on for what seems like an eternity? Oh, darn. Shonen anime and manga are zombies, products of an incurable disease in which there is no end. Poor direction, useless characters, humungous plot holes, horrendous development, cheap deus ex machina tricks, and insulting cliches plague these series. The Big Shonen Three, my nickname for Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece, are perfect examples: all doubters have been forewarned by this anime fan.

So if I watch another ungodly long series again with such putrid garbage, and if I beat myself senseless a billion and one times over a little conflict, then - *pauses and leaves*

*returns after watching 167 episodes...* For the love of Oreos and milk, I have found a diamond amongst a sea of sewage!! Diamonds aren't exactly my thing, but I digress... Time to get to the point.

After spending many fun, wasteful years waiting for Naruto to actually progress, Inuyasha truly is a lifesaver. For everything the Big Shonen Three fail at, Inuyasha does it so well it takes the entire bakery instead of a slice of cake. For one thing, only one main villain of the show creates a huge spiderweb of schemes and no other characters ever replace him as the "big bad" *gasp!* At the same time, nearly every reoccurring character is caught in the web and is forced to deal with their situation in some way. Almost all the characters that develop are - dare I say it - NEEDED, even for a short while. Then, the adventures along the way contain some silly shenanigans, but each episode reveals even the tiniest piece of relevance to the overall story.

And the fight scenes? Say hello to straightforward battles with rare flashback moments, generally quick action, and occasional bickering. The average length of fights can be estimated to seven minutes, usually occurring at the end of each episode. But in the case of episodes split into multiple parts, many battles can occur at once and usually end in a modest amount of time. Even when flashbacks happen, they are short and sweet. Inuyasha succeeds by creating episodic adventures with good pacing in twenty minutes, leaving you satisfied in knowing you won't watch six episodes of nothing but a slow, painful battle.

Furthermore, unlike the Big Shonen Three, the main cast of Inuyasha is memorable, unique, relevant, and are not cardboard thin. Each character has a reasonable range of skills instead of possessing hundreds of abilities, and each person has a chance to prove themselves. Personalities vary greatly, especially with the main characters: Inuyasha, Kagome, Shippo, Miroku, Sango, and Kirara. This factor as well as the ever-changing environment provide various situations when they, as well as other friends and rivals, all clash. As a bonus, their running gags never seem to get old. I might never be able to tell my dog to "sit" ever again without a huge grin on my face. (Even now I can't help it: XD)

Additional praise goes to the music in the show. Though I found it annoying at first, I always knew "Change the World" long before I watched Inuyasha. Now I love it; however, there are even better opening and ending themes that are worth listening to. Other themes and background music are also very enjoyable, but most importantly, fitting to the scenes.

What ultimately brings down the series' quality is the length. Filler and fanservice might both be foreign concepts to the show, but some episodes have content seen as irrelevant, needed only to make the plot slow down or move in a circle. Sadly, Inuyasha does suffer with one "slow" quality the Big Shonen Three all possess. Some conflicts drag on for an extraordinary number of episodes, especially when a solution can be found in five minutes. The finest example is that one particular love triangle, in which most fans want Kikyo permanently, surely, and safely dead. The worst part of that painfully long drama is not that Kikyo is like a cockroach after a nuclear explosion, but that Inuyasha is indecisive and oblivious. Sure, the end of that conflict is predictable as hell and easy to tell in one look, but the race from start to finish can be torturous.

Perhaps the show's greatest flaw is that despite how well paced each episode is as a whole, the entire show still feels somewhat sluggish. The worst part is that at the final episode, Inuyasha is still not over and many conflicts are still unresolved. Oh, crap. I forgot that The Final Act is the last part of the series. Another 26 episodes ain't that bad. Now if only the dub will be released soon...

Yet, I cannot help but love this show. Ever since I first heard of it back in 2005, I always wanted to watch it when it aired on Adult Swim, but I was too young to stay up late. Just the other week I miraculously rediscovered this childhood dream during my ongoing anime phase. After the time I spent, throwing tantrums, screaming at my computer screen, and laughing until I cried, Inuyasha was absolutely worth the wait. This might have been the best long anime series I have ever seen... so far.

Inuyasha should have been more regarded in Japan for one reason: creators need to learn to not make stupidly long anime that go nowhere. This was probably the best effort they made at this point....

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