Sunday, November 20, 2005

Inuyasha Movie 1: Affections Touching Across Time

Genre: Fantasy / Adventure
General Audience
Credits: 2001 Toshiya Shinohara, Kyoto Animation, NTV, Shogakukan Productions Co., Ltd., Sunrise, TOHO, Yomiuri TV

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Cover Description:
200 years ago, InuYasha's father sealed away a powerful demon from China named Hyoga. A Shikon Jewel shard awakens Hyoga's son, Menomaru, inspiring him to absorb the remains of his father's power to take control of the world. It's up to InuYasha and his friends to stop this nearly invincible foe!

Transcending fandom. >>> by skysenshi
There isn't much to see in this Inuyasha movie that fans haven't seen in regular episodes. Somehow, this seems like an extended filler chapter, although the general plot is pretty interesting. Hyoga is a demon that came into Japan 700 years ago — if you're counting from our timeline. I suppose this happened during the Mongol Invasion in the 1200's. Hyoga is slain by Inuyasha and Sesshomaru's father and is succeeded 200 years later by his power-hungry son Menomaru. Menomaru's motives are simple and clear: first he must exact vengeance for his father's death, and then he must rule the world. Once he inherits his father's force, all he needs to do is absorb the souls of people across time in order to make himself more invincible.

While this should be standard Inuyasha fare, with team Inuyasha saving the day, there are a few scenes that are worth buying this movie for. All the important characters are given equal exposure. Miroku and Sango share moments that are hilariously romantic, considering this was shown after the first fifty or so episodes of the TV series — when Miroku and Sango's relationship was still quite vague. Mascots like Shippou, Myouga-jiji, and the funny tanuki demon just add to the entertainment without being obtrusive. Even Kirara, Sango's loyal cat demon, has her own big role to play. Kaede, whose powers were never before shown in the series, demonstrates a huge chunk of her Miko skills. And of course, our favorite Kagome-Inuyasha-Kikyo love triangle once again takes center stage. Sesshomaru and Kikyo fans, however, might find themselves sorely disappointed with these two's lack of battle scenes. I expected Kikyo to do a double-miko tandem with Kagome, since she's one of the most powerful humans in the story, but I was kept hanging. Sesshoumaru, on the other hand, simply plays eye candy.

What I love most about this motion picture are the battle scenes. Since the villainous demons came from China, they show off absolute grace, balance and style befitting of talented Wushu martial artists. I must admit that I have gotten so used to Sango's swift ninja movements and Inuyasha's brash attack-first-think-later fighting techniques that seeing flexible swords and flying Wushu moves just took my breath away. Truly, they're nothing short of lovely.

Artwork and animation have been enhanced greatly by 3D CG for theater quality. I also noticed that they paid much attention to the eyes, which they only did during the latter parts of the series. The soundtrack is beautiful! The flute version of the usual background music, which later segues into a cornucopia of various oriental accompaniments, reminded me so much of the classic Wild Arms intro.

For those who have never beheld any of the series' episodes, Kagome provides a brief background of the entire situation: how she and Inuyasha met; who Sesshomaru is; who her Feudal Era friends are; and what Kikyo is to Inuyasha. For those who have been long-time fans, this movie is a nice supplement to your collection.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 9; Story 8; Characters 9; Sounds 9

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