Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Inuyasha Movie 2: The Castle Beyond The Looking Glass

Genre: Fantasy / Adventure
General Audience
Credits: 2002 Rumiko Takahashi / Shougakukan / Yamiuri Telecasting / Shougakukan Productions / Japan TV / Yomiuri TV Enterprise

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Cover Description:
With their greatest foe seemingly defeated, Inuyasha and his friends begin to return to their lives. But their short period of peace is once again shattered as a new enemy begins to emerge. Kaguya, the self-proclaimed Princess from the Moon of legend, begins a plan to plunge the world into a perpetual night of the full moon. Inuyasha, Kagome, Miroku, Sango and Shippo must once again unite to face the new threat.

Interwoven Legends >>> by skysenshi
With storytelling as involving as portrayed in Inuyasha: The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass, you're bound to stay glued to your seat for the duration of the movie. Ironically, there's nothing really huge going on that would affect the series' storyline. The only series-related new character introduced here is Akitoki Houjo, present-day Houjo's ancestor. He appears in later episodes, but as someone the gang already knows. His first official appearance is in this motion picture.

Naraku's supposed defeat isn't really the main kicker in the gripping plot. That was merely the beginning. It's the fact that several Eastern and Western lores — from Legend of the Five Rings, to Tale of Genji, to the myth of the bathing tennyo and her Hagoromo (robe of feathers), to the symbolic Pentacle — have been intertwined and remixed to produce a new villainess worthy of such legends. Take note, this tale is delivered through sheer poetry — figuratively and literally! Every element involved with her revival is a part of what constitutes each of the main characters' lives. While it may seem convenient and contrived that Sango, Miroku, Inuyasha and Kagome are all linked to the self-proclaimed Moon Princess, I'd rather see it as a nice opening for more action, adventures, laughs, and romance. If you also want to see showdowns that pit several kick-ass villains against each other, this is it.

Unfortunately for Sesshomarou fans, Inuyasha's grim older brother makes a cameo that lasts for a mere two seconds. He only appears with a perfunctory note at the start. The priestess Kikyou, on the other hand, participates more than she usually does.

Inuyasha: The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass ups the bar set by the previous movie by a whole yard. If you liked the 2D-3D collaborative animation that Inuyasha: Affections Touching Across Time offered, you'd love this one. The artwork is crisper, the characters' eyes are more alive, and everything else is more vibrant. Production values are nothing short of superb. In fact, I couldn't even make up my mind which screens I should capture. There are just so many great angles to choose from!

For the intro, they re-used the same flute-dominated music that I loved from the first movie. The ending and insert songs are also quite apt to the situations presented. Even the background music added more impact to what would be your usual action sequences.

Speaking of action scenes, I must say that Castle Beyond the Looking Glass is packed. While it didn't showcase impressive Wushu techniques like its predecessor, the Kagome-Inuyasha and Sango-Miroku combined moves are liable to give you goose bumps. Couple this with the fact that everyone's just so funny, especially Miroku's repeated attempts at "seducing" Sango and the relevance of Kagome's special locket, this Inuyasha flick is something to add to a collector's shelf.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 10; Story 9; Characters 10; Sounds 10

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