Recently, I’ve seen Inuyasha, an anime that’s been on my “to do” list for years. For those who don’t know, let me sum it up.
Kagome Higarashi is a junior high student. While searching for her family’s cat on the morning of her 15th birthday, she gets dragged down an old well by a demon youkai. At the bottom of the well, she finds herself 500 years in the past where there are demons and bloodshed around every stone and tree. While trying to find her way home, she meets Inuyasha, a dog demon born of a human mother, and discovers a magical stone called the Shikon No Tama buried in her own flesh. Now she must protect the jewel with the newly tamed Inuyasha at her side and keep it from demons and greedy humans that crave its power. This job gets much more difficult when the jewel shatters into hundreds of millions of shards and scattered all across the country. They make friends in Songo the Demon Slayer, Miroku the Monk, and Shippo the fox demon child, make rivals in the older brother of Inuyasha, Sesshonmaru, and the chief of the Wolf-Demon tribe, Koga, and enemies in Naraku and his minions and henchmen, and it becomes a race to see who can gather and collect the shards first to make the jewel whole once again, Kagome and party, or Naraku and tow. All the while, Kagome leaps back and forth between the times, collecting shards one day, and cramming for a test with her school friends at WacDonald’s the next.
First thing I gotta say is…this is the longest series I’ve ever watched, clocking in at 193 episodes and four movies. I have a tendency to stay away from the longer shows getting overwhelmed with the commitment of sitting through so many hours with a show I may or may not like. However, I watched Inuyasha in its entirety no less than 4 times in the span of 2 months. I’ve been completely infatuated with this show and love how it can allow itself to have a big, grand overarching plot while also making time for so much filler that doesn’t feel like filler.
Just as an example of what I mean, in episode 60, it starts a mini-plot with a Dark Priestess named Tsubaki that is commissioned by Naraku to curse Kagome and cause her to shoot Inuyasha before her own painful death. While this whole episode takes place in a small hut, and 90% of Kagome’s dialogue consists of “Run away. Get out of here.”, it doesn’t at all feel out of place and makes sense for these characters to act this way, even keeping me at the edge of my seat, curious as to whether Inuyasha would abandon Kagome or allow himself to be killed at her hand. While Kagome and Inuyasha have their face-off, Miroku and Songo leave in search of the priestess, unaware that Kagome’s curse has her body possessed. This may not be my favorite episode, but it is my favorite example of Naraku commissioning someone else to do his job. While he sends other people and characters out to do his dirty work, Tsubaki is the only one that deserves her villainous monologue on her soapbox, even if that right was stripped away at the end of the very next episode.
Even the filler episodes that take place in Kagome’s modern era don’t feel out of place. Every time Kagome goes to her era, Inuyasha shows up to remind her of their mission and shows the same energy to help her with whatever mundane thing she needs help with, whether it’s losing her test pass, or forgetting her school lunch, or teaching her younger brother how to confess his feelings to his first crush.
Every episode, while it definitely doesn’t always hit bulls-eye, always keeps the same energy and atmosphere in every episode. Some episodes are funnier than others, some focus more on side plots than others, some focus more on annoying characters than others, but if any episode, character, or mini-plot was missing, it would be missed. Just an example, while I thoroughly believe Jaken is the most annoying character, I can’t imagine how stale Sesshonmaru would be without him, and he was a huge part of Rin’s life, being her babysitter when Sesshonmaru is away.
One thing I need to talk about though is the main villain himself. Coming right out to say it, Naraku is a missed opportunity. He was so hyped up with how he was able to tear Inuyasha and his first love, Kikiyo apart, how he cursed Miroku’s grandfather with a family curse of the Wind Tunnel, he tricked Songo and her family into a death trap while her village was slaughtered, leaving herself and her younger brother as the sole survivors, and to make matters worse, he has her brother under his mind control, which leaves him with little control over his own actions. And yet, once he finally gets introduced, what does he do in his very first scene? Commission Sesshonmaru to kill Inuyasha alongside his Saimyosho while he sits on his butt on the sidelines. When he starts to actively hunt Inuyasha, what does he do? Commission other demons to do the job. Even when he sets the trap for Songo’s family, he shifts 90% of the work to a Jurogumo (or Tsutigumo, I can’t really tell the difference and I don’t remember if they specified) and a hoard of demons to massacre the village. He sends Kagura, a female incarnation of himself to pit Koga and Inuyasha against each other, he sends Kanna to steal Kagome’s soul, he sends Goshinki to kill Inuyasha, he sends Kagura again and again to kill Inuyasha and company, he sends the Band of Seven to kill them, I can go on and on. Even when we see Naraku, it’s either an illusion or a demon puppet. The few times we see the real Naraku, he runs away as soon as something isn’t going as he had planned. Inuyasha breaks his barrier? ESCAPE! Kagome masters her arrows to hit him through walls and barriers? ESCAPE! Miroku stops giving a damn about getting poisoned by Naraku’s poisonous Saimyosho? You got it; ESCAPE! He doesn’t do anything himself and when he does, he doesn’t take any risks. This guy was simply a let-down. Inuyasha really speaks my mind when he says “WILL YOU JUST DIE ALREADY?!”
Oh well, all things considered, as annoying and relatively boring the main villain is, I still love Inuyasha and recommend it to anyone looking for a way to kill a few weeks, and looking for something funny, but deep and serious at times with aspects of supernatural horror, I highly believe this is for you. I hadn’t even touched hardly any of the more serious stuff that happens, like Inuyasha’s childhood, Miroku’s past, or Kikiyo’s entire plot.
If you want to see for yourself, then go ahead! Give this older anime a watch if you haven’t already and come to your own conclusions. Leave your opinions of Inuyasha in the comments below and have a beautiful rest of your day~!