Anime Meta-Review




By Date




Title Info

  • seen: 1-50
  • type: TV
  • grade: worthy
  • people: Takahashi
  • made: 2000
  • Review created: Recently, but I didn't record the date.
  • mod: none

Another Rumiko Takahashi manga gets the anime treatment. This is a good thing, despite the spotty history of previous attempts. In this story we get to follow a young japanese school girl as she discovers that the many myths surrounding her temple home aren't purely a matter of history. In fact it isn't long before she is dragged, by a centipede demon, into the demon haunted history of Japan itself. And, much to her horror, it seems she has inherited power and duties from the guardian priestess of a nearby village. The main duty being to guard a magical stone that, while useless to most humans, is a powerful artifact and demon super-charger. As a result of which the village has quite a history of fighting demons. Indeed her first sight in this new land is a demon (marked primarily by cute dog ears), the one who struck down the original priestess, bound to a tree. Unfortunately there's still quite a few free, and they are being called by the power of the stone. Through circumstance and misadventure she comes to awaken, and partly control, the demon Inuyasha. And, even worse, during a conflict the stone is shattered and the pieces spread throughout Japan. Since each piece is capable of greatly amplifying the power of evil the fragments must be recovered. A task that will take both her powers and Inuyasha's might to acheive...but since Inuyasha wants the stone for himself, and Kagome largely wants to escape from this nightmare, and a great number of demons want the shards it looks like it will be some time before they can co-exist, let along recover the stone.

That's really a couple too many spoilers, but I couldn't really find a way to describe the story without it. This all happens in the first two episodes, so i'm not spoiling too far ahead. And really, which might suprise those who don't know Takahashi's manga, the emphasis here is on action and a touch of horror. Mind you, this is also given substance by Takahashi's impressive ability for character, dialogue and atmosphere as well as a rich imagination. I mean, the story sounds quite typical, and is clearly set up (as seen in the opening) to have a team of powerful types hunting shards and fighting demons throughout Japan. But add in the fact that Kagome is a typical Takahashi female, headstrong and agressive, and Inuyasha, while a powerful demon, is quite complex and suprisingly innocent at times and you've got some quite entertaining human drama. Something I would expect to grow as both major and minor characters develop in the story. Like all Takahashi's material I don't expect this to be a full-on classic, but I do expect it to be rich in character, event, subtext and very entertaining to watch. It also seems that it is sticking to the manga storyline (and supposedly plans to continue to do so) which sounds like a promising decision.

Mind you, the anime makes a lot of changes outside of the story. While the monsters and actions are cool in the manga the anime expands and enhances the experience...sometimes very impressively. And, as for the characters, the monsters are fresh and original (especially to western fans). There are three beasts in the first three episodes and all of them are interesting with very different abilities, methods and personalities. And this is well represented in the animation. Anyone who, when they hear `demon' thinks of gigantic howling humanoid beasties (as featured in way too many action anime) should be delighted by the originality shown here. And, at times, they're actually a little bit scary. Add in some lovely magic sequences, impressive and acrobatic action and this is great horror/action stuff before you even consider RT's talent for character. Technically the animation is not that impressive (or not that flashy) with a clean and open style which has definite similarities to the manga. It's doesn't have much `wow' factor, but it is solid, competent and used cleverly and with imagination. The voices are good, opening music is cheerful pop stuff while ambient music is fairly reserved.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:20 WST 2009