Blu-ray Review "InuYasha: The Movie – The Complete Collection"

Actors: Richard Ian Cox, Moneca Stori, Kirby Morrow, Kelly Sheridan, Jillian Michaels
Directors: Toshiya Shinohara
Number of discs: 2
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Viz Media
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Run Time: 380 minutes

Films: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1 out of 5 stars

When I started watching “InuYasha” back in the early 2000’s, I was immediately hooked. I couldn’t get enough of the show.  I would watch episodes over and over just to get my fix while I waited for new episodes each week. These films are extremely epic and fit very well within the series. I also really enjoyed the show in the longer format. The typical 30 minute episode was great but I was always left immediately wanting to watch another episode. This is the first time that these films are available on “high-def” (more on that below) Blu-ray. If you are a fan of the show it should be a no-brainer in order to get your “InuYasha” fix.

So back to the beginning, in 2001, my prayers were answered with the first “InuYasha” movie. A movie version of my favorite anime? Count me in! The films fit right in between the series. The first movie took place between episodes 54 and 55. Luckily Sunrise was smart and replicated this success the following year in 2002 with the second film, which takes place between episodes 95 & 96. The same goes for the third film which came out in 2003 and ran between episodes 136 and 137.  The last film premiered in 2004 and premiered not too long after the last episode of the “InuYasha” aired.

InuYasha the Movie: Affections Touching Across Time: 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!

InuYasha the Movie 2: The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass: 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.

InuYasha the Movie 3: Swords of an Honorable Ruler: Many years ago, the Great Dog Demon wielded the Three Swords of the Fang. Upon his death, he bequeathed a sword to each of his sons, Inuyasha and Sesshomaru, leaving the third sword, the wrath-filled Sounga, locked away forever. Now that the Sounga’s power has been awakened, these two battling brothers must put away their sibling rivalry and face off against a force that spells doom for all mankind!

InuYasha the Movie 4: Fire on the Mystic Island: Within the dark recesses of Horai Island, a group of half-demons lives under the demonic rule of the Four War Gods. Escaping with barely a shred of hope, Ai, the youngest of the half-demons, returns to the island with Inuyasha, who must face not only the Four War Gods, but the past he left behind on the island fifty years ago.

Now onto the Blu-ray itself, Viz Media has done a wonderful job with releasing the latest series of “InuYasha: The Final Act” on Blu-ray prior to this. I was really hoping for the same thing with “InuYasha: The Movie – The Complete Collection” but was a left a bit disappointed.  The films are only presented in 1080i, which is technically high definition but it is a bit of a cop out for a Blu-ray release.  It still looks good with sharp colors and line details but you can see the difference clearly that it is not full HD.

The audio tracks are a step up from prior “InuYasha” releases.  There is both an English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track.  This is a step up from the releases for “InuYasha: The Final Set”.  The 5.1 tracks really capture the scale of these films and work with the non-stop action.  I have to admit, I couldn’t really choose a favorite track.  The Japanese works best with since it feels the most authentic but I love the voice cast with from the English dub as well.  There are also English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 tracks.

So on this release, we get four films but really no major special features. There is only one extra on this release from any of the films, which would be “Production Sketches”.  I did enjoying looking at this artwork but I would have loved to seen much more.  There is no commentary tracks or featurettes included, which is very disappointing.  I am not sure what it is about anime Blu-ray releases but they never come with any decent special features.

Blu-ray Review "InuYasha: The Final Act – Set 1 & 2"

Starring: Kira Tozer, Kappei Yamaguchi, Richard Ian Cox, Satsuki Yukino, Kôji Tsujitani, Hôko Kuwashima
Directors: Yasunao Aoki
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Viz Media
DVD Release Date: November 20, 2012/ February 12, 2013
Run Time: 325 minutes per set

Series: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1.5 out of 5 stars

“InuYasha: The Final Act ” is an anime series that draws inspiration from the last volumes of author Rumiko Takahashi’s popular mangas. “InuYasha” one of the most successful anime titles of the 2000’s. The origianl series end of its run (September 2004 in Japan and October 2006 in the U.S.) after 167 episodes and four movies. This final act series picks up right and picks up after left the series ended abruptly. This Sunrise produced series game this show the ended it deserved with this 26-episode series. “The Final Act ” is a real answer to many fans prayers. Viz Media is releasing this series in two separate sets each with 13 episodes.

What is the best part of “InuYasha: The Final Act” is that it will not only appeal to the most longtime InuYasha fans but it should also be able to win over a new group of fans. The characters and plot design is well formed so that you are able to figure out is going on without the having seen the prior series.  Obviously, if you are a fan you will appreciate that the Japanese dub returns with most of its principal cast.  Though the English dub was a different story. The major change is Kira Tozer taking over the role of Kagome, since Moneca Stori has retired from voice acting. After an episode or two I got used to her voice taking over. Michael Daingerfield, know best for Johann Trinity in “Mobile Suit Gundam 00” does a great job taking over for Sesshomaru.

Set 1 Official Premise: Kagome is an ordinary schoolgirl who finds her destiny linked to the half demon Inuyasha and the powerful Shikon Jewel. In their quest to restore the shattered Shikon Jewel, Inuyasha and Kagome face their ultimate enemy, the demon mastermind Naraku. Meanwhile, Sesshomaru learns the truth behind his sword Tenseiga, and Kikyo discovers a secret that could defeat Naraku. With the jewel nearly complete and in enemy hands, the race to collect the remaining shards intensifies, and an epic battle is brewing on the horizon.

Set 2 Official Premise: Kagome finds her worlds colliding as she struggles to both fight alongside Inuyasha in the past and pass the exam to get into her high school of choice in the present. But with her spiritual powers sealed away, how will she purify the Shikon Jewel before Naraku can absorb it forever? As the battle enters its final stages, Inuyasha and his friends find their strength, loyalties and will to live pushed to impossible limits. And in the end, the final key to Naraku’s and the Jewel’s destruction may lie in nothing more—and nothing less—than the trust between a half demon and a girl from the future.

“InuYasha: The Final Act” comes well presented on Blu-ray thanks to Viz Media. The episodes look sharp with their 1080p transfer in 1.78:1 aspect ratio.  The colors really jump off the screen and line detail is sharp. The audio tracks included are DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with both the original Japanese and English dub. I would like to say that both tracks are equally impressive. I usually prefer the original Japanese track but the English dub also delivers.  The dialogue and action are well represented. Kaoru Wada returned for the musical score from the previous series and delivers again with a very effective, dramatic and well-orchestrated score. I loved both of the closing songs “With You” by AAA and “Diamond” by alan.

Despite how much I loved this series and the Blu-ray release, I was not a fan of the special features.  There are various production art gallery and various storyboards included on both sets. When it comes to animation, I love seeing artwork. Lastly, there are various Japanese trailers along with their translated credits. I would have loved to see some featurettes on the comparison between the manga and the new series.  Also I would have loved to see some commentary tracks from the English dub discussing taking over for the original cast and their experiences working on the series.