Inu-Yasha 8 (VizBig ed.)

February 5, 2012

Rumiko Takahashi – Viz – 2011 – 56 volumes
this is an omnibus containing vols. 22-24

Rin-ne always makes me want to read Inu-Yasha, since I prefer the action/fantasy in this series to Rin-Ne, which is more of a weak cross between Inu-Yasha and Ranma 1/2. I’m liking Rin-Ne more and more every time I read a new volume, but it’s still not nearly as good as Inu-Yasha. Good thing I’ve got more than half the series left to read!

Unfortunately, despite the fact human Inu-Yasha is on the cover this time, none of the content featured his full moon transformation, which is a first for these omnibuses. There were lots of other fun stories to be had, though, including one that took place in Kagome’s Japan, and a return to the “wandering around exorcising things” storylines from the beginning of the series. I like these short fights with miscellaneous demons, so I was happy to see them back.

Actually, the main bit of story in this omnibus was a plotline where Naraku tried to lay a trap for Sesshomaru in order to absorb his powers, and wound up driven out of his castle and out of hiding, period. From this point on, none of the characters can sense Naraku anywhere in reality, and the return to wandering demon slaying is a means to learn any sort of information about where Naraku may have gone. I can blow this part off with a simple summary, but the story was a good one. Sesshomaru grows on me a little more every time he appears, and this storyline would have us believe that he’s fighting Naraku for the sake of Rin, who has been kidnapped. Not only does it look like he’s gone soft towards Rin, but it also looks like he may have avoided confrontation and/or a fight with Inu-Yasha’s group.

Anyway. All of that is pretty significant plot development for a series like this, and the aftermath changes the types of stories that appear afterwards. The shikon jewel has taken a backseat, apparently, to finding Naraku, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. The shikon jewel has always been sort of a tool for a demon power-up, and it’s become increasingly obvious that Inu-Yasha isn’t going to use it, so… that leaves defeating Naraku as a goal. So that’s okay.

Anyway, there are other things going on here, too. A plotline earlier in the volume has Inu-Yasha learning yet another trick, the power to break shields, while helping out a fellow half-demon that’s being abused by her family. The later demon hunting stories are all things like… an ogre taking over a palace, a hair demon that brings the party back in contact with Koga… relatively minor storylines like that. I don’t mind the break after all the heavy Naraku-centric stuff lately, and I especially liked the chapter where Kagome went back to the present to take a test and Inu-Yasha went to “wait patiently” while she finished. It’s little stories like this that make me adore this series.

I’m one behind in the omnibus release of this series. It’s always hard to convince myself to pick these up, since I tend to read them in one sitting and part of me knows that the action can get a bit repetitive if taken in a big dose like that. But I can’t get enough when I do finally pick them up, and I can’t help but think that one volume of this series at a time isn’t nearly enough story at once. It’s just an absolutely perfect mix of entertaining action, imaginative demon enemies and folklore, and likable characters. It has a pretty universal appeal, and I can see why it’s so popular. Part of me is itching to pick up the volume 9 omnibus right now.

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