Creator: Rumiko Takahashi
Producer: Sunrise
Runtime: 2000-04, 2009-10
Episodes: 193
Rating: PG

This is a review of both the initial series, Inuyasha, and the finale series, Inuyasha: The Final Act.

Inuyasha is a classic introductory anime: if you're looking for a traditional anime to start off with, you should see Inuyasha. Despite its numerous flaws, the show holds a special place in many viewers' hearts due to its addictive characters, exquisite animation and soundtrack, and the sheer fact that it was on the air for so long.

The series follows the adventures of fifteen year old Kagome Higurashi, an ordinary schoolgirl who accidentally falls down a well in the old family shrine and ends up in the feudal era of Japan. Kagome and friends Inuyasha, Miroku, Sango, Shippo, and Kirara face wicked humans, demons, and their own hearts, all while trying to locate the shards of the mysterious Shikon Jewel before Naraku can.

Inuyasha's main plot is nothing revolutionary. It focuses on the adventures of a group of fighters and their conflict with an archvillain, Naraku. The plot does manage some originality in its setting of feudal Japan and by incorporating time travel into the story, but these have been done before, too. Rather than the plot, what really drives the series are the characters, each of whom is dynamic enough to easily support entire episodes dedicated solely to their individual lives. Each member of Inuyasha's group has a well-developed story and a reason for fighting which unravels as the series progresses. Just as interesting as the main plot, if not moreso, are the sideplots revolving around Kikyo and Sesshomaru. Both characters are arguably more addictive than the main group and each manages to function as a "main" character despite the fact that they do not appear in every episode. Kikyo truly is the "tragic priestess" and through the story between her and Inuyasha, Rumiko Takahashi manages to capture a sense of depth and emotion that is attempted in many anime but rarely achieved. (See especially Episodes 147-48: The Tragic Love Song of Destiny). Sesshomaru is an instant favorite due to his mysterious, aloof nature and his seemingly unrivaled strength. It is entertaining to see that the battle between Inuyasha et al. and Naraku is, at least initially, but a matter of "mere mortals" in the eyes of Sesshomaru.

Despite its positive aspects, the show's criticism is warranted. At nearly 200 episodes, Inuyasha is drawn out, and for the most part the series' length cuts against its quality. Still, the length is less of an issue than in most other long-winded anime (e.g., Dragonball, Bleach). The filler stories in Inuyasha are not "arcs" but rather adventures that last an episode or two, so the viewer is never condemned to some non-canonical story for episodes on end. Nor is filler in Inuyasha entirely "filler," for it nearly always moves the story along. For instance, many of the stories in season 4 are filler in nature, but they also assist the main plot by providing hints about Naraku's whereabouts. Moreover, viewers might actually welcome the show's length since many "filler" episodes develop the characters in different ways. Indeed, the cast of Inuyasha is one that you will probably want to see more of, even if they are doing things irrelevant to the main plot (such as killing a food demon at the cultural festival).

Other weaknesses abound. The series is rarely suspenseful and the fights become absurdly repetitive. The classic "level-up" nature of the characters can grow tiresome and the show lacks continuity at certain points. The transition from the original series to "The Final Act" is particularly rough: in the first episode, so much changes that it can only be assumed that one must read the manga to fully understand the underlying rationale. And while "The Final Act" is great in that it provides an actual anime ending (as compared to episode 167), it suffers from the serious flaw of attempting to cram too much material into 26 episodes. It becomes imminently clear that "The Final Act" is too fast-paced when one realizes that Inuyasha learns only 3 moves in the the entire 167 episodes that are seasons 1-6, but learns 2 new moves in the mere 26 episodes that are "The Final Act." In the end, Inuyasha is a show with great promise which often delivers but falls short due to the experimental way in which Takahashi develops the story. What really carries the show are the incredibly dynamic characters and the sideplots (particularly Kikyo's tragedy). Moreso than with most anime, if you are not won over by the characters then you won't like the series. Conversely, if you are won over by the characters, then you will probably enjoy the show because you'll enjoy seeing the characters engaged in any sort of activity.

Inuyasha's voice cast and soundtrack are absolutely superb and easily rank near the top among all anime. The English voice cast is to be highly recommended, and for nearly all characters it cannot be matched by the Japanese cast. Particularly the English voices of Inuyasha, Sesshomaru, Kikyo, Kagome, and Naraku become so intertwined with the character that an English viewer will find himself dissatisfied when watching the show in Japanese. This presents a problem, though: "The Final Act" is scheduled to be dubbed at some point in the future, but there are already rumors that the English voices of Kagome and Sesshomaru will not be returning.

Inuyasha's soundtrack shines in that it is not only very well done, but highly thematic: characters each have their own songs (if not several) and you will find yourself easily predicting what music will accompany a scene; e.g., Sesshomaru's theme. The soundtrack does an excellent job of capturing the feel of feudal Japan; e.g., Kikyo's theme. And, moreso than the vast majority of anime, Inuyasha's OST complements the sense of urgency, emotional depth, and power that can exist in the show's greatest moments; e.g., Rei Chikara.

Last but not least, Inuyasha's animation (especially that of the earlier seasons) is exquisite. The scenery and, to an extent, characters are painting-like and can be likened to that of a Miyazaki film. The animation later strays (see the beginning of the fourth season) and attempts a more polished, cartoonish look, but the show fortunately reverts to its original look by the end of the fourth season. As with most anime, the characters' faces can be far too similar to one another (Sango and Kagome are essentially the same face). On the other hand, character dress is generally unique and distinguishing. While it is true that much new animation has a beauty and complexity that simply cannot be matched by older animation like that in Inuyasha, Inuyasha at least executes the old-style animation beautifully and consistently in nearly every episode.

Much like this review, Inuyasha holds promise and often delivers but can be long-winded and lacking in direction. If you're like me, you will find yourself drawn in from the very beginning and unable to stop watching, no matter how bad the series may periodically become. Even knowing this, you will consider Inuyasha not only a success but an anime worth re-watching down the road.

But you will also realize that there are shorter, more consistent, better-planned anime out there. Inuyasha is a time commitment. While you likely won't regret watching Inuyasha as it excels in many respects, if time is precious to you and you've yet to see a number of other highly recommended, shorter anime, you might want to begin with those.

Story: 8.2
Animation: 8.6
Sound: 9.4

Overall Score: 8.4 (Excellent)

Dual-Audio (Japanese/English) Downloads

1 - The Girl Who Overcame Time and the Boy Who Was Just Overcome
2 - Seekers Of The Sacred Jewel
3 - Down The Rabbit Hole And Back Again
4 - Yura of the Demon-Hair
5 - Arisocratic Assassin, Sesshomaru
6 - Tetsusagia, The Phantom Sword
7 - Showdown! Inuyasha vs. Sesshomaru
8 - The Toad Who Would be Prince
9 - Enter Shippo..Plus The Amazing Thunder Brothers!
10 - Phantom Showdown
11 - The Terror of the Ancient Noh Mask
12 - Soul Piper and the Mischievious Little Spirit
13 - Mystery of the New Moon - Black Haired Inuyasha
14 - Kikyo's Stolen Ashes
15 - Return of the Tragic Priestess, Kikyo
16 - Mystical Hand of the Amorous Monk, Miroku
17 - The Cursed Ink of the Hell Painter
18 - Naraku and Sesshomaru join Forces
19 - Go Home to your Own Time, Kagome
20 - Despicable Villain, The Mystery of Onigumo
21 - Naraku's True Identity Unveiled
22 - A Wicked Smile; Kikyo's Wandering Soul
23 - Kagome's Voice and Kikyo's Kiss
24 - Enter...Sango the Demon Exterminator
25 - Naraku's Insidious Plot
26 - Secret of the Jewel of the Four Souls
27 - Lake of the Water God
28 - Miroku Falls into a Dangerous Trap
29 - Sango's Suffering and Kohaku's Life
30 - Tetsusaiga is Stolen! Showdown at Naraku's Castle
31 - Jinenji, Kind yet Sad
32 - Kikyo and Inuyasha, Into the Miasma
33 - Kikyo, Captured by Naraku
34 - Tetsusaiga and Tenseiga
35 - True Owner of the Great Sword
36 - Kagome is Kidnapped by Koga the Wolf Demon
37 - The Man that Fell in Love with Kagome
38 - Two Hearts, One Mind
39 - Trapped in a Duel to the Death
40 - The Deadly Trap of Kagura, The Wind Sorcress
41 - Kagura's Dance and Kanna's Mirror
42 - The Wind's Scar Fails
43 - Tetsusaiga Breaks
44 - Kaijinbo's Evil Sword
45 - Sesshomaru Wields Tokijin
46 - Juromaru and Kageromaru
47 - Onigumo's Heart Still Beats Within Naraku
48 - Return to the Place Where we First Met
49 - Kohaku's Lost Memory
50 - That Unforgettable Face!
51 - Inuyasha's Soul, Devoured
52 - The Demon's True Nature
53 - Father's Old Enemy Ryukotsusei
54 - The Backlash Wave: Tetsusaiga's Ultimate Technique
55 - The Stone Flower and Shippo's First Love
56 - Temptress in the Mist
57 - Fateful Night in Togenkyo Part 1
58 - Fateful Night in Togenkyo Part 2
59 - The Beautiful Sister Apprentices
60 - The 50 Year-Old Curse of the Dark Priestess
61 - Kikyo and the Dark Priestess
62 - Tsubaki's Unrelenting Evil Spell
63 - The Red and White Priestesses
64 - Giant Ogre of the Forbidden Tower
65 - Farewell Days of My Youth
66 - Naraku's Barrier - Kagura's Decision
67 - The Howling Wind of Betrayal
68 - Shippo Gets an Angry Challenge
69 - Terror of the Faceless Man
70 - Onigumo's Memory Restored
71 - Three-Sided Battle to the Death
72 - Totosai's Rigid Training
73 - Shiori's Family and Inuyasha's Feelings
74 - The Red Tetsusaiga Breaks the Barrier!
75 - The Plot of the Panther Devas
76 - Target Sesshomaru and Inuyasha
77 - The Panther Tribe and the Two Swords of the Fang
78 - Only You, Sango
79 - Jaken's Plan to Steal Tetsusaiga
80 - Sesshomaru and the Abducted Rin
81 - Vanishing Point; Naraku Disappears
82 - Gap Between the Ages
83 - The Female Wolf-Demon and the Lunar Rainbow Promise
84 - Koga's Bride-To-Be
85 - The Evil Within Demon's Head Castle
86 - Secret of the Possessed Princess
87 - Kikyo's Lonely Journey
88 - The Three Sprites of the Monkey God
89 - Nursing Battle of the Rival Lovers
90 - Sota's Brave Confession of Love
91 - The Suspicious Faith Healer and the Black Kirara
92 - Plot of the Walking Dead
93 - The Mysterious, Lecherous Monk
94 - The Sacred Jewel Maker Part I
95 - The Sacred Jewel Maker Part II
96 - Jaken Falls Ill
97 - Kirara Come Home!
98 - Kikyo and Kagome - Alone in the Cave
99 - Koga and Sesshomaru - A Dangerous Encounter
100 - The Truth Behind the Nightmare
101 - The Snow from Seven Years Past
102 - Assault on the Wolf-Demon Tribe!
103 - The Band of Seven, Resurrected!
104 - The Stealthy Poison Master: Mukotsu!
105 - The Ghastly Steel Machine!
106 - Kagome, Miroku, and Sango - Desperate Situation!
107 - Inuyasha Shows His Tears For The First Time
108 - The Secret of the Pure Light
109 - Hidden in the Mist: Onward to Mt. Hakurei!
110 - Enter Bankotsu, The Leader of the Band of Seven
111 - The Big Clash: Banryu versus the Wind Scar
112 - Afloat on the Lake Surface - The Barrier of Hijiri Island
113 - The Sacred Vajra and the Mystery of the Living Buddha
114 - Koga's Solitary Battle
115 - Lured by the Black Light
116 - The Exposed Face of Truth
117 - Vanished in a River of Flames
118 - Into the Depths of Mt. Hakurei
119 - Divine Malice of the Saint
120 - Fare Thee Well- Jakotsu's Requiem
121 - Final Battle- The Last and Strongest of the Band of Seven
122 - The Power of Banryu- Duel to the death on Mt. Hakurei
123 - Beyond the Darkness - Naraku Reborn!
124 - Farewell Kikyo, My Beloved
125 - The Darkness in kagome's Heart
126 - Transform Heartache into Courage!
127 - Don't Boil It! The Terrifying Dried-Up Demon!
128 - Battle Against the Dried-Up Demons at the Cultural Festival!
129 - Chokyukai and the Abducted Bride
130 - Shippo's New Technique, The Heart Scar!
131 - Trap of the Cursed Wall Hanging
132 - Miroku's Most Dangerous Confession
133+134 - The Woman who Loved Sesshomaru
135 - The Last Banquet of Miroku's Master
136 - A Strange Invisible Demon Appears!
137 - An Ancestor Named Kagome
138 - Mountain of Demons - Survival of the Duo
139 - The Great Duel at Shoun Falls!
140 - Eternal Love - The Naginata of Kenkon
141 - Entei, The Demon Horse Unleashed!
142 - Untamed Entei and Horrible Hakudoshi
143 - 3000 Leagues in Search of Father
144 - Hosenki and the Last Shard!
145 - Bizarre Guards at the Border of the Afterlife
146 - The Fiery Bird Master, Princess Abi
147+148 - The Tragic Love Song of Destiny
149 - The Single Arrow of Chaos
150 - The Mysterious Light that Guides the Saint
151 - Kagome's Instinctive choice
152 - Protect and Plunder!
153 - The Cruel Reunion of Fate
154 - The Demon Linked with the Netherworld
155 - The Demon Protector of the Sacred Jewel Shard
156 - Final Battle at the Graveside - Sesshomaru versus Inuyasha!
157 - Destroy Naraku with the Adamant Barrage!
158 - Stampede of the Countless Demon Rats!
159 - Kohaku's Decision and Sango's Heart
160 - The Lucky but Two-Timing Scoundrel!
161 - Miroku's Past Mistake
162 - Forever with Lord Sesshomaru
163 - Kohaku, Sango and Kirara: The Secret Flower Garden
164 - Possessed by a Parasite - Shippo, Our Worst Enemy
165 - The Ultimate Key to Defeating Naraku
166+167 - The Bond Between Them - Use the Sacred Jewel Shard!

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