Originally aired in 2009, this anime adaptation of Takahashi Rumiko’s Inuyahsa (犬夜叉) manga series, InuYasha: The Final Act, covers volumes 36 through the end of the manga series and brings back the original Japanese voice cast from the first anime adaptation.
For those unfamiliar, this story centers on teenage girl Higurashi Kagome who lives at her family’s Shinto shrine in Tokyo. One day, Kagome falls down the shrine’s well and is transported to Japan’s Sengoku period where she meets the half-demon Inuyasha. Kagome holds with her a mystical artifact known as the “Shikon Jewel” that she accidentally shatters into pieces in the Sengoku era, and the shards scatter all across feudal Japan. She must then team up with Inuyasha to locate all of the shards before the powerful and nefarious demon Naraku gets hold them and assembles a complete Shikon Jewel. On their journey, Inuyasha and Kagome gain many friends and allies, including a diminutive fox demon named Shippo, a monk named Miroku, and a powerful warrior girl named Sango who can wield a magical boomerang. In this “final act” all of the pieces of the puzzle finally come together, questions are answered, Inuyasha and his half-brother Lord Senshomaru finally learn the truth about their father and their two mystical swords, and the final confrontation with Naraku is set. The friends and allies will have to make hard choices and there will be shocking losses.
It is said that Inuyasha, as a manga series, deals with much darker subject matter than Takahashi’s previous comedic work. If the anime series is any indication, that very well may be the case. I haven’t read her manga, but this series deals with some heavy issues, among them family, loss, death, self-worth, identity. It does it magnificently, all while never becoming too overwhelmingly bleak. There always seems to be a glimmer of hope offered, even in the darkest moments.
Of course, the animation is to be commended as well. Not too groundbreaking, but very engaging in that the detail in each character is very enticing to the eyes, very stylized, and very true to the manga. The backgrounds are also quite gorgeous, like paintings in some shots, and they really come to life in the action sequences with burst of color and visual effects.
We get a very strong transfer of Inuyasha‘s digital animation on Blu-ray in an AVC 1080p encodement from Viz Media. The imagery is basically clean and crisp with only the occasional hint of color banding. Colors are rich and free from video noise or compression issues, and there are no problems with aliasing.
The original Japanese soundtrack and an English dub are provided in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo (48kHz/16-bit). My preferred reference track is the Japanese track, but both audio mixes sound virtually identical, the main differences being the voice casts. Sound is superb given the two-channel limitation, providing a wide stereo soundfield, good dynamic range and clear dialogue.
- Production Art (1080p/24)
- Storyboard Art (1080p/24)
- Original Japanese Trailers (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:02:17)
- Original Cast Credits (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:04:00)
- Neon Alley Sneak Peek
The Definitive Word
A masterful conclusion to this beloved franchise, InuYasha: Final Act may be a little barebones as far as the Blu-ray set is concerned, but the content is top notch.
Additional Screen Captures