Four movies spanning several years worth of the TV series timeline in one sweet little package.ff
What They Say:
In a mystical version of feudal-era Japan, modern-day schoolgirl Kagome and half-demon Inuyasha are drawn together across time to protect a land ravaged by demons! In these four feature films, our heroes take on new challenges and strange foes. With their crew of demon-slaying friends, Kagome and Inuyasha face the adventures of their lives!
Contains Inu Yasha movies 1-4:
Affections Touching Across Time
The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass
Swords of an Honorable Ruler
Fire on the Mystic Island
The audio presentation for this set of movies is quite good, though a little overdone in some ways, as we get the original Japanese language in both 5.1 and 2.0 and the English languages as well. All four tracks are encoded using the DTS-HD MA codec and that lets it all fit easily since there’s plenty of low and quiet moments throughout each of the films. The features are all varied in their own way as one would expect but they’re similar in design overall as it uses familiar attacks and sweeping moments where the mix comes across better. The music has some of the best moments in overall presentation but the action is where it tends to shine the most across all of the movies. It does get a bit better as each movie goes along and the way of creating them became more engaging, but there’s a consistency as well that works for them. We listened to the features in its original Japanese 5.1 language and didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback. Unfortunately, the movies are all locked with languages/subtitles as set in the menu so you can’t change on the fly or play it in Japanese with no subtitles.
Originally released from 2001 to 2004, the transfer for the four movies here are presented in their original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The movies are spread across two discs with two movies to each one, giving it a decent amount of space overall as they’re roughly ninety minutes each. The features work a similar tone to the TV series as well but bump things up a fair bit along the way to give it a more detailed and fluid feeling, especially compared to the early parts of the TV series. Each feature brings its own little tricks and details to the presentation and there’s definitely a smooth progression in terms of the quality of the animation, though the first movie is no slouch. The transfer works well across all of them as there’s a lot of vibrant colors throughout and the action sequences go big with what they do, making it easy to just be absorbed into it. The transfer in general looks smooth and clean with solid source materials and an appealing presentation overall.
The packaging for this release comes in a standard Blu-ray case where the two discs are held against the interior walls of the case. Movie compilation releases are also problematic in coming up with a good design since if you go with just one piece of artwork, the other three movies get stiffed. The method used here is to have all four movies represented here in segmented form where just part of the original poster artwork is used, making for a very busy cover that has the logo through the middle to try and bind it all together. The back cover has a big silver swoosh through it that allows it to spend most of its time on some necessary text and a bit more cohesive design. There are a few shots from the films along the right which also brings in the individual film titles as well. The premise is obviously kept very simple as it just goes with the overall idea of the property. The sets technical features are listed clearly and the extras are as well. While we don’t get a standard technical grid here, everything is easy to find. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design for this release isn’t all that well done in some big ways but better in others. When the discs load, it just lets you select the movie while the background is made up of clips from each of the features. This isn’t bad, but when you select the movie, it takes you right into it and there are no main menus for each feature. You can hit the pop-up menu right away and set things up, but it also defaults to throwing you into the scene selection part of it and it just gets a little messy if you move too quickly. The pop-up menus for navigation do work well once they’re going and you’re set, but there are a lot better ways to setup menus for multiple movies on a disc than this. The features all default to English with sign/song subtitles but can be changed by going through the menus as on the fly is disabled.
The only extras included in this release are production sketches that are associated with each movie.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It’s been an interesting few months for me when it comes to Inuyasha. Having not seen more than the first four episodes of the TV series and reading a few volumes of the manga when it first got translated here, I didn’t see the majority of the TV series and only got into it again towards the end with the Final Act season that I saw just before this set. With the four movies that we get here, Inuyasha does suffer from the problem that most shonen series do when making movies from an ongoing show in that they’re standalone pieces with no real impact on the main storyline, especially since the series didn’t finish until years later. But that said, there’s something fun in a basic way we get these standalone tales that are self contained but keep to the core concepts of the characters.
The first feature, Affection Touching Across Time, we get a story that deals once more with problems from the past as a demon that Inuyasha’s father had fought becomes a problem in the present as the son of Hyoga, Menomaru, is out in the lands and causing a whole lot of trouble. Being the first of the movies in the franchise, it spends a bit more time at the start in introducing everyone and setting up the foundations of the piece. His goal is to gain access to the power that his father had, taking over that position, and with that in hand and the minions that he has which provides a bit of the back and forth action between the sides, there’s a decent buildup for the events. With it being the first, it doesn’t go too big in the end but it hits some good bits along the way, especially as it’s the film that hews the closest to the look and feel of the TV series.
The second feature, The Castle Beyond Beyond The Looking Glass, deals with an interesting little twist at the start as it involves Naraku being killed off and the gang a bit listless in some ways. They get on the mission if finding more of the shards without too much getting in their way, but there are other events afoot that give them some pause as Princess Kaguya has been reawakened and she’s using a few others for her own goals. But her main thrust here is to get control of Inuyasha as he’ll bring a lot of power to the table. There’s some good lead-up to it as the two characters of Kagura and Kanna work towards freeing Kaguya and then the fallout from the actions with the fight that follows.
In the third feature, Swords of an Honorable Ruler, we get some rather roundabout material that once again touches on the parental issues that Inuyasha has as it starts with the events surrounding his birth and what his father did when it came to his mother. That’s interesting enough, but I like that most of the events really start in the modern present as a sword of great power from there has its seal broken and it’s something that Kagome brings into the past, which makes it all quite complicated since nobody expected the seal to break at that point in time. The sword, Sounga, does its possession gig a few times and it does its best in trying to deal in the business of the two swords that Inuyasha’s father had left behind as Sounga is the third one and is intent on binding them. There’s a good challenge to what Inuyasha has to face here and another nod towards his problematic past with his father, which leads to some decent moments where he lashes out at Sesshomaru over his lack of knowledge of the demon.
The fourth and final feature, Fire on the Mystic Island, delves a bit into world of the half breeds a bit more than we usually get in the property overall. The group ends up on an island where it was once populated with numerous demon and human combinations and their offspring, but they were continually attacked over the years and they setup a protection that hides the island from view and time for years at a time. But before they could, the Four War Gods got caught up in the plan there and became a part of the island that they’re now devouring quietly in order to survive. The arrival of Inuyasha sets them to some hope there’s a way out of it by using him, but there’s a good bit of back and forth between the two sides as Inuyasha and the others as they want to protect the few kids that are left while discovering the islands secrets.
Watching these movies after finishing off the Final Act portion of the series was definitely an interesting experience. With the knowledge of how it all ends, we basically get four standalone stories here that don’t have all that much impact on the main storyline as that progressed, but adds some decent bits of character and back story to some of the events in general. Features from properties like this aren’t going to shake anything up and they do all basically reset at the end of it, but across all of them we get some welcome time spent with all of the main characters and they’re true to form with no real deviation since they have to be rather accessible. I’m typically not a fan of anime movies from properties like this and the Inuyasha movies don’t change my mindset on that, but there’s plenty for the fans to enjoy here and Viz Media has really put out a great release when you consider the amount of content you get here in high definition for the price.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, Japanese DTS-HD MA 5.1 Language, English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English DTS-HD MA 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Production Sketches
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: A-
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: C-
Extras Grade: C+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: March 26th, 2013
Running Time: 380 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.