InuYasha Movie 1 Anime Review
Eiga Inuyasha: Toki wo Koeru Omoi
InuYasha Movie: Feelings That Surpass Time
US Release By
What's In It
- Magic Fights
- Giant "Boss" Demons
- Smaller "Sub-boss" Demons
- Hordes of Standard Demons
- Violence: 2 (moderate)
- Nudity: 0 (none)
- Sex: 1 (mild)
- Language: 1 (mild)
InuYasha and his companions' quest for the Shikon Jewel shards has led them to one of their toughest opponents yet. Menomaru, the descendant of a great demon defeated 200 years earlier by InuYasha's father during a Mongolian invasion attempt, has risen to power with the aid of a jewel shard and has managed to harness the massive energy of his dead father's spirit. Now, as the most powerful demon in the land, Menomaru seeks to devour the souls of all living things and plunge the world into eternal darkness. With time growing short, InuYasha, Kagome, Sango, Miroku and Shippo must team up and set out to save their land, in InuYasha's present time and Kagome's future, with a nearly limitless army of demons and a nearly invincible Menomaru standing in their way.
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The first of four films based on the hit TV series, InuYasha the movie feels, basically, like an extended TV episode with its own self-contained story. There's little in the way of plot progression or character development, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. You don't need to be a major fan of the series to enjoy it; all you really need is to be familiar with the main characters and have a basic understanding of the main plot points. For folks who are fans, the film is very faithful to the original series, but it doesn't take a lot of in-depth knowledge to enjoy the movie. By taking the basic formula for the TV series, and adding high production values, superb animation, a wonderful soundtrack, and lots of excellent fight scenes, this movie is a real winner.
It's not perfect; the plot is lacking in quality and creativity, and it's annoying how the film insists on including every main character even though some of them have nothing productive to do. But it definitely gets the film franchise started off right, and will hopefully be a sign of even better movies down the road.
Full ReviewSwitch to Quick Review
The first of four films based on the hit TV series, InuYasha the Movie feels, basically, like an extended TV episode with its own self-contained story. It doesn't advance any aspects of the TV show's central plot, nor does it develop the main characters, and all the new issues it does bring up are resolved by the time the credits roll. While some might find that disappointing, one positive thing about it is that it means the viewer doesn't have to be a major fan of the series to enjoy it. You don't even have to watch all 54 episodes that came out before the movie was released. All you really need is to be familiar with the main characters and have a basic understanding of the show's main themes.
While the main storyline is stagnant, the film is still very faithful to the original series. All the main characters are present, they all act perfectly consistently with the series up until this point, and they are all backed by their original voice actors. That, combined with high production values, superb animation, a wonderful soundtrack, and some excellent fight scenes, makes this movie a real winner. It's not perfect; the plot is lacking in quality and creativity, and it's annoying how the film insists on including every main character even though some of them have nothing productive to do. But it definitely gets the film franchise started off right, and will hopefully be a sign of even better movies down the road.
For the story, it seems the makers of this film were dedicated to taking the already repetitive and simple formula from the series (find jewel shards and kill bad guys) and finding a way to make it even more so. Now it's just about beating one bad guy, after fighting through his minions. Granted, he's an exceptionally skilled and powerful one, but still, that's it. Other elements, such as Menomaru kidnapping Kagome to lure InuYasha into a trap, and using mind control spells that are eventually nullified when the victims are ordered to kill people they have strong emotional bonds with, certainly didn't take a lot of creative effort to come up with either. And just look at the names of Menomaru's base and home turf: The Tree of Ages in the Forest of No Return. I don't think the script writers worked a lot of overtime to come up with those titles.
The one cool aspect of the story--having the origins of Menomaru start with a reference to the real-life Mongol invasion attempt of Japan in the 13th century--feels like a wasted opportunity. It doesn't end up having relevance to the conflict in the film and seems to be thrown in just to show Rumiko Takahashi knows her history. Even the title, "Affections Touching Across Time," is a little deceptive, as it really only applies to a small portion of the film where Kagome and InuYasha fight, go their separate ways, and then re-unite. Meanwhile, InuYasha and his team's battle strategy for fighting Menomaru consists of trying again and again until they get the job done. Really, that's it. No quests for a special artifact, discovery of a hidden weakness, learning how to work better as a team, or anything else that might make this film into a grand adventure. Right from the start, Team InuYasha knows where their opponent is and what they have to do to take him out.
And yet this is still a good movie. The main reason is the great characters. All the traits and conflicts that sustained the series for 167 episodes are present here in their full glory. Miroku's wisdom and perversion, Sango's loyalty and intensity, Kirara's combination of cuteness and fearsomeness, Shippo's unconventional powers (which actually are occasionally useful in this film), and of course the troubled and angst-ridden relationship of InuYasha and Kagome. As I said, none of these things see additional development, but they are completely consistent with how the characters act in the series, making this a blast for hardcore fans. And, while some of the characters from the series are rather neglected (Sesshomaru and Kikyo basically just have cameos), none of InuYasha's teammates are. They all have a big role to play from start to finish.
The best part of the movie is easily the battle scenes. This is one area where I feel the movie is superior to the TV series by a wide margin. My biggest complaint about the TV series is a lot of the fights are way too tedious and drawn-out. There are few things I like more than a good long fight scene, but far too often the TV series needlessly extends them with breaks for commentary and taunts, from both the participants and observers. Even worse, the observers are far too often InuYasha's companions, who just stand around making idle banter or get incapacitated and make InuYasha's job even harder.
Perhaps because the action is the main focus of the movie--rather than relationships and subplots like in the series--that's not a problem here. The whole team participates in all the film's many fight scenes, with Sango and Miroku actually getting the best one-on-one duels and larger monsters getting taken down through a team effort. Even Kagome gets a bigger piece of the action than one might expect; certainly a lot more than what she handles in a typical episode. Filler is also not a problem--the battles are fast-paced and action-packed. When there are breaks, it's for legitimate reasons rather than pointless commenting or dramatic shouting. There are some things that could have been improved, most notably a lame sequence in which one of Menomaru's top assistants actually kills herself while trying to pull off a special move, but for the most part they are all very well done.
Some of the other high points include the superb animation, which shows off some great village, city, and woodland environments, along with an epic final showdown on on the heights of a huge demon tree, and the voice acting, which includes the entire cast of voice actors from the series. It's pretty rare to find any anime sequel or second season that includes every single member of the original crew, so the fact that they were able to pull if off here is pretty impressive. Most of the excellent music from the series is present here as well, including the wonderful InuYasha battle theme. To hear it in the background of the better, more-intense battles really helps the movie feel like the TV series with a lot more to show off. The film also has an outstanding original ending theme song that helps wrap everything up.
On the final word, I'd say fans of the InuYasha series will certainly enjoy this movie so long as they are willing to accept it for what it is: A film about Team InuYasha killing demons and saving the world just for the sake of killing demons and saving the world. The rest of the TV plotlines, and even the ones introduced in this film (including the "Affections Touching Across Time" angle), are limited to a supporting role when they're addressed at all. The movie can also be enjoyed by those who have not seen the series, but I'd say they'd be better off not starting here, as the introductions for InuYasha and his teammates are cursory and the other characters from the series have no introductions at all. Overall, a good action-based movie with minimal plot and character development, Affections Touching Across Time is a fine addition to the massive InuYasha franchise and a good set-up for the future episodes and films that follow.
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The Fushigi Yuugi franchise uses a nearly identical theme. Also very similar to Rumiko Takahashi's own Fire Tripper.
Notes and Trivia
Part of the InuYasha franchise, which began life as a popular 56-volume manga series by Rumiko Takahashi, published between 1996 and 2008. The manga spawned a 167-episode TV series, four movies, nine video games (Four of which were released in the US), and, most recently, a sequel TV series consisting of 26 episodes to complete the story called "InuYasha: The Final Act." The subtitled version of that series is already available streamed in North America, and the dubbed version is scheduled for release some time this year.
Affections Touching Across Time was released after episode 54 of the TV series. The other three movies were released after episodes 95, 136, and 167 (the finale), respectively.
The real-life Mongol invasions of Japan which form the backstory of this movie took place in 1274 and 1281. Fortunately for Japan, the nation was far more unified at the time than in the 16th century warring states period where the series takes place, and were able to repulse the numerically superior Mongolian armies with fierce resistance and the aid of a lucky series of storms and typhoons, which sank a huge portion of the invading fleet. These storms were referred by the Japanese as "Kamikaze," which literally means "divine wind." As you probably figured out, this served as the basis for using the term to refer to their suicide attack pilots in World War II, which was first time since 1281 that Japan faced the threat of a foreign invasion force.
US DVD Review
The DVD (available alone or in a set with the other three movies) has Dolby 5.1 audio in both Japanese and English, anamorphic widescreen video, and an English subtitle track. By way of extras, it contains promos and a special segment on the InuYasha franchise. The only downside is that none of these special features are dubbed.
Moderate violence and a bit of untoward conduct make for about a 10-up rating.
Violence: 2 - The fights aren't particularly gruesome.
Nudity: 0 - Nothing.
Sex/Mature Themes: 1 - Miroku gropes Sango a few times when he gets the chance, but he's actually a bit more tame in this than in the series.
Language: 1 - There might have been a coarse word here or there.