InuYasha: Season Five Standard Box Set – DVD Review

Definitely one of the more exciting and intense seasons of this series.

Review by: Kiki Van De Kamp

Publisher: VIZ Media
MSRP: $99.98
Running Time: 300 minutes
Genre: Action/Fantasy
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

While the fourth season of InuYasha was good, the fifth season of the series was not only intense but also a truly defining moment in the lives of Inuyasha, Kagome, Sango and Miroku. Well, not just them, actually, put also Inuyasha’s brother Sesshomaru and the wolf boy Koga as well. It’s a season that was darker than the others and certainly a lot more violent that past episodes in previous seasons.

In other words, the fifth season is pretty darn exciting.

The Season Five Box Set covers episodes 100-126 and starts off intensely enough with the return of the moth demon Garamaru. Attempting to get revenge on Inuyasha, he spins cocoons for Kagome, Sango and Miroku that invoke waking nightmares. Sango sees her failure to save her younger brother Kohaku while Miroku relives the moment his father was destroyed by way of his own Wind Tunnel. We also come to the sudden realization that after having often berated his friends and considered them a burden on his quest to slay Naraku, Inuyasha genuinely cares a great deal about his friends. He cares about them enough that he even sheds tears when he thinks that they met their demise while he was busy battling the resurrected member of a famous group of mercenaries-turned-murderers called the Band of Seven.

The Band of Seven is what makes the fifth season one of the most bloodiest and violent seasons in the series. The group composed of members with similar sounding names such as Renkotsu, Ginkotsu, Suikotsu, Jakotsu, Bankotsu, Mukotsu and Kyokotsu. Having been mercenaries for various different feudal lords, the Band of Seven found they had a taste for killing and simply swept through the land slaying anyone and everyone. It wasn’t until they were double-crossed by a Lord that the group was caught and beheaded. Naraku, sensing assassins like them could serve him well, resurrected them by implanting shards from the Shikon Jewel into their dead bodies.

For the most part, the episodes have Inuyasha attempting to track down and destroy the Band of Seven seeing as they might just be connected to Naraku in some way or another. Their scent is easy to follow since the Band reeks of graveyard soil and death but each member of the group makes formidable opponents on their own as they find out when they encounter each member individually. While deadly, each member of the Band of Seven is unique and fun to watch. The two members that really stand out are Jakotsu (a cross dresser who has a major crush on Inuyasha) and Suikotsu who suffers from a split personality disorder that has him thinking he’s a kind physician when he’s really a vile murderer).

We also see the return of the wolf demon Koga who is still hoping the win the heart of Kagome and the wolf girl Ayame who loves Koga but sees that Kagome is still the one Koga so stubbornly pursues. Following close behind is Kikyo – who runs into the young doctor version of Suikotsu – and Lord Sesshomaru who is still on the trail of Naraku. We can help but feel that these characters are converging to the very same spot and that is the spiritually-cleansed Mount Hakurei.

Something about Mount Hakurei has Inuyasha and his friends thinking that maybe Naraku might be hiding there despite their being a magical barrier keeping demons at bay. This is bad news for demons as well as half-demons like Inuyasha trying to enter it as we can see from Shippo and Kirara’s bad reaction to the barrier.

The majority of the episodes have Inuyasha and his friends taking on the Band of Seven that guard Mount Hakurei as well as attempt to get their revenge on the clan that had them beheaded. One by one, the Band’s members meet their fate but not always by the hand of Inuyasha and his friends. Meanwhile, in a key scene, Miroku and Sango enter Mount Hakurei only to fight side-by-side with neither one of them wanting to leave the other’s side. Relationships in this season become stronger such as the moment Kagome embraces Inuyasha with tears in her eyes. Inuyasha’s relationship with his own brother is different as well. No longer are they tearing at each another’s throat. Perhaps Rin – the cute little girl that joins him and Jakken – changed Sesshomaru enough to make him care about something other than his own goals.

In the end, Inuyasha faces off against Bankotsu, leader and the last survivor of the Band of Seven, while the others not only break through the barrier but also run into Naraku himself. The real encounter doesn’t come between Inuyasha and Naraku but Naraku and Kikyo. Their encounter is one of those moments that will have you sitting up and the outcome is one that is unforgettable. After this moment it is clear that things will be different in the next episodes that will follow in the final season of this series.

InuYasha fans will find it hard to take their eyes off the episodes found in the Season Five Box Set and this is certainly one of those box sets that should be among your anime library. From the exciting opening episode to the conclusion of the final episode, the five discs will certainly hold your attention. Sure, I wish there were better features but it’s hard to complain when these discs contain great episodes, topnotch video/audio and a great voice cast in Japanese as well as English.

In other words, this is one box set you should be without, InuYasha fans.

 

DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN

MOVIE/EPISODES: A
Naraku’s plans come to light and there are a number of emotional scenes that come to show that these characters have come a real long way since the first season. As key characters grow closer to each another, other relationships change. Oh, and the Band of Seven are just downright interesting.

VIDEO QUALITY: A-
The video quality is downright gorgeous as the animation itself and you can’t help but wonder just how amazing this would look on a high-definition format. What we get here, though, is definitely nothing to sneeze at and there is certainly a lot to like about the DVD transfer.

AUDIO QUALITY: A+
The audio quality is outstanding on the box set and you just have to love the voice work for both the English and Japanese cast. It’s great to have both options available and, if you’re like me, it’s a joy watching these episodes in its uncut Japanese language track.

EXTRAS: F
A quick recap of past seasons certainly doesn’t satisfy since this feature should come standard on any DVD box set that runs long on seasons. I love the opening and closing episode songs without the text closing credits, though. Where is the voice acting commentary or featurettes?

OVERALL: A
Darker in tone yet filled with memorable and action-packed scenes, InuYasha: Season Five Box Set is filled with some of the most exciting moments in the series. The Band of Seven storyline simply injects more of what we already love about this series as Inuyasha and his friends grow closer to a brilliant climax.

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