InuYasha – The Final Act – 01
In charge of guarding Goryoumaru, Kagura wants to know why Naraku locked him up, and to her surprise, Hakudoushi appears and suggests that she release him. Hakudoushi and Goryoumaru appeal to her desire for freedom, and their plan is to go after the Shikon shards to gain more power to be able to go up against Naraku. Back in the present world, Kagome is doing poorly in school, and InuYasha’s appearance during her supplementary lessons doesn’t help. Because of this, she heads back through the well with a ton of books, and shortly after some of those books fall out of her backpack, she and InuYasha get ambushed by Hakudoushi. Hakudoushi is able to steal her shard and get away, so InuYasha and company give chase. Meanwhile, Kohaku battles a huge dog and cuts off its head, but the demon attached to its eye gets away. He’s then found and taken care of by a peasant, but that peasant’s son gets possessed by the same demon, so Kohaku goes after it yet again. He’s able to save the boy, and Kagura appears and destroys the demon first. Kagura explains that she’s found the location of Naraku’s heart, but because Kohaku can’t match up against him, she attacks him for his Shikon shard. Kohaku tries to appeal to Kagura with his own determination to take down Naraku, and although she’s not convinced, she decides to let him run away.
Unfortunately, Hakudoushi suddenly appears, so Kagura transports Kohaku away on a feather. She then tries to stop Hakudoushi, but he redirects her attack back at her, and she has to be saved by InuYasha who just arrived with the rest of his group. When the freed Goryoumaru shows up, having been injured in an earlier fight against Kouga that got interrupted by Kikyou, he proceeds to transform into Mouryoumaru. Hakudoushi has Mouryoumaru go after Kohaku while he handles InuYasha and company, and he first captures Kagura. Kagura, however, decides to tell InuYasha that Naraku’s heart is actually inside Mouryoumaru and that Hakudoushi’s plan is to make Mouryoumaru stronger and have him overthrow Naraku. Hakudoushi confirms this and explains how he and the Infant came up with the plan to have Mouryoumaru take in the dead Goryoumaru. Hakudoushi is confident that he can’t be killed, but Naraku has other plans, and Hakudoushi’s barrier suddenly disappears. InuYasha uses this opportunity to blow away Hakudoushi’s body, leaving just his head, and Miroku readies his Wind Tunnel. Hakudoushi thinks that he’s protected by the Saimyoushou, but they suddenly abandon him, and he subsequently gets sucked into the Wind Tunnel. Afterward, Kagura turns down an offer to join Kagome and the others, and she leaves as they go after Kohaku. Mouryoumaru has actually captured Kohaku already, but Sango and InuYasha save him, and Mouryoumaru has no choice but to retreat. By now, Sango has realized that Kohaku has his memories back, but Kohaku resists the idea of staying with her because it’s too painful. Kagome, however, points out that no one could take his place.
For once I actually like both the opening and ending songs. The opening song is catchy and upbeat, and I get nostalgic because it’s Do As Infinity (and it’s been years since I listened to their music). The ending song isn’t bad either, but I am a bit amused by the first parts because it sounds like they’re trying too hard with the Eurobeat thing and because the English isn’t that good.
Well that was quite a first episode. I thought they might have a simple reintroduction episode after so many years off the air, kind of like the new Fullmetal Alchemist series did, but they just jumped right back into the story. And they didn’t spend any time fooling around either – this episode felt like it was going at a lightning pace and involved almost all the major characters and plot points, and it got to the point where it felt like some characters were appearing just for the sake of showing up. There’s no way someone new to the series would be able to just pick this up, but then again, I guess this series is mainly aimed for people who watched the entire first series. It’s a good thing I had spent some time catching up with the manga (though of course I didn’t go too far so as not to spoil myself).
That isn’t to say that this was a bad episode though. Not only was there a certain sense of nostalgia helping things for me, there was also a ton of action here, and the animation quality and music were all pretty good. I always tend to forget that it’s Sunrise animating this. And because they dived right into the story, this rightfully felt like an episode you’d see towards the middle or end of a series, where big climaxes are looming. I like the fact that things are exciting right off the bat and will probably stay that way, especially given that the preview seemed to hint at Kagura’s end and at Sesshoumaru getting more involved. And so all this is really to say that I’m worried about the pacing, but I’ll definitely keep watching this for the time being.