OP: 「New Era」 by SixTONES
「あれからの犬夜叉」 (Are kara no Inuyasha)
“Inuyasha: Since Then”
2010 was the last time that anime material for InuYasha with The Final Act closing the book on Inuyasha’s story, his fight with Naraku for the Shikon jewel shards, and his budding romance with the time-traveling Higurashi Kagome. But some books are meant to be revisited or added to if it feels like a fulfilling return to the story. Although the first episode of Hanyou no Yashahime still continues where we left off with Inuyasha and his loved ones, there is much promise to be had with the story focusing on his and Sesshomaru’s children.
As the first episode of the sequel, you would think that they would focus more on the show’s new leads, particularly Towa, who has the most screen time of the three in Episode 01. However, the Yashahime premiere makes both a good decision and a mistake in spending more time on the old cast.
Understandably, giving us an episode focused on Inuyasha, Kagome, Miroku, Sango, and the others does ease older fans into the narrative. In fact, much of the format might make you feel like you’re watching an older episode of InuYasha from the mid-aughts with the commercial breaks, the classic background music, and a good ol’ fashioned “Sit Boy” making their big return. Whoever said you couldn’t solve a supernatural issue by giving it a Wind Scar and calling it a day?
Some of it might feel antiquated. The OP and ED are reminiscent of a third-rate mid-aughts shounen. As nostalgic as that might seem, it lacks the charm that artists like Dream, Hamasaki Ayumi, V6, or Do As Infinity brought to the older iterations of InuYasha. And because the episode’s main focus is on Inuyasha and Kagome fighting a demon who’s searching for non-existent Shikon jewel shards and thinks Kagome is Kikyo, it’d be hard not to think someone recorded an old filler episode from InuYasha over your episode of Hanyou no Yashahime.
At the same time, it is refreshing to see that not much has been changed or tampered with at the moment. With Takahashi Rumiko only contributing character designs for the sequel, it’s easy to get skeptical about how another team of writers would interpret Takahashi’s material after the fact. Or rather, how much of the canon can be disturbed or tampered with before it directly affects the events of the original story. But for the time being, much of these problems are alleviated by the justice given to the older cast as well as the new characters giving off a positive first impression.
My optimism for Hanyou no Yashahime comes from how the sequel is centered around the journey between the three daughters of the older characters. Because we’re not retreading the same territory of love stories that transcend time and history, it will be able to have an identity of its own without having to borrow too many story beats from InuYasha. Whether we’ll get a deeper glimpse of the older cast throughout this anime is still in question with the special attention they got in Episode 01, but the previews for the next episode suggest we’ll have a much-needed introduction to our three protagonists in no time.
ED:「Break」 by Uru