Recent Viewing: InuYasha the Final Act part 2

Synopsis– It has been close to 5 years since we last left off Inuyasha in the anime world and the gang of InuYasha, Kagome, Miroku and Sango were all still trying to regain all of the fragments of the Shikkon jewel and defeat Naraku. Other characters are also aiming towards Naraku, such as Sesshomaru, Koga and more. Naraku can create other forms with his pieces of the Shikkon jewel and uses these forms to try to destroy InuYasha and others. InuYasha the Final Act 2 is the epic conclusion to a series that had a run on Adult Swim back in 2000.


Review- When InuYasha had it’s initial run on Adult Swim, I never gave it much of a chance. When I got to college I had several friends that really stood by the series so I eventually caved in and gave it a chance. After the first season I fell in love with the cast of characters and their adventure to track down Naraku.

The final episodes in InuYasha the Final Act 2 didn’t disappoint. I don’t really know what else to say other than it felt very satisfying to see the show finally come to a close and get closure to the characters and what decisions they were going to make. InuYasha spans 8 seasons and 4 movies and were well worth the time. It’s not like I can suggest watching just one season out of all of them.

I personally, am a big fan of longer running shows because I am interested in the dynamic of telling longer stories and the challenges that arise in keeping them fresh and well paced.

If your a fan of longer running shows, InuYasha may be worth checking out. There are a few times where the story does drag a little, but find a series that spans more than 3 seasons that doesn’t have it’s moments. The good storytelling and interesting characters far outweighs the bad. The tagline for the show is a “feudal fairytale” and it lives up to that billing with a good mix of shonen action but also a counter balance of the relationships between characters that has it’s serious moments. It even has it’s comedic characters to give it a little bit of something for everyone.

Production Quality- InuYasha the Final Act 2 is one of my favorite aesthetics of any series. The hybrid of 2D, 3D and effects make this finale look really sharp. While the animation isn’t as smooth as a film may be that is to be expected with the shorter budget and more content to produce. InuYasha has some great visuals as you could expect since it is the final conclusion of an epic battle. The effects and 3D really add to certain shots, especially Inuyasha’s technique that cuts into a  space dimension, the same can be said of Sesshomaru’s technique as well. I can’t recall seeing battle scenes so masterfully put together in a series. I am a big fan of the titles out right now that can put the two styles together well. It is good to see the experiments of the last several years paying off in titles today.

Music- The opening and closing themes fit well into the soundtrack of the series overall and makes you forget the gap in production.

Dub Quality- The dub was very solid, fits in with the rest of the series and no characters switching voices after the layoff.

Extras- I was a little disappointed with the fact that InuYasha finally came to a close and the DVD had no extras of substance, just some trailers, credits and previews. Perhaps they are saving this content for some kind of anniversary set or something, but some interviews, commentaries or a panel discussion has to exist. No series of that popularity and with all of the anticipation for the final season, there is no way something along those lines doesn’t exist that could have been on the DVDs.

Both parts of the Final Act are available to stream on Viz.

Recent Viewing: Samurai 7

As many of us know, Toonami is back on Cartoon Network and airing many of our favorite shows, such as Ghost in the Shell, Cowboy Bebop and InuYasha. But Toonami has also been airing new titles and also some titles that have slipped through my personal viewing list. Which brings up todays review of Samurai 7.


Samurai 7 was released in 2004 by Gonzo, which was one of the earlier adopters and experimenters of CGI in anime. Funimation currently holds the rights to what is known as the most expensive anime, costing around $300,000 an episode to produce and is based on the Akira Kurosawa film, the Seven Samurai but with a sic fi twist.

I haven’t seen Kurosawa’s film so the anime has been my first introduction to the storyline, and also leaves me blank in drawing comparisons between the two titles. Admittedly, I am not a huge samurai fan, the title has been suggested by several friends so I went on a week by week episodic journey via Toonami. Maybe it was the week by week viewing method, but at certain points the story felt a little slow and there were weeks that the story felt a little rushed, which gave the overall story a bit of an inconsistently paced impression.

There are a few strings of episodes that feel very well put together, there is mostly a little lag at the start, middle and the end feels a bit rushed. Overall, the story contained an interesting premise and I wonder if the uneven pacing is due to my viewing habits or if they are places that were drawn out when compared to the original film.

Since Samurai 7 was produced in the early 2000’s, the CGI is typical of the time period and consistent with some of the other titles I have reviewed such as Burst Angel. This means the robots are animated stiffly, some objects and special effects are rendered in CGI and also that there is a gap in the overall compositing of the project (the explosions feel as if they are overlaid onto the animation and not blended in) which Burst Angel used a destroyed city with an orange sky to help blend the two.

Having said that, the CGI in the last few episodes is noticeably better than the previous 20+ episodes. Most likely a combination of their more experienced CGI animators and more of the budget allocated to those as well.

Overall, Samurai 7 is a title worth checking out. The unique combination of the samurai lifestyle and enemies using sic fi weapons and robotics is an interesting twist on the time period. The CGi isn’t too distracting from the rest of the art, and the show has a wide variety of interesting characters. There is a samurai that almost anyone can connect with.

You can even check out the episodes on Funimations site here since it recently finished up its run on Toonami. Have you already seen Samurai 7? Let me know what you thought of the show!

Recent Viewings- Inu Yasha the Final Act Part 1

During last weeks blizzard I was also able to get through the recent release of the final  act part 1 of Inu Yasha. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Inu Yasha, it started as a manga series by Rumiko Takahashi. It was so popular that an anime series was created as well. However, the production of the anime series eventually caught up to the manga and production ceased. Without an ending to the story, they couldn’t complete the series.

The manga eventually ended and production started up again to finish off the series. After several years we now have the first part of the ending to the epic series (it spans over 7 seasons). I recall buying season 7 when I was in college, so it has been a good 4 year gap in production at least, but, that is exactly what I want to write about.

Last week I wrote about the increased production value in a series called Initial D over the span of the four seasons that have been out so far and at the start of the CGI movement in Japan.

I won’t spoil anything in Inu Yasha so have no fear, I strictly want to discuss some of the interesting things I found in the production gap. First off, you will notice the brighter coloration of the characters. This is because the previous season of Inu Yasha were done with traditional cel style animation. If you seen some of my Japan pictures you can see that I actually picked up a few cels when I was in Japan. The reason for this brightness in the color is because the new season is digitally painted, and digitally painting and compositing allow you to reach colors that traditional cel animation and paints couldn’t. If you want to see a true range of effects you can reach with digital painting I would recommend RedLine.


To give you an idea of what the first season’s coloring looked like, here is the opening to the first season.


Here is a trailer for the Final Act part 1. As you can see the colors appear brighter than the previous opening. Also note the glows on some of the shots, lens flares and particle effect as well. There are even clips of 3D objects in the trailer that are used through out the series as well that weren’t in the first several seasons.


Inu Yasha also used more special effects for different dimensions, transitions between dimensions and even some character attacks. These added effects add an extra level of production quality. The effects look crisp and well polished. Some of the effects when done in previous seasons were simply background paintings, but by using CGI for these they can add very nice secondary effects.

If you want to really see how much CGI has evolved in not only Inu Yasha but anime in general, Adult Swim on cartoon network is actually showing the first season on Inu Yasha again and it is also showing Samurai 7 which was a transitional title between cel and digital. These two shows will give you an idea of what to look for before you watch Inu Yasha the Final Act part 1.To my knowledge the same voice actors dubbed this season too so there isn’t any new voices taking over for familiar faces.

I have continued to notice that backgrounds and special effects continue to dominate the use of CGI and not many characters are animated using CGI, they still remain hand drawn. I am very interested to see if this trend continues.

I have only been able to watch the season one time through so far, I usually try to enjoy the story the first time around and then in other viewings I really start to dissect things. I am sure this won’t be the last I mention this season and I look forward to seeing the second part of the final act next year.

Next week will bring another production update. Stay tuned, exciting things coming.