|Surprisingly solid for a 160+ episode shounen TV anime title.||2 out of 2 users found this review helpful.|
Inuyasha sticks out as a series that mostly doesn't stick to conventional elements of a long-running shounen title. This series is more of an adventure title in its focus on Kagome and Inuyasha begrudgingly having to partner up in gathering shards of a powerful jewel called the Shikon no Tama whose power is sought by both humans and demons alike to amplify their abilities or make their wishes a reality. The two come to bond better with one another throughout the course of the series and come to gather several allies who join their cause in gathering the jewel shards and later coming to blows with the manipulative villain, Naraku, who is also on the hunt for the shards. Drama, romance and comedy are also mixed into the story with its focus on the varying character relationships, interactions and backgrounds that are explored throughout the course of the series.
Inuyasha offers up a good amount of exploration on its feudal era world and the characters that inhabit it, with the series being mostly inspired through Japanese folklore and historical events from the Sengoku era. The plot is somewhat standard as Kagome and Inuyasha track down more jewel shards, encounter various locales affected by either demon attacks and/or the Shikon Jewel, gain new allies who assist in their adventure and eventually coming to grips with Naraku. The story is well-paced for the most part as it doesn't take its time with battles as most shounen titles tend to do nor does it speed through events just to progress the plot, as many points in the series have their role to reveal more about elements to the plot or characters besides shifting things in another direction or making a surprise plot twist. The only shortcomings to the plot for this anime adaptation are the title's tendency to milk filler episodes that do nothing in advancing the plot (notably shown for a decent stretch after episode 80-81ish) for the most part, having long recaps at points throughout the show's run and the lack of a proper finale since the first series concluded during the middle of its manga source material's run.
Characterization is one of Inuyasha's strongest areas as many of the prominent characters in the series are fleshed out enough for you to understand their backgrounds, personalities, relations with other characters and possible connections they have to Naraku and the Shikon Jewel. A number of characters deal with tragic developments thanks to Naraku and/or the Shikon Jewel and characters gradually undergo developments where their abilities, personalities and beliefs improve throughout the course of the series. For instance, Sesshomaru is shown to undergo some of the more significant changes to his character throughout the course of the series in regards to his treatment of humans; the love triangle with Inuyasha, Kikyo and Kagome is a rather complicated one due to their ongoing struggles against Naraku and Inuyasha's past history with Kikyo; and Naraku makes for an intriguing villain who exploits the emotional baggage of much of the cast for his personal gain and is responsible for much of the tragic developments that befall the major characters in the series.
Visually, the series is a bit of a mixed bag. Scenery and character designs are solid as they sport clean details and vivid color, with some unique designs for many of the demons seen throughout the series. However, animation is quite subpar with frequent use of animation shortcuts such as speed stripes, still shots and reused animation frames getting employed. Noticeably, hand-drawn animation is employed for the title's first 98 episodes and then moves to digital animation from episode 99 and onward, with occasional use of CG animation employed for attack animations or renderings of elaborate effects. The music for the series is mostly memorable sporting opener, closer and insert tracks that are very fitting for comical, dramatic and tense moments throughout the show's run, though insert tracks do get repetitive with time due to lack of variety and later opener/ closer songs milk use of generic or upbeat J-pop songs that aren't very fitting to an adventure title like Inuyasha.
Overall for all its hype from my early years as an anime fan, I'm actually a bit surprised with how solid Inuyasha is for a long-running shounen title. It is a mostly solid adventure title that also mixes elements of comedy, drama and romance with how the Shikon Jewel effects Inuyasha and his allies in their journey, whose shortcomings mostly only come from its manga source material still being ongoing throughout the anime's entire run. If you're a big shounen anime fan, this is likely a title worth looking into.