It’s an easy trap to fall into - - to look at the best material that’s lasted from a time gone by and to assume that everything back then was as good. I’m aware of that, but I’ve still got to say that shows from the pre-digital era at least seem like their staffs wanted it more badly. INUYASHA has so much full animation - - the truly painstaking kind which features a ton of Z-axis motion - - that you’ve got to figure that the animators’ loved ones were being threatened on the condition of this show’s success.
And the plot moves at an exhilarating pace. I checked the time code at one point, thinking I might have accidentally clicked on a double-sized pilot, and was kind-of shocked to find this was just a 22-minute episode that packed 44 minutes of plot into its runtime. There’s no BS about doddering along to the meat of the story; not nonsense about it “getting good after episode 5.” INUYASHA hits the ground running and grabs immediately for your throat in much the same fashion that YU YU HAKUSHO’s opener did.
As I’ve said many times, Toonami wasn’t my formative experience for anime, so I don’t have any nostalgia for titles on its line-up and, thus, feel like my perspective is a little more objective. To be honest, this opener hasn’t hooked me as deeply as the other classic series I’ve covered here (it probably comes down to the design of our titular half-demon), but I’ve got much admiration for how properly it started its drama. There was a palpable sense of urgency here, and a genuine feeling of transgression when the curse was finally reversed. This is how you start a show.
As a post-script, watching this show made me realize that the Japanese schoolgirl uniform is really strange, in of itself. I guess it fits that sailor-inspired fashion was mandatory in the 50’s or the 60’s - - Donald Duck might’ve been really popular - - but how has it endured this long after the 70's?
Watch this episode, "The Girl Who Overcame Time... and the Boy Who Was Just Overcome" here and decide for yourself.