Manga Review: Inuyasha VIZBIG Volume Seven

The seventh volume of the Inuyasha VIZBIG Edition combines Volumes 19 through 21 of Rumiko Takahashi’s Inuyasha manga into one volume. In addition to putting three volumes into one book, the physical size of the book has also increased and the pages were flipped back to their original right-to-left orientation.

Inuyasha VIZBIG Volume Seven
Written by: Rumiko Takahashi
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: May 10, 2011

Kagome, a high school student from modern-day Japan, travels back in time to feudal era Japan through a well at her family’s shrine. It turns out Kagome is the reincarnation of a priestess names Kikyo, and she has the ability to sense the Shikon Jewel, a powerful artifact that it sought by demons to increase their power.

In feudal Japan, Kagome meets a half-demon named Inuyasha. Together, they must search for the shards of the Shikon Jewel after Kagome accidentally shatters it and causing them to spread across feudal Japan. They are joined on their quest by a little demon fox named Shippo, a lecherous monk named Miroku, and a demon exterminator named Sango.

In Volume 19, the story arc about Sango’s younger brother Kohaku concludes when Kagura, an “offspring” of Naraku, arrives with demons to get Kohaku back. During the fight with Kagura, Inuyasha entrusts Kohaku with Kagome. Unfortunately, things with Kohaku aren’t what they appear to be.

In the next story, Inuyasha’s brother Sesshomaru consults an old friend of his father’s about a transformation he had seen Inuyasha undergo in an earlier volume of the series. Sesshomaru learns that Inuyasha’s sword, Tetsusaiga, holds an answer to Sesshomaru’s question.

Meanwhile, Inuyasha, Kagome, and the others help an old man and his grandson back to their village. Not too long after leaving, Inuyasha can smell a lot of blood coming from the village. It turns out the village has been attacked by a group of bandits who are unknowingly being led by a demon. Inuyasha battles the demon, and is caught in a trap. Inuyasha’s transformation plays an important role in this story.

A third story begins in Volume 19 and carries over into Volume 20. Inuyasha has been trying to wield a heavier Tetsusaiga, which ultimately caused him to lose control and allow the transformation to happen while battling the demon. He goes to see Totosai, since he was the one who forged Tetsusaiga, in order to get some help for learning how to master his heavier sword. Totosai tells Inuyasha he needs to kill Ryukotsusei, a demon Inuyasha’s father had battled and sealed away. During the battle with Ryukotsusei, Inuyasha finds that Tetsusaiga becomes lighter, he can draw out the Scar of the Wind whenever he wants, and he inadvertently uses the Bakuryu-ha to defeat Ryukotsusei.

The next story arc in Volume 20 introduces a black priestess named Tsubaki. She battled Kikyo 50 years ago for the Shikon Jewel and was defeated. Tsubaki has made a deal with a demon for eternal youth and beauty. Naraku promises to give her the Shikon Jewel if she helps him. When Kagome returns to the Feudal Era, she is bitten by Tsubaki’s Familiar. Tsubaki uses the blood her Familiar got from Kagome to defile what Naraku has of the Shikon Jewel. This causes Kagome’s shards to become defiled, break out of their jar, and enter Kagome’s body. Tsubaki has placed a curse on Kagome and is able to control her. Tsubaki tries to use Kagome to kill Inuyasha. Tsubaki’s plans are interrupted by Kikyo, who doesn’t want anything to happen to Inuyasha. Kagome and the others find where Tsubaki is hiding and a climactic battle ensues. This story arc concludes right at the end of Volume 20.

Volume 21 opens with a story about Shippo meeting a girl named Satsuki who believes she has a Shikon Jewel shard. Her older brother went off to war and was killed, but she believes that he will return. Meanwhile, Miroku exorcises a demon from a house. The demon overhears Satsuki and decides to pose as her brother to try to use her as a hostage to get Kagome’s Shikon Jewel shards. It’s up to Shippo to save Satsuki.

The next story arc sees both Koga and Inuyasha catching Naraku’s scent. Koga decides to go to Naraku’s castle in order to avenge his slain companions. Unfortunately, Inuyasha will be turning into a human that night, so his sense of smell is nowhere near as strong as usual. Kagura intercepts Koga and gets into a battle with him. Koga ends up making it out of the battle fine, but Kagura escapes before Inuyasha and the others can get there. Kagura, meanwhile, starts thinking about how she can escape for Naraku’s clutches, even going so far as to visiting Sesshomaru and asking for his help. However, Sesshomaru turns her down. Koga and Kagura end up getting into another fight, and Inuyasha is able to join in when his demon powers return at sunrise.

The next story sees Inuyasha and the others coming across a village where several women’s husbands have disappeared, and the disappearances are blamed on a demon that has taken on the form of a princess that died in the woods. Miroku decides to take on this demon, and Sango decides to go after him because she’s afraid he won’t be able to resist the demon. The ending of this story arc is really important for progressing the relationship between Miroku and Sango.

The final chapter begins a new story arc, where a man with no face goes around stealing other people’s faces until he finds one his likes. As this is going on, Inuyasha smells Naraku’s scent. When Inuyasha and the others come across this man, he has no idea who Inuyasha or Naraku are. Inuyasha and the others, however, are convinced he’s a new “offspring” of Naraku.

Volume 19 has a lot of action included, but there are also moments that include character development. In this volume, the reader sees a little bit of progression in regards to the relationship between Inuyasha and Kagome. I would also say that there’s also a little bit of character development for Sango in this volume as well.

Volume 20 progresses the overarching story by seeing Inuyasha gaining the ability to control Tetsusaiga more, as well as gaining a new attack he can use with it. We also get to see Kagome and Inuyasha put to the test when Tsubaki casts her curse on Kagome. At the end of that, though, I think their relationship is a little stronger.

Volume 21 also progresses the overarching story by showing the reader that Kagura wants to be free from Naraku. Unfortunately, at this point in the series, she isn’t able to get away from him. However, this shows that she is capable of independent thought during a time that Naraku was away. This volume also sees Sango finally admitting to herself that she’s in love with Miroku.

Since I saw this portion of the Inuyasha anime series before reading this volume of the manga, it was interesting for me to see what stayed the same and what was different between the two mediums. In the anime, the storyline with Tsubaki was extended with the addition of two new characters and plot developments connected with those two new characters that weren’t in the original manga. Personally, I have to say that I enjoyed the manga version of this story arc a lot more, because the anime version feels like it goes on for a little too long.

I was actually surprised to see that the storyline with Shippo and Satsuki was in the original manga. Since it was a story that didn’t progress the overarching story, I had wrongly assumed for years that this storyline was “filler” that was added to the anime. It’s not a bad story, and I enjoyed it when it appeared in the anime, but I wouldn’t have guessed it was actually “canon material” from the manga.

Takahashi effectively advances the story throughout the three volumes included in this book, which she accomplishes through both her writing and her art. The facial expressions she uses on her characters help to convey what they’re thinking during the various storylines in the volume.

Now that I’m seven volumes in, I believe that these VIZBig editions are a great and economical way for Inuyasha fans to collect this long-running series.

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