Manga Review: Inuyasha VIZBIG Volume 10

Inuyasha VIZBIG Volume 10 combines Volumes 28 through 30 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 10
Written by: Rumiko Takahashi
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: February 14, 2012

The first volume that’s included in this omnibus focuses exclusively on the Band of Seven storyline and brings it to an end. We get to see Miroku and Sango with the Living Buddha, and we find out why he’s helping Naraku. While the Living Buddha gets a chance at redemption, it’s not through the efforts of Miroku and Sango. Instead, it comes through a chance encounter with Kikyo. This is one of those moments where Kikyo shows that she’s retained at least a small piece of the humanity that she had during her life, and that she isn’t always just the bitter reincarnated priestess that she tried to portray herself as earlier in the series.

We also get to see the final showdown between Inuyasha and Jakotsu. With Inuyasha in his human form due to the barrier surrounding Mt. Hakurei, it appears that the battle is tilting in Jakotsu’s favor. But when the barrier breaks at Mt. Hakurei, Inuyasha reverts back to his half-demon form and gains the advantage. However, Inuyasha doesn’t completely kill Jakotsu, which is a decision that turns out to be a mistake. Renkotsu takes Jakotsu’s Shikon Jewel shard, bringing an end to Jakotsu. But Renkotsu doesn’t get to enjoy the enhancement very long, because Bankotsu takes all of Renkotsu’s shards. Renkotsu learned a lesson, too late, and he learned it the hard way. He was a fool to think he could outmaneuver Bankotsu.

This leads to a final showdown between Bankotsu and Inuyasha and Naraku works at making his return. Not surprisingly, the fight between Bankotsu and Inuyasha is intense, especially after he acquired all of the Shikon Jewel shards from the other members of the Band of Seven. The busy, action-packed panels of this fight help to emphasize just how major and epic of a battle that’s taking place here. But just as Inuyasha gets the deciding blow in, the walls and ground suddenly transform into flesh… which turns out to be part of Naraku as he works toward his resurrection. By absorbing the Shikon Jewel shards that are in the mountain, Naraku’s transformation is complete. With this resurrection, Naraku is poised to become an even more formidable adversary. Also in this volume, something is expelled from the mountain, and Kagura is tasked with keeping it safe.

At the beginning of the second volume, Kagome finds a way for herself, Inuyasha, and the others to save Koga and escape from the mountain. The resurrected Naraku finds Kikyo nearby, and they get in a confrontation. Before pushing her over an edge, he tells her what Kagura left with. There’s also a brief fight between Naraku and Sesshomaru, but Naraku gets away. Inuyasha and Kagome arrive and find out what happened to Kikyo. This event with Kikyo ultimately propels the events that take place through the rest of Inuyasha VIZBIG Volume 10.

Inuyasha hears a rumor about a wandering priestess and thinks it might be Kikyo. Kagome gets jealous, of course, but she still lets him leave to see if he can find her. But it turns out to be a trap to capture Kagome. It’s revealed that what Naraku expelled from the mountain was his human heart, and it has taken the form of a baby. This baby wants to find the darkness in Kagome’s heart and attach itself to that darkness, so Kagome can be used to find the remaining Shikon Jewel shards. Unfortunately, Kagome does have a small bit of darkness in her heart: her jealousy toward Kikyo and Inuyasha’s feelings for her. Kagome manages to regain her consciousness, and Inuyasha makes it in time to save Kagome, but this incident forces Kagome to really examine her feelings toward Inuyasha, as well as her jealousy of Kikyo.

This volume also sees Miroku and Sango confront their feelings for each other. This is spurred on by an incident that happens at a village that is home to women who have lost their husbands and children to war. These women have been possessed by a giant salamander demon that’s trying to regain its form. The women are used to lure men to a temple, where the demon flays the men and takes their hides. Sango becomes jealous of Miroku’s flirting with the women of the village and wanders off on her own. She is captured and forced to swallow one of the salamander’s eggs. We get a confrontation between Sango and Miroku, which ends with Miroku knocking the egg out of Sango. This is what leads them to admit their feelings for one another, with Miroku basically proposing to Sango. But he has a condition: nothing will come of their relationship until Naraku is defeated and the curse of the wind tunnel is broken. While this conversation doesn’t necessarily resolve everything between them, it’s at least a step in the right direction. I couldn’t keep from grinning when I was reading some of Miroku’s dialogue here, knowing what I know from the ending of the Inuyasha anime adaptation and what I’ve seen in the Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon anime.

Meanwhile, Kagura and the baby are peering into the souls of priests, with the hopes of finding the location of the final Shikon Jewel shard. A priest manages to split the baby in two, but not before the baby sees a clue as to where the jewel shard might be. But, it turns out the baby was meant to be split in two, and one half becomes a young boy named Hakudoshi, who rides a flaming horse named Entei. Every time I saw the horse’s name show up, I had to keep reminding myself that Entei isn’t simply the name of a Pokemon.

Inuyasha figures out where the final shard is, which is his father’s grave. Unfortunately, the black pearl that he needs to get there is gone. Myoga takes him to see Hosenki, who crafted the black pearl. He’s dead, but his son continues his work. He is out of black pearls and has to make more… but since he’s still in training, it could take him 100 years to make one. Hosenki and the black pearl were recently referenced in a flashback episode of Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon, so I had an “a-ha!” moment while reading this volume. I expect I will have more of these moments as I read through the Inuyasha manga and refresh my memory on the story and events of the series.

This volume ends with Inuyasha needing to figure out how to get there, and Hakudoshi and Kagura give him a hint. As the others say in the manga, it’s likely a trap… but the volume ends with Inuyasha deciding to take their hint. It’s safe to say that at least part of the next volume of Inuyasha will be focusing on this storyline. I thought this was a great place to end, and it encourages readers to want to read the next volume in order to find out what happens next.

I was glad to finally see the Band of Seven storyline come to an end. I also appreciated seeing the groundwork being laid for the story to progress. Naraku’s resurrection, as well as the various new elements introduced in this volume, help the reader feel as if the plot is finally moving again.

These VIZBIG editions are a great and economical way for Inuyasha fans to collect this long-running series if they hadn’t already collected all of the original volumes. Also, I’d recommend it to readers who may have the original volumes but who want to be able to read the series in its original right-to-left orientation.

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