Manga Review: Inuyasha VIZBIG Volume 12

Inuyasha VIZBIG Volume 12 combines Volumes 34 through 36 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 12
Written by: Rumiko Takahashi
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: August 14, 2012

This volume continues the storyline with the rats that began at the end of the previous volume. This storyline is taking place in two different locations. In one location, where Inuyasha, Kagome, and Shippo are, they discover a demon lure has been placed on a tree. This lure is attracting the rats, and Inuyasha suspects it was placed by Kikyo, who is nowhere to be seen. Unfortunately, Hakudoshi shows up and releases large slugs on the tree. Inuyasha and Kagome try their best to defeat the slugs, but the slugs end up nullifying the effect of the demon lure… which causes the rats to head back to where they came from.

The other part of this story features Sango, Miroku, and Kohaku (who has the portable shrine). Kohaku is put into a precarious situation now that he’s face-to-face with Sango. He can’t reveal to Sango that he’s regained his memory, because he doesn’t want Naraku to realize this fact… and yet, he can’t bring himself to harm his sister. You have to feel for Kohaku because of this balancing act he’s trying to maintain. When the lure wears off, the rats come rushing back to the shrine, and the sheer number of them put Kohaku in danger. Miroku tries to use his wind tunnel to suck them up, but there’s just too many of them. A conflicted Sango ultimately saves Kohaku and is injured by the rats. A sacred arrow suddenly appears and nullifies the barrier around the shrine. Of course, it’s easy to guess that the arrow is Kikyo’s doing. But this one act allows Inuyasha to destroy the shrine and make the rats disappear. Kohaku has to make a run for it, but at this point, he decides that it’s time to find a way to destroy Naraku.

At the end of this story, we get a heartfelt conversation between Sango and Miroku, where Sango shares how conflicted she feels about Kohaku. On the one hand, she feels he’s done some despicable things, even if he was being controlled by Naraku. But on the other, Kohaku is still her little brother, and that’s why she shielded him when the rats returned.

After this story, we get a chapter where Kagome returns to modern-day Japan without telling Inuyasha. When he finds out, he becomes upset and crosses over to modern-day Japan as well. It turns out Kagome has been blowing off steam about Inuyasha to her friends, and they happen to run into him at Kagome’s house. Fortunately, his ears are covered, so they don’t realize that he’s not human. This is an amusing chapter, and it ends with Kagome’s friends approving of Inuyasha. This was a much needed breather after the previous storyline, and it also basically brings about a resolution for Kagome in modern-day Japan when it comes to her friends and Inuyasha. Now that they’ve met him, Takhashi can no longer use their misunderstandings of him as humor.

This is followed by a short storyline about Yadori Sanagi, which is a parasitic nymph that possesses demons. Shippo is possessed by one, and this leads to hijinks. Unfortunately, the village they’re at wants to kill Shippo for the pranks he’s pulling, so it’s up to Inuyasha and the others to get rid of the nymph and save Shippo. This leads to the group finding a bunch of the nymphs in one area, and they suspect that the host they inhabited died. They also discover a “living mountain” demon named Gakusanjin. Naraku has removed the demon’s sacred nulling stone, which has the ability to obliterate any sign of a demon’s power. Both this demon and its sacred stone are an important element that runs throughout the remainder of this volume. A character named Goryomaru is also introduced over the course of this volume, and he becomes a very important character who ties in with the plot of the sacred nulling stone. Kagura also plays an important role in many of the events that take place in this volume.

There is also a plot point of Miroku returning to a village where he had saved a sickly girl a couple of years earlier. He said that if she got better, he’d let the girl bear his child. But it turns out the girl’s father had prayed to the guardian deity to heal his daughter in exchange for anything the deity wanted. The deity asked for the girl’s hand in marriage, so they are now trying to use Miroku to get out of that promise. Of course, this makes Sango jealous and puts her budding relationship with Miroku to the test. I liked the way this storyline was ultimately resolved, and for the most part, it appears that Miroku and Sango have gotten a little closer. Miroku isn’t going to change overnight, of course, but this is a step in the right direction.

The final story in this volume also places a focus on Miroku and Sango’s relationship. This time, the enemy is a medicine merchant who seems to prey on women. Sango starts falling for his spell, and it’s up to Inuyasha and the others to save her. This time, it’s a storyline where Miroku gets jealous instead of Sango. Fortunately, their relationship passes this test as well.

A lot happens over the course of Inuyasha VIZBIG Volume 12, both with progressing the overarching story and character development. Much of the character development focuses on Sango and Miroku in this volume, but we also see some for Kohaku and Kagura. And right near the end of the volume, there’s a very important scene that takes place between Inuyasha and Kagome. Kagome spends a lot of the volume feeling jealous of Kikyo, but this final scene between these two seems to indicate that perhaps Kagome is beginning to feel at least a little more confident in her relationship with Inuyasha. There’s still a long way to go for these two, but it felt like this scene was an important step forward.

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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