Manga Review: Inuyasha VIZBIG Volume 14

Inuyasha VIZBIG Volume 14 combines Volumes 40 through 42 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 14
Written by: Rumiko Takahashi
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: February 12, 2013

The first three chapters in this volume finish off the story with the swordsmith named Toshu, who forged the Dakki sword and now wants to make the demon blade his own. By killing Ryujin, it has become a true demon blade… and he now has his sights set on Inuyasha and Tetsusaiga. Both Inuyasha and Toshu want to steal energy from the other’s sword, and this causes an impressive sword fight to take place between the two of them. Obviously, Inuyasha was going to have to win out in the end, but it was interesting to see what caused Toshu’s undoing. And with the defeat of Toshu, Tetsusaiga takes Ryujin’s power. While this seems to be a good thing on the surface, acquiring this power ends up causing problems for Inuyasha as the volume progresses.

The next chapter sees Kagome taking Inuyasha to modern day Japan to so he can heal up from the previous adventure. She tells Inuyasha to stay at her house and rest, but of course, he doesn’t listen. Later, he tries to help fetch ingredients for dinner, but let’s just say that Kagome is not happy with Inuyasha for bringing back carp from the neighbor’s koi pond and catching birds. Inuyasha does one more thing right at the end of the chapter that causes problems for the Higurashi family. Poor Kagome. But this was a light-hearted chapter that was needed before starting into the next storyline.

We return to feudal Japan, and the next three chapters focus on a storyline of a cat demon at a temple. Inuyasha and the others go to what they think is a deserted temple… but there’s a nun there, and she offers them shelter from the rain. The nun is beautiful, so the lecherous Miroku flirts with her, much to Sango’s dismay. They discover there are cat demons in the temple, and that the nun has been possessed by a cat demon. Kagome finds herself in danger, and of course, Inuyasha comes in to save the day. This storyline marks the debut of the Dragon-Scaled Tetsusaiga, which is a more powerful version of the sword. Unfortunately, it feels hot to Inuyasha after he uses it. This marks the beginning of the issues that Inuyasha has with Tetsusaiga in this volume.

The next four chapters introduce a new character named Byakuya. Throughout his appearance in this volume, it’s obvious he has a connection with Naraku, but it’s hard to tell if he’s working for or against Naraku. Byakuya is a bit of an enigma, and this really doesn’t change by the end of the volume. During this story, Inuyasha and the group learn about a poisonous water demon called Mizuchi. At one point, Inuyasha can small both Mizuchi  and Moryomaru, and it turns out the water demon ate a piece of flesh that fell into its swamp that most likely came from Moryomaru. Inuyasha uses the Dragon-Scaled Tetsusaiga to absorb the demon’s venom, and the sword feels hot to Inuyasha afterwards. Byakuya watches the battle from a distance and finds a way to disrupt things. Later, Byakuya comes before Inuyasha, and he can tell right away that there’s a connection with Naraku. While Inuyasha manages to take down the Mizuchi with the Dragon-Scaled Tetsusaiga, the sword is still giving him issues. Totosai, the swordmaker, comes along and says the problem isn’t with the sword… it’s with Inuyasha himself, because of the fact that he’s only a half-demon. While there is a chance for Inuyasha to be able to control what happens with the newly powered-up Tetsusaiga, he has to choose his opponents carefully. Inuyasha’s desire to control his powered-up sword becomes a running storyline in this volume, and Byakuya will make several more appearances as well.

The next four chapters focus on Meioju, a large turtle-like demon who wants his shell back, which was taken by humans and used to make armor. We learn through exposition provided by Byakuya that Moryomaru is interested in the Meioju in order to better protect himself. The Meioju manages to acquire its shell, while Sesshomaru arrives and confronts Byakuya. Meioju, meanwhile, tricks Inuyasha into using the Diamond Spears, so Moryomaru can steal them. Right at the end of this story, we see that Kikyo and Kohaku have teamed up together to take down Moryomaru.

The next seven chapters see Moryomaru going through a transformation, Kikyo and Kohaku trying to go after him, Sesshomaru arriving and joining the fray, and Inuyasha jumping in as well. At one point, when Moryomaru mocks Kagura for developing a soft heart and dying a pitiful death, this stirs something in Sesshomaru, and he angrily begins attacking Moryomaru. Sesshomaru’s Tokijin breaks in the process and he sustains some injuries. Later, Totosai comes to Sesshomaru because Tenseiga has summoned him. It has acknowledged a change in Sesshomaru’s soul, and Totosai re-forges Tenseiga, giving it the ability to open the path to the underworld. But I think this portion of the story, where the reader begins to see a change in Sesshomaru’s soul, is one of the best parts of this volume. Unfortunately, at the end of this story, Moryomaru lives to return for another day.

This is followed by another one chapter story of Kagome taking Inuyasha to modern day Japan so he can heal. Once again, she asks Inuyasha to stay at her house while she’s at school, but he doesn’t listen. Poor Kagome is trying to take a makeup quiz at school, and she’s having a hard time remembering the math formulas she needs, and even wonders if she knows this material. But just as she’s starting to remember the information she she needs, Inuyasha arrives and distracts her… which of course, makes Kagome forget everything. Again, the reader needed this breather after the action-packed and busy story of the previous seven chapters.

The next four chapters see Inuyasha and the others going up against Nikosen, a demon who was once a hermit sage, that devours the vital sap of trees. Inuyasha wants to take on the demon right away, but Kagome reminds him that it’s the night of the new moon (the night that Inuyasha becomes fully human and loses his demon abilities). Foolishly, Inuyasha tries to take Nikosen on, anyway, but when the night comes, he is unable to do anything. Inuyasha was able to chop off the demon’s head before then, and Miroku and Sango go after it because it has a Shikon Jewel shard in it. Unfortunately, it turns out the demon can generate additional heads onto its body, which is near Inuyasha, Kagome, and Shippo. The demon has a seimeikan life-force stalk, which is what Inuyasha and Kagome have to try to destroy. Meanwhile, Byakuya has set a trap for Nikosen’s first head and destroys it. Of course, when the morning comes, Inuyasha gets his demon abilities back, and there’s an impressive fight between him and Nikosen. By striking the life-force stalk with the Dragon-Scaled Tetsusaiga, Inuyasha discovers that he doesn’t get hit with an energy backlash. It turns out the stalk had the power of a senki (a sage), and now that the Tetsusaisa has absorbed it, the sword will never hurt Inuyasha again. Right at the end of this story, Kanna comes to Moryomaru and claims to have run away from Naraku.

The final three chapters in this volume begin the story of Kinka and Ginka, a pair of brothers who are joined and fight each other. In their culture, they are born with two heads, but the stronger head devours the weaker one and matures as a single demon. They have only managed to wound each other, so they continue to fight to try to kill the other, even though they leave destruction in their wake. Kanna encourages Moryomaru to devour Kinka and Ginka so his armor will become stronger. The volume ends with Inuyasha and Moryomaru in a battle.

The thing that interested me with the characters of Kinka and Ginka is the fact that they re-appear in the Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon spin-off anime. When I read the next volume, I’ll see how their storyline was resolved here, and to see whether their appearance in Yashahime makes sense.

But, yikes! A lot of new concepts and abilities, as well as the character of Byakuya, are introduced in this omnibus volume. Not only that, it felt like there were bigger advances in the plot. The previous omnibus volume seemed to have fewer story arcs (due to more of the arcs having several chapters devoted to them), and it didn’t feel like the story moved along as much as it did in this volume. But even with this story progression, the reader can tell there’s still more of the story to tell. It’s definitely not going to be ending anytime soon, because there’s not only Moryomaru that needs to be defeated, but Naraku as well. And now there’s Byakuya to add some new wrinkles to the story as well.

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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