Manga Review: Inuyasha VIZBIG Volume 17

Inuyasha VIZBIG Volume 17 combines Volumes 49 through 52 of Rumiko Takahashi’s Inuyasha manga into one volume. In addition to putting these four 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 17
Written by: Rumiko Takahashi
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: October 12, 2013

The first two chapters of this volume finish off the storyline with Kanna and the mirror demon that began at the end of Inuyasha VIZBIG Volume 16. After a brief battle where it seems like Inuyasha should be losing, he manages to turn the tide and regain the power of his Tetsusaiga. Afterward. Kagome, Inuyasha, and the others show compassion to Kanna, but Naraku decides to order Kanna self-destruct to kill Inuyasha and Kagome. He doesn’t succeed, but Kanna gives Kagome information and a hint for destroying Naraku before she’s brought to an end. For the time we saw Kanna in the series, she had no emotion, and didn’t seem to feel pain. But perhaps Kagome and Inuyasha showing compassion to Kanna managed to awaken something inside of her to betray Naraku before her demise. This is something the reader never would have expected from Kanna.

The next four chapters see Inuyasha and the others learning about a demon who steals people’s bones. It’s said that the demon takes on the guise of a beautiful woman, so it’s not surprising that Miroku wants to investigate. Sango decides to join him to make sure he doesn’t get into trouble. These four chapters focus on Miroku and Sango as they find the demon and take it on. In the process of fighting the demon, Sango’s Hiraikotsu, which is made of demon bones, becomes something that the demon wants. When Sango uses it, the demon actually takes bites out of the weapon. The fight with the demon causes Miroku to use his wind tunnel again, and his wound spreads more. While Kagome and Inuyasha come to save their friends, this is ultimately a story that focuses on Sango and Miroku. In the end, it’s Sango who saves the day… but she has to apply a corrosive salve to her boomerang bone, and it adds additional damage to her weapon.

The next four chapters see Sango and the others going to Totosai to see about getting Hiraikotsu repaired. Totsai says he is unable to do anything because of the poison salve, and he recommends that they go see a potion master named Yakuro Dokusen so he can extract the poison from the weapon. Myoga makes one of his occasional appearances and offers to lead the group to the potion master. The potion master isn’t happy about the corrosive poison being applied to the weapon, and at first says he won’t help… until he sees that the owner of the weapon is a beautiful woman. Sango is told to exterminate demons in an urn, and when they’ve been quieted the poison in the urn will become medicine. It’s interesting when Sango discovers what the demons are and what she has to do in order to take care of Hiraikotsu. Meanwhile, the potion master realizes that Miroku has been poisoned pretty badly. He gives Miroku a potion that can stop the pain associated with using the wind tunnel but isn’t able to stop the spread of the wound. Miroku decides to take it, and it turns out this actually has a connection to Sango’s trial. At this point in the series, Takahashi is focusing on building Miroku and Sango as a couple, and this story was another way to intertwine these two characters and to continue building their relationship.

The next five chapters focus on Sesshomaru and his Tenseiga. His quest to learn more causes him to run into Shishinki, who had fought Sesshomaru’s father. It turns out that Meido Zangetsuha was Shishinki’s move, but it was stolen by the great dog demon. He also knows information about Tenseiga, which links it to Inuyasha’s Tetsusaiga. When Sesshomaru and Shishinki fight, Inuyasha and his group arrives, and Inuyasha tries to jump in. Sesshomaru doesn’t want the help, but Inuyasha insists. At the climax of the fight, Sesshomaru and Inuyasha’s swords resonate with each other and bring about Shishinki’s end. With what’s revealed here, Sesshomaru seems to get the wrong idea of his father’s intentions when it came to Tenseiga and Tetsusaiga.

This is followed by a one chapter story that sees Kagome returning to modern day. Unfortunately, the rest of her family won a trip to a hot springs, so they’re not home. Kagome goes through her day and finds herself feeling lonely, and Inuyasha makes an appearance. The two of them have an important conversation, and it seems they’re acknowledging their feelings for each other. Unfortunately, before they can act on this, Kagome’s family returns. At first, this chapter kind of feels like a throw away, since the chapters of Kagome returning to modern day Japan tend to fall into that category. However, the conversation that takes place here starts advancing the relationship between Kagome and Inuyasha, so it’s actually rather important. After all this time, I was happy to finally see these two acknowledge that they have mutual feelings for each other.

The next 10 chapters focus on Naraku setting a trap to try to capture Kohaku and his shard, while at the same time, Sesshomaru is trying to come to terms with what he’s learned about Tenseiga. It turns out that, thanks to what Kikyo did in the previous volume, Naraku can’t touch Kohaku’s shard. And it turns out that when the potion master repaired Hiraikotsu, it was changed… but Sango wouldn’t know how until she used it. When she uses it on Naraku, it wraps itself in Naraku’s aura and tears him apart. Naraku isn’t dead, but he’s not whole anymore, either. Afterward, Byakuya of the Dreams appears and gives Sesshomaru a shard from Kanna’s mirror. He goads Sesshomaru to coat Tenseiga with the dust of the pulverized shard so Tenseiga can steal Tetsusaiga’s power. Sesshomaru challenges Inuyasha, and an epic fight between the brothers takes place. At the end of the fight, some surprising things happen. But one of the events ends up being important for something that takes place later in the volume.

The next two chapters have a focus on Shippo. Inuyasha and the others find an inn to stay at. Unknown to them, though, there’s a fox demon disguise and trickery exam taking place there. Shippo is mistaken for a participant, and his involvement helps to bring about hijinks for Inuyasha. While this particular story doesn’t do anything to progress the overarching storyline, it’s a light-hearted breather that’s needed at this point. The story has been moving along rather quickly by this point in the volume, so the reader needs some kind of a break before the overarching story continues on.

The next five chapters introduce Hitomiko, a priestess who is overtaken by Naraku’s spider silk and passes away. Unfortunately, the villagers didn’t follow her burial instructions, so she comes back and is controlled by Naraku. Inuyasha and the others come to the village, and Naraku orders Mitohiko to use her spirit powers to steal Kagome’s power and kill her. This story focuses on the confrontation between Mitohiko and Kagome, and it’s revealed that Kagome isn’t utilizing her full spiritual power… that something has blocked her from doing so since her birth. What’s been fueling Kagome’s power this volume has been the bow that Kikyo gave to her in the previous volume before her death. While Kagome is able to prevail in the end, Mitohiko’s words about Kagome not utilizing her full spiritual power haunts her.

This is followed by a one chapter story of Kagome returning to modern day Japan. She learns that entrance exams for high school are coming up, and she starts trying to study for them. Her grandfather brings her an amulet for her studies: a replica of the Shikon Jewel. He reiterates the story of the jewel, and at first, Kagome isn’t paying attention. But then he says a part of the story that she didn’t remember: “whoever possesses the Shikon Jewel should make the correct wish.” As Kagome thinks this over and how she kept forgetting the legend of the Shikon Jewel when she goes back to Inuyasha’s time, she realizes who it is that’s been blocking her from using her full spiritual potential. And at this point, I believe that phrase from Kagome’s grandfather is some kind of clue for how to defeat Naraku.

In the final six chapters of this volume Sesshomaru encounters Magarsuhi, a manifestation of the dark side of the Shikon Jewel that was unleashed by Naraku. Inuyasha and the others come across this encounter, and an exciting and climactic battle takes place here. Sesshomaru discovers something surprising right at the end of the fight (which is also right at the end of the chapter). This discovery brings about an important development for Sesshomaru, and it ended up being a great note to end this volume on.

I thought that Inuyasha VIZBIG Volume 16 included impressive development for the story and the series, but Volume 17 has surpassed that. I don’t think it’s simply due to the fact that this is a four-in-one release instead of a three-in-one release. We’ve finally reached a point in the series where Takahashi was ready to progress the story toward its conclusion, and she does it in a big way over the course of the 40 chapters that are included here. At this point, it’s getting quite obvious to the reader that the story has to be getting closer to its conclusion due to the developments and discoveries that take place. I’m really looking forward to reading Inuyasha VIZBIG Volume 18 to find out what’s going to happen next.

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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