Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon Volume One is a manga reimagining of the anime series.

Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon Volume One
Written by: Takashi Shiina
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: June 21, 2022

I have to admit that when I went into Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon Volume One, I was expecting to read something that stayed relatively faithful to the anime source material. So it was a pleasant surprise to discover that while I recognized the characters and some of the basic plot and story elements, the execution of those elements were drastically different from their anime counterparts.

For those who haven’t seen the anime series, Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon is a sequel series to Inuyasha, and the main characters are children of important characters from that series (Towa and Setsuna are the twin daughters of Sesshomaru and Rin, and Moroha is the daughter of Inuyasha and Kagome). When they were kids, Towa and Setsuna were separated, and Towa ended up going through a portal in the Tree of Ages, which took her to the Higurashi shrine in modern day Japan. Here, she is found by Kagome’s younger brother, Sota, and is taken in by him and his wife, Moe, and raised as if she was their own daughter. 10 years later, Setsuna and Moroha are chasing a demon in feudal Japan and end up coming into modern day Japan. The three girls end up going back to feudal Japan and having adventures there.

Volume One of the manga was able to spend some time developing Towa a little more as a character, and it also established that Towa can exorcise spirits. One night, after exorcising a spirit, a portal opens up in the Tree of Ages, and a caterpillar-type demon emerges. Following behind are Setsuna and Moroha. Unlike in the anime, though, Moroha and Setsuna already know who Towa is and they knew that they would find her when they came through the portal.

As the volume continues, there are more differences between the anime and the manga. For example, Moroha is raised with Towa and Setsuna at an almost manor-like location, and they were watched over by a lot of “un-mothers.” It’s revealed that watching over all of this is Jaken, who is in disguise. I thought this worked a lot better than Towa and Setsuna just being left alone in the forest to fend for themselves. At this point in the manga, though, we don’t know how Inuyasha and Kagome were separated from the kids, although the end of the volume establishes that Rin is in suspended animation, just like she was in the anime. We also learn it was during an attack on the manor-like location that Towa and Setsuna were separated, and that Towa was purposefully sent through the portal at the Tree of Ages.

In the manga, I appreciated getting a scene of when Moroha and Setsuna were found as kids, and Miroku and Sango are trying to question them as to what happened. Of course, since they were young children, they really couldn’t answer their questions very well. It was nice to see Miroku and Sango acknowledged at this point in the manga. We also get to see a brief glimpse of Shippo when Kaede is talking about being able to get along with the smaller, animal-like demons. This was a much earlier acknowledgement of Shippo than in the anime.

Another change I appreciated in this manga telling is Moroha’s characterization. She is shown as being greedy, but it’s not because she owes the ridiculous debt to Jyubei like she did in the anime. With the way the story is set up here, there doesn’t really appear to be a way for that debt to exist. And if that’s the case, this gets rid of one of the problematic issues I had with Moroha’s backstory in the anime. Also, I appreciated that Moroha isn’t being treated like a comedic relief character, which is what she came across as for much of the Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon anime.

I have to be honest and say that after reading Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon Volume One, I thought that Shiina’s version of the story has a much stronger start than the anime’s telling. If the anime telling had been closer to this, then perhaps the first half of the anime would have ended up being stronger than what it was. Hopefully, Shiina will be able to continue telling a strong story in this manga adaptation.

When it comes to the art, I have to give Shiina credit for being able to capture the feel of Rumiko Takahashi’s designs yet bring his own style into the presentation. There is an interview with both Shiina and Takahashi at the end of the volume, and this aspect is addressed during part of it.

If you’re a fan of the Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon anime or a fan of the Inuyasha series, then you’ll probably enjoy this manga version of the story. If you were someone who started watching the Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon anime but dropped it due to not being happy with how it was progressing, you might also find enjoyment in this manga telling. Shiina gives a new way of looking at this story and at these characters, and his version could potentially “correct” some of the issues that disappointed anime viewers had with it.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media