Inu-Yasha Movie: Affections Touching Across Time
Inu-Yasha. *waits for fan girls to regain their collective breathes* Inu-Yasha, an extremely popular TV series, has branched out into the movies with its first installment, Inu-Yasha: Affections Touching Across Time.
For the few people who accidentally came to an anime website and don't know what Inu-Yasha is, I shall fill you in. Inu-Yasha is a fantasy-action-romance-comedy series. The show is about a girl who is the reincarnation of an ancient priestess that gets sucked into a well and is transported 500 years into the past. She frees a half-human, half-demon boy that was sealed with a magical arrow by the priestess (our heroine is the reincarnation of her). Following me? After said introduction, the story centers on their adventure of collecting the shards of a jewel that grants its owner great powers. During the journey, they happen across Sango, a demon exterminator who witness her family being killed; Miroku, a perverted monk with (basically) a black hole in his hand; and Shippo, a little fox that travels with them.
The group must kill hordes of demons and contend with Naraku, the demon that turned Inu-Yasha and the ancient priestess, Kikyo against each other. Oh, did I mention that? Let's just say the story has a few elements to it. At one time, Inu-Yasha and Kikyo were in love, and they planned to use the jewel to turn Inu-yasha into a full human. Naraku tricked them, however, killing Kikyo and having Inu-Yasha sealed away for 50 years. Yeah, did I say this show has quite a bit to it? The other main character that you come across is Sesshoumaru, Inu-Yasha's full-demon brother. Unfortunately, they do not get along very well.
The movie is a stand-alone story that takes place somewhere during the time span of the TV show. It is hard to pinpoint exactly where, but it's after the second season of Inu-Yasha. The movie starts off by showing you the Shikon jewel explode and fly -- in pieces -- all over the world. It later focuses on one jewel that gets imbedded in a tree. A demon spawns from it; said demon will be the focal point of our story. After this, we cut to Sesshoumaru walking through a marsh area, where he is ambushed by two demons looking to take his sword. Sesshoumaru makes quick work of the duo and walks away. The reason for this attack was Sesshoumaru's sword, but it turns out that the main demon really wants Inu-Yasha's sword. He requires this sword to break a seal and unleash the power of his ancestors, so he can become even stronger.
The movie does an okay job of giving quick introductions to the main charaters, so that you really don't need to know the deeper story elements to enjoy this flick. Affections Touching Across Time gives you a nice mix of action, romance and comedy, with perhaps a touch more emphasis on the romance than you'd see in a typical television episode. They do excellent work in showing the relationship between Inu-Yasha and Kagome (one of the series' highlights). However, it is certainly not a romance. There are action-packed fight scenes that outdo anything you'd see on TV. That is one thing that I love about movies based on TV series; the quality and production values shine through and make it a much better experience. This was no exception.
The plot flows nicely throughout the movie, even with it being broken between Miroku, Sango, Inu-Yasha and Kagome. They are separated early on in the story, then find themselves together again, then get separated, only to finish the movie fighting alongside one another. The ending was perhaps a bit rushed with the last fight seemingly easy after how powerful the evil villain supposedly is. Thankfully, it does not hurt the movie in any way.
One of the best aspects of Inu-Yasha is the animation. It truly is a gorgeous anime. I wouldn't put it on the level of Ah! My Goddess: The Movie or Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, which I personally think have excellent animation, but this movie is incredibly well done. It mixes in some CG graphics, but it doesn't do it in an awkward way. They blend it in a way that tends to make it look more natural than what you see usually in anime and anime movies. One thing that die-hard Inu-Yasha fans might notice is that the character designs, mainly Inu-Yasha and Kagome, are slightly different in comparison to the television series. It did not bother me and shouldn't make a difference to anyone. Even though the background animation isn't the best, the character designs are remarkable; they did a great job.
Overall, the sound was pretty good. Nothing truly stands out as far as the music, except for the ending theme, a really great closing number. The song goes well with the movie and gives everything a nice sense of closure. Furthermore, the voice acting was well done. I know many people are inherently picky when it comes to vocal acting, and I guess I can be too, but the Japanese and English voice acting in Inu-Yasha are above average. The only English voice that bothered me was the main demon after he transformed. I understand the reasoning behind it, but his original voice was much better.
The case has snazzy artwork and is done to look rather glossy, but it's a very nice touch. The DVD offers some features, but nothing spectacular, pretty much your basic stuff. You get an art gallery, promotional footage of the first and second movie, and "special footage", which is actually some clips from the first episodes of the TV show, giving you some background on the story. The preview of the second movie is probably the coolest feature for Inu-Yasha fans.
Inu-Yasha has now become one of the most popular anime out there, and along with being one of the most popular, it could also be one of the most polarizing. This movie is not only a nice addition to the Inu-Yasha series, but as a stand-alone movie as well. A wide range of anime fans can enjoy it.
It seems that Inu-Yasha has almost become the new Dragonball Z. I'm not comparing its content, but the fact that now Inu-Yasha seems to be the new gateway anime. A couple years ago, you had tons of people start out watching anime because of DragonBall Z; that title has been now turned over to Inu-Yasha. It is introducing a whole new generation to anime. If Inu-Yasha: Affections Touching Across Time is one of the first tastes of anime that people can get, then it is a wonderful introduction to how good anime can and should be.