Anime Flashback: Inuyasha
Hey, all! So, this post was meant to be a Throwback Thursday sort of post, but as per usual these days, time got away from me…I guess it’ll just have to be Flashback Friday
or Saturday, as it’s now after midnight, but WHO’S COUNTING!
Today I’d like to take you back on the anime timeline — both in terms of anime itself and my own journey with it. Back when I started watching anime and reading manga in high school, I mostly got into the stuff that was really popular at that time, like Naruto, Fruits Basket, and Bleach. But it wasn’t long before I discovered the anime that remains my favorite to this day — Inuyasha.
Inuyasha originally aired in 2000 in Japan, and showed up in the US in 2002. Really, this wasn’t long before the time I got into anime, but Inuyasha wasn’t as popular as some others among my fellow anime-watchers at that time, even though I was lucky enough to have it recommended to me. And now that it’s clocking in at 16 years old, it definitely qualifies as a throwback these days! And yes, that does make me feel super old, thank you very much…
Despite what the name of the anime might suggest, the main character is a 15-year-old girl named Kagome Higurashi, who lives with her family on the grounds of the Shinto shrine they tend. The story begins when a demonic centipede creature (the supernatural kind, not the kind that frequent my basement
and nightmares) appears out of the dried-up well at the shrine and pulls Kagome in — this would be weird enough, but instead of finding herself at the bottom of the well, Kagome gets dragged back in time to feudal-era Japan.
Soon after she lands there, things get stranger still. She meets a belligerent, cocky young half-demon by the name of Inuyasha, who joins the struggle against the centipede demon. We learn that Inuyasha is searching for a jewel called the Shikon no Tama (as was the centipede demon — the jewel is what drew the centipede to Kagome in the first place) — Inuyasha believes the jewel can turn him from a half-demon into a full-fledged demon, thereby strengthening his already impressive supernatural fighting powers.
During the fight, it’s discovered that the jewel is inside Kagome herself — this is because Kagome is the reincarnation of a priestess by the name of Kikyo, who died protecting the jewel and was laid to rest with it. The jewel is extracted by magical means, but in the continuing fight against the centipede demon, the jewel is shot with an arrow and shatters into hundreds of pieces that spread across the land.
After the fight dies down, Kagome soon finds herself in league with Inuyasha. What follows next (and what drives much of the show) is Kagome and Inuyasha’s journey to find each of the jewel shards, and the battles they get into along the way with the demonic creatures that seek the shards for themselves. At first, Inuyasha’s only trying to regain all of the shards so he can put the jewel back together and use its power like he planned. However, Inuyasha and Kagome soon discover that Naraku, a nefarious half-demon megalomaniac, is trying to find the shards himself and use the power of the jewel to subvert the land under his evil control. The search for the jewel shards then becomes a race as Kagome and Inuyasha try to find them all before Naraku can carry out his diabolical plan.
As you can see, Inuyasha‘s plot is a convoluted one (as with most anime, let’s be honest), and there’s a ton more to it than what I’ve talked about here. You kind of just have to take the plunge before you really get what it’s all about. But be warned — once you do, there’s no going back, and you just might find yourself binge-watching your way through the series! At 167 episodes, it’s not a short anime by any means — you won’t get through it over a long weekend, but it’s certainly far more manageable than some series (I’m looking at you, Naruto…). And thankfully, the pacing moves along nicely to keep things from feeling draggy.
Due to the setup of the plot, Inuyasha can tend to have a pretty monster-of-the-week feel at times. Despite this, however, it mostly avoids a repetitive feel, and the story arc stays engaging throughout. Beyond that, the characters are fantastic. I’ll admit that the series falls into the common mediocre-protagonist-surrounded-by-fascinating-side-characters trap (which we’ve mentioned a time or two before on Nerdologists), but with such a well-rounded cast, this isn’t a big deal. We’ve got Inuyasha, who’s basically the anime version of Peter Pan (you kind of expect him to hop up onto a fence, point his thumbs toward his chest, and shout “Oh, the cleverness of me!” at any given moment); Shippo, a fox demon child who’s always getting himself and the other characters in and out of silly scrapes; Miroku, a womanizing monk (oxymoron much?) who has a wind tunnel in his hand that he uses like a vaccuum to suck up demons (and everything else within range); Sango, a demon hunter with a big vendetta and even bigger boomerang; Kikyo, Inuyasha’s undead ex-girlfriend who spends a lot of time hanging around and making Kagome feel conflicted; and Sesshomaru, Inuyasha’s older (and much more glamorous-looking) half-brother who’s trying to claim all the jewel shards as well. And that’s just for starters!
As I mentioned, Inuyasha is still my favorite anime after all these years — just writing about it is making me want to go watch it all over again! It’s still pretty much unlike anything I’ve ever seen, before or since. It’s got a storyline that’s serious enough to keep the stakes feeling high, but the episodes are sprinkled with plenty of hilarious moments to keep them fun. I can attest to the fact that it’s a great starter series for someone figuring out what this whole anime thing is about, and it’s also a great choice for an anime veteran who’s looking to mix it up a little bit.
So, have you watched Inuyasha? Would you add it to your list? What other older anime series do you love or want to try out sometime? Share with us in the comments!
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