Volume 44 of Inuyasha is full of surprising twists and turns as Inuyasha and company continue their quest to help the demon sage recover his stolen liver (ewwww, gross!). I won't say much more to avoid any spoilers, but suffice to say you will be surprised!
The rest of this volume is quite tragic. A wolf demon tribe is attacked, and many clan members are slaughtered. A tribe member fights to save his brother's life, and fellow wolf demon Koga joins the battle. These wolf demons are humanoid, but the story got me thinking about wolf hunting in the real world. It makes me so sad to see these magnificent, intelligent, social animals hunted down.
Like the clan of imaginary wolf demons in Inuyasha, real wolves have a complex social structure. The adults mate for life, and packs live, hunt and raise their young cooperatively. Shooting the adults for trophies disrupts these social groupings and breaks pair bonds, thereby jeopardizing all the pack members' chances for survival.
Now it's true that ranchers suffer financial loss when wolves kill livestock. But ironically, hunting wolves can just make the problem worse. Killing adult wolves, who are experienced hunters, pushes the younger wolves to attack livestock because they are easier prey.
And no, I'm not totally opposed to hunting. Many hunters are great conservators of our wild natural land. Deer live a better life wild in the woods than a steer does in a stockyard or a chicken does in a cage. Deer can quickly overpopulate so the whole herd suffers starvation. In that way, shooting and eating deer makes sense to me.
I think the public and our government should support ranchers by helping them with costs to erect "fladry," non-lethal strings of cloth and plastic used in Europe to repel wolves.
And shooting an animal just to stuff its head and stick it on your wall...not so sensible. Furthermore, I don't understand how you can get a rush from shooting fierce wolves...with high-powered rifles from a great distance or after running them to the point of exhaustion with a helicopter! Can't you get the same thrill of the hunt by photographing wild animals or doing target practice in a video game?
If you're interested in learning more about wolves and wolf hunting, check out the short documentary Return to the Wild: A Modern Tale of Wolf and Man as well as the Defenders of Wildlife website and the Center for Biological Diversity website, which has some cool free animal ring-tones too! At least I thought they were cool…until my fellow VIZ Media editors objected to the howling, hooting, and growling emanating from my cell phone...
— Annette Roman, Inuyasha manga editor
More dubbed goodness hits iTunes this morning. Inuyasha Season 3, Vol. 1 and Inuyasha Season 3, Vol. 2 are available now. That's 27 episodes, including old favorites like "Shippo Gets an Angry Challenge," "The Red Tetsusaiga Breaks the Barrier," and that "Fateful Night in Togenkyo." Check 'em out.
We know you're loving watching all 167 subtitled episodes of Inuyasha here on VIZ Anime, but if you're craving the dubbed versions, then you'll be happy to know that the iTunes Store just got more of them. Season 2, Volume 2 is out and ready for download. This set contains 14 action-packed episodes:
Kagura's Dance and Kanna's Mirror
The Wind Scar Fails
Kaijinbo's Evil Sword
Sesshomaru Wields Tokijin
Juromaru and Kageromaru
Onigumo's Heart Still Beats Within Naraku
Return to the Place Where We First Met
Kohaku's Lost Memory
That Unforgettable Face!
Inuyasha's Soul, Devoured
The Demon's True Nature
Father's Old Enemy: Ryukotsusei
The Backlash Wave: Tetsusaiga's Ultimate Technique
Inuyasha volume 43 hit stores on December 8! Have you checked it out yet? I'm always amazed at how Rumiko Takahashi keeps her story fresh and raises thought-provoking issues, no matter how long her series run. Inuyasha is far from a "demon of the week" title, even though its cast of characters does encounter a new demon weekly! What makes Takahashi's manga special is that each new demon's traits, actions, and impact on the other characters provides thought-provoking insight...
Inuyasha volume 43 features two conjoined demons, Kinka and Ginka. This pair has been battling endlessly into adulthood, and for some reason (no spoilers here), neither one can vanquish the other. This leads to a bizarre love-hate relationship — a desire to prevail offset by a grudging respect for the other.
What a dilemma, to be so closely tied to the one you must destroy to survive! In the fantasy world of Inuyasha, that's just the way demon evolution works. Kinka and Ginka don't have the option of finding a way to live in peace together. This seems like a situation that has no parallel in our lives...but yet I do see some similarities to our real world.
For example, there are species of parrots that lay two eggs. When the eggs hatch, the stronger sibling soon pushes the weaker one out of the nest to its doom. (In the case of some endangered birds, rescue organizations snatch one of the siblings in time and raise it in the wild elsewhere.) This is evolution's way of giving the parents a better chance at hatching at least one chick. Apparently, these birds can't raise two chicks to maturity if they both hatch successfully.
Kinka and Ginka's relationship also reminds me of nations divided by ethnic or religious differences. The two sides fight on and on for supremacy or for their very identity. But ironically, sometimes individuals on both sides of the conflict have so much in common, it's impossible for outsiders to tell them apart.
I heard a story once about a program that brings the members of two conflicting cultures to the U.S. for graduate studies. After a year, the students are given the option of meeting in New York City for a big powwow combined with a sightseeing vacation. The result? They discover that in a host country where they are both foreign they have much more in common with each other than they realized.
I'll leave it to you to draw symbolic parallels with the next demons to appear in Inuyasha volume 43: Numawatari, the swamp demon, and the villager's mother, who turns into a horrible snake-like demon. (Actually, my mum does that sometimes when I displease her. Hmm...)
--Annette Roman, Inuyasha manga editor
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