Yin and Yang: The forces of good and evil battle it out inside the very bodies of Kikyo and Naraku...and ultimately the Shikon Jewel itself! In the aftermath, a beloved friend of Inuyasha is tragically lost...forever
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With the storyline in Inuyasha The Final Act speeding up quickly, I have found myself thinking about where the characters will end up. Frankly, I’m most interested in Kagome’s story.
Kagome is one of the most intriguing characters in Inuyasha and Inuyasha The Final Act (but don’t tell Sesshomaru I said that). On the one hand, she is an average girl from a modern world. While she has a good heart and acts as the conscience for the group, she is not exceptionally skilled at anything. You could consider Kagome a support character, like a Paladin in Dungeons & Dragons.
And like a Paladin, Kagome is vital to the overall group. She plays a major role in the fate of a world that precedes her own by hundreds of years, a situation that causes her to lead a fascinating double life.
We see how deeply tangled Kagome's life has become. At the same time that Kagome’s school career is moving forward, Naraku has completed the Shikon Jewel, so it's now or never in terms of defeating him. The two worlds move forward simultaneously, and like it or not, Kagome will eventually have to choose one of them to call home.
I know, I know... You’re saying, “Hey Tauri, she doesn’t really have to choose, does she?”
And to that I respond, “Uhh... Yeah!”
I know it’s nice to think that Kagome will spend her life hopping to and from the Feudal Era for lunch dates on weekends, but that just doesn’t seem practical. Spanning two worlds is already stressful, and eventually she’ll have a career and maybe a family of her own.
Kagome also runs the risk of exposing the Modern World to the wrath of demons. If a lowly demon like Mistress Centipede can traverse the path between the two worlds, then it’s only a matter of time before bigger baddies figure out that there’s a smorgasbord of weak humans on the other side of that well.
In the end, Kagome will either stay in the feudal era with her beloved Inuyasha or live her life in the modern world. Either scenario seems to end in tearful goodbyes.
What’s that, devout Inuyasha fan? You say that Inuyasha can live in the modern world with Kagome? Well, that’s one scenario... But you’re wrong. Every time Inuyasha comes to the modern world, he becomes a destructive force like no other. Don’t believe me? Watch Inuyasha episode 160 “The Lucky but Two-Timing Scoundrel!,” and the first five minutes of Inuyasha The Final Act episode 20 “When the Jewel is Whole”.
What do you guys think will happen? Without dropping any spoilers (you know who you are), let me know where you think Kagome will end up.
— Tauri Miller, Digital Entertainment Assistant at VIZ Media
INUYASHA THE FINAL ACT © Rumiko Takahashi / Shogakukan, Yomiuri TV, Sunrise 2009
I love cute-looking demons, regardless of how violent or dangerous they are. Inuyasha volume 46, which was released Tuesday, has a herd of fearsome yet adorable demons who look like a cross between a porcupine, a peacock, and a dog. They're called Yama'arashi. They can throw their quills, which real porcupines can't. (That's just a rural legend.)
The rest of Inuyasha volume 46 is pretty intense and serious, though, and it raises a major ethical dilemma. Lady Kikyo, Kagome's reincarnated ancestor and rival for Inuyasha's affections, is near death. And Kagome is the only one who can save her.
Kagome is sorely tested. Does Kikyo hate Kagome, and is she sabotaging Kagome's relationship with Inuyasha? If Kagome saves Kikyo, will Inuyasha choose Kikyo and reject Kagome?
Complicating Kagome's moral dilemma, if she chooses not to save Kikyo, no one will ever know...
What do you think Kagome will do...?
And what would you do if you were really, really in love with someone and your rival hated you and you hated your rival...?
— Annette Roman, Inuyasha editor
One of the best episodes in Inuyasha, Season 4 on the iTunes Store is "Kirara Come Home," an homage to underappreciated pets everywhere. When Inuyasha's crew finds Kirara missing, each member thinks back to how he or she might have taken advantage of this remarkable two-tailed companion in some small way. (Well in at least one case, the insensitivity wasn't so minor.) Of course Kirara is not your average pet, but like a trusty friend, she is always there.
Watch this episode when you need to feel some warm fuzzies. Buy this dubbed episode, or the complete dubbed season on the iTunes Store. Watch the subtitled episode, numbered 97, on vizanime.com.
Inuyasha volume 45, out today, introduces Yemeiju, a demon tree who sucks the life force out of humans and demons (it's an equal opportunity attacker!) instead of manufacturing its energy from water, sunlight, and minerals in the soil. Naraku tries to revive Yemeiju for his usual nefarious purposes, but fortunately doesn't exactly get the results he sought...or does he? That Naraku sure is tricky!
I can see why people across cultures and time have attributed personalities to trees...
I edited a great manga at VIZ Media once called Ogre Slayer in which ogres were believed to be born from the roots of trees. In Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, great ancient sentient trees called the Ents come to the rescue when their forest is attacked. And in Avatar, the Na'vi communicate with their deity Eywa through a network of trees, using one Hometree as the spiritual and architectural center for their community.
On Earth, human settlements often have a huge gnarled tree at their center. I read somewhere that this might be because the bent and gnarled trees weren't good for cutting into lumber, so they remained after all the straight ones were cut down. Their irregular branches and twists and turns add to their personality. Some even have names, like Wonderboom (a giant fig tree in South Africa), Drago Milenario (the Ancient Dragon Tree in Tenerife Island, Canary Islands), the Guilty Chinese Scholartree (a type of Pagoda tree in Beijing’s Jingshan Park, China), Major Oak (the fabled hangout of Robin Hood in the real Sherwood Forest, England), and The Chestnut Tree of 100 Horses (on Mt. Etna in Sicily, Italy).
Myself, I find it easy to imagine that trees harbor a spirit or consciousness. I had the privilege of growing up under old-growth oak trees over 100 years old in Massachusetts. Either the houses were built around the trees, or saplings flourished and grew up between them.
Each tree in our yard had a distinct personality to me. They were over three stories high, arching high above our peaked attic roof. Every branch and knot and crook and twig was familiar to me — as were the squirrels who populated them, like little "familiars" to the spirits of the oak trees. (In German, the word for squirrel is eichhörnchen (little acorn) or eichkätzchen (acorn kitty). As anyone who grew up near Salem, Massachusetts knows — cats and other small animals are a witch's "familiars," or magical companions.
I imagine the spirit of trees as more benign and nurturing, than evil and demonic like Yemeiju in Inuyasha, since they shelter you from the sun and rain and draw the fire of lightning away from you. (That's why you should avoid standing under trees in a storm!)
On the right is a picture of the tree friends who surrounded the home where I grew up. Maybe I should name them... Any ideas?
— Annette Roman, Inuyasha manga editor
(tree photo © Annette Roman)
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