Excuse me while I sit down after dancing around the room to the closing theme song of Inuyasha The Final Act. I just watched the final episode titled "Toward Tomorrow." There's really nothing I can say without spoiling something for someone, so I'll move on to the important question of what the heck we are going to do with our Monday afternoons now that Inuyasha The Final Act is over. I thought I'd throw out a few options.
1. Sign up for an account at VIZ Anime.
VIZ Anime, VIZ Media's anime-streaming site, is the best place to find and follow more anime that you're sure to love. You've probably figured that out by now, since you're here, but make sure you sign up for an account now.
2. Join us on Facebook and Twitter.
We'll post any Inuyasha-related news on Facebook and Twitter. It's the best way to find out about all the great stuff going on at VIZ Media. Plus, we do fun fan stuff on there too.
3. Read the Inuyasha Manga.
Enjoy your favorite story, manga style. Most of you know that Inuyasha The Final Act was based on the Inuyasha manga, but have you read it? VIZ Media is releasing new volumes as we speak. Inuyasha volume 47 comes out April 13.
4. Watch the Inuyasha anime
If Inuyasha The Final Act is your first introduction to Inuyasha, Sesshomaru, Kagome, and the gang—then you need to check out the 167-episode series of the classic Inuyasha anime. You'll find a great story, more backstory for IYTFA characters like Kagura and Kikyo, and spectacular fight scenes. Plus, some episodes are just hilarious.
Seems only fitting that we're closing out winter with Sakura's birthday, since she tends to get the last word much of the time -- usually with a fist to Naruto's jaw! Let's wish her the happiest of birthdays with a character data wallpaper and the following tribute... [Be sure to also send in your birthday wishes in the naruto.com forum!]
Happy Birthday to SAKURA, the not-so-delicate flower…
Don’t be fooled by her lack of tragedy.
Even Sakura’s creator Masashi Kishimoto has said that she is one of the few “normal” ninja. And when we first meet her, it’s easy to dismiss her as “the girl” at the Ninja Academy, and later, on Naruto’s team. I mean, she’s got a disastrously hopeless crush on Sasuke, she’s annoyed by Naruto, and she’s such a goody-goody that she can’t handle Naruto and Konohamaru’s joking around. Not to mention she just wants to do well in school and gets some serious anxiety when she’s not sure if she will. And she even has an ongoing girl-issues rivalry over Sasuke with Ino. But if you look deeper, even in those early episodes, you’ll see the seeds of the powerful Kunoichi she was destined to become in Naruto Shippuden…
When Sakura punches Naruto in the face in Episode 20 (A New Chapter Begins: The Chunin Exam!), he’s knocked for a serious loop. And what about when Inner Sakura makes her first appearance in Episode 1 (Enter: Naruto Uzumaki!)? She may not be from as dysfunctional a family as Naruto or Sasuke or even Kakashi, but Sakura is by no means ordinary. Her inner voice is tough, direct, and seriously not to be trifled with.
Skip a few years ahead to Shippuden: When we meet Sakura after the two-year jump from the original Naruto series to the first Shippuden episode, we see that although she may not have been off plotting revenge like Sasuke, or training to become the greatest ninja ever like Naruto, she's definitely not been resting on her laurels.
When she teams with the venerable Granny Chiyo in Shippuden Episode 20 (Hiruko vs. Two Kunoichi!) and takes on Sasori, one of the first Akatsuki we truly see in action, she proves that her training with Tsunade, the Fifth Hokage (and first woman to hold that title in Konoha!) has been intense and worthwhile. Not only does she help take down Sasori, but she ends up even healing Kankuro and others when she’s finished. And her girlhood crush on Sasuke? I’m not sure if she’s over it, but it’s not bothering her anymore. In fact, when Sasuke tells her that she’s annoying, this new Sakura’s reaction doesn’t make us agree with him anymore; we actually start to wonder what his problem is. I mean, she’s pretty, powerful, smart, and dare we say it, even interesting…I mean she may not have a slaughtered family or tortured soul. But she’s already been likened by some to the first female Hokage ever…In Episode 24 (The Third Kazekage), Chiyo even says “Tsunade sure has one good student”!
So what boy wouldn’t want to date her? And, really, does she even care anymore? And why should she...
Seriously, what’s so wrong with not having a tragic background anyway? Look at the path she’s on now.
Tsunade might be the first female Hokage. But the way Sakura’s shaping up, she might not be the last.
-- Joel Enos (Editor, SHONEN JUMP)
Let’s give a big hand to Izuru Kira, who celebrates his birthday today. Many happy returns, Izuru!
Well, you wouldn’t guess just by looking at him, but Izuru was a top student at Soul Reaper Academy along with fellow freshmen Renji Abarai and Momo Hinamori. Once, some Huge Hollows ambushed them while they were on a training exercise in the world of the living. Izuru and his friends disobeyed the order to flee and stayed behind to protect their injured instructor Shûhei Hisagi. You can see how it all went down in episode 46!
It’s no surprise that Izuru is pretty private. Not too many people know what his zanpaku-tô Wabisuke can do, besides maybe Renji and Momo. Poor Rangiku found out the hard way when they crossed swords. You definitely don’t want to tangle with Wabisuke whatever you do because of the zanpaku-tô’s strange power! (episode 60)
One of Izuru’s strengths is his sense of duty. He was willing to protect his captain, Gin Ichimaru, even when it meant setting aside his personal feelings and drawing his sword against his friend Momo (episode 45). Still, even though he had done his duty, memories of his conduct haunted him afterward. That’s just the kind of guy Izuru is.
Chin up, Izuru!
-- Yuki Takagaki (Editor, VIZ Media)
Character Data: Izuru Kira
Squad #: 3
Birthday: March 27
Height: 173 cm
Weight: 56 kg
Description:The Third Company Assistant Captain, Kira is a faithful subordinate to Ichimaru and protects him with unwavering loyalty.
One of the cool things about anime heroes is that they can summon new, more powerful moves when they absolutely need to -- not a bad ability to have, huh? Just imagine being able to go into "super chef" mode if you had to whip up a good meal for a bunch of your buddies. Or "sprint version 2" if you need to outrun the local bully. Last week we witnessed the fruits of the "feigned sleep attack," and in this week's fresh episodes of The Prince of Tennis, Ryoma's latest weapon is unveiled. And if that wasn't enough, we also get to see Shusuke good and mad for once when he goes up against the Mizuki, the crafty St. Rudolph player who's run roughshod over his little brother.
You also have to love how moments of tennis action that would probably take one or two seconds tops in this world are expanded into 30 seconds of seat-clutching tension in The Prince of Tennis. Hey, it's artistic license, something we can always use more of. Imagine if everything in anime was like real life -- pretty boring, right?
Episode 35: Drive "B"
Ryoma sees the secret behind Yuta’s most powerful move and tells him to stop using it, as it will hurt him eventually. Ryoma then unveils his new move, the “Drive B.”
Episode 36: Big Brother, Shusuke Fuji
Shusuke Fuji is up against the St. Rudolph mastermind Mizuki, but he isn’t his usual cheerful self. Will Fuji be able to fend off Mizuki’s data-driven tennis?
We're taking a break from putting up the latest Naruto Shippuden episode this week (fear not, we have a two-part doozy coming your way next week), but in the meantime, we have a video special over at naruto.com for you to enjoy -- the top 10 episodes from the past year in Naruto Shippuden, as voted on by Naruto fans. It may come as a surprise to some who earns the top spot, but if you're a Sasuke fan as some of us in the office are, you'll be pleasantly surprised by which episode takes the #1 spot...
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