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)
Today marks the release of Naruto Shippuden DVD volume 6! This set includes episodes 22-26, and as always, can be viewed in uncut dubbed and subtitled versions. This particular collection features the epic battle with Sasori, as Granny Chiyo and Sakura to step to the fore! We've got the DVD in the VIZ store at a big discount, so head on over, and check out the other Naruto DVDs we have available while you're there.
While Naruto and Kakashi chase after Deidara, Sakura and Granny Chiyo together take on Sasori of the Red Sand. Sasori's masterful puppetry allows him to use the jutsu of the person he's transformed into a puppet, forcing Sakura and Chiyo to face the power of the Third Kazekage. But with Chiyo's guidance, Sakura learns to read Sasori's moves, and the training she received from Tsunade turns out to be invaluable as the attacks grow ever more fierce!
For discussions on the Naruto Shippuden anime series, visit the naruto.com forum.
Facing your demons takes on a whole new meaning in "Kohaku's Shard," episode 19 of Inuyasha The Final Act. Wow, what a cliffhanger! Thank goodness for the scenes from next week, or else I'd be a nervous Nellie waiting to find out how Kohaku fares.
The episode starts off lightly, with another one of Inuyasha's hilarious efforts to participate in Kagome's modern-day life. (Talk about tasting the rainbow…) But quickly we're knee deep in danger on the other side of the well, as Magatsuhi rears his deviously ugly head, Sesshomaru handles a trickster, and Rin and Miroku suffer the consequences. There are a couple more things that I'm not even going to dare to give away, or else I'd suffer the consequences.
Watch the episode. Things are really heating up on Inuyasha The Final Act.
Is Kazuki dead? Killed by the very man who trained him? Well, if he was, we wouldn't have the rest of Buso Renkin to look forward to! In these week's episode, the real question is, is Papillon's bathing suit the bomb? And will Kazuki cure himself before the re-extermination squad cures him... permanently? Check out the latest episodes in the Buso Renkin section!
Episode 17: When Dawn Comes
Thanks to the power of the black kakugane, Kazuki is revived. In order to deal with the black kakugane, Kazuki decides to go to the place where Tokiko found it. Tokiko tells Kazuki that she will not leave his side.
Episode 18: The Escape
Kazuki, Tokiko, and Gota head toward the Newton Apple Academy for Girls, an all-girl boarding school where the black kakugane was originally located. Warrior Chief Hiwatari and his re-extermination squad are pursuing Kazuki but are stopped by Papillon.
We recently celebrated our first full year of streaming episodes of Naruto Shippuden, and in honor of the occasion, we'd like to hear from you, the fans. We've set up a poll on naruto.com in which you get to pick your favorite episode from the past year (Episodes 1-141). Once we tally up the votes we'll feature a video special with all the top-rated episodes. Head on over to the naruto.com forum to vote for your favorite episode!
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