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
Spoiler Alert! Watch the episode first! By now you know that Inuyasha The Final Act has moved to Mondays. This week's episode, "Kanna's Gravestone," sheds light on one of the most tragic characters in the series.
A demon created by Naraku, Kanna is Kagura's sister. She holds the uncanny ability to absorb her opponent's power and throw it back at him or her. In this case, she absorbs the powers of the Tetsusaiga and uses it against Inuyasha. The blows are so hard that Inuyasha's demon side comes out -- a scary sight for the others on his team. Luckily, Tetsusaiga and Inuyasha are smarter than Naraku realizes.
But back to Kanna. She's not meant to have any emotion, but maybe she does. The viewers who commented on Hulu express the tragic situation best.
"That was such a sad episode!!! poor Kanna. I think that she thought since death was Kagura's freedom it would be her only way too. If she couldn't feel anything, then why would she be sad over Kagura or have her demon pick her a flower?"-- Bunny Landers on Hulu.com
"Man, what a miserable existence Kanna had. I can't imagine what it's like being a mindless drone showing blind loyalty to such a villain only to be rewarded by being tossed to the side in a suicide mission without even having the understanding of having the emotion to live. I can't even wrap my head around it. It's almost like creating her was a bigger tragedy than killing her." -- Ryan Nurmi on Hulu.com
What do you think? Do you think Kanna's life was lived in vain? Do you think it's possible to completely lack emotion? Let us know.
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