by Timothy Georgi

Alrighty, all you [adult swim] fans out there, this one's for you. For anyone that hasn't ever seen Inuyasha, this might be a bit confusing without any up front knowledge. I personally recommend plopping down in front of your TV and catching some IY on Cartoon Network's [adult swim] block. Rumiko Takahashi's work is always a lot of fun, with something for everyone. You'll want to check it out if you haven't already. But enough of that... on to the review.

While I was in San Diego this past July for Comic-Con, I had the great fortune to do something that I haven't been able to do in a really long time, see anime on the big screen. The last time I had the fortune of seeing any "Big Screen Anime" in the theatre was Spirited Away in 2001. Yeah, four years. That's a long time now that I sit back and think about it.

The advent for this special screening was Viz's release of the very first Inuyasha movie, Affections Touching Across Time. It was a big media event in anticipation of the DVD release. Since this was one of the big anime press events at the convention, I made a point of getting in on the action. Viz had an elaborate schedule set up for the premiere. RSVPs taken care of before the con, I was ready to get some IY action. After a grueling day at the convention, members of the press were treated to a mixer in the historic Gaslamp Quarter of downtown San Diego. Music, video clips, drinks... then we had the great fortune of meeting some of the production team behind the Inuyasha series. As the pre-party party was winding down, we each grabbed the Inuyasha gift bag full of all sorts of fun IY goodies and it was time for the main event.

We all headed over to the United Artists Theatre at Horton Plaza and were ushered into a private viewing room in the far side of the theatre. As the member of the press were seated, several dozen lucky fans that had been waiting for hours were able to get into the remaining seats, packing the room to full capacity. After some general introductions from the folks at Viz, it was time. The crowd grew silent. The lights faded into nothingness... It was movie time!

Two hundred years before our movie begins, a great battle was brewing in Asia. A demon named Hyoga was ravaging the countryside of Japan, intent on collecting the souls of those that he encountered. The more souls he collected, the more powerful he would become. Eventually, Hyoga is confronted with the power of Inuyasha's father and is defeated. Hyoga is sealed away beneath the giant Tree of Ages, using one of his fangs to protect the seal. Now, two hundred years later, Hyoga's son, Menomaru, has been awakened by one of the jewel shards and is poised to pick up where his father left off. His plan is to absorb the rest of his father's powers and use the combined powers to take over the world. His one major obstacle to realizing his plan is finding a way to unlock his father's powers. The key to Menomaru's plan is the Fang of Destruction, also known as Inuyasha's sword, the Tetsuaiga.

Vengeance being the most immediate thing on Menomaru's mind, he sends out his minions, a rather feisty pair named Ruri and Hari, to find anyone connected with the dog demons that had sealed away his father's powers. Ruri and Hari are sent out to find the descendants of the Dog Demon and return with the fang. The pair first tries to confront Sesshoumaru, Inuyasha's brother, but in their attempts to defeat him, they find that he's not the one that has the fang. This turns them to hunt down Inuyasha.

Of course, when we catch up with Inuyasha and Crew, we find them in the throws of battle with some nasty, super-ugly demon that has one of the jewel shards inside it. A long hard battle finishes with our heroes as the victors, one jewel shard closer to completing the Shikon Jewel.

Eventually, Ruri and Hari catch up with the group and mixes things up a bit. Sango's faithful sidekick, Kilala, is put under the spell of the girls and is used to fight against her master and the others. Pitting friend against friend and throwing some major power back at Inuyasha, things take a turn for the worst. Menomaru shows up attempting to take the Tetsuaiga from Inuyasha, only to find that he can't posses it, realizing that only Inuyasha is capable of unleashing the Fang's power. So, unable to release his father's powers himself, he must find a way to force Inuyasha into unleashing it for him.

Yes, we all know, the way to get the hero to do anything is to kidnap the girl. Menomaru takes Kagome and uses her to force Inuyasha to break the seal on his father's powers. Inuyasha complies and they go from the frying pan into the fire as Menomaru absorbs Hyoga's remaining powers, increasing his level of invincibility. Ruri and Hari, with the possessed Kilala, take on Sango and Miroku, removing them from Inuyasha's side, leaving him to deal with Menomaru alone. With Kagome in his clutches, Menomaru is able to take control of her and use her to keep Inuyasha occupied while he attempts to gather more souls. Eventually the spell on Kagome is broken, but the group has been dealt a huge blow with the increasing powers of Menomaru. With all odds against them, it seem that it's curtains for the group.

Kagome is eventually faced with the hardest decision she's ever had to make. Because of Menomaru's connection to the Tree of Ages, his actions begin to transcend time itself, causing Kagome to reenact Kikyo’s shooting of Inuyasha. She is compelled by Kikyo to return to her own time and forget about Inuyasha. Once home, Kagome realizes that Menomaru's powers have altered time and the effects are seen in the present day, complete with the sealing of the well that can transport Kagome into Inuyasha's time.

Despite the need for them all to be together, Inuyasha and the others are left to deal with the growing threat that Menomaru is becoming. Will Inuyasha and Kagome find a way to stop Menomaru and his evil plans? Well, we can't tell you that. That would ruin the end.

Inuyasha fans won't be disappointed by Affections Touching Across Time. There's plenty of action, lots of surprises and a nice bit of touching emotion on the side. We get the epic battle scenerio from the normal half-hour episodes, expanded for almost two hours. The great thing for IY fans is that this is one of the few times where the relationship between Inuyasha and Kagome gets to be explored a bit more than we usually get in the series. The animation for the movies is a good notch above the typical quality of the television series, so we're treated with some excellent animation on this one.

If you've never seen any Inuyasha before, you're best off seeing a bit of the television series first. There's little introduction into who's who and what's what in the movie. But for anyone that has seen Inuyasha, be it on TV or on DVD, you're sure to get a great time with this one. And if that's not enough IY for you, Viz has also released the second Inuyasha movie, The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass, on DVD. If you're looking for some good anime fun, turn on your [adult swim], get some IY and then snag Affections Touching Across Time on DVD. You'll be glad you did.

Now if I could just get the cable to work...

Inuyasha The Movie: Affections Touching Across Time
Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Yomiuri TV, Sunrise
Distributed by
Viz, LLC
Release Info
Bilingual DVD
Dolby Digital 2.0.
Run Time: 100 min

MSRP: $24.98
Street Date: September 7, 2004