Inuyasha / Yashahima. Aged Anime 2000 - 2004, 2009 -2010, and 2020+

Inuyasha is one of my favourite anime series that I watched way back in 2004 -2006 period.  It aired on Friday nights on YTV as part of the BIONIX block on TV.  You had to watch commercials back then without skipping on the PVR.  There was a whole block of good anime programming that had Gundam Seed, Inuyasha, Bleach, Naruto, Zatch Bell, and a few others.  I'm pretty darn sure this gave anime fandom a big boost with these shows.  If you haven't watched these shows, there are some potential spoilers ahead, so stop reading.

A couple of my box sets.  Managed to get these on the old DVD format relatively cheap.

It was a fun show that gave us a weekly adventure in feudal Japan during the Sengoku (Warring States) Period where many warlords fought for supremacy.  The twist with Inuyasha involved our modern heroine Kagome traveling back in time to an age where demons and magic were very real and meeting the hero Inuyasha who is a half-demon.  Peasants and warriors seem to die pretty regularly of unnatural causes during this period, but all of this has faded to our normalcy in the modern day for some reason.  With this caveat, the show had a great set of characters, an awkward romance between Kagome and Inuyasha, good action, and a long story arc to defeat really evil Naraku.  This long story arc, even with filler episodes, some of which were quite funny, did drag the series out, but mainly Naraku is one of those villains that just way more powerful than they should be, but I guess that is what makes it epic.

Inuyasha (犬夜叉, lit. "Dog Demon") is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi. The series begins with Kagome Higurashi, a fifteen-year-old middle school girl from modern-day Tokyo who is transported to the Sengoku period after falling into a well in her family shrine, where she meets the half-dog demon, half-human Inuyasha. After the sacred Shikon Jewel re-emerges from deep inside Kagome's body, she accidentally shatters it into dozens of fragments that scatter across Japan. Inuyasha and Kagome set to recover the Jewel's fragments, and through their quest they are joined by the lecherous monk Miroku, the demon slayer Sango, and the fox demon Shippo. Together, they journey to restore the Shikon Jewel before it falls into the hands of the evil half-demon Naraku. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inuyasha

The show was adapted from a manga series by Rumiko Takahashi that ran from 1996 to 2008 in Weekly Shonen Sunday and it was collected into 56 manga volumes. This is a popular manga / show as  50 million copies of the manga volumes have been produced and they are producing a sequel in Yashaime.  Sunrise produced 167 episodes of the anime between 2000 and 2004, but it wasn't until 2009 - 2010 that the final concluding 26 episodes aired.  I was pretty happy to see the show come to an ending as a good story needs a good ending.  Some anime never see an end, but this one did (as of this writing I'd like to see Full Metal Panic conclude as it left us on a cliffhanger).

Ten years after Inuyasha wrapped up, an original sequel called Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon, premiered in October of 2020 and a second season is underway since October 2021.  There was a lot of nostalgia in the first episode and they showed plenty about the original Inuyasha characters.  The episode was a nice bridge between the old and the new as it involved the children of Sesshomaru and Rin, and Inuyasha and Kagome.  Rin had twins, two daughters named Towa Higurashi and Setsuna.  Kagome had Moroha.  It is actually quite nice that all these girls, who are half or quarter demon have such great roles to play and family relationships are core to the show.

Keeping with the original premise of traveling back in time, the twins were separated when they were young, with Towa being cast into the future via the Sacred Tree of Ages.  Towa is raised in the 21st century, while Setsuna and Moroha grow up in the feudal era.  As teenagers they are all reunited in the feudal era to begin various quests to defeat another demon lord, help Setsuna get her dreams back, and more.  The interplay between Towa's modern morals and Setsuna's feudal practicality play a big role in the stories and the outlook of the two sisters.  Moroha on the other hand is a bit of a fun wildcard who is in it for food and profit while bounty hunting demons.

The Inuyasha anime always had some good comedic moments as Kagome was always telling Inuyasha to "Sit Boy," causing him to crash into the ground along with the joking and innuendo of the lecherous monk, Miroku.  The episodes where Inuyasha follows Kagome back into the 20th century are pretty fun too as he even goes to her high school and kind of makes a mess of things.  I always looked forward to a new episode as they were just fun to watch in general.  I didn't know much about typical feudal life in Japan either at the time and I guess it was a springboard for me to look up even more information about the Sengoku era.  The strategy game Nobunaga's Ambition on the B/W Gameboy was actually the first time I learned about the era along with the Milton Bradley board game Shogun. There was also the James Clavell mini-series Shogun too!

In Yashahime, the show starts out with Towa in the 21st century and eventually all of the girls make it to the modern era for a bit of fun.  I do like how they keep throwing out bits of modern conveniences in the feudal era through Towa and Moroha.  If there is one thing that I'm not too fond of in this show, it is the fact that all of them were not raised by their actual parents and they were all basically orphans.  Only Towa has a semblance of a normal upbringing, which seems to work against her in the feudal era as she is too kind and just.  Being orphans, having absent parents, or having just a single parent is a common trope to add drama in anime/manga and other mediums.  Still, I'm sure that the script writers have big things in store due to this kind of poor parenting, and I look forward to see more of Yashahime.

In some of my other posts I talk about anime merchandise for the various series and I have to say that there wasn't a heck of a lot of good Inuyasha merchandise when the show first aired over in North America.  I actually did pick up some gashapon figures of Inuyasha and Kagome, but real figures, even UFO catcher prizes seemed to be pretty rare.  As time went on there were more high quality figures, but again, they tended to be few and far between.  For Yashahime, there were some POP UP PARADE figures release in 2021 of all of the children.  These POP UP PARADE figures are basically slightly higher quality UFO catcher prizes in the $30 price range, almost double what a typical UFO prize would cost in a store.

Mid-2000s gashapon figure set of Inuyasha on the left and Kagome on the right.

POP UP PARADE figures.  Setsuna in the left foreground, Moroha in the right foreground, and Towa in the back.  How does she keep her white suit clean with all that travel and fighting!

These figures aren't bad and they make a nice memento about the show.  They have minimal paint jobs due to the simple costumes, but they have enough detail to show off each character accurately.

In the same figure series, the POP UP PARADE, they release a new Inuyasha and Kagome.  These figures are pretty nicely sculpted, and the faces came out pretty much dead on.  Again, these figures are in the $30 price range and they keep production costs down by having very simple costumes.  The coloring of the costumes also has minimal painting required.  Not the fanciest figures, but it is nice to have a larger Inuyasha and Kagome in a 1/10 scale.

Kagome and Inuyasha boxes.

Inuyasha and Kagome.  Kind of nice how the bases are all the same hexagon shape so you could put a whole bunch of thes POPUP figures together.

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