About a year ago, when Rumiko Takahashi finally ended the Inuyasha manga, I speculated about whether they would ever do a new anime series to finish up the story. I was dubious. It seemed to me that if anyone wanted to do that, the sensible thing would have been to start it before the manga ended, while the fans were still interested.
Well, it turns out that there will be a new anime series starting this Fall (which probably means they have been working on it for at least six months.) It will feature the original cast and is intended to complete the story. (It will probably take at least 2 years to cover the remaining 21 volumes of the manga–unless, unlike the first series, they do a lot of cuts.)
The big question is, does anybody care? The manga ran for so long that even many of its most dedicated fans gave up on it.
Nevertheless I’m going to give the new series a chance. I thought that the original series was very good in many ways. The problem was that it ran on too long and failed to provide a satisfactory ending.
While it is always possible that the second series will be a disaster, it is also possible that the two series together will amount to a great story, flawed by excessive length. A partial win, in other words. And heck, if I’ve already invested the time to watch 167 episodes, I suppose I might as well give them a chance.
The latest trend in anime is to offer English-speaking fans legal access to subtitled versions streamed on the Internet starting at approximately the same time that the episode is first shown in Japan. (Example: Crunchyroll.)
Now VIZ Media is doing something similar with Rumiko Takahashi’s new manga Rin-Ne, posting English translations of each chapter every Tuesday, more or less simultaneously with their release in Japan. Fans of Inuyasha will probably want to check it out.
Rumiko Takahashi is best known for sprawling epics that go on and on seemingly forever, but this series suggests that her greatest talent is writing short stories. Each of the 13 episodes is an independent short story. The stories are clever and whimsical, though sometimes with dark elements. All are set in modern Japan. The only connection between them is that sometimes you can catch glimpses of characters from other stories.
Many manga artists and anime writers prefer to work with fantastic characters or exotic foreign locations. Here however the characters are fairly realistic, even though some of the stories have fantasy elements. The milieu seems very Japanese; an American could probably learn a lot about Japanese society just from watching this series.
If I tell you the plot of this story it’s going to sound like a laundry list of anime and manga clichés. But in this case there’s a good excuse: this is the story where many of these clichés originated. As is often the case, the original is better than most of its imitators.