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Manga Review: Inuyasha Volume 56 by Rumiko Takahashi

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Since its launch in 1996, Inuyasha has been one of Japan’s most popular manga exports ever. After 15 years, the saga has concluded with the publication of the Inuyasha Volume 56 collection.

For those unfamiliar with the term “manga,” it refers specifically to comics originally produced in Japan. Much like comics in the US, manga generally run in newspapers, magazines or manga collections. If a series gets popular enough, individual chapters are often collected into trade paperback form, called tankobon.

Inuyasha Volume 56 is the final tankobon in the series. In keeping with Japanese custom, the book reads right to left. It is a little strange for Western readers, accustomed to reading left to right to get used to at first. For me, it feels like I am starting on the last page of the book and reading backward. Soon enough the format makes sense though, and adds to the “foreign” feel of the whole experience.

The plot revolves around the characters engaged in time-travel through a magic well between Feudal Japan, and the present day. All are vying for the Sacred Jewel Of Four Stones, which grants magic powers. Along the way they are faced with demons, reincarnated souls, the shattering of the Sacred Jewel, and more. There have certainly been enough twists and turns over the years to fill 56 volumes of the series. Inuyashu could have gone on indefinitely it seems, but author Rumiko Takahashi chose to end it on a surprising note.

It has been quite a journey for the protagonists, without question. The ending does leave open the possibility of more adventures, although they would by necessity have to follow a much different storyline. Inuyasha differs from other popular manga such as Pokemon by appealing to an older, more teen-aged demographic. The storylines are quite clear, even though we are dealing with fantasy, and very well drawn. Inuyasha Volume 56 will likely be one of the most successful tankobon, due to the finality of it. I found it immensely entertaining.

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