Now, here’s something I thought I’d never talk about: The early 2000s anime known as Inuyasha. This was a old Shonen anime revolving around a teenage girl travelling back in time to the feudal era of Japan. Once she arrives, she comes face to face with a half-demon with dog ears known as Inuyasha and they start an extremely awkward romantic relationship. While not constantly arguing with each other and pretending not to be a couple, they fight demons of varying skills and powers. The same time, they try to gather a jewel that has shattered well into over 100 shards.
You heard me right, 100 shards, at least! This means our heroes are constantly on the hunt for these little slivers of crystal, before the villains get them and obtain ultimate power. This means the show can continue as long as the original creator Rumiko Takahashi wants it to. So, with such a long-running series with so many character and plot-lines, one may wonder if such an enormous series is worth watching. So, I shall do that by telling you my thoughts on the series and lay out some pointers if you plan on watching this series from beginning to end.
Inuyasha is a show that has almost 200 episodes and four films, but about 90% of it content is superfluous and can be skipped. This is a series that already was episodic in nature before being made into anime from its manga form. The problem with this episode nature gets worse when you factor in “filler”. What is filler? It’s usually story-arcs and episodes that weren’t in the original manga.
However, since so much of Inuyasha is episodic, the manga itself tends to have its own fair share of filler. This makes it hard to distinguish what you need to watch in order to get the plot. Inuyasha will tend to have 20 episodes of forgettable filler, with about 3 episodes of actual plot afterwards. This seems to be a repeating problem with the series as a whole.
I think the best way to describe Inuyasha, is that its like an extremely long submarine sandwich. It’s stuff to the brim with sandwich filling, but at the same time it’s just too much to eat all at once. You’ll never be able to eat the whole thing before it goes stale, which I think is an apt metaphor for this franchise as whole.
While Inuyasha can have some good action sequences and fun characters, its “plot” seems to go around in circles constantly. To really get Inuyasha’s plot, you’d probably need to watch only about 30-40 episodes out of a 193 episode run. Even the “Final Act” is filled with a lot of forgettable fluff. I feel like watching this show with an episode guide is a must, due to how much of isn’t important to the plot at all.
I still recommend people watch this show, with the caveat that they skip large chunks of episodes. If you do have the time to watch all the episodes, be warned that you’re going to deal with a lot of awkward romantic scenes and pointless nonsense. While I did find Inuyasha’s content to be a bit pretentious at times, I still enjoyed it the first time around.
As for the Inuyasha films, I only recommend watching the third. The third film seems to be the only that tries to add lore into the series itself, or at the very least tie back into it. The second film tries to add something new, but ends up feeling as pointless as most of the filler this series provides.
Ranma 1/2 had a similar problem to Inuyasha, which is being an action show that is stuffed with too much random shenanigans and not enough plot. However, Ranma had more of a focus on comedy than action. So, despite the two series being made by the same person, I kind of have to give Ranma a pass in this regard.
In short, if you want to watch Inuyasha, you kind have to cherry-pick which episodes to watch. While the series can deliver epic moments, the show’s main problem is that it lacks direction and focus for most of the series. The forced romance bits can also get in the way of your enjoyment of this series. Still, I think a lot of people who have yet to actually watch Inuyasha can get some enjoyment out of it.