Animezone : Inuyasha The Movie – The Castle Beyond The Looking Glass : Review

I have now reached movie 2/4 of the Inuyasha franchise. The first movie was okayish for me but I did see some snippets from this one and found it much better! Hoping for the best as I dive into this one! Also if you’re worried you can’t watch this film without actually watching the series, don’t worry I’ve provided a premise in this review! And as always, no spoilers!

For the posts related to Inuyasha, the series as well as the other movies just click this link here! Now onto the review!

Theatrical release poster

Title : Eiga Inuyasha – Kahani no Naka no Mugenjō (trans. Inuyasha the movie – The castle beyond the looking glass) (AKA as Inuyasha the movie 2 : Phantom castle in the mirror)

Country of origin : Japan

Language : Japanese (original), English (dubbed)

Directed by : Toshiya Shinohara

Screenplay by : Katsuyuki Sumisawa

Based on : Inuyasha by Rumiko Takahashi

Starring (Japanese voice actors) : Kappei Yamaguchi, Satsuki Yukino, Kōji Tsujitani, Houko Kuwashima, Kumiko Watanabe, Toshiyuki Morikawa, Izumi Ōgami, Yukana, Akiko Yajima, Mieko Harada

Starring (English voice actors) : Richard Ian Cox, Moneca Stori, Kirby Morrow, Kelly Sheridan, Jillian Michaels, Paul Dobson, Janyse Jaud, Danny McKinnon, Nicole Oliver

Music by : Kaoru Wada

Production company : Sunrise

Released : 21 December 2002

Duration : 99 minutes

Genre : Fantasy, Feudal era, Parallel Dimensions, Romance

Kagome Higurashi

The premise of the story starts with Kagome Higurashi a middle school student living in Tokyo, Japan in the modern age. She lives with her mother, brother and grandfather who manages the shrine in which they live in. One day her cat goes missing near a dry well in the shrine but she is dragged into the well by a centipede like demon. When she gets out of the well she realises that she is in the Sengoku era of Japan.

She comes to learn that she is in fact the reincarnation of a great priestess called Kikyo who died fifty years ago in the feudal era protecting what is called the Shikon Jewel. The jewel contains limitless power and many demons could misuse it which is why Kikyo protected it. One day a half human half dog-demon Inuyasha steals the jewel to convert himself into a full demon and is bound to a tree by Kikyo. She meanwhile succumbs to the injuries from the battle and dies requesting the jewel to be burnt with her.

Her reincarnation Kagome however seems to be born with the jewel inside her which is why the centipede demon dragged her in. Unable to protect herself she releases Inuyasha who then kills the centipede demon.

Inuyasha

In the struggle of fighting with the demon Kagome shoots an arrow that targets her spiritual energy at another demon that attempted to take the jewel. Her arrow hits the jewel which breaks into several shards that scatter all across Japan. She now has to work with Inuyasha (both of them are not happy with that) in finding a retrieving all the shards before it falls into the wrong hands.

Naraku the real villian and his several incarnations

The movie is set somewhere in the middle of the series run. It starts with another battle with Naraku, their arch enemy throughout the series who is an insanely powerful demon and has a back story with Inuyasha (check out the series for more on that!). Inuyasha and team seemingly defeat Naraku as he disappears without a trace. They believe Naraku is dead as the wind tunnel on Mirokus hand that was cursed by Naraku disappears.

Kaguya

Inuyasha and friends then split on their own journeys as Naraku their ultimate enemy is now dead. Kagome and Inuyasha remain as they still need to collect shards.

However things are easier said than done, when Naraku’s incarnations as well as minions appeal to a powerful demon called Kaguya. The reminder of the movie shows how our characters join in from their different spots in order to collectively come to defeat the powerful Kaguya.

Now if you read my review on Inuyasha’s first movie I wasn’t entirely happy with it. Not that I hated it, it was a good movie but it wasn’t amazing. I did see some snippets of this one immediately felt I might like this better because the animation, specifically the physical features of the characters seemed more on point of what I was used to in the series.

But it was not just that I liked. In the first movie I complained that it felt like it was just another, maybe more lengthy episode that could have been aired in the series of Inuyasha defeating another demon. In hindsight, this series would seem just like that, with Inuyasha fighting off another demon, but there one element that kept it starkingly unique and fit for the movie type of nature.

And what is that you may ask? Well, it’s the absence of Naraku. This series is set at a point of time somewhere around the time when Naraku was recognised as their real villian and after his first few incarnations. Defeating Naraku at that point and with the influence on Miroku and Kohaku (both of whom were cursed by Naraku) disappearing was actually pretty big. Our characters for once diverted to their own sub plots – Sango concentrating on getting her brother Kohaku back as he is now free from Naraku’s control and Miroku finding out more about the details left by his grandfather, another great monk.

Somehow all those little plot points combined together to bring our another really exciting battle for all our main characters with a new and rather ferocious demon.

This series also had its limelight on our main couple as well – Inuyasha and Kagome. Now throught the series there’s actually a really complicated love triangle going on for them and for a lot of fans that enjoy Kagome and Inuyasha it’s really hard to find that share of moments considering how crucial Inuyasha’s past is in the series. On that for all those people who lone Kagome and Inuyasha together you’re going to be happy for this movie!

Okay, this scene was hilarious.

So bottom line how did it feel about this movie? I really loved it! The animation was excellent. I’m not going to talk a lot about the actor performances because I have that nailed down in detail in my series reviews, but they were excellent as always. I really admire the amount of efforts that really went into the voice acting for characters especially like Inuyasha and Shippo as them being animal demons, their voices didn’t sound at the most like a human. I can imagine how challenging it must have been – and I say this for both the language versions of the series.

For movie number 1 I had the opinion that it maybe could have stayed as a maybe double episode on the series but for this it was the perfect plot in the whole storyline to be adapted into a movie for sure! On that note, I’m very excited for the next two movies! For all the other posts on Inuyasha, just click the link at the top! And if you’ve watched the series or the movies, let me know in the comments!

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