Inuyasha Movie 2: The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass Review

Rating: 6/10

Plot: Naraku has been killed, but there’s a new threat on the horizon by the name of Kaguya. She wishes to bring eternal night to the world and freeze time around her. That’s about it.

Breakdown: This was the first ever Inuyasha movie I watched since I got it on DVD before the first ever premiered on Adult Swim. I watched it over and over in my more anime-deprived days, but how well does it really stand up?

We start off with Inuyasha and the others defeating the main villain of the series, Naraku. ……Oh, really?….Wow, okay. Uh….Movie over? Goodbye everyone!

Oh wait, the movie’s still going on? We’ve only just completed the opening credits? But they showed all the proof that Naraku’s dead. Miroku’s wind tunnel’s gone, Kagura’s heart’s in her chest, Kohaku remembers Sango….

The end.

That’s the end. Main plot of the movie/series resolved. Even if this is a fake out (Why, whatever would they do that for? It’s completely plausible that the main villain of our show would just up and die, without any buildup or background to how they got there, in a movie while the show’s still airing. Pshaw to all you nay sayers.) what would that mean for the movie? That no matter what villain is showcased in this movie, Naraku will inevitably return and take the spotlight back, making the new baddie even more irrelevant than your average TV series connected movie villain.

Anyway, most of the first 40 minutes of the movie after Naraku’s ‘death’ is just talking about Naraku’s ‘death’ while preparing for the arrival of the new baddie. Because baddies can never just appear – they need rituals, preparation and shit. Our baddie of the movie, Kaguya, somehow coerces Kanna into starting the ritual to free her from her mirror prison to bring eternal night to the world. She also coerces Kagura by claiming that the freedom she knows now is a mere illusion and that she can grant her true freedom.

In order to do this, she sends Kagura and Kanna on a fetch quest for 500 exp, 2000 gold and a Ring of Strength lvl 5. They need some sprig, which they have, a crystal, a piece of the robe of the fire rat, a shell and a stone bowl. Funny thing about the stone bowl. A dying little girl who was tasked with protecting the bowl gave it to Kikyo to protect it from the demons as she died. And what does Kikyo do? She willingly hands it over to Kagura. Kikyo’s a real bitch in the movies. She can be a bitch in the TV series too, but she’s an even bigger bitch in the movies.

They gather the items fairly quickly, except the robe of the fire rat, because Inuyasha holds that. After a bit of a battle with Inuyasha, they rip his sleeve off and bail.

As Kagura and Kanna summon Kaguya, we keep up with the group. Miroku is learning more about his grandfather and his connection to the story, Sango has reunited with an injured and still fairly amnesia-ridden Kohaku and Inuyasha, Kagome and Shippo have met with Hojo’s ancestor who is trying to throw the one ring of power into the volcano—I mean throw the celestial robe, something Kaguya needs, into a crater to prevent great chaos and blah blah.

We get a scene where Inuyasha and Kagome are talking about him staying as a half-demon when they get the jewel, but he doesn’t want that. The vocal song in the background swells as Kagome pulls Inuyasha to look at her after he claims it’s ridiculous to think that he’s strong enough as it is. I guess the look in his eyes is important because she stops to stare at him.

I used to really like this scene without issue, but now I find it a little confusing. Why does he look like that? Because he desperately wants to be a demon? Because completing the jewel means Kagome likely leaves? Because he doesn’t know what he really wants? Hm.

Inuyasha movie 02 Screen1

Kaguya shows up for the robe and restrains Inuyasha to a tree. Kagome, being their last line of defense (well, they’re dead), tries to attack Kaguya with a sacred arrow, but Kaguya reflects it back towards Inuyasha. Kagome jumps in the way to save him while Ancestor Hojo throws the celestial robe in the arrow’s path as it sticks in Kagome’s back. This obviously means Kagome’s going to be okay, but Kaguya reinforces this by saying she won’t let her die.

Kaguya takes Kagome and the robe (Kagome a damsel in distress? That never happens!) leaving Inuyasha and the others to find her castle and save Kagome.

Sango, Miroku, Kohaku, Kirara and Hachi head towards the castle, but are shot down. Shippo saves Sango and the others, while Inuyasha and Kagome do what they do best…..Yell each others names.

Inuyasha: “Kagome!”

Kagome: “Inuyasha!”

Inuyasha: “Kagome!”

Kagome: “Inuyasha!”

Inuyasha: “Kagome!”

Kagome: “Inuyasha!”

Inuyasha: “Kagome!”

Kagome: “Inuyasha!”

Inuyasha: “Kagome!”

Kagome: “Inuyasha!”

Inuyasha: “Kagome!”

Kagome: “Inuyasha!”

Kagome’s also completely healed of her arrow wound due to the robe. Oh how surprising. (I’m being sarcastic)

Inuyasha fights a three-headed water dragon. This is a pretty cool battle, even if this is another monster where the weakspot is painfully obvious. Gee, I wonder if that giant glowing point where all of the heads connect could be what Inuyasha needs to aim for. Just the battle itself is pretty cool since the demon’s so huge compared to Inuyasha and Inuyasha has to practically ride him to beat him. However, there are numerous times in this battle where it looks like Inuyasha’s standing on water.

Inuyasha defeats the demon with a Wind Scar as Kikyo shoots a sacred arrow at it at the same time from land. Well, okay Miss Unclearmotivationsandintentions.

Inuyasha: “Who shot that arrow?” Gee, I wonder. There are only two people commonly seen in the Inuyasha universe who can use sacred arrows. One is currently kidnapped. Hmmm such a mystery.

I will forgive that, though, just to see Inuyasha shake off like a dog.

After that’s done, Kagura reveals that Kaguya’s not the real Kaguya. She’s much like Naraku in that she has absorbed the powers of other demons to gain immortality. Naraku wanted her body for himself, thus he….kept her locked away and never bothered to try and get it? I dunno.

Kanna tries to steal Kaguya’s soul, but is unable. Kaguya then sends Kagura and Kanna to another dimension with the powers of the robe.

Inuyasha arrives at the castle to confront Kaguya, but she unleashes her time-freezing ability on the world as he attacks. While all of the land around them, Hachi and Hojo’s ancestor are frozen in time, Inuyasha and the others are not.

Why? Because all of them were wearing items from modern times that Kagome brought back with her. Sango and the others had bandages of Kagome’s on while Inuyasha had a locket that Kagome gave to him……I’m sorry, I’m calling a little bit of BS here. Just because they’re items from the modern era, that means they have a, quoting here, ‘time barrier’ around them that exempts them from Kaguya’s spell? Shenanigans, I say!

While Inuyasha isn’t affected by the freeze in time, Kaguya claims that it doesn’t matter because he wasn’t even there at all and reveals it all to be an illusion of Inuyasha’s. The real dream castle is mirrored under their feet, which Inuyasha easily accesses using his red Tetsusaiga, so that was completely pointless.

Inuyasha and the others reach Kagome, and Kaguya and the others have a battle. Inuyasha and Miroku get injured while Sango and Kohaku get restrained. Kaguya decides to grant Inuyasha his deepest desires of becoming a full demon…..which makes no sense to me. Why would she purposely make Inuyasha stronger? Making him a full demon won’t guarantee that he’ll be obedient to her. In fact, he’s an out of control beast when he’s full demon.

Inuyasha in full demon form attacks Miroku as he tries to snap Inuyasha out of it. It’s meant to be shocking, but he doesn’t even rip Miroku’s clothes with an Iron Reaver.

Inuyasha movie 02 Screen2Inuyasha movie 02 Screen3

Ya know, I like Richard Ian Cox as Inuyasha, but he makes really lame ‘demon’ noises.

Shippo frees Kagome by throwing her jewel shards at her, and Kagome runs to hug Inuyasha to get him to stop changing….and…I dunno what’s happening, but again I used to really like this sequence, now I just find it really cheesy. It’s not really bad, in fact I still find it kinda sweet, but the cheese is prominent.

Through all the chaos in his mind, he sees Kagome running to him and calling his name. Because we haven’t heard her yell it in the past 11 milliseconds. Then as Inuyasha prepares his attack, illusion!Kagome gets surrounded in cherry blossoms and says that she loves him as a half-demon. This starts to reverse his transformation, but Kaguya presses on, forcing him to dig his claws into Kagome’s arms.

Kagome wonders how she can stop his transformation, and she decides the best way is to give the fans something to gush over, so she kisses him. While I used to really like this scene, I still always thought that kiss was….awkward, at least the first half of it. Looking closely, she is actually kissing his bottom lip, but it really just looks like she’s kissing his teeth. Or, at the very least, is shoving her nose into his teeth.

Inuyasha movie 02 Screen4

Of course Inuyasha reverts back to normal, and for some reason this causes red sparkles to float around, fixing his robe of the fire rat. *shrug*

As the battle with Kaguya starts again, Kohaku screams in agony with a deep pain in his shoulder. Sango pulls back his shirt and reveals a pulsating spider mark. When the spider mark is revealed, Miroku also yells in agony as his wind tunnel reappears. Naraku soon bursts from Kohaku’s back and reveals he had faked his death somehow. Naraku not dying for reeelz!? NOH WEI! What a complete new plot development this is for the series as a whole.

He did this to lure Kaguya out to absorb her powers…..Why he couldn’t have just summoned her himself is beyond me. The items to summon her were crazy easy to find and there’s no explanation as to why Kaguya wouldn’t want to appear while Naraku was alive….

Naraku attacks Kaguya and their battle starts to bring the castle down. Naraku disappears, and Inuyasha decides to finish off both of them, Kaguya first. Kagome realizes that the only way to take down Kaguya for good is to destroy her mirror. She asks Shippo to turn into a bow while she uses Miroku’s staff as an arrow…which I don’t think would work in the slightest. His staff seems too heavy to work as an arrow, too long to wield properly, plus the décor at the top would make it too heavy at one end to fly even a little, but whatever. It works, and Inuyasha kills her at the same time with a Wind Scar.

Inuyasha movie 02 Screen5

Hooray, our heroes have won! But wait, the dream castle is collapsing.

Kim Possible: “Just once, I wish the bad guy’s lair didn’t have to blow up.”

Precisely! Cue escape scene that you know is pointless because it would be insanely dumb to have them die in a collapsing building after just surviving the final battle.

While escaping, Kaguya in bad CGI smoke cloud form kidnaps Kagome….again, because padding, and conveniently drops her on a beam that Naraku just happens to be on for no reason. He uses Kagome as a lure to get Kaguya, but he’s attacked by Inuyasha before she can get to them. And Miroku uses his windtunnel to suck up Kaguya’s smoke form………well, that was anticlimactic.

Naraku, Kagura, who somehow made it back from whatever dimension she was in, and Kohaku jump through the portal made by the mirror, which shouldn’t work since it’s broken, to escape into the real world, and Inuyasha and the others follow suit.

They see the castle reflection disappear and Hachi and Hojo’s ancestor get freed from the spell. Hojo’s ancestor also miraculously got the robe back instantly after the castle disappeared.

They then continue their journey to defeat Naraku because that’s how everything Inuyasha related ends barring Final Act

Oh and for anyone wondering whatever happens to Hojo’s ancestor, it’s revealed in the TV series that his flighty and shallow love for Kagome ran so deep that he forced his future wife to change her name to Kagome. Creepy creeper.

Art and Animation: The animation was roughly the same as the TV series was a bulk of the time. The art was kinda awkward in it’s style and overall quality. It’s especially apparent in one of the scenes where you see Inuyasha’s human form in the mirror and see that one of his eye reflections is much bigger than the other. However, it had much crisper coloring than the first movie and the TV series.

Music: Same as the TV series, which is fantastic. The movie-exclusive vocal songs are great with Yurayura being one of my favorites.

Voice acting: English Some of the dialogue and acting in this movie was somewhat hokey, but other than that it was on par with the TV series, which is pretty good.

Bottomline: As you probably guessed from my commentary, I don’t like this movie as much as I used to when I was a huge Inuyasha fan. Kaguya’s a decent villain, but she’s just like a mix between Naraku and Kanna without as much threat. Movie villains for anime series never seem to be as threatening because you know by the end of the movie they’ll be defeated (because movie canon hardly ever seems to carry over into series canon) whereas the villains of the TV series go on for ages.

In addition, you knew from the very beginning that Kaguya was just a distraction meant to pass the time until Naraku showed his face again. It’s not an awful or even bad movie by any means, but it’s still not that good. Quite frankly, I think the main reason it’s even given a little notoriety is because it’s where Inuyasha and Kagome share their first kiss, but whether or not this is actually canon is highly questionable.

If you’re a big Inuyasha fan, maybe give it another point, but for casual fans or people relatively unfamiliar to the series (In which case, why are you watching the second movie based on it?) then a six stands just fine.

Additional Information and Notes: Inuyasha was based on a manga of the same name by Rumiko Takahashi. The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass was directed by Toshiya Shinohara, who directed all of the Inuyasha films, and did some directorial work on Black Butler, Crest of the Stars, 2001 Nights and Gurren Lagann. The screenplay was written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa, who also wrote the scripts for many episodes of Dragon Ball Z, Inuyasha, Blue Dragon, all but one episode of Inuyasha: Final Act and Yu Yu Hakusho.

It was produced by Sunrise and is currently licensed in the US by Viz Media.

Runtime: 99 Minutes

Year: 2002

Recommended Audience: Violence, some blood, nothing worse than the TV series. 12+


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