1. Creativity: The demons may be relatively known to Japanese audiences (hair demon, enchanted blood-ink that brings forth demons from Japanese images of hell) but all are new and amazing-creepy to me. I also like the focus on reincarnation; makes a wonderful change from Judeo-Christian notions of life/death, good/evil, and our generic demons.
2. Well-handled Quest Motif: always good for retaining audience attention. I also like that episodes alternate between finding jewel shards and character development/cast building – and some episodes have both. Definitely keeps me watching—several episodes at a time.
3. Subtitles (vs. Dubbing): You can watch all the DVD episodes in Japanese, and it’s been enlightening. Not only are the translations sometimes more cultural than literal but characters names are different in pronunciation (for example, it's "Kah-go-may," with no emphasis on any syllable, not "Kuh-GO-may"). Also, the voice for Inuyasha is more menacing in the original Japanese. Are Americans incapable/undesirous of grasping the cute-sexy-evil triple threat? See point 4.
4. Badboys so Cute You Can Eat 'Em with a Spoon: Could anything be cuter than Inyasha? Those dog ears, long silver hair, tiny pointed nose, big amber eyes – could make anyone go Furry. Then there’s Sesshomaru: evil incarnate yet beautifully, ornately feminine. What is it that makes beautiful evil so alluring? Why don't Americans get it (without hysterical homophobia)? The Japanese are unmatched in blending cute, sexy, and evil. That odd childlike cuteness factor is just bizarre to me, and it works. (I will add, though, that I also used to have a crush on Rayek from Elfquest!)
5. Working Through Issues with Kagome: Though I like the cute-sexy in the adult male characters (esp. those delicious demons), I have issues with the schoolgirl thing the Japanese seem to groove on. Though there are no sex scenes and she varies between child and adolescent as she should, I feel I’m supposed to see Kagome as sex object and, well, bleh. Admittedly, we’ve been made so culturally paranoid about any thoughts/feelings that might in any way be at all linked with sexualizing anything under 18 that it’s positively a knee-jerk response to feel weird about Kagome and her insanely long legs and her link to the very-adult priestess Kikyo, whose soul is reincarnated within her. (I feel driven to add my frustration about this: Dammit, teens sexualize themselves constantly—and even pre-teens: those damn Kids Bop kids singing along to adult-themed sex/relationship songs...Bratz dolls and the whole pre-teen-girl-as-Diva craze…What the hell kinds of double-messages and double-standards are we giving kids—especially girls—and adults??)
(Next episode: Elyce Saves Money to Afford the Boxed Set of Season 2! See you next time!)