Guest Author - Lesley Aeschliman
Inuyasha: Swords of an Honorable Ruler was written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa and directed by Toshiya Shinohara. The film was released to Japanese theaters on December 20, 2003. In the United States, the film was released on September 6, 2005. The film made its premiere on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block on August 12, 2006. In Japan, Swords of an Honorable Ruler was released between episodes 136 and 137.
The film opens at the time of Inuyasha's birth. His mother, Izayoi, has gone through labor, and is killed by Takemaru. Takemaru had been in love with Izayoi, but Inuyasha's father had stolen her away from him.
Shortly after her death, Inuyasha's father arrives and resurrects Izayoi. He tells Izayoi to escape with the infant, who he says is named Inuyasha. Inuyasha's father gives Izayoi the Fire Rat Armor, so she and Inuyasha can escape the now-burning palace. Although Inuyasha's father is injured, he fights a duel with Takemaru. However, both are killed when the burning palace crashes down on them.
We return to the present, where Kagome's grandfather has taken out a sword that is considered a "family treasure." He's about to put it in the storehouse for safe keeping, when Kagome's brother walks over to it. The sword talks to him, saying the 700-year-old seal on the sword is about to break. The seal breaks, and the sword goes searching for a demon. Inuyasha, who is in the present to visit Kagome, ends up possessed by the sword. The sword is Sounga, the Sword of Hell, and it turns out to have a connection with Inuyasha's father.
In order to save Kagome and her time, Inuyasha returns to the feudal era with Sounga. However, since he is possessed, he ends up using Sounga to destroy a village. Inuyasha's friends end up breaking Sounga's possession of Inuyasha. However, they learn that in order to defeat Sounga, Inuyasha and his brother, Sesshomaru, must team up together with their swords. But can these feuding brothers put aside their rivalry long enough to save the day?
The DVD menu allows you to play the movie, set your viewing preferences (choosing whether to have English or Japanese audio, and whether or not to have subtitles), scene selection, and special features.
There are seven special features on the disc. The first is a Line Art Gallery, which is split into two sections: Characters and Settings. There are 40 pages of character model sheets under the "Characters" section. The "Settings" section contains 32 pages of settings.
The "Special Footage" link is next, and it takes you to a feature that runs a little over 26 minutes. This footage recaps some of the important moments in the series that tie in to Inuyasha and Sesshomaru's rivalry.
Next, there are the Japanese trailers for Swords of an Honorable Ruler, with a trailer for the fourth Inuyasha film included at the end. These run for about five minutes, but they are all in Japanese with no English subtitles. There are also Viz Media trailers, a one screen ad for the Inuyasha graphic novels, a one screen ad for the Inuyasha trading card game, and a preview for the Inuyasha Feudal Combat video game (which looks a lot like Inuyasha characters are put into a game that is played in the same manner as the Street Fighter games).
Overall, Swords of an Honorable Ruler is an excellent film. The runtime for the film is perfect for the story being told. This DVD should be in the collection of anyone who appreciates the Inuyasha anime series.
I wrote this review after watching a copy of this DVD that my husband and I purchased.