I just started watching the final season of Inu Yasha on amazon. This show brought so much natural beauty, vibrant colors, and downright fabulous fabrics into my anime repertoire, not to mention the fictional mancandy who was ready and willing to receive my blossoming female gaze. This was one of those series that I reveled in during youth, bought the plushies and other gear at conventions, and even wrote fanfic. But like most fandoms, I lost touch with it in college. Inu Yasha was important to my youth in many ways, one of those being a bonding opportunity for my brother and I. With six years’ difference, opposing gender perspectives, and a vast landscape of traditional religious repression separating us, we had few places wherein to connect. Saturday night anime was one of those places.
But my family relationships are for another post, another time. What I want to talk about right now are the environmental aspects of the show and what it means directly for my nostalgia as I watch it today. Although it has its own beauty that easily stands alone, Inu Yasha speaks to me so much for the nostalgia factor. This show had its own kind of feminism going on, one which I didn’t fully understand but I at least acknowledged. There was Sango, a mighty warrior who hunted down her enemies and took no prisoners. There was Kikyo, a protector of nature and order who dealt vengeance like the BAMF that she is, not afraid to send an arrow through her own lover’s heart when she was wronged. Then there was Kagome, a like-minded teen lethargic with modern life and who secretly wanted to escape to a time before the modern hubbub, conventions, global conglomerate, and CO2. In the story, this reality is thrust upon her more as a genealogical inevitability, but of course I infused my own traits into my interpretation of her character.
I call that time the “Lord of the Rings years” because my mindscapes looked more like Rivendell than they did Maryland, USA, and this feudal fantasy-Japan anime fit the pre-technology paradigm for those years too. These were years where I was deeply disillusioned with modern life (as rebellious children desperate for autonomy and feeling emotionally, culturally, spiritually, and sexually repressed by a household whose values they don’t share are wont to be), and thus fell into depression. Blog posts on being an ultra-liberal, atheist, sexually open, feminist hippy in an opposing household are a dime a dozen, the emotional effects of which are almost cliche in their universality. So, no need to tread those grounds. Instead, I’ll discuss the avenue I personally chose: fantasy. Novels, fanfic, TV, movies, and my own imagination.