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"This is somewhat nostalgic"
Well...maybe a little more than 'somewhat'. This was VERY nostalgic, especially for people that have been fans of the franchise for 15 years or more. The manga ended in 2008, the anime received its conclusion in 2010, and finally we received a special manga chapter (which has been animated in this episode) in 2013. After that, I don't think anyone is their wildest dreams would have believed that we would be getting a sequel 7 years later, and with it being about Sesshomaru's half-human daughters of all things. I'm sure most people weren't even asking for it, and yet, here we are, on October 3rd, 2020 with the premiere of Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon.
The first episode of Yashahime starts with one of our three protagonists, Towa Higurashi, shown to be captured by a feudal lord and his servant in feudal Japan. They interrogate her regarding the "land" that she comes after discovering a history textbook that belongs to her, revealing to viewers that she is from the future/present day Japan. The two show her another object that seems out of place in feudal Japan, with Towa recognizing what it is. The servant believes that she comes from a land similar to that of a priestess, whom the object once belonged to. The priestess in question is, of course, Kagome Higurashi. The servant then proceeds to tell a tale of an event that occurred over 10 years when this priestess (Kagome is never referred to by name) and a half-demon named Inuyasha had encountered a demon called Root Head.
The episode definitely gives off the quality of the original series while providing something new. It does largely focus on telling the story of the special manga chapter, so it has some of Rumiko Takahashi's creative writing. It has the same exciting action and elements of humor and horror of the original while giving us the beginning of a mystery with the new characters. We are introduced to the calm, level-headed Towa, the stoic Setsuna, and the rowdy Moroha. Granted, we don't see too much of them in the first episode, but the first impressions of the protagonists are relatively good.
Based on this episode, the writing, overall, is good, from the handling of the manga material to new material for the series. The episode's pacing is good as well. It's not too slow nor too fast, it's just right.
The art and animation is great! It's pretty much the same as the art and animation that was shown in the Final Act.
The music... absolutely fantastic. Just based on the first episode alone I can tell this is going to be one of the biggest highlights of this series. Having Kaoru Wada back for the score is such a blessing. He brings both new and old themes to the series and it all has such a rich and vibrant sound. The nostalgia hit me HARD when "Hanyou Inuyasha" started playing towards the end of the episode.
There's only a couple things that I would criticize the episode for. The first thing is that our protagonists (or just Towa really....) only get about 5 minutes of screen time. Without those 5 minutes, it's basically an InuYasha episode. I don't have an issue with seeing the original cast in the first episode, but as I've mentioned above, the flashback completely dominates the episode. It doesn't really give you the opportunity to get to know your protagonists.
The second thing is you don't really get a solid idea of what the story is here in this episode alone, since, again, the flashback dominates the episode. Yes, there are the tidbits of mystery that persuade you to keep watching, but nothing in this episode really throws you into the story....yet. Next week's episode seems to be the "real" first episode of the series as it's going to take us back to how Towa ended up in the future and how the three girls meet.
I give the episode 8/10 stars. Here's hoping that this sequel maintains a good quality throughout its run to be a worthy addition to the InuYasha universe.