Yashahime: Half-Demon Princess won’t stop playing games with my heart
Inuyasha debuted on Adult Swim in 2002 and quickly established itself as a juggernaut. Five nights a week, fans all over America would tune in for the latest episode. When Adult Swim caught up to Viz’s release and started over from the beginning (right as Kagome was kidnapped by Koga!), those fans collectively shouted, “NOOOOO!”
For many people, Inuyasha was their introduction to anime. While the dub is far from perfect, it’s nevertheless iconic. When the spinoff series Yashahime: Half-Demon Princess was announced, fans online were all asking the same question — who did Sesshomaru fuck?
The second most asked question was about the dub.
The wait is over because the highly anticipated English dub of Yashahime debuted on streaming platforms on November 6, 2020. The good news is that most of the original cast is back. The bad news is that they don’t sound quite right. I suspect this is largely due to Viz rushing production.
The biggest problem is with Richard Ian Cox, the voice of Inuyasha. His performance varies so wildly from shot-to-shot, that I wonder if he was asked to come in the same day he got the job.
Final Act was over a decade ago, so I can understand it taking some time for him to get back into character. Voices also change as people age. Cox was in his 20s when he first played the half dog demon. Now that he’s 47, his voice is a lot deeper.
If his performance was consistent I would be more forgiving, but there are scenes where he strays so far out of character that it sounds like someone else stepped into the booth.
This is especially noticeable when he’s screaming his attacks. Cox has been in the business a long time, so I don’t think it’s his fault. It’s more likely that the director didn’t care or wasn’t paying attention.
Sean Schemmel sounds the same as Goku in Dragon Ball Super as he did in Dragon Ball Z. Nancy Cartwright has been able to do the voice of Bart Simpson longer than I’ve been alive.
If the ADR director for Yashahime would have worked harder with the cast to get Cox back into character, this wouldn’t have happened. Inuyasha is such a prolific series, so it’s surprising to me that they didn’t put more care into producing the dub.
A more subtle version of this problem is true of the rest of the returning cast. Miroku, Sango, and Shippo all sound like deeper versions of their former selves. The exception is David Kaye, who plays Sesshomaru. He only has a few lines, but sounds the same as I remember when I watched Inuyasha in high school.
Kira Tozer is going to have to grow on me. I never watched Final Act, so this is my first time hearing her as Kagome. There’s nothing wrong with her performance; I’m just not used to her playing the character.
Erica Mendez and Kira Buckland fit their roles as Towa and Setsuna like a glove. Morgan Berry as Moroha could work, but I’m not sold yet. Moroha exemplifies the hot-blooded shonen archetype, and I’m not hearing this in Berry. It needs to be grittier. Maybe if she eats a pack of cigarettes before she does the next episode it will solve the problem.
Everything else works well. Demons and villagers sound like they would if this were the original series. Alan Lee also does a remarkable job replacing Aidan Drummond as Kohaku. The only other thing that bothers me is that the re-recording mixer didn’t add enough reverb or delay when special attacks are shouted.
Inuyasha was my anime gateway drug, so I’m being a little harder on Yashahime than I would if it were another show. I’m still having a great time watching new episodes each week. If you don’t have at least a passing familiarity with Inuyasha, I’m not sure the spinoff will resonate with you. However, for people that grew up watching Inuyasha on Adult Swim, I can’t recommend Yashahime enough.