by Rumiko Takahashi, 186 pages
High school girl Kagome gets dragged down a well at her family's Shinto shrine and is transported back in time to ancient Japan. There she learns she's the reincarnation of a powerful priestess, frees a temperamental dog-eared boy pinned to a tree by an arrow (originally shot by the same priestess), and witnesses the shattering of a dangerously powerful magical jewel. Kagome teams up with the dog boy (a half-demon named InuYasha with a chip on his shoulder) and a handful of friends they meet along the way in order to recover all the scattered fragments of the Shikon jewel before they fall into the hands of evil-doers.
In this volume, InuYasha trains to master his demon sword Tetsusaiga's new powers as Naraku, creeptastic nemesis to all, schemes to get the jewel shards from good-hearted wolf-demon Koga's legs.
InuYasha is a sprawling historical fantasy with a little of everything, from silly slapstick to tragic drama. Twelve books from the end, and I'm not bored yet. Some volumes are more integral to the story and character progression than others, but they all have a role in the larger tale and manage not to feel like filler. Takahashi's artwork is cartoonish and her character designs are somewhat limited (switch out the hair and you might get another character), but her style quickly becomes part of the story's flavor and the characters' unique personalities make it impossible to mix them up. I look forward to seeing how this classic motley crew fulfills its quest to save the world.