InuYasha 31 by Rumiko Takahashi: B

From the back cover:
The search for the final shard of the Shikon Jewel leads Inuyasha and the gang to a mountain fortress. But the gate is guarded by two giant statues and a force that will only allow the dead to enter! Meanwhile, while seeking a path to the underworld, Naraku teams up with demon Abi Hime, who hunts the blood of innocent villagers to heal her mother. Inuyasha and friends step in to stop them when they find that Kikyo may be involved!

The coolness I was anticipating from the conclusion of the previous volume didn’t really pan out, as the journey to the gate was brief and no part of the dangerous Land of Fire was actually glimpsed. Inuyasha fought some statues. Ooh.

Most of the volume was centered on demonic birds who were ravaging nearby villages. This tied in with the main plot only slightly, and was more about a mysterious holy lady with the power to penetrate Hakudoshi’s barrier with a single arrow and whether she was Kikyo. Wow. I am so surprised Kikyo didn’t die. Takahashi, you fooled me again with your totally unpredictable storytelling ways.

This volume wasn’t bad by any stretch, but it was a bit of a let down. It ended with a fairly angsty cliffhanger, though, so I’m glad to have the next one on hand.

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