Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
We finally meet Sesshomaru's mother in a contrived plot device aimed to power up Tenseiga and to attempt to give his character more depth. Mother possesses a Meido stone from Sesshomaru's father; if he ever came looking to power up Tenseiga, she was to use it to open up a portal to the underworld.
A demon dog pops out of the portal; Sesshomaru's Meido Zangetsuha technique cannot kill it. However, the dog is able to use the opening to the underworld to steal away Kohaku and Rin. Sesshomaru follows and soon learns that compassion and respect for life has stolen into his heart. This unlocks Tenseiga's hidden power but leaves Rin dead, unable to be revived a second time by Tenseiga. Call forth the Deus Ex Machina! Mother's Meido stone revives Rin; Kohaku and Sesshomaru leave with the knowledge that life can only be returned so many times. She must have never met Kikyo.
The saying It's the journey, not the destination is applicable; seeing Sesshomaru openly care about Rin has less impact given his appearance throughout the series. He has been stoically one dimensional, walking about occasionally throwing insults at Inu Yasha, Naraku, and various minions. His initial loathing of humans is understandable given his demonic heritage. How and why did Rin break through this prejudice? We simply arrive at the point he decides to let her tag along and then arrive at the point where he decides a sword is not worth the loss of her life. Instead, another emotional moment is left flat because we have little substance behind it.
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