Now this is the kinda of episode I've been waiting for! Unifying theme, check. Everyone fighting one monster, check. Tons of drama, check. A plot that doesn't jump around, check!
The episode starts seemingly randomly. There is a demon tree named Yomeiju that hasn't eaten people or demons in fifty years and now it is again. Think InuYasha and gang can help? Actually, no. Naraku has implanted a shard of the Shikon no Tama in it and it has broken the seal Kikyo placed on it. He didn't bring it back to life just to let it eat stuff, though. He brought it back to eat it. I had to arch an eyebrow at this one. Why in the heck does Naraku need the powers of Yomeiju? Ah, you'll have to keep reading to find out.
Everyone is then brought together by this series' new favorite antagonist, Moryomaru. Koga is on his trail when he runs into Kikyo and Kohaku. After a fall that would have killed a normal person, Kikyo finally explains what is going on with the Shikon Shards randomly not responding. Midoriko's soul wants the jewel to be whole so that Naraku can be purified. She tries to get Koga to hand over his shards so that he need not die in vain when Naraku takes them forcibly. He tells her to piss off and runs off after Moryomaru and is soon followed by Kikyo and Kohaku.
With a head start, Moryomaru encounters Naraku in the sky and a large miasma is released. I was surprised by the way they handled the miasma. While it always kills everything in the area, they've never animated woodland animals being consumed by it. As you watch flesh melt off of deer you start to get a large sense of foreboding. Moryomaru, feeling that he has buffed himself up enough to destroy Naraku, tries to take him on, only to discover that he cannot be destroyed by conventional disintegration. Any one that has watched any InuYasha can tell you that; but I digress. He instead decides to consume Naraku and the Shikon fragment. I was in disbelief. It couldn't be that easy to get rid of Naraku.
Using Koga as bait, they lure Moryomaru to the ground so that InuYasha can find his demon vortex and destroy him. Too bad it is being hidden by the infant's Fuyoheki. So that doesn't work and InuYasha and Koga both get tangled in Moryomaru's tentacles. After absorbing a blast from Koga's Goraishi, InuYasha scares the infact enough for him to release more miasma, effectively knocking Koga out. The chase is on yet again.
Kagome is able to keep Kikyo from taking the jewel shard from Kohaku for the time being and joins back up with InuYasha to pursue Moryomaru. But what's this? Moryomaru has not actually absorbed the Shikon fragment? That must mean Naraku is still alive! Uh oh. Everyone realizes this at about the same time, including the infant; but it's too late. Naraku tries to get past the infants barrier and cannot; but then uses the power of Yomeiju's vines to break through the barrier. Oooohhhh! That's why he absorbed the demon tree. The infant tries to escape Moryomaru's body; but is faced with death at the hands on InuYasha on the outside. It does not matter though. Naraku takes over Moryomaru's body and shatters it from the inside in a rather sparkly display. He plans to absorb both the infant and Koga; but with the aid of Kagome's arrow, the spirit of Koga's ancestors are awaken and protect him as he frees himself and attacks the infant, pushing it to the surface.
In a display of serious bravery and chivalry, Miroku opens up his wind tunnel to try and consume Naraku's exposed heart. I was again surprised by the detail that went into this one event. Miroku is taking in massive amounts of miasma and is being poisoned, but he persists. Even when his eyes and mouth begin to bleed, he persists so that he can destroy Naraku for Sango and Kohaku. Unfortunately he doesn't get Naraku's heart, but he does get the Fuyoheki. InuYasha then closes his hand up and not a moment too soon. Though he almost had the heart, he almost died as well.
The episode ends with the group gathered around Miroku's unconscious form. Kikyo will try and purify the miasma next episode.
All I have to say about the episode as a whole is "Wow." Just go watch for yourself if you haven't yet!
Next time on InuYasha: "The Mausoleum of Mount Azusa." I can't wait!