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The Secret of the Cursed Mask

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The-Secret-of-the-Cursed-Mask

The cover of the English release of the game

InuYasha: The Secret of the Cursed Mask (犬夜叉 呪詛の仮面, "InuYasha: Juso no Kamen") is a role-playing game for the PlayStation 2 based on the manga and anime series, InuYasha. The player is able to choose to play as a female named Kaname Kururugi or as a male called Michiru Kururugi, both of whom are characters created by Rumiko Takahashi especially for the game.[1] Regardless of the chosen gender, the character is referred to using the last name Kururugi. However, in the North American release, the character is referred to using his/her first name (any sentences containing the player's name has no voiceover). Roughly the game should take place prior to Naraku fleeing to Mount Hakurei. The game holds a score of 51 out of 100 at Metacritic.[2]

PlotEdit

The game begins when Kururugi enters the family storage shed in modern day Japan to retrieve an item for their father. After falling through a mysteriously etched pentagram on the floorboards, the player is transported to Feudal Japan. Unfortunately, when the time traveler comes across some villagers looking for something, they mistake the player for a demon because of their modern clothing; they attempt capturing the player, who runs away run them. After losing the villagers, Kururugi comes face to face with a demon; scared for their life, the player subconsciously calls forth a bright light that vanishes the demon. Fainting, Kururugi is then awoken by Inuyasha, who notices that the stranger's clothes "look like Kagome's."

After introductions with the rest of the cast, the player begins to search for answers as to why Kururugi has been brought back to the feudal era and how to get home. The game progresses as any normal Inuyasha storyline, with the Inuyasha group traveling from village to village in pursuit of Naraku (and Kururugi's answers), sometimes helping out with a local problem or two. Occasionally traces to Naraku himself are revealed, as well as leads to Kururugi's mystery and the title's "cursed mask," which holds secrets to returning the character to the present. Along the way, Kururugi learns to harness the power of shikigami from a mysterious old villager called Kakuju, a force needed in order to help Inuyasha and the others overcome the dangerous obstacles ahead while unraveling the plot of the mystic Utsugi, who has allied with Naraku.

Thanks to Naraku and Utsugi, several humans and demons suffer and the blame falls on Kururugi, who shares the same face as Utsugi. Utsugi is revealed to be Kururugi's ancestor, who brought him/her into the past for a nefarious purpose; thus Utsugi cannot be killed since it would erase Kururugi from existence (at this point, its unknown of Utsugi has had a child to continue Kururugi's bloodline, so better safe than sorry).

Eventually, the group tracks Naraku to Asagiri Island, where he had been hiding in order to rebuild his body to strengthen his barrier. Through Kururugi's Shikigami spell proves ineffective, Kikyo arrives and shatters the crystal powering Naraku's barrier. Naraku steals Kagome's jewel shards and uses them to transform into the new body from Mount Hakurei in the anime. The group succeeds in destroying Naraku, who swears to return.

With Naraku's defeat, Kururugi decides that the group has been burdened with him/her enough, and decides to search for Utsugi by themselves. However, the task proves difficult, resulting in Kururugi being saved by the group from a demon that keeps reviving and increasing in size. They discover that the demon had been a part of Naraku, a bad omen, and that Utsugi stole the Shikon Jewel. Their search brings them to a hidden village, named Kururugi; to the protagonist's surprise it's the very area their home would be built at in the future. Learning that Kakuju was the former priestess/priest of the shrine, they track the elder down.

Upon hearing Utsugi's name, Kakuju demands to be taken the the village; however, a rogue Hitogata fatally wounds him/her. Kakuju reveals Utsugi to be a Hitogata created in the likeness of his/her deceased wife/husband; Utsugi didn't age, thus making fearful villagers chase her/him out. With a piece of the Shikon Jewel and a relative's soul, Utsugi can become human; this is why Utsugi summoned Kururugi from the future. They locate Utsugi, who attempts to steal Kururugi's soul; however, he/she fails. The jewel darkens and fuses with Utsugi, transforming the Hitogata into Naraku; obtaining Utsugi's power was his plan all along. Utsugi's remaining free will breaks his personal barrier, allowing the group to slay Naraku again.

Utsugi discovers that he/she's bleeding, meaning that it's become human; Kakuju had placed her/his soul in an amulet given to Kururugi, saving their descendent from the spell. Utsugi dies, content with being with Kakuju. At that moment, Kururugi is whisked back to the present as the magic keeping them there is no longer around. In the present, Kururugi realizes the festival was based on their adventure with Inuyasha's group and briefly sees the member of the group they became close to.

CharactersEdit

Michiru Kururugi (枢木 みちる, Kururugi Michiru)
The male version of the main character in the game. A decedent of Utsugi and Kakuju, he has the mysterious and powerful powers of the Shikigami, which come down to the four elements: fire, water, wind, and light. Animal symbols for his elemental attacks also exist. While spending time with Inuyasha's group the player may either form a strong friendship with those of the same gender (and Shippō), or start a romantic triangle (or just add onto an already messy one).
Kaname Kururugi (枢木 かなめ, Kururugi Kaname)
The female version of the main character in the game. She has the mysterious and powerful powers of the Shikigami, which come down to the four elements: fire, water, wind, and light. Animal symbols for her elemental attacks also exist. Like the male Kururgi, Kaname can spend time with Inuyasha group to form strong friendship with the same gender, or add onto an already messy romantic triangle. Like Michiru, Kaname can also bond with Shippō and have sibling-like relationship.
Utsugi
Utsugi is a Hitogata, an enchanted clay doll that was granted life by the priest/priestess Kakuju and the power of Shikigami after Kakuju's original lover, Utsugi, died. Many attempts were made to breathe life into a doll before the final version of Utsugi succeeded, and the imperfect Utsugi-hitogata were discarded in the valley below Kakuju's village. Kakuju mystically sealed the valley and isolated the village to prevent these wandering, imperfect dolls to escape and harm anyone. Eager to become truly human and please Kakuju, Utsugi joined up with Naraku and his incarnations in order to summon Kururugi to the past. Because Kururugi was a descendant on the original Utsugi and gifted with the power of shikigami, Utsugi planned to absorb his/her soul and become human.
Kakuju
An old man or woman who assists the main character by teaching him/her about Shikigami and more, including his/her past connection with Utsugi. Kakuju disappears from the villagers the player finds her/him in after the elder has completed helping Kururgi achieve new Shikigami powers or has given good advice.
Mahoro
A demon with the ability to transform into a person's loved one or closest friend. If the player bonds with Shipōo, Mahoro is upset that he doesn't get a good meal, but finds Kururgi a good main course after Shippō serves as an appetizer.
Ogre
Known as "Skeletal demon". Ogre is an incarnation of Naraku that a demon puppet of Naraku releases on Inuyasha and the others in Naraku's castle. Kururgi discovers the cocoon its in while helping Rin escapes from Naraku; Kanna revealed what it was to the player.

Character SelectionEdit

The chosen gender of the main character has several subtle but interesting changes on the overall flow of the game. While the core plot remains the same regardless of Kururugi being a boy or girl, the later character responses, interval events, and battle abilities can change dramatically depending upon whether Kururugi is male or female. For example, when the female Kururugi first encounters Miroku in the game, the lecherous monk greets her with his typical, "Would you bear my child?" The male Kururugi, naturally, gets no such offer.

What choices are made on the part of the player to interact with the Inuyasha universe will also influence the strength of partnerships in battle and result in different character-centric anime sequences at the end of the game.

Interval EventsEdit

Every so often, players will receive an opportunity to "rest up" the Inuyasha gang before setting off for a new location. If the player opts to take these breaks, short interval scenes will occur in which the main character can interact one-on-one with a member of the group. Choosing between Inuyasha, Miroku, Sango, Kagome or Shippō will result in several different scenes, which vary in tone; the episodes begin as playful incidents and develop into deep and dramatic scenes later in the game. The more often a specific character is chosen, the stronger the player's friendship will become with that character, thus increasing the effectiveness of pairing with that character in Co-Op Technique battle; if the player opts to skip these interval events, the only penalty is a slower acquisition of Co-Op techniques.

An interesting fan service aspect of this relationship-building is that Kururugi will become "strong friends" with whichever of the Inuyasha group he or she has spent the most time with. When paired with the opposite sex, love triangles begin to form between the canon pairings and the player character. For example, if the male Kururugi spends a majority of his interval events bonding with Kagome, Inuyasha will grow increasingly jealous (or vice versa), or if the female Kururugi spends a majority of her interval events bonding with Miroku, Sango will get jealous. Also, there is a chance for the female Kururugi to be paired with Sesshōmaru. This is achieved when the player gets the female character in some of the areas where Sesshōmaru is.

TriviaEdit

  • Despite the name, Utsugi's mask isn't cursed; it only concealed his/her face.
  • There are some grammar errors in the English version. If the player chooses Michiru Kururgi, at some points in the game, where the characters are supposed to refer to them by neutral or male pronouns, they slip up and address him as a female.
  • When staying at the Mountain Manor when Miroku is away from the group, the player can overhear the servants talking about who they're going to eat; depending on the player's gender they'll either say "young human flesh" or "young girls flesh".
  • In all, there are five mandatory days off; the others are optional.
  • If you saved your clear data, you can find a talking cat behind Kaede's house; he will give you all the powers and experiences you had in the previous game, raising your level to 30. However, the basic fire attack and barrier-breaking attack Kururugi learns must still be learned from the events with Kakuju.
  • Kagome, Miroku and Kururugi are the healers of the party; ironically, they're separated from the group at some point.
  • During the 'days off", each of the characters has a bathing scene; however, Miroku is an exception, he's either spying on Kagome (tricking Michiru into thinking they're being "one with nature") or pretending to keep watch for Kaname, who catches him spying on her.
  • It's rare that Shippō and Sango spend a day off together, making their Co-op attacks the hardest to unlock.
  • When asked by a samurai to help 30 people escape the Castle Town castle, you can only find 28 and the samurai will reward you for your efforts.
  • The village the Wolf Demon's forest is located is named after Ayame.
  • The hakama that Kururgi wears after changing clothes are red if it Kaname, and blue for Michiru; oddly, these colors seem to be gender-specific.
  • The wolf demons appear equal in speed to Kōga; however, he should be faster than them.
  • No demons appear in the Wold Demon forest's left path (the area where Kagome is kidnapped).
  • Naraku's form after stealing the jewel shards from Kagome is the new body he gains at Mount Hakurei.
  • Given that Inuyasha doesn't have the red Tessaiga's abilities in his Attack Menu, the game most likely takes place before Musō's creation. 
  • The Saimyōshō are addressed by name; however, given the previous statement, it is most likely done so the fans know the poisonous insects' proper name.
  • Similar to the main story, Kagura is killed by Naraku; however, he squashes her heart in the game.
  • After Kanna is defeated in Botan Village, it's never explained what happened to her; most likely, she was killed, but there's no evidence to prove this.
  • The trick to defeating Kanna is to use Co-op attacks, which her mirror cannot repel back at the turn character, and avoid regular attacks until she says "Give me your soul" (HP drain) or "Listen to my voice" (Confusion); if she says "You can have it back," (Repel) don't use regular attacks!
  • Everyone but Shippō has a co-op attack with Miroku that involves the Wind Tunnel; both of their attacks involve using Miroku's sutras, either thrown from high up by Shippo or tossed with Shippo's firebombs.
  • In response to the previous statement, the Wind Tunnel co-op attack DON'T work on the bosses; there's no easy way out.
  • Both Inuyasha and Shippo share a similar Co-Op move with Kururugi, where a dragon shape of Shikigami swallows them before they unleash their attack - Backlash Wave and a Tackle, respectively.
  • Even if you know where the secret entrance to where Naraku is rebuilding his body is at, you HAVE to talk to Kagura in order to continue the game; otherwise, you'll be trapped in that room.
  • Kagura never uses Dance of the Dragon in her battles against Inuyasha's group.
  • The demon puppet of Naraku seen in the game is unlike the others seen in the main series; the puppets usually take the form of Naraku in his baboon pelt, but this one looked exactly like him.
  • Kikyō is still alive at the end of the game, unlike the main story, where Naraku succeeds in killing her.
  • When Kururugi's first name is spoken, there's a deliberate gap in the dialogue while the subtitles say it.
  • There are some stills seen in the game that are NOT available to view in the Extras Menu.
  • Kururgi must attempt breaking Naraku's barrier in the final battle to continue the story; otherwise, it will end up the same result as in the Castle Town, but with Game Over instead.
  • Naraku's actual health in the final battle is 7777.

ReferencesEdit

  1. InuYasha: The Secret of the Cursed Mask DVD (Back cover)
  2. InuYasha: The Secret of the Cursed Mask for Playstation 2. Metacritic. Retrieved July 20, 2012.

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