InuYasha

InuYasha

, full title (romanized as INUYASHA in Japan and sometimes Inuyasha), is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi. It premiered in Weekly Shōnen Sunday on November 13, 1996 and concluded on June 18, 2008. The series follows a time-traveling middle school student, a half-demon, a lecherous monk, a fox demon, a demon slayer, and a nekomata during the Sengoku period as they seek to find all the fragments of the Jewel of Four Souls (Shikon no Tama) and to keep them out of the hands of evildoers, especially Naraku.

The manga was adapted into a 167 episode anime series produced by Sunrise. Masashi Ikeda directed the first forty-four episodes, while Yasunao Aoki directed the remainder of the series. InuYasha premiered on Yomiuri TV in Japan on October 16, 2000 and ran until September 13, 2004. The television run of the anime ceased without a conclusion to the story.

In 2002, the manga won the Shogakukan Manga Award for best shōnen title of the year.

Synopsis

The story begins in Feudal Japan, when InuYasha, a half-demon (han'yō), steals the Jewel of Four Souls from a village. The Jewel of Four Souls is an item that can increase one's powers enormously. InuYasha does not get far before Kikyo, the young miko of the village, shoots him with a sacred arrow that indefinitely seals him onto Goshinboku, a sacred tree in the nearby forest. After being mortally wounded, Kikyo tells her younger sister, Kaede, to burn the jewel with her body to prevent it from falling into the hands of evil.

In modern Tokyo, a junior high school girl named Kagome Higurashi is on her way to school. She stops in the well house of her family's Shinto shrine to retrieve her cat, Buyo, when a centipede demon emerges from the well and pulls her into the Sengoku period of Japan.

Not knowing where she is, Kagome wanders around a forest near the well. She spots Goshinboku off in the distance and proceeds towards it. On the tree, she finds InuYasha, who is still sealed in an enchanted sleep. Villagers seize her and take her to the old priestess, Kaede. Recognizing that Kagome is the reincarnation of her sister Kikyo, Kaede tells her the story of Kikyo and InuYasha.

The centipede attacks again, and Kagome is forced to release InuYasha from his enchantment so he can kill it. After defeating the centipede, InuYasha tries to take the Jewel of Four Souls from Kagome. In order to thwart InuYasha and to save Kagome's life, Kaede places magical prayer beads around InuYasha's neck so that Kagome can subdue him.

The Jewel of Four Souls attracts more demons, and in a battle against a carrion crow demon, the jewel is shattered into numerous shards that spread across Japan.

Kagome and InuYasha set out to collect the shards and restore the Jewel of Four Souls. Along the way, they befriend Shippo, a fox demon; Miroku, a cursed monk; and Sango, a demon-slayer whose brother was possessed and forced to slaughter their father and the other demon slayers. The group encounters many friends and foes during the adventure, including InuYasha's older half-brother Sesshomaru; Kikyo, who died 50 years ago but, was resurrected with part of Kagome's soul; Naraku, who tricked Kikyo and InuYasha into turning against each other; and a wolf demon named Koga, who is in love with Kagome and whenever he and InuYasha meet they constantly bicker.

Characters

Kagome is a fifteen-year-old ninth grade student. She is the reincarnation of Kikyo, a miko (priestess) who died fifty years before the time Kagome first emerged from the Bone Eater's Well in the Sengoku period. Because of this, Kagome has powerful spiritual powers and can sense the shards of the Shikon Jewel, an item that is said to balance the forces of good and evil, and resembles Kikyo. Later in the series, she admits that she loves InuYasha, which is also shown when she stays with him at the end of the series.
InuYasha is a hanyō (half-demon), the product of an and a human. He wields Tetsusaiga, a supernatural sword made from one of his deceased father's fangs. When properly wielded, the sword can destroy one hundred demons with a single swing. InuYasha can quickly recover from injuries that would be fatal to a human, largely due to his demonic blood. During the first night of each lunar month (new moon), InuYasha changes into a normal human with black hair and black eyes and loses his demonic powers. InuYasha was bound to Goshinboku by Kikyo's arrow for fifty years until Kagome freed him. InuYasha wears a special bead necklace that forces him to respond to Kagome's command "Osuwari!", which translates to "Sit!" in English. In the English-dubbed version, "InuYasha, sit!" or "Sit, boy!" are sometimes used instead. Following the command, InuYasha is thrown to the ground. Kaede had placed the necklace upon InuYasha because he had threatened to kill Kagome if she refused to give the Jewel of Four Souls to him. As the series goes on, he begins to like Kagome more and more, shown when he will leave a battle to keep her from being hurt.
Miroku is a Buddhist "hōshi" (low-ranking, itinerant monk) who travels the countryside performing services such as exorcisms and yōkai exterminations to earn his living. He suffers from a hereditary curse originally inflicted upon his grandfather Miyatsu (also a Buddhist monk) by Naraku. The curse created a hole in his hand that became a that sucks in anything that is not nailed down, regardless of its mass. However, absorbing poisons or sharp objects harms him and can decrease his total life-span, a fact Naraku takes advantage of by creating highly poisonous insects whose presence prevents Miroku from using his kazāna on Naraku or his allies. Miroku uses the kazāna as a powerful weapon against yōkai, but if the curse is not broken (by defeating Naraku), it will grow too large to control and will consume Miroku himself. Miroku is a talented con artist who does not hesitate to invent fictitious supernatural menaces, which he can then offer to combat in return for food and shelter. He has a distinct weakness for single women. He makes a point of asking every attractive woman he meets if she will bear his child, and he habitually strokes the buttocks of attractive women. Miroku eventually proposes to Sango, though this does little to curb his flirtations with other women. At the end of the series, they are married with three children.
Sango is a serious "yōkai taijiya" (demon slayer) who hails from a village of professional demon slayers. Sango wields the Hiraikotsu, a massive boomerang made of yōkai bones, and uses a broad repertoire of tools and tricks to battle yōkai. Sango seeks revenge against Naraku for the death of her family and her entire village. In addition, Sango seeks to rescue her brother Kohaku from Naraku's influence and somehow save his life, even though Kohaku's life is tied to the jewel shard embedded in his back. She eventually develops romantic feelings for Miroku. Despite the fact that everyone, even InuYasha, notices her interest, she refuses to admit it exists. The manifestation of her interest often takes the form of hitting Miroku when he flirts with other single women. Miroku eventually returns her feelings and proposes to her. At the end of the series, they are married with three children.
Shippo is a young orphan kitsune (fox demon) whose father was killed by the Thunder Brothers, Hiten and Manten, and the first character in the story to join InuYasha and Kagome in their travels. Shippo can shape shift, but his forms are temporary and often incomplete and ineffective, such that he is usually given away by his tail. His other noteworthy abilities are using illusionary tricks with toys like his giant spinning top attack, using his race's notable foxfire magic, and duplicating things, such as leaves or his own body. He tends to be naively observant and often makes pointed and cheeky comments directed towards InuYasha, earning him a retaliatory rap on the head for his unsolicited "advice".
Kirara is Sango's faithful nekomata. She has cream-colored fur, black ears, two black stripes on each of her two bushy tails near the tip, and black-tipped paws. Kirara can change between two forms: a ferocious lion-sized yōkai with the ability to fly, and a cute kitten. Sango, Miroku, and Shippo often use Kirara's flying ability as transportation in order to keep up with InuYasha. (In the English dub, her name is pronounced "Kee-Lah-Lah", because the Japanese language treats "r" and "l" as one phoneme.)
Sesshomaru is the yōkai son of the powerful Inu no Taishou and InuYasha's half-brother. Sesshomaru believes that struggle is the only way to survive, and throughout most of the series, he shows his contempt for InuYasha. Although Sesshomaru inherited his father's Tenseiga, which can bring a hundred people back to life with a single swing, he originally coveted InuYasha's inheritance, a powerful sword. However, a spell was cast on the sword so that a full yōkai cannot touch it without burning his flesh. Despite knowing that he cannot touch the sword, Sesshomaru still desires to take it from InuYasha. Throughout the series, Sesshomaru's compassion gradually grows as his rivalry with InuYasha decreases.
The main antagonist, Naraku (literally means "underworld", or "hell") is responsible for nearly every character’s suffering throughout the series. He is a hanyō that originated from a bandit named Onigumo ("Demon Spider"). Unlike InuYasha, he can choose the time of the month when he becomes his weak human form. Like InuYasha, Naraku's main goal is to collect all of the shards of the Shikon no Tama in order to become a full yōkai. He had feelings for Kikyo because of Onigumo's love for her while he was alive. Later, he expels his human heart and with it his feelings for Kikyo and his human half, making him a full demon.

Media

Manga

Written by Rumiko Takahashi, InuYasha premiered in Japan in Shonen Sunday on November 13, 1996 and concluded June 17, 2008. The chapters are also being published by Shogakukan in collected volumes, with the first volume released in May 1997. As of April 2008, 53 volumes of the series have been released in Japan.

Viz Media licensed the series for an English translated release in North America. The first volume was released in March 1998. At the time, manga was normally published "flipped"--that is, printed in exact reverse order-- to conform to the American convention of reading books from left to right. This resulted in the individual pages being mirrored from the original, so the images seen are also mirrored leaving right-handed characters appearing to be left-handed. Though Viz has since stopped flipping their manga releases, as InuYasha was already well into printing by the time this change was made, it continues to be released in the flipped format. New volumes of the series are released quarterly, and as of July 1, 2008, 34 volumes have been released in North America.

Viz Media is also releasing a separate series of "manga" volumes, called "ani-manga", which are derived from the anime episodes using colored frames from colored frames. These volumes are slightly smaller than the regular manga volumes, are oriented in the Japanese tradition of right to left, feature new covers with higher quality pages, and a higher price point versus the regular volumes. Each ani-manga volume is arranged into chapters that correspond to the anime episodes rather than the manga.

Anime

Based on the first thirty-six volumes of the manga series, the InuYasha anime adaptation produced by Sunrise premiered in Japan on Animax on October 16, 2000 and ran for 167 episodes until its conclusion on September 13, 2004. It also aired Animax's English-language networks in South Asia and East Asia and it was broadcast on Yomiuri TV and Nippon Television. The story follows a human girl, Kagome, as she travels back in time to the

The anime is licensed for release in North America by Viz Media. The English dub of the series was broadcast on Cartoon Network as part of its Adult Swim programming block from August 31, 2002 through October 27, 2006, with episodes continuing to air in reruns until 2008. The series aired on Canada on YTV's Bionix programming block from September 5, 2003 through December 1, 2006, with reruns continuing to run until October 12, 2007.

Movies

Four movies, which exist separately from the anime time line, have been released in Japan. All four movies have also been released as Region 1 DVDs by Viz Media. The first movie, , was released in Japan on 16 December 2001. In the movie, InuYasha, Kagome, Shippo, Sango, and Miroku must face Menomaru, a demonic enemy brought to life by a jewel shard, as they continue their quest for the Shikon Jewel shards. was released on 21 December 2002, and depicts the group defeating Naraku and returning to their normal lives. Their short period of peace is interrupted when a new enemy emerges: Kaguya, the ruler of the eternal night. was released on 20 December 2003. It gives some background into the story of Inu no Taishou's love for Izayoi, InuYasha's mother. So'unga, a legendary sword that belonged to InuYasha's father, is unleashed from its centuries-old seal and seeks to destroy the Earth and all life on it. Thus, InuYasha must join forces with his brother, Sesshomaru, and destroy the sword before it destroys the world.

The fourth movie, , was released on 23 December 2004. The reappearance of the mysterious island of Houraijima after fifty years incurs the wrath of the four gods, the Shitoushin. With their eyes set on the powers that protect and sustain the island, the Shitoushin must be defeated while InuYasha and his friends try to help the children that are trapped on that island escape.

Credits

Directors
Masashi Ikeda (Episodes 1 - 44)
Yasunao Aoki (Episodes 45 - 167)Original Creator
Rumiko TakahashiCharacter Design
Yoshihito HishinumaArt Director
Shigemi IkedaDirector of Photography
Kumiko Ito
Yoichi OgamiMusic
Kaoru WadaProducers
Hideyuki Tomioka (Sunrise)
Michihiko Suwa (Yomiuri TV)Production
Kyoto Animation
Sunrise
Yomiuri TVPhotography
Anime Film

Music

All the music that was used in the series and films were licensed from the Japanese record company, Avex Trax.

Opening themes

"Change the world"

  • Opening for episodes: 1 - 34
  • Lyrics by Rie Matsumoto, music by Miki Watanabe and arranged by Keiichi Ueno
  • Performed by V6"I Am"
  • Opening for episodes: 35 - 64
  • Lyrics by hitomi, music by Masato Kitano and arranged by Zentaro Watanabe
  • Performed by hitomi
  • Opening for episodes: 65 - 95
  • Lyrics by Nanase Aikawa, music by Hiroshi Shibazaki and arranged by Kaname
  • Performed by Nanase Aikawa"Grip!"
  • Opening for episodes: 96 - 127
  • Lyrics by Kaori Mochida, music by Kazuhiro Kara and arranged by Hal
  • Performed by Every Little Thing"One Day, One Dream"
  • Opening for episodes: 128 - 153
  • Lyrics by Hideyuki Kohata, music by Kei Yoshikawa and arranged by Chokkaku
  • Performed by Tackey & Tsubasa
  • Opening for episodes: 154 - 167
  • Lyrics by Bounceback, music by Bulge and arranged by Yasuaki Maejima
  • Performed by Hitomi Shimatani

Ending themes

"My will"

  • Ending for episodes: 1 - 20, and 167
  • Lyrics by Mai Matsumuro, music by Yasho Ohtani, arranged by Keisuke Kikuchi and chorus arrangement by Yas Kitajima
  • Performed by Dream
  • Ending for episodes: 21 - 41
  • Lyrics by D-A-I, music by D-A-I, and arranged by D-A-I and Seiji Kameda
  • Performed by Do As Infinity"Dearest"
  • Ending for episodes: 42 - 60
  • Lyrics by Ayumi Hamasaki, music by CREA (Ayumi Hamasaki) + D-A-I and arranged by Naoto Suzuki
  • Performed by Ayumi Hamasaki
  • Ending for episodes: 61 - 85
  • Lyrics by Natsumi Watanabe, music by Bounceback and arranged by H-wonder
  • Performed by BoA
  • Ending for episodes: 86 - 108
  • Lyrics by D-A-I, music by D-A-I, and arranged by D-A-I and Seiji Kameda
  • Performed by Do As Infinity
  • Ending for episodes: 109 - 127
  • Lyrics by Misono, music by Masato Kitano, and arranged by Mitsuru Igarashi and Day After Tomorrow
  • Performed by Day After Tomorrow"Come"
  • Ending for episodes: 128 - 147
  • Lyrics by Kask/Mansson/Cunnah and music by Kask/Mansson/Cunnah
  • Japanese lyrics by Yuriko Mori and arranged by Cobra Endo
  • Performed by Namie Amuro"Change the world"
  • Special ending for episode: 148
  • Lyrics by Rie Matsumoto, music by Miki Watanabe and arranged by Keiichi Ueno
  • Performed by V6"Brand new world"
  • Ending for episodes: 149 - 166
  • Lyrics by Mizue, music by Ōyagihirō and arranged by Masaki Iehara
  • Performed by V6

Movie themes

"No More Words"

Games

InuYasha has been adapted into a mobile game released for Java and Brew handsets on 21 June 2005, an English-language original Trading card game created by Score Entertainment that was first released on 20 October 2004, and the following video game console games:

Title Console Release date Notes
InuYasha: A Feudal Fairy Tale PlayStation 9 April 2003
(North America)
Japanese title: InuYasha: Sengoku Otogi Kassen (戦国お伽草子–犬夜叉)
InuYasha: The Secret of the Cursed Mask PlayStation 2 1 November 2004 (North America) Japanese title: InuYasha: Juso no Kamen (犬夜叉 呪詛の仮面)
InuYasha: Feudal Combat PlayStation 2 23 August 2005 (North America) Japanese title: InuYasha: Ōgi-Ranbu (犬夜叉 奥義乱舞)
InuYasha: Secret of the Divine Jewel Nintendo DS 23 January 2007 (North America) English only.
WonderSwan 2 November 2001 (Japan) Japanese only.
WonderSwan 27 July 2002 (Japan) Japanese only.
WonderSwan 16 November 2002 (Japan) Japanese only.
Game Boy Advance 23 January 2002 (Japan) Japanese only.

OVA

A 30 minute original video animation, was presented on July 30, 2008 at an "It's a Rumic World" exhibit at the Matsuya Ginza department store in Tokyo's Ginza shopping district. The episode uses the original voice cast from the anime series.

Reception

The manga won the 2002 Shogakukan Manga Award for best shōnen title of the year.

The InuYasha graphic novels continue to show strong sales numbers. Volume nineteen of the InuYasha manga series has been ranked third on Nielsen BookScan’s Graphic Novel Top Fifty List for the week ending 3 October 2004, and volume one ranks eighteenth in its seventy-seventh straight week on the list, confirming a growing interest in the manga among new fans.

According to Viz, the feature film InuYasha: Affections Touching Across Time has sold over 30,000 DVD units to date.

References

External links

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