is a fictional character
in the anime
by Rumiko Takahashi
'Shippō' means 'the seven treasures' (as in gold, silver, pearls, agate, crystal, coral, and lapis lazuli) in Japanese. (The English anime and manga of InuYasha spells his name in a manner that ignores the double "o" - "Shippo" has a different meaning than "Shippō"). The similar-sounding 'shippo' (しっぽ) means 'tail', which is likely a deliberate pun.
He is a kitsune
, (a yōkai
-fox) who tags along with Kagome
after they defeat the Thunder Brothers. At first, Shippo tries to steal Kagome's shards of the Jewel of Four Souls
(Shikon no Tama), needing them to become stronger so he can avenge his father's death at the hands of the Thunder Brothers. After InuYasha and Kagome hear Shippo's story, they help him fulfill his revenge and he becomes the first new member of the group. Shippo, unlike some yōkai, has no problem with humans, but InuYasha and Shippo always tease each other while Kagome acts like katsumomo, a combination of mother and sister to Shippo. Though young and rather naïve, he has a very good grasp of the emotions and motives of his companions, and has oddly accurate moments of insight. He wishes very much that Kagome and InuYasha would not fight, and when they do, he tries to convince InuYasha to apologize for whatever he did, resulting in a quick smack to the head. Shippo also has a strong liking for sweets and candy, as his favorite treats are the lolipops
Kagome sometimes brings back for him.
As a kitsune, his specialty is trickery. He has fooled with InuYasha in particular on a few occasions, once abandoning him on the side of a road with his hands trapped beneath a stone with a sutra on it, which he is unable to touch, one act among several that have garnered InuYasha's mild resentment. Shippō's illusions aren't always complete and don't always last for very long, leaving Shippo to face trouble from the people or yōkai he may be trying to deceive.
As of recent chapters, InuYasha's group come upon an inn which is being used by a group of kitsune in a sort of exam to test their skills at trickery and getting the better of others, and when Shippo arrives on the scene, he is immediately given the applicant number 77 by a leaf with the number 77 flying at and sticking to Shippo's head. When Shippo learns of the nature of the inn, he tries to evade InuYasha's usual harassment and in doing so gets him with his Spinning Top illusion, causing a slip of paper to descend from the sky, awarding him an increase in rank, to Upper Junior 8th Rank, 5 ranks up from the bottom out of the 30 available ranks . According to a couple of participating kitsune, it ordinarily takes 100 years of studying (apparently the art of trickery and deception) to reach Senior 1st Rank, but thanks to Shippo's successful illusionary attack on InuYasha (who counts as a yōkai for the sake of the exam, and whose downfall at the hands of a participating kitsune awards him with a larger number of yet unexplained points than tricking say, a human) Shippo essentially begins the exam at Upper Junior 8th and later ends at Lower Senior 8th Rank, the next rank up from there.
After Kagome goes back to her world he spent the time training in order to become a better fox demon, becoming in the end of the series, a upper senior 7th rank kitsune.
Powers and abilities
Fox Magic (狐妖術 Kitsune Yōjutsu
) :An umbrella term for all his magical ability
- Tsubushi Goma (潰しごまSmashing Top): Illusionary magic using a small toy top that gives the appearance and presence of a very large top, often used to pin opponents to the ground.
- Wooden Snake: Seen in chapter 506 of the manga. Used "against" InuYasha. This materializes a large, segmented, toy snake that Shippo wields by grabbing on to its tail tip. Basically utilized in a similar manner to Renji Abarai's (of Bleach fame) Hihio Zabimaru, only with lesser distance and more of a practical joke than anything else
- Bunshin (分身Divide): Using special leaves, creates many illusionary clones of Shippo that distract the enemy.
- Kumogakure (雲隠れHidden Cloud): In episode 136, Shippo combines happa and a talisman given to him by the old woman exorcist (introduced in episode 85) to become invisible. Of course, like his other transformations, it doesn't last very long.
- Bakuraizutsu (ばくらいずつFire Bomb Attack): Used only twice. Once in the Togenkyo arc and again against the Zushi rats. Shippo unleashes multiple firecrackers on an enemy. The firecrackers don't inflict much damage, but the explosions are very loud and can confuse his foes.
- Weeping Mushrooms: Shippo scatters mushroom spores, which sprout into mushrooms that produce loud cries, which his allies can use to locate him.
- Other techniques shown were the ability to glide on a giant leaf (And use it as a parachute), and using a wooden rocking horse for transport.Fox Fire (狐火 Kitsune-bi): Summons a ghostly-looking blue fire. Used mostly for defense but works as an effective attack against weak yōkai, and can neutralize enemy fire attacks.Shapeshifting: Deceives the enemy by transforming into another creature, person or object. These transformations are often incomplete, his untransformed tail (in Japanese folklore, the kitsune are believed to have the greatest difficulty in shape-shifting their tails) usually gives him away, and the appearance usually can't be maintained for very long. He has transformed into Kagome at least four times (episodes 10, 20, 89 and once with Hachiemon in episode 135) (in VIZ, volume 7, he tries to calm InuYasha by turning into Kagome, InuYasha doesn't even notice the tail until Shippo/Kagome ask if InuYasha would like to sleep with Shippo/Kagome-giving him a decent sized bump), Koga (episode 37) and a woman (episode 129), although his tail was visible in all the transformations. He is also able to transform to a pink balloon-like shape with limited flying ability to carry one light person like Kagome. Shippo has also transformed into a spider (episode 13), thinking that InuYasha was afraid of spiders. In InuYasha the Movie: Affections Touching Across Time, he transforms into a horse to carry Kaede. Near the beginning of the second move, it is seen that he turns into a large duck-like creature carrying Kagome (who comments on the incomplete transformation in which his ribbon is visible in which Shippo replies, "Give it a rest") in order to confront Naraku. Also in the same movie, he turns into a bow for Kagome (at her request), but he feels pain when she actually tried using him in battle. This originally occurred in episode 10 as Shippo's own idea sans pain (it was also oddly shaped: Kagome at first thought it was a snail). Heart Scar (心の傷 Kokoro no Kizu "Wound of the Heart"): Shippo's answer to the Wind Scar. He learned this new attack while fighting a lizard yōkai (episode 130). Shippō simply inflicts a painful but not deadly bite. This technique may release some of the yōkai's energy every time it strikes, as Shippo says that he saw the Wind Scar, but since he has so little it has no noticeable effect (the lizard was for the most part annoyed at him).
Shippo the fox meets a variety of young girls upon his travels. They are drawn to him due to his innocent sense of fun, his cuteness and tiny size, his sense of humour, and general pleasantness. Some of these include:
- Souten, the younger sister of the Thunder Brothers. Shippo accepted her challenge to duel, thinking that she was a boy. Later, when she revealed her true gender, Shippo called off the battle and permitted her to keep his box of coloring crayons (which Souten had found extremely fascinating). After witnessing this act of chivalry on Shippo's part, Souten develops a crush on the kitsune. She appeared in the episode "Shippo Gets An Angry Challenge".
- Satsuki, who he saved from a lizard yōkai who tricked her into believing that it was her brother. She appeared in the episode "The Stone Flower and Shippo's First Love".
- Kome, a girl that mistakes Kirara for Kuroro (the village's twin tailed cat) and Shippo immediately develops a secret crush on her. He helps her look and find Kuroro. When Shippo and his friends leave the village, InuYasha starts to tease Shippo saying that Shippo was in love with her. Shippo becomes upset and Kagome gives InuYasha the "sit" command.
- Mizuki, a girl who he was pressured into playing a trick on by a band of fox yōkai who idolized him. Mizuki later became angry with Shippo and never wanted to see him again. (anime only)Kirara:
Shippo has a special relationship with Kirara, Sango's pet, and he is often found talking to her, particularly during battles in which their skills are not needed, and sometimes when Sango becomes immensely furious at Miroku they tend to cower in fear and hug until the display is over. They're both quite small, they are the only full yōkai of their group, and both specialize in fire techniques. These similarities lead to a strong sense of camaraderie, even if they are fox and cat.
Shippo focuses many of his tricks upon the main character. Also being a canine yōkai, he sees InuYasha in the role of an older brother. He values his strength, and emulates him, even asking to borrow his Tetsusaiga, and mimicking his 'Wind Scar' with his own 'Heart Scar'. Despite this, like any bratty younger brother, Shippo constantly torments InuYasha with practical jokes and thinly veiled insults. This often causes InuYasha to smack Shippo. While the two have a strong rivalry, when confronted by an enemy they both are willing to risk their lives to defend each other. Since InuYasha commonly talks to Miroku, Shippo occasionally gets confused about the adult type of talk, and usually when he asks, they reply "I'll explain it to you when you're older".
Kagome Higurashi and Sango
Kagome and Sango view Shippo like a younger brother since they also have one, and take on a rather motherly role. Whenever InuYasha starts bullying him, Kagome tells him "Sit, Boy!" punishing him for beating on the younger and weaker yōkai. InuYasha usually does not go easy on any male or yōkai of any age, especially if they've made him angry. Also many times Shippo's joined the girls in their separate travels (to stores, etc.), and in the occasional bath. He regularly sleeps in Kagome's sleeping bag or on Kirara.
Other characters have remarked that Shippo has been emulating Miroku's flirtatiousness with women (in Shippo's case, girls), and gained his natural charm (the only difference being the young yōkai having much more success than the older monk). Shippo has shown his affection for Miroku by crying when he was willing to kill himself to destroy Naraku and by repeatingly riding on the Monks' shoulder throughout the series. At times, he doesn't seem to realize that Miroku is doing less than moral things, but later catches on and is the most skeptical towards the monk's motivations, at one point even saying "Please don't let me grow up to be like him." They usually get along and both like to avoid unnecessary conflict—especially if it means that they can get out of it alive.
Notes and references