Inuyasha

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Inuyasha
InuYasha1.jpg
Cover of the first tankōbon volume of Inuyasha, as published by Shogakukan on May 18, 1997.
戦国お伽草子–犬夜叉
(Sengoku Otogizōshi Inuyasha)
Genre Adventure, Comedy-drama, Sengoku era, Romance, Supernatural
Manga
Written by Rumiko Takahashi
Published by Shogakukan
English publisher
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Weekly Shōnen Sunday
Original run November 13, 1996June 18, 2008
Volumes 56 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Directed by Masashi Ikeda
Yasunao Aoki
Written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa
Studio Sunrise
Licensed by
Network NNS (ytv)
English network
Original run October 16, 2000September 13, 2004
Episodes 167 (List of episodes)
Anime television series
Inuyasha: The Final Act
Directed by Yasunao Aoki
Produced by Kioa Ahsayuni
Written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa
Studio Sunrise
Licensed by
Network NTV, ytv, TSB, FCT
English network
Original run October 3, 2009March 29, 2010
Episodes 26 (List of episodes)
Feature films
  1. Inuyasha the Movie: Affections Touching Across Time
  2. Inuyasha the Movie: The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass
  3. Inuyasha the Movie: Swords of an Honorable Ruler
  4. Inuyasha the Movie: Fire on the Mystic Island
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Inuyasha (犬夜叉?), also known as Inuyasha: A Feudal Fairy Tale (戦国御伽草子 犬夜叉 Sengoku Otogizōshi 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, with the chapters collected into 56 tankōbon volumes by Shogakukan. The series follows Kagome Higurashi, a 15-year-old girl from Tokyo who is transported to the Sengoku period after falling into a well in her family shrine, where she meets the half demon Inuyasha. When a monster from that era tries to take the magical Shikon Jewel embodied in Kagome, she accidentally shatters the Jewel into many pieces that are dispersed across Japan. Inuyasha and Kagome start traveling to recover it before the powerful demon Naraku finds all the shards. Inuyasha and Kagome gain several allies during their journey namely Shippo, Miroku, Sango, and Kirara. In contrast to the typically comedic nature of many of Takahashi's previous work, Inuyasha deals with darker subject matter, using the setting of the Sengoku period to easily display the violent content.

It was adapted into two anime television series produced by Sunrise. The first was broadcast for 167 episodes on Yomiuri TV in Japan from October 16, 2000 until September 13, 2004. The second series, called Inuyasha: The Final Act, began airing four years later on October 3, 2009 to cover the rest of the manga series and ended on March 29, 2010 after 26 episodes. Four feature films and five original video animations have also been released. Other merchandise include video games and a light novel. Viz Media licensed the manga, the two anime series, and movies for North America.

Plot[edit]

The story begins in Tokyo, Japan, on the fifteenth birthday of a girl named Kagome Higurashi, who lives on the grounds of her family's hereditary Shinto shrine with her mother, grandfather and little brother Sota. When she goes into the well house to retrieve her cat Buyo, a centipede demon bursts out of the enshrined Bone Eater's Well (骨喰いの井戸 Honekui no Ido?) and pulls her back into the well with it. Instead of hitting the bottom of the well, however, Kagome continues to fall as though through a portal, and reappears 500 years in the past (Meio 5/ 1496 A.D) in the ancient Sengoku period of Japan. Apparently, the demon had previously attacked a village near the well in the Sengoku period, in pursuit of a magical jewel known as the Shikon Jewel (四魂の玉 Shikon no Tama?, Jewel of the Four Souls). It had attempted to kill the Jewel's previous keeper, a woman who looked very like Kagome; and now the demon has mistaken Kagome for this woman. The demon attacks her, planning to consume both her and the Jewel to absorb the incredible power. In a moment of desperation, Kagome unseals a half demon trapped by a sacred arrow against a nearby tree. The half-demon, Inuyasha, easily defeats the centipede demon, but he might actually be a bigger problem himself. He was sealed to the tree fifty years previously by a priestess named Kikyo, who also turns out to have been the keeper of the Jewel—and Kagome's previous incarnation. Kikyo had requested, upon her death, that the Jewel be burned with her in her funeral pyre so no one could ever abuse its tremendous power. Although Inuyasha destroys the centipede, the Shikon Jewel is later shattered into numerous shards that disperse across Japan. Even the individual shards are capable of granting great power, and are eagerly sought by humans and demons alike. Inuyasha and Kagome set out to collect the shards to avoid disasters caused by the Jewel.

Along the way, they join forces with Shippo, a small orphaned fox demon, Miroku, a monk who suffers from a powerful generational and demonic curse given to his ancestors, and Sango, a demon-slayer whose clan was killed by her younger brother Kohaku, who was being possessed/controlled. Their main opponent is Naraku, a devious and powerful collective, shape-shifting half-demon who manipulated the initial conflict between Kikyo and Inuyasha, resulting with Kikyo sealing Inuyasha to the tree; the death of Sango's clan; and Miroku's ancestral curse. Naraku slowly gathers shards for himself and acts as a master manipulator, setting up traps forcing Inuyasha and his companions to take Kagome's fragments of the Shikon Jewel, referred to as Shikon Shards. Inuyasha's main cast also encounter Sesshomaru, Inuyasha's full demon half-brother, who also is out to kill the manipulative Naraku (although he is far from being on Inuyasha's side); Kikyo, now partially resurrected with a fragment of Kagome's reincarnated soul/spirit; and a wolf demon named Koga, most of whose comrades were killed by Naraku's forces who is also infatuated with Kagome.

Eventually, Naraku collects all of the Shikon Shards and reassembles the Jewel into its original and complete form. Although Inuyasha and his allies defeat him, Naraku uses his immeasurable strength and power as the Jewel's owner to wish for Kagome's spirit to be trapped inside it with his own, which would allow Naraku to survive within it in eternal conflict with her. With Inuyasha by her side, Kagome wishes for the jewel to disappear, erasing Naraku from existence and breaking the cycle of conflict. She and Inuyasha are then thrown back to their own time periods and the Well becomes sealed, causing them to lose contact for three years. In that time, the Sengoku period changes drastically: Sango and Miroku marry and have three children together; Kohaku (Sango's last remaining family member) resumes his journey to become a strong demon slayer; Koga becomes leader of the wolf demons and marries Ayame; and Shippo attains the seventh rank as a fox demon.

Back in the present, Kagome graduates from high school at the age of eighteen, before she finally manages to get the Bone-Eater's Well in her backyard to work again. With approval from her mother, Kagome returns to the Sengoku period, where she stays with Inuyasha and becomes his wife for the rest of her life.

Development[edit]

Rumiko Takahashi wrote Inuyasha after finishing Ranma ½. In contrast to her previous works, Takahashi wanted to do a darker storyline distant from her comedy series. In order to portray violent themes softly, the story was set in the Sengoku Era, when wars were common. For the designs of samurai or castles, no notable research was made by the author who considered such topics common knowledge. By June 2001, a clear ending to the series was not established as Takahashi still was not sure about how to end the relationship between Inuyasha and Kagome. Furthermore, Takahashi stated that she did not have an ending to previous manga she wrote during the beginning, having figured them out as their serialization progressed.[1]

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

Written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi, Inuyasha premiered in Japan in the November 13, 1996 issue of Weekly Shōnen Sunday,[2][3] where it ran until its conclusion in the June 18, 2008 issue.[4] The chapters were collected into 56 tankōbon volumes published by Shogakukan, with the first volume released in May 1997 and the last released in February 2009.[5][6] In 2013, a special "Epilogue" chapter was published in Weekly Shōnen Sunday as part of the "Heroes Come Back" anthology composed of short stories by manga artists to raise funds for recovery of the areas afflicted by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.[7]

Viz Media licensed the series for an English translated release in North America. Initially, Viz released it in monthly American comic book format, each issue containing two or three chapters from the original manga, but eventually abandoned this system in favor of trade paperbacks with the same chapter divisions as the Japanese volumes. Viz released its first trade paperback volume in March 1998. At the time, American manga reprints were normally "flipped" to conform to the American convention of reading books from left to right by mirroring the original artwork; among other effects, this caused right-handed characters to appear left-handed. Viz later stopped flipping its new manga releases, although Inuyasha was already well into printing by the time this change was made with volume 38.[8] As of January 11, 2011, all 56 volumes have been released in North America. From November 2009 to February 2014, Viz reprinted the series in their "VizBig" format, combining three of the original volumes into a single omnibus with slightly larger pages and full-color bonus art that was previously reduced to grayscale, and in the original right to left format.[8] Viz Media also issues a separate series of ani-manga volumes which are derived from full-color screenshots of the anime episodes. 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[edit]

Inuyasha[edit]

The first Inuyasha anime adaptation produced by Sunrise premiered in Japan on Animax on October 16, 2000 and ran for 167 episodes till its conclusion on September 13, 2004. It was also broadcast on Yomiuri TV and Nippon Television.[9] In East Asia and South Asia it was aired on Animax's English-language networks. Aniplex collected the episodes in a total of seven series of DVDs volumes distributed in Japan between May 30, 2001 and July 27, 2005.[10][11]

The English dub of the anime was licensed to be released in North America by Viz Media.[12] The series was broadcast on Adult Swim (although it had originally been planned for Toonami) from August 31, 2002 through October 27, 2006.[13] It began airing on Toonami in late 2012 until March 1, 2014.[14] The series aired in Canada on YTV's Bionix programming block from September 5, 2003 through December 1, 2006.[15] Viz collected the series in a total of 55 DVD volumes,[16][17] while seven box sets were also released.[18][19]

Inuyasha: The Final Act[edit]

In 2009's 34th issue of Weekly Shōnen Sunday, published July 22, 2009, it was officially announced that a 26-episode anime adaption of volumes 36 to the end of the manga would be made by the first anime's same cast and crew and would air on Japan's YTV.[20] The following week, Viz Media announced it had licensed the new adaptation, titled Inuyasha: The Final Act (犬夜叉 完結編 Inuyasha Kanketsu-hen?).[21] The series premiered on October 3, 2009 in Japan with the episodes being simulcast via Hulu and Weekly Shōnen Sunday in the United States.[22] In other parts of Asia the episodes were aired the same week on Animax-Asia.[23] The anime completed its run on March 29, 2010. Aniplex collected the series into a total of seven DVDs released between December 23, 2009 and June 23, 2010.[24][25] On October 24, 2014, it was announced that Adult Swim will air The Final Act on the Toonami block, beginning on November 15, at 2:00 a.m. EST.[26]

Viz Media released the series in two DVD or Blu-ray sets that include an English dub.[27] The first thirteen episodes comprising set 1 were released on November 20, 2012,[28][29] and the final thirteen episodes were released on February 12, 2013.[30][31] United States' Adult Swim's revived Toonami block has expressed interest in broadcasting Inuyasha: The Final Act, and mentioned that it was one of the "many shows we've been looking at,"[32] although on March 1, 2014, Adult Swim announced they "are losing the rights to Inuyasha."[33][34] The series began broadcasting in the United States and Canada on Viz Media's online network, Neon Alley, on October 2, 2012.[35]

Films[edit]

The series spawned four animated films which feature original plot, rather than being based specifically on the manga, written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa who wrote the anime episodes.[36] The films have also been released with English subtitles and dubbed audio tracks to Region 1 DVD by Viz Media. The first film, Inuyasha the Movie: Affections Touching Across Time, was released in Japan on December 16, 2001. In the film, Inuyasha, Kagome, Shippo, Sango, and Miroku must face Menomaru, a demonic enemy brought to life by a Shikon Shard, as they continue their quest to gather said shards. In the second film, Inuyasha the Movie: The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass, released on December 21, 2002, the group defeats Naraku and returns to their normal lives only to have to deal with a new enemy named Kaguya. The third film, Inuyasha the Movie: Swords of an Honorable Ruler, was released on December 20, 2003. In it, a third sword of Inuyasha's father called So'unga is unleashed from its centuries-old seal and seeks to destroy the Earth forcing Inuyasha and Sesshomaru to work together to stop it. The fourth and the final film, Inuyasha the Movie: Fire on the Mystic Island, was released on December 23, 2004, and depicts Inuyasha and his friends attempting to rescue children trapped on the mysterious island Houraijima by the wrath of powerful demons known as "The Four War Gods".

Original video animations[edit]

A 30 minute original video animation (OVA), Black Tetsusaiga (黒い鉄砕牙 Kuroi Tessaiga?) 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.[37] It was released in Japan on October 20, 2010 in both DVD and Blu-ray formats.[38][39]

Soundtrack CDs[edit]

Multiple soundtracks and character songs were released for series by Avex Mode. Three character singles were released August 3, 2005, "Aoki Yasei o Daite" (蒼き野生を抱いて?, Embrace the Untamed Wilderness) by Inuyasha featuring Kagome, "Kaze no Naka e" (風のなかへ?, Into the Wind) by Miroku featuring Sango and Shippo, and "Gō" (?, Fate) by Sesshomaru featuring Jaken and Rin. The singles charted at number 63, 76, and 79 respectively on the Oricon chart.[40][41][42] Three more character songs were released on January 25, 2006, "Rakujitsu" (落日?, Setting Sun) by Naraku, "Tatta Hitotsu no Yakusoku" (たったひとつの約束?, That's One Promise) by Kagome Higurashi, and "Abarero!!" (暴れろ!!?, Go On A Rampage!!) by Bankotsu and Jakotsu. The singles charted at number 130, 131, and 112 respectively on the Oricon chart.[43][44][45]

On March 24, 2010, Avex released Inuyasha Best Song History (犬夜叉 ベストソング ヒストリー Inuyasha Besuto Songu Hisutorī?), a best album that contains all the opening and ending theme songs used in the series.[9] The album peaked at number 20 on the Oricon album chart and charted for seven weeks.[46]

Video games[edit]

Three video games based on the series were released for the WonderSwan: Inuyasha: Kagome no Sengoku Nikki (犬夜叉 〜かごめの戦国日記 Inuyasha: Kagome's Warring States Diary?), Inuyasha: Fūun Emaki (犬夜叉 風雲絵巻?) and Inuyasha: Kagome no Yume Nikki (犬夜叉 かごめの夢日記 Inuyasha: Kagome's Dream Diary?). A single title, Inuyasha: Naraku no Wana! Mayoi no Mori no Shōtaijō (犬夜叉〜奈落の罠!迷いの森の招待状 Inuyasha: Naraku's Trap! Invitation to the Forest of Illusion?), was released for the Game Boy Advance on January 23, 2003 in Japan.

Inuyasha has been adapted into a mobile game released for Java and Brew handsets on June 21, 2005,[47] an English-language original Trading card game created by Score Entertainment that was first released on October 20, 2004. Two titles were released for the PlayStation, Inuyasha and Inuyasha: A Feudal Fairy Tale, with the latter being also released in North America. For the PlayStation 2 the two released games were Inuyasha: The Secret of the Cursed Mask and Inuyasha: Feudal Combat that also received an English version. An English only game, Inuyasha: Secret of the Divine Jewel, was released for the Nintendo DS on January 23, 2007.[48]

Inuyasha have also appeared in the crossover video game Sunday VS Magazine: Shuuketsu! Choujou Daikessen! as playable character.[49]

Inuyasha's sword, Tetsusaiga, has appeared in Monster Hunter, as a craftable weapon using items gained from a special event.

Novel[edit]

A light novel, written by Tomoko Komparu and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi, has been published by Shogakukan.[50]

Live-action[edit]

A Japanese, live-action play was shown in the Akasaka ACT Theater in Tokyo around the time the anime was first in production. The play's script follows the general plot line of the original Inuyasha manga, with a few minor changes to save time.[51]

The Chinese TV series The Holy Pearl is loosely based on Inuyasha. It stars Gillian Chung and Purba Rgyal in lead roles.[52][53]

Reception[edit]

Manga[edit]

Inuyasha manga has sold more than 45 million copies in Japan alone;[54] individual volumes from Inuyasha have been popular in Japan, taking high places in rankings listing sales.[55][56] In 2001, the manga won the Shogakukan Manga Award for best shōnen manga title of the year.[57] In North America, the manga volumes have appeared various times in the New York Times[58][59] and Diamond Distributions top selling lists.[60][61] Moreover, in 2005 Inuyasha was one of the most researched series according to Lycos.[62]

Anime[edit]

The anime of Inuyasha was ranked twenty by TV Asahi of the 100 best anime series in 2006 based on an online survey in Japan.[63] In ICv2's "Anime Awards" from both 2004 and 2005, the series was the winner in the category of "Property of the Year".[64][65] In the Anime Grand Prix polls by Animage, Inuyasha has appeared various times in the category of "Best Anime", taking third place in 2003.[66][67] The four films have earned together over US$20 million in Japanese box offices.[68] In the American Anime Awards from 2007, Inuyasha was a nominee in the categories of "Best Cast", "Best Anime Feature" and "Best Long Series".[69] The English DVDs from the series have sold over 1,000,000 copies ever since March 2003 with the first film's DVD topping the VideoScan anime bestseller list for three weeks.[70] By November 2004, Viz announced they had sold over one million Inuyasha DVDs.[71] Mania Entertainment also listed the series seventh in an article ranking anime series that required a reboot, criticizing the series' repetitiveness.[72]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]