Inuyasha as illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi
|First appearance||Inuyasha Chapter 1|
|Created by||Rumiko Takahashi|
|Relatives||Inu no Taisho (father, deceased)
Izayoi (mother, deceased)
Kagome Higurashi (wife)
Sota Higurashi (brother-in-law)
Mrs. Higurashi (mother-in-law)
Grandpa Higurashi (great father-in-law)
Inuyasha (犬夜叉?) is the male protagonist and titular character of Rumiko Takahashi's manga series Inuyasha and its anime adaptation. Inuyasha is a hybrid of human and yokkai who first appears sealed to a tree in the feudal world. When a girl named Kagome Higurashi is being chased by a yokkai, Inuyasha convinces her to free him so that he might eliminate the enemy. Despite initially distrusting Kagome, Inuyasha joins forces with her to search for the shards of The Jewel of Four Souls which increase a yokkai's powers. Although Inuyasha first aims to become a full demon using the Jewel, as the story progresses he develops strong bonds with the comrades who aid him.
Concept and creation
Inuyasha is stylized by Takahashi as an anti-hero. According to interviews with the author, the style for Inuyasha's clothing was based on "priest's garb" of Japan's Warring States period.
As a dog demon, Inuyasha has claws he uses to fight with, utilized mainly in his Sankon Tessō (散魂鉄爪?, "Iron Reaper Soul Stealer" in dub) attack. Due to his half-breed blood, Inuyasha turns completely human on the night of a new moon, losing all his demon traits and powers. Early in the series Inuyasha acquires Tetsusaiga (鉄砕牙?, "Steel-Cleaving Fang"), a powerful sword made from a fang of his father that can absorb demonic powers and energy. This proves to be useful to keep Inuyasha from falling victim to demonic nature turning him into a berserker. Over the course of the series, Inuyasha develops Tetsusaiga's signature Wind Scar (風の傷 Kaze no Kizu?), Backlash Wave (爆流破 Bakuryūha?) and Adamant Barrage (金剛槍破 Kongōsōha?, Adamant Destroying Spears) techniques. Eventually, Inuyasha gains a new ability in Meidou Zangetsuha (冥道残月破 Meidō Zangetsuha?, "Dark Path of the Dawn Moon's Wave) that Sesshomaru prepared for him as part of their father's design.
Born to a dog-demon father and a human mother, Inuyasha is a dog demon/human hybrid who initially wanted to use the enormous power of the Shikon Jewel to become a full-fledged demon. Inuyasha has dog ears, claws on his fingers, sports a red garment called the Robe of the Fire-Rat and is always barefoot which comes in handy when he has to scratch himself like a dog does.
Fifty years prior to the main era of the storyline, Inuyasha fell in love with the priestess Kikyo, who was tasked with protecting the Jewel. Inuyasha changed his mind, and instead, wanted to use the Shikon Jewel to become a human so that he could live with her. However, Naraku manipulated them into believing they had been betrayed by one another. Before Kikyo died, she shot Inuyasha with a sealing arrow that bound him to the Sacred Tree. Inuyasha remained there for 50 years, until Kagome Higurashi pulled out the arrow, breaking the seal. When the Shikon Jewel, which had previously been embedded in Kagome's body, is shattered into fragments that scatter across feudal Japan, Inuyasha and Kagome travel together to retrieve the shards with Inuyasha once again seeking it to turn into a full-fledged demon. Others such as the monk Miroku, and the rambunctious Shippo later join the duo in their quest.
Inuyasha is constantly rude and prone to bursts of violence in retaliation to the slightest thing that upsets him. In the beginning, Inuyasha was hostile and uncooperative towards Kagome, merely seeing her as means of recollecting the Shikon fragments. Kaede places a necklace that restrains Inuyasha to prevent him from stealing the Shikon Jewel and killing Kagome during their first encounter; whenever Kagome gives the simple command "Sit!", Inuyasha is forcibly pulled face-first to the ground due to the strong spiritual power the unbreakable necklace contains. As the story progresses, however, he begins to fall in love with Kagome, and yet is strained by the unexpected reawakening of Kikyo. He is extremely protective of Kagome and always worries about her safety. He often blames himself when Kagome is in danger because he feels that she would be safer if she was not with him. Because of this, he sometimes tried to force Kagome to stay in her own world of modern day Tokyo. During these times, he is physically weaker without Kagome by his side. Throughout the series, his feelings for Kagome become undeniable, but at the same time he is unable to get over Kikyo, causing some indecisive behavior from him. After the reincarnated Kikyo's death, Inuyasha finally moves on and realizes that Kagome is and always was his one and only true love, as she is the sole reason he is no longer lonely or unhappy. During the final battle within the Shikon Jewel, he states that she was born for him and he for her. After Kagome wishes the Jewel away with him at her side, they are separated for three years. However, Inuyasha and Kagome are eventually reunited, and later married.
In 2002, Inuyasha won the Animage Anime Grand Prix for Best Male Character. In the next year, he was third behind Kira Yamato and Athrun Zala both from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED. He was sixth in the following poll. John Sinnott from DVD Talk noted how examined was Inuyasha including his heritage and use of his sword that could create a big impact. In a review of the second manga volume, Megan Lavey from Mania commented that the character's development was depicted for the first time as the story began to explore why Inuyasha is often angry and has difficulty trusting others. Inuyasha and Kagome were praised by Mania writer Chris Beveridge for how well they act together in contrast to the leads of Ranma 1/2. Writing later for the Fandom Post, Beveridge explained how it was fun seeing Inuyasha in the modern world and the impact it has on Kagome. Similarly, Holly Ellingwood from Active Anime particularly enjoyed the comedy that occurs when Inuyasha visits the modern world following Kagome. Despite noting how several characters had similar faces, Anime News Network's Zac Bertschy noted that Inuyasha stood out thanks to his clothes.
Derrick L. Tucker of THEM Anime Reviews praised the characterization of Inuyasha and other main characters, identifying it as a key reason why story elements such as the love triangle between Inuyasha, Kikyo and Kagome are able to evoke significant audience emotional response. In her book Anime from Akira to Howl's Moving Castle, scholar Susan Jolliffe Napier analysed how certain lessons in the series relate to Inuyasha's representation of masculinity. Academic Caroline Ruddell analysed use of movement in the anime. In combat scenes Inuyasha is often slowed or frozen, against the moving background, to foreground his emotional and physical vulnerability. Close-up shots of his face and head place further focus on these aspects and on the character (rather than the narrative), particularly his facial expressions, while wide shots showing his whole body are used to depict his strength. Together, the techniques show the different facets of his hybrid nature. IGN's D. F. Smith praised the voice acting of Richard Cox as "he does a fine job getting the character's rough-edged, angry mode of speech across, even without being able to stick "yarou" at the end of every sentence."
- Ruddell, Caroline (July 2008). "From the ‘cinematic’ to the ‘anime-ic’: Issues of movement in anime". Animation (SAGE Publications). 3 (2): 119–124. ISSN 1746-8485.
- Takahashi, Rumiko (2011). "Chapter 558". Inuyasha, vol. 56. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-4215-3299-8.
- "＞＞第24回アニメグランプリ ［2002年6月号］". Animage. Tokuma Shoten. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
- "＞＞第25回アニメグランプリ ［2003年6月号］". Animage. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
- "＞＞第26回アニメグランプリ ［2004年6月号］". Animage. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
- Sinnott, John. "InuYasha Season 2 Box Set". DVD Talk. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
- Lavey, Megan (February 18, 2004). "InuYasha (Action Edition) Vol. #02". Mania. Demand Media. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
- Beveridge, Chris. "Inu Yasha Vol. #01". Mania. Demand Media. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
- Beveridge, Chris (March 28, 2013). "Inu Yasha: The Final Act Set 2 Blu-ray Anime Review". The Fandom Post. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
- Ellingwood, Holly. "Inuyasha Seventh Season Box Set". THEM Anime. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
- Bertschy, Zac. "Inu Yasha DVD 1: Down the Well". Anime News Network. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
- Tucker, Derrick L (2001). "Inuyasha". THEM Anime. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
- Napier, Susan J. (November 29, 2005). Anime from Akira to Howl's Moving Castle: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 129. ISBN 978-1-4039-7052-7.
- Smith, D. F. (December 22, 2008). "Inuyasha - Sixth Season Box Set DVD Review". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved April 19, 2015.