Inuyasha Anime & Manga - The Background Information

Story Outline:

Set in the Sengoku Period of Japan (a period of domestic turmoil about 500 years ago), INUYASHA is a time travel fantasy adventure based on the hit comic book series by the same name.

Kagome discovers that she can travel back and forth between the present and the Sengoku Period through a well at the shrine near her house. As she is drawn to another time, she is also drawn into a quest with Inuyasha for a powerful, sacred stone. However, many enemies hinder their way to success, and Inuyasha himself must often be controlled by Kagome. Not to mention that the stone is broken into pieces, making their job all the more difficult... Kagome discovers powers within herself that she never imagined existed. And she may owe these powers to her predecessor, the sorceress Kikyo. In the meantime, Inuyasha discovers that he has feelings for Kagome as they search for the stone together.

©TAKAHASHI Rumiko/Shogakukan YOMIURI TV SUNRISE 2000

Source: Japan YTV

Official Review from the company that licensed Inuyasha in America - VIZ:

Rumiko Takahashi walks on the wild side in a manga tale of demons, monsters, and medieval Japan.

First serialized in Shogakukan's weekly manga magazine for teens and young adults, SHÔNEN SUNDAY, in 1996, Inu-Yasha tells the story of a modern-day Japanese girl named Kagome whose family lives in an old shrine. On the shrine grounds, there is an old covered well, about which there is a legend, as well as an ancient Go-Shinboku God-Tree, and her grandfather's shop selling mystical trinkets...in fact, nearly everything about the house has a legend of some sort attached to it. Kagome has grown up thinking that the legends are simple superstitions, but when a monster reaches out of the ancient "Bone-Eater's Well" one day and drags her into Japan's distant past, she has to quickly come to terms with the magic of another era.

That era is Japan's medieval past, the Sengoku-jidai, typically referred to as the "Warring States" era of Japan's Muromachi period (approximately 1467-1568 CE). During this time, rival warlords fought over territories with their private armies and built fortified castles to protect their conquests. Inu-Yasha takes place against this backdrop, and warlords and their armies frequently appear in its pages, often as the hapless victims of demonic attacks.

When Kagome arrives in the past, she's hailed by the local people as the reincarnation of their village's long-deceased priestess, Kikyo, who "killed" the demon Inu-Yasha by a mystical arrow before she died. This claim would seem to be the truth, as not only is Kagome the very image of the dead woman, but when she is wounded by an attacking centipede-demon, a glittering jewel emerges from the wound. This is the Shikon Jewel, or the "Jewel of Four Souls," which Kikyo died to protect. Kagome also proves to have special powers, including the ability to see magical objects. She may have even more powers, but Takahashi is content to reveal them gradually as the story unfolds.

Kagome quickly acquires a partner of sorts in her travels in the past-Inu-Yasha, the demon Kikyo mystically trapped (not killed) with her arrow. A half-breed, Inu-Yasha owes his demonic strength to his father, a legendary wolf-demon, but his mother was a mortal woman. Thus, Inu-Yasha has the outward appearance of a full demon, including doglike ears and claws, but his strength does not compare to a full demon's powers. For this reason, Inu-Yasha wants the Shikon Jewel, which has the power to transform him into a full-fledged monster. But he's not the only one who wants it-the jewel can increase anyone's powers with its magic, and over the course of the series, humans and demons alike are seduced by the the jewel's power.

The search for the Shikon Jewel becomes the center of Inu-Yasha's story when the jewel is shattered into multiple shards during an early battle. From that point, Inu-Yasha and Kagome have the unenviable task of tracking down all the shards, and piecing them back together again, and the story takes the form of a quest, with each episode introducing a new menace that has acquired a jewel shard. Interestingly, these travels aren't confined to the past. Kagome can use the well to travel back to her own time-which she frequently does to fetch supplies, such as her schoolbooks, snacks, and a bicycle-and the pair even discover jewel shards that have been passed down over the centuries.

However, Inu-Yasha isn't just a horror tale-there's even a bit of romance. As the saga continues, the relationship between Kagome and her dog-demon companion develops and becomes more complex. When Kagome first frees Inu-Yasha from Kikyo's spell, his first thought is to destroy the woman he quickly identifies as his "killer" by her smell, but an enchantment cast upon him by Kikyo's baby sister, Kaede (now an old woman and the village leader), enables Kagome to control Inu-Yasha with a word. That word, thought up by Kagome on the spur of the moment, is a typical bit of Takahashi humor-"sit," as one would say to a dog. (The spell is contained in the necklace of prayer beads around Inu-Yasha's neck which he is powerless to remove.) Inu-Yasha says he hates Kagome, but from the start, the reader suspects that there was more to his relationship with the priestess, Kikyo, than he's telling (a suspicion later confirmed). Over time, Inu-Yasha reveals more about himself and his half-human nature, and protects Kagome from danger, even when he has no particular reason to. Likewise, Kagome proves to be much stronger than he ever suspected she could be, standing up to their monstrous and supernatural opponents to protect others, even at great risk to herself.

As their travels continue, new companions join in the journey-Myoga, Inu-Yasha's flea-demon servant; Shippo, a fox-demon; and Miroku, a Buddhist monk. Each additional character subtly alters the situation, bringing out new aspects to Inu-Yasha and Kagome's relationship.

Basic Stat Info

 

Japanese name: Inuyasha
Dates: October 16, 2000-
August 31, 2002- (United States)
Number of episodes: 90+
Animation Studio: Sunrise
Broadcaster: Nihon TV
Creator(s): Rumiko Takahashi (manga)
Series Director: Masashi Ikeda
Producer(s): Michihiko Suwa, Hideyuki Tomioka
Planning: Michihiko Suwa, Masuo Ueda
Art Director: Shigemi Ikeda
Character Designer(s): Yoshihito Hishinuma
Voice Actors
(regular characters):
Kappei Yamaguchi (Inuyasha), Satsuki Yukino (Kagome)
Genre(s): fantasy, time travel, horror, demons, comedy, romance, historical, Japan
Home Video
information:
Japan: DVD (AVBA 14149, 14156, 14174, 14187, 14212, 14229, 14241, 14256, 14275, 14300, 14314, 14347, 14366, 14379, 14400, 14427, partial)
United States: DVD (announced)

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