InuYasha (犬夜叉?), full title 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. The series follows a half-demon, a time-traveling high school girl, a lecherous monk, a fox demon, and a demon slayer during the Sengoku period as they seek to find all the fragments of the Jewel of Four Souls and to keep them out of the hands of evildoers, especially Naraku.
The manga was adapted as two anime television series produced by Sunrise. The first, broadcast for 167 episodes on Yomiuri TV in Japan from October 16, 2000 until September 13, 2004, was directed by Masashi Ikeda for the first forty-four episodes and by Yasunao Aoki for the remainder. The second series, called InuYasha: The Final Act, began airing October 3, 2009 to cover the rest of the manga series and ended on March 29, 2010.
The story begins with a flashback to Feudal Japan, when the half-demon, InuYasha raids a human village to steal the Sacred Jewel of Four Souls, a magical jewel that enhances its wielder's powers and can grant a single wish. InuYasha hopes to use the gem to turn himself into a demon, but is soon stopped when Kikyo, the young miko of the village, shoots him with a sacred arrow, sealing him onto the sacred tree Goshinboku in the nearby forest. 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.
The story then shifts to modern Tokyo, where a junior high school girl named Kagome Higurashi lives on the grounds of her family's hereditary Shinto shrine. When she goes into the well house to retrieve her cat, Buyo, a centipede demon bursts out of the enshrined Bone Eater's Well and pulls her through it.
Kagome emerges into a strange wilderness, initially unaware that she has traveled back through time to the Sengoku period of Japan, fifty years after Kikyo's death. Other than the Bone Eater's Well itself, the only familiar landmark is Goshinboku. She finds InuYasha still sealed onto the tree in an enchanted sleep, and a group of hostile peasants who drag her back to their village.
Their old priestess, Kaede, recognizes Kagome as the reincarnation of her sister Kikyo; when the centipede demon returns, Kaede realizes that the Jewel of Four Souls has also been reborn in Kagome's body. Kagome frees InuYasha so he can kill the centipede demon, but after defeating it, InuYasha again tries to take the Jewel for himself. Kaede thwarts him by placing a magical rosary around his neck, allowing Kagome to subdue him with the simple command, "Sit!" (Often said as "Sit, boy!" in the English adaption.)
The Jewel of Four Souls attracts more demons, and the jewel is 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. Kagome and InuYasha set out to collect the shards and restore the Jewel of Four Souls. Along the way, they befriend Shippo, a small fox demon; Miroku, a perverted cursed monk; and Sango, a demon-slayer with a tragic past.
The group encounters many friends and foes during the adventure, including InuYasha's older half-brother Sesshomaru; Kikyo, partially resurrected with a fragment of Kagome's soul; Naraku, a devious and powerful collective half-demon and the main antagonist who manipulated the initial conflict between Kikyo and InuYasha; and a wolf demon named Koga, who is InuYasha's dedicated rival in both love and war.
Eventually, Naraku collects all of the shards and reassembles the Jewel of Four Souls. Although InuYasha defeats him, Naraku uses his power as the Jewel's owner to wish for Kagome's soul to be trapped inside it with his own, which would allow Naraku to survive within it in eternal conflict with her. Naraku's wish can only be fulfilled by tricking Kagome to also make a selfish wish to save herself, but she has enough confidence in InuYasha, and instead wishes for the Jewel to disappear forever.
Kagome is thrown back into her own time, also Inuyasha is thrown back to the feudal world, and the well stopped working. However, after 3 years Kagome graduated high school, and she comes to a realization, which allows the well to work again. This leads Kagome and Inuyasha to meet again and get married.
Written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi, InuYasha premiered in Japan in the November 13, 1996 issue of Shōnen Sunday, where it ran until its conclusion in the June 18, 2008 issue. The chapters were published by Shogakukan in 56 tankōbon volumes, with the first volume released in May 1997, and the last released in February 2009.
Viz Media free 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. Reprints of older volumes have not been "re-flipped" to match the newer ones. As of March 9, 2010, 46 volumes were released in North America, and new volumes of the series are being released monthly. Viz has also started to reprint the series in their "VizBig" format, combining three of the original volumes into each omnibus with slightly larger pages and full-color bonus art that was previously reduced to grayscale.
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.
InuYasha is also licensed for regional language releases in Argentina by LARP Editores, Brazil by Editora JBC, Italy by Star Comics, France by Kana, Finland, Germany, Norway, and Poland by Egmont, Spain by Glénat, Indonesia by Elex Media Komputindo, Mexico by Editorial Vid, Israel by Aruts Hayeladim, Vietnam by NXB Trẻ and South Korea by Haksan Publishing.
Anime television series
Based on the first 36 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 was also broadcast on Yomiuri TV and Nippon Television. In East Asia and South Asia it was aired on Animax's English-language networks.
The English dub of the anime was licensed release in North America by Viz Media. The series was broadcast on Adult Swim from August 31, 2002 through October 27, 2006. A year later the series aired in Canada on YTV's Bionix programming block from September 5, 2003 through December 1, 2006.
In the 34th issue of Shōnen Sunday, it was announced a 26-episode anime adaption of volumes 36 to the end will be made by the original cast and crew and will air on Japan's YTV. 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?). The series premiered on October 3, 2009 in Japan with the episodes being simulcast via Hulu and ShonenSunday in the United States. In other parts of Asia the episodes are aired on the same week on Animax-Asia. The anime completed its run on March 29, 2010.
The series spawned four anime films which feature original plot, rather than being based specifically on the manga, written by Katsuyuki Sumisawa who wrote the anime episodes. The films have also been released with English subtitles and dubbed audio tracks to Region 1 DVD by Viz Media. Toshiyo Shinohara directed the film series. 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 jewel shard, as they continue their quest for the Shikon Jewel 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 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 the four gods, the Shitoushin, or "The Four War Gods" (As named in the English film.)
Multiple soundtracks and character songs were released for series by Avex Mode. Three character single 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" (業 Fate?) by Sesshomaru featuring Jaken and Rin. The singles charted at number's 63, 76, and 79 respectively on the Oricon chart. 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's 130, 131, and 112 respectively on the Oricon chart.
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 Besutosongu Hisutorī?), a best album that contains all the opening and ending theme songs used in the series. The album peaked at number 20 on the Oricon album chart and charted for seven weeks.
Script error InuYasha has been adapted into a mobile game released for Java and Brew handsets on June 21, 2005, an English-language original Trading card game created by Score Entertainment that was first released on October 20, 2004, and the following video game console games:
|InuYasha (InuYasha RPG)||PlayStation|| December 27, 2001 |
|Japanese title: InuYasha (犬夜叉)|
|InuYasha: A Feudal Fairy Tale||PlayStation|| April 9, 2003 |
|Japanese title: InuYasha: Sengoku Otogi Kassen (戦国お伽草子–犬夜叉)|
|InuYasha: The Secret of the Cursed Mask||PlayStation 2|| November 1, 2004 |
|Japanese title: InuYasha: Juso no Kamen (犬夜叉 呪詛の仮面)|
|InuYasha: Feudal Combat||PlayStation 2|| August 23, 2005 |
|Japanese title: InuYasha: Ōgi-Ranbu (犬夜叉 奥義乱舞)|
|InuYasha: Secret of the Divine Jewel||Nintendo DS|| January 23, 2007 |
|InuYasha: Kagome no Sengoku Nikki (犬夜叉 ～かごめの戦国日記 InuYasha: Kagome's Warring States Diary?)||WonderSwan|| November 2, 2001 |
|InuYasha: Fūun Emaki (犬夜叉 風雲絵巻?)||WonderSwan|| July 27, 2002 |
|InuYasha: Kagome no Yume Nikki (犬夜叉 かごめの夢日記 InuYasha: Kagome's Dream Diary?)||WonderSwan||November 16, 2002 |
|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?)||Game Boy Advance|| January 23, 2002 |
Original video animation
A 30 minute original video animation (OVA), Black Tessaiga (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. The OVA covers the same part of the story that can be seen in episode 14 and 15 from the Final Act
A novel, written by Tomoko Komparu and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi, has been published by Shogakukan.
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 October 3, 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.
- Shonen Sunday's Official InuYasha manga website (Japanese)
- Viz's official InuYasha website
- Sunrise's official InuYasha anime website (Japanese)
- Yomiuri Television's official InuYasha anime website (Japanese)
- Official Sunrise InuYasha: The Final Act anime website (Japanese)
- Inu Yasha (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Inu Yasha (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
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