Inuyasha, also known as Inuyasha: A Feudal Fairy Tale , 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 begins with Kagome Higurashi, a 15-year-old schoolgirl from Tokyo who is transported to the Sengoku period of Japan after falling into a well in her family shrine, where she meets the half dog-demon, Inuyasha. When a monster from that era tries to take the magical Shikon Jewel embodied in Kagome, she inadvertently 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, including Shippo, Miroku, Sango and Kirara. In contrast to the typically comedic nature of much of Takahashi’s previous work, Inuyasha deals with a darker and more serious subject matter, using the setting of the Sengoku period to easily display the violent content while still retaining some comedic elements.
In modern-day Tokyo, Kagome Higurashi lives on the grounds of her family’s Shinto shrine with her mother, grandfather and little brother. On her fifteenth birthday, when she goes to retrieve her cat, Kagome is dragged into the enshrined Bone Eater’s Well by a centipede demon that emerged from it. But rather than hit the bottom, Kagome finds herself in the past during Japan’s Sengoku period. The demon is revealed to have originally been defeated fifty years prior by a warrior priestess named Kikyo who is the keeper of the Shikon Jewel, an artifact created by the sacrifice of a priestess named Midoriko which grants its holder’s desires. As her resemblance to Kikyo pointed out by her younger sister Kaede, Kagome is revealed to be the priestess reincarnated with the Shikon Jewel contained in her own body after Kikyo had it placed on her funeral pyre in an attempt to keep it safe in death. Kagome then came across a youth pinned by a sacred arrow on a tree, learning he is a half-dog demon (yōkai) named Inuyasha whom Kikyo trapped as her final act when he attempted to steal the jewel. Though Kagome frees Inuyasha to kill the centipede demon, the half-demon subdued by a magical necklace to keep him in line, the Shikon Jewel was extracted from her body, and it later was taken by a crow demon before it was accidentally shattered into many shards that fell across Japan and into the possession of those who gain the individual shards’ power.
After Inuyasha gains his father’s sword Tessaiga, placing him at odds with his older brother Sesshomaru, he aids Kagome in collecting the shards and dealing with the threats they cause as they are joined by young fox demon Shippo. But when Kikyo was partially revived while revealed to have been Inuyasha’s lover, her version of how their falling out occurred brings the events into question. It was when the group is joined by the perverted cursed monk Miroku that the events which resulted in Inuyasha’s imprisonment and Kikyo’s death were caused by a devious half-demon named Naraku who also cursed Miroku’s bloodline. The evolving Naraku is revealed to have been born from the soul of an evil man named Onigumo inhabiting a body created by countless demons as part of a pact to acquire the Shikon Jewel for his own ends, seeking out the shard while absorbing demons to increase his power and remove any weaknesses. Inuyasha’s group is soon joined after by Sango, a demon slayer whose clan was killed when her younger brother Kohaku fell under Naraku’s control and is kept alive by a Jewel shard. Over time, Inuyasha enhances Tessaiga into stronger forms while contends with Naraku’s minion incarnations like Kagura and the reanimated Band of Seven. Inuyasha’s team is loosely allied by Sesshomaru who took an orphaned girl named Rin as a ward, the resurrected Kikyo, and a wolf-demon named Koga who seeks to avenge his comrades while flirting with Kagome.
While Naraku momentarily removes his heart in the form of the Infant, who later attempts to overthrow Naraku through his vessel Moryomaru, Kohaku regains his freewill and memories and attempts to help out of guilt for indirectly killing his father. During that time, Sesshomaru settles things with Inuyasha to enable his brother to perfect Tessaiga to its optimal abilities. Eventually, Koga is forced to stand on the sidelines while Kikyo uses the last of her life force to give Kohaku a second chance at life as Naraku finally reassembles the Shikon Jewel. Although Inuyasha and his allies defeat him, realizing his true desire is for Kikyo’s love despite his hatred towards her and that it can never be granted, Naraku uses his wish to trap himself and Kagome in the Shikon Jewel. Revealed to be sentient, the Shikon Jewel intends to have Kagome make a selfish wish so she and Naraku will be trapped in conflict and prolong its existence. But with Inuyasha by her side, Kagome wishes for the Shikon Jewel to disappear. The action, though, causes Kagome to return to her time with the Well sealed, and she and Inuyasha lose contact for three long years.
In that time, the Sengoku period changes drastically: Sango and Miroku have three children together; Kohaku resumes his journey to become a strong demon slayer with Kirara as his companion; and Shippo attains the seventh rank as a fox demon. Rin lives with Kaede to get her re-accustomed to living with humans in case she so chooses. Back in the present, Kagome graduates from high school before finally managing to get the Bone Eater’s Well in her backyard to work again. Kagome returns to the Sengoku period, where she stays with Inuyasha and becomes his wife.
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.