InuYasha’s Kagome Higurashi Deserved a Better Feudal Fairy Tale

Recently Netflix has added InuYasha, a popular anime that aired in the early 2000’s, to their anime roster. For many people–especially if you were a ’90s kid–InuYasha was a part of your anime experience growing up. It was hugely popular, and still is today. Rumiko Takahashi’s influence on the anime industry is well documented and respected both here and in Japan. I decided to rewatch the series in part due to nostalgia and to see if I could let go of some of the more bitter feelings I had about the show’s progression and the development of the main character, Kagome Higurashi.

When I was in fifth grade I was already well acquainted with Americanized anime like Dragonball Z, Sailor Moon, Yugioh, Beyblade, and Cardcaptors. I accidentally stayed up late one night and caught the ending ten minutes of InuYasha on Adult Swim.

Instantly, I was captured. It was the first anime that wasn’t heavily edited; it had Japanese names, blood that I could see, and a mythical element that I fell in love with. InuYasha had adorable dog ears, Sango had a badass giant boomerang weapon, Miroku’s wind tunnel was both inventive and tragic, and Kagome could shoot laser arrows of magic! There were demons, and romance, and oh the mythology! InuYasha captivated me like no other show on TV at the time. I embarrassingly recall scribbling “InuYasha” on my notebooks and it was the first fandom I ever truly immersed myself in. I read fanfiction, liked fanart, talked about the characters on age old forums. My eleven year-old self was obsessed.

My twenty-three year-old self is less so.

See, Kagome is similar to Dragon Ball’s Chi Chi in a way because both their narratives do them dirty. Only, I’d argue Kagome gets an even shorter stick because she’s suppose to be the protagonist of the story. Sure the show is called “InuYasha” but Kagome is the narrator of the story. If she’s not the lead protagonist, she certainly shares that spotlight with InuYasha. It’s as much her journey–if not more so–as it is his.

This is where my problem with Kagome Higurashi comes in. She doesn’t get to be the protagonist in the show. I can’t speak for the manga, I haven’t gotten the chance to read it, but in the anime, Kagome hardly ever has her position as the heroine of this feudal fairy tale validated.

Kagome has three main struggles within the anime: her desire to remain in school, which represents her “normal” life; her desire to be with InuYasha, who represents her “fairy tale” life; and her abilities as a priestess with spiritual powers.

Kagome’s powers stem from the fact that she is the holder of the Shikon no Tama, or The Jewel of Four Souls, and the reincarnation of the priestess Kikyo. Long story short, Kikyo was the jewels protector who fell in love with InuYyasha. Naraku, the show’s main antagonist, also loved Kikyo and he tricked InuYasha and Kikyo into killing each other. Kikyo died and InuYasha was stuck to a tree for fifty years. The show will repeat this story to you once every twenty or so episodes. The point is, Kagome is supposed to be super powerful. And sometimes she is allowed to be.

In the second episode, “Seekers of the Sacred Jewel”, Kagome is able to shatter the Shikon Jewel into pieces with her powers. In “Tetsusaiga Is Stolen! Showdown At Naraku’s Castle!” Kagome is so enraged by Naraku’s horrid manipulation of InuYasha, Kikyo, Sango, and Kohaku, and his disregard for others’ lives, that she nearly kills him. Again, nearly, because he gets away, but canonically Kagome was one of the only characters Naraku ever viewed as a viable threat. The other was Kikyo for emotional reasons. Kagome was also one of the only characters who could take Naraku on solo and do serious damage and nearly kill him. 

However, we never actually see this development. Kagome, at the start of the series, is a normal middle school teenager. The show repeatedly emphasizes this. Kagome’s main goal pre-fairy tale adventure was getting into a good high school. She’s never been taught archery, but we’re suppose to believe she’s a talented archer with incredible power because she’s the reincarnation of Kikyo who was all these things. So Kagome’s powers aren’t earned by her own merit and are often disregarded completely.

Kagome hardly ever gets to fight, even though she’s supposedly amazingly powerful. Unlike InuYasha, who goes through a series of shounen hero power ups, Kagome is never once taught anything about her powers outside of the plot warranted exposition. Kagome can see jewel shards which makes her valuable to other demons and earns her a place within InuYasha’s group since both Miruko and Sango can fight. This isn’t to say Kagome has to be a fighter; I would have been fine with her not fighting, if the show didn’t pull out her spiritual powers to showcase how powerful she was when it serviced the plot but not her character.

Why doesn’t Kaede ever teach Kagome proper archery? Why doesn’t Sango or Miroku ever teach her basic defensive techniques? Why doesn’t InuYasha? Kagome is suppose to be a pretty powerful priestess, but it we are more likely to see Kagome kidnapped by the demon-of-the-week than figure out how to save herself. As she is a protagonist, you’d think the show would take some time showcasing how Kagome learned how to shoot an arrow, or use her spiritual powers, or maybe take an active stance against being kidnapped. But that might have made InuYasha look bad.

Yup, this is basically what they amount to as characters

Kagome’s homelife? What homelife? Her mother was the most carefree mother of any anime I’ve ever seen save for Kyou Kara Maou’s Cheri. Kagome’s mom and grandfather probably fully understand the immense amounts of danger Kagome is in everytime she travels to feudal Japan, considering she packs first aid kits, gets blood on her uniform on the regular, and has repeatedly cried over her love for InuYasha. You’d think there’d be some tension there, with her family not wanting her to go to a place full of demons and things that want to kill their daughter/granddaughter.

Nope. Kagome’s mother openly seems to support Kagome’s travels, or at least, we never hear her object or even acknowledge the danger Kagome is in. She plays an extremely passive part in Kagome’s life. An ever smiling figure who only once takes an active role in Kagome’s adventure in “Return to the Place Where We First Met”. After seeing InuYasha with Kikyo again–we’ll cover this in a bit–and hearing him swear his love and loyalty to the dead priestess, Kagome flees back to her own time, heartbroken. Mom comes through with a hug and some kind words that basically amount to, “yeah he treats you badly but that’s okay, you’ll pull through!”

Kagome’s classmates are basically non-player characters who all look alike, talk alike, and have no individual personalities. They exist to repeatedly encourage Kagome to go out with another classmate Hojo, and denounce her relationship with InuYasha. The ironic part is her friends are the only ones who seem to understand how awfully InuYasha treats Kagome. Yet, because Hojo is more boring than watching paint dry, her friends have no personalities, and her family are the most careful individuals ever, Kagome doesn’t have any real ties to her “normal” life.

Thus, there’s no real tension that exists in terms of where Kagome will end up. We all knew she’d choose to stay in the feudal era with InuYasha no matter how terribly he treated her, or the issue of losing indoor plumbing. Kagome is meant to be our narrator, yet her life is barely touched upon. Miruko, Sango, and InuYasha’s various family members, or their childhoods, are routinely acknowledged (especially InuYasha’s) but we learn very little about Kagome. She’s a teenager, and a would-be high school student. It’s as if she had no life before being forcibly thrust into a feudal fairy tale. The narrative positions Kagome’s desire to study, to get into a good school, and to eventually graduate high school with her friends, as something petty and childish. InuYasha routinely belittles this desire, and no one in the show validates Kagome’s personal goals.

I get it. Traveling across a beautiful landscape untouched by modern technology with hot companions and having adventures sounds awesome. Way better than staying at home and doing homework. But that life is a part of Kagome’s story and we never get to see it. Furthermore, we don’t learn anything about her past, or family history until The Final Act, which takes place two hundred episodes later. Meanwhile, the show showcases nearly all the other main characters’ backstories and childhoods. In detail.

The narrative consistently favors one side of the story: the one with InuYasha. From the get-go, we know these two are going to get together;  they have “romantic destiny” written all over them. InuYasha and Kagome are always going to happen, but how they happened could have really helped Kagome’s story, instead of hindering it.

The show repeatedly pits Kagome and Kikyo against each other. Kikyo is InuYasha’s first great love. Kagome is meant to be his future. They’re narrative foils of each other in nearly all aspects. Kikyo is skilled in battle, a talented priestess, calm and collected, and was well respected in her village. Kagome on the other hand is a normal girl who knows nothing about demons or battle. Unlike Kikyo, who was raised a priestess with all the training to come with it, Kagome is less skilled, and her powers less refined. Kagome is also prone to angry outbursts, crying, and needing protection from others. This creates a specific image of both of them, Kikyo being the “capable” priestess, and Kagome being the “incapable” priestess.

Can we all agree they don’t look alike?

InuYasha’s part does little to help this perception. He routinely abandons Kagome–even after promising her he wouldn’t–in favor of Kikyo. InuYasha knows Kagome has romantic feelings for him. It becomes rather an unspoken agreement between them that they’re together romantically in “Return to the Place Where We First Met”, when Kagome returns to be with InuYasha because she loves him. Even so, when InuYasha learns that Kikyo might be alive–after she’s been killed again–he chases a rumor and abandons Kagome. This leaves Kagome open to be kidnapped by one of Naraku’s latest incarnations and possessed. The demon digs into Kagome’s soul for darkness, and only when Kagome realizes InuYasha won’t come for her because he’s chasing Kikyo does the demon infant find it.

This repeated storyline is extremely frustrating. Kagome repeatedly feels inadequate compared to Kikyo and no one ever denies this. Not even InuYasha. It’s not so much that someone has to say, “you’re better than her”; just a simple, “you’re as good as her” would have been nice. Heck, someone listening to Kagome’s feelings of extreme inadequacy when it came to Kikyo would have been nice. Miroku and Sango provide moderate support, acknowledging that InuYasha should apologize a bit more for his behavior, but for the most part they stay out of it. Surprisingly Shippo is one of the few characters that repeatedly call InuYasha out on his dreadful behavior, but Shippo is also narratively useless. He provides nothing to the plot save for being a cute mascot, and never grows as an individual character.

The real kicker between InuYasha and Kagome is that Kagome’s jealousy over Kikyo isn’t validated, but InuYasha’s over the men in Kagome’s life is. That jealousy slapstick humor is often used in anime, but this was especially obnoxious considering InuYasha’s relationship with Kikyo.

Kagome suffers silently, having to martyr herself in order to give InuYasha space, closure, or time with Kikyo. InuYasha could never be bothered to be held to the same standard. When Hojo spends time with Kagome, InuYasha puts him down. When Koga shows open interest in Kagome, protects her, moderately respects her, and treats her kindly, InuYasha goes into a jealous rage. In the episode “Two Hearts, One Mind”, after Kagome and InuYasha get into a huge fight over him taking his jealousy out on Kagome, Kagome laments her own behavior in their fight, even going as far as blaming herself. When she returns to the feudal era to reconcile with InuYasha, Kagome apologizes for yelling at him–even though she was justified in doing so. InuYasha also apologies–for breaking her clock.

Note: Kagome was merely thanking Koga for his help here and InuYasha still flipped out.

We’re suppose to root for InuYasha because he’s awkward, and is unable to own up to his feelings for Kagome, but when his inability to be honest with himself leads to him treating her with disrespect, we have a problem. Kagome has to sacrafice herself and disregard her feelings when it comes to InuYasha and Kikyo’s relationship. InuYasha on the other hand can’t even stand it when Koga holds Kagome’s hand or tells her how much he cares for her or how amazing she is.

Make no mistake, Koga isn’t the perfect partner for Kagome either. She clearly lacks any romantic interest in him, yet he still pushes his romantic feelings onto her throughout the show. Even so, there’s a clear difference in how Kagome and InuYasha’s romantic subplots are handled.

InuYasha’s romance with Kikyo is treated with grace, and subtlety, while Kagome’s potential romantic relationships are treated with kid gloves. Hojo is boring, Koga is never given a second thought, and InuYasha’s jealousy is validated, while Kagome’s feelings of inferiority aren’t. This circle of storytelling continues on for most of the series, puffed out with filler episodes, and never gets truly resolved by the end of the original series.

In The Final Act, a completion of the series that wraps up all the storylines, this gets marginally better. Kagome is given a more active role in her story, and InuYasha shows her more respect as a partner, friend, and romantic interest. Even so, I could never fully forget how awful Kagome was treated throughout the show. The Final Act corrected a lot of the problems the original series suffered from–namely the never-ending plotlines and fillers–but there were still two hundred plus episodes that did Kagome dirty. I still find myself, after watching The Final Act, feeling fondness for InuYasha and Kagome’s relationship. Then I watch the original series and I just get mad. Kagome deserved a better narrative than what was given to her. Kagome deserved to play an active role in the story she narrated and given a love interest who respected her. She was given neither.

Desiree Rodriguez

Desiree Rodriguez

Desiree Rodriguez is currently majoring in Converged Communications. She's a writer, geek girl, and proud queer mestiza woman. Desiree is an entertainment writer for The Tempest, and contributor for Nerds of Color. Desiree has written for The Young Folks, The Feminist Wire, and Geeked Out Nation.

27 thoughts on “InuYasha’s Kagome Higurashi Deserved a Better Feudal Fairy Tale

  1. I really enjoyed reading the original analysis posted by Desiree as well as many of the though provoking comments above. I would like to add further to many arguments in favor of Kagome (not getting the short end of the stick) when you we take cultural values and differences into context. First, honor is a very important concept in Eastern cultures, often times, it is placed high above romantic feelings. Emphasis is placed on community as opposed individualism. To place a high priority on “love” may be viewed as selfish, or overindulgence as it benefits only the individual, while “honor” affects the community, clan or family. From my perspective, i never saw any wavering or indecisiveness in Inuyasha’s love for Kagome. He knew in his heart she was made for him and understood him in a way Kikyo never did but his sense of duty, honor and promise to Kikyo superseded his desires to be with Kagome. There was never a doubt in my mind that he could never be with Kagome for as long as Kikyo existed, no matter how much it pained him and Kagome understood this. It is the only reason she “chose” to subject herself to more suffering in this love-triangle. Secondly, in western culture, having a voice is considered a positive quality, speaking up against injustice is often admired, in contrast to Eastern values, the ability to endure great sufferings is a strength, not weakness. It is selfless.

    1. This honour concept is in fact totally regular to western culture/s, and women’s voices likewise regarded as optional. Imagine this was a story about Knights. Exact same problems arise.

      Your analysis is fair, but “east = honour” is p played out.

  2. while I really enjoy your review and agree that Kagome really suffer a lot in this show. Inuyasha wasn’t that bad, believe me I seen worse guys in anime, and inuyasha for a dog demon that burly could talk with humans is okay, he did support her in a way in the show, in the first episode’s and latter on and learn so much from her. even if it wasn’t that clear or said in words. but other times he just love kikyo more, not just by his guilt, but he just love her – stay in the past. actually, other then his love to his “dead” girlfriend and been idiot and rude in small scale – like guys most of the time are, or those that girls like. I don’t know why you try to say inuyasha is that bad of a guy, cough twilight – the worst man in the world! so yeas Inu can be annoying sometimes but not bad like twilight, no way! XD
    actually I always seen hater’s for Kagome for some odd reason that said she like to abuse him all the time or some shit. but I think he deserve it, every time she did so I don’t see why she so bad, she actually forgiving for him a lot! too much. she did punish him many times but it wasn’t all the time!!
    I get what you said about she didn’t get an improvement in her power, but again I think this show is not like Dragonball Z at all! you can’t even compere them and no, she not like chi chi at all, not in character and not in what the show trying to light in them. never will! you wrong in this comparison, and I never agree on this.
    while Dragonball Z Focuses on Physical strength, not to mention that we won’t see chi chi again as a fighter only has a freak out mother almost all the show, where do you see women fight in this show again? at all?? never! even chi chi not, after her first son. and she will never fight, only bring children and yelled how much she hate him. oh and Chi chi just hit him with no reason most of the time, yap that how her character is. just kick his ass with no reason while Kagome had a good reason to get mad at him! she didn’t do it all the time just to abuse him, while Chi chi did do that all the time just to abuse him! balance you know, balance is the key here- chi chi, I think, don’t have that.
    now Inuyasha how many women with skills did fight in this show – Kagome, Sango, kikyo, kagura, ayame (koga love wife to be) and more in the filler.
    now, as for Inuyasha – the show not only focuses on physical strength like dragon ball did, but also on the mantel and mind strength, how strong you are emotionally mentally. so yeas Kagome maybe not have the skills of kikyo or training like everyone else, it’s true but she strong in mental and emotional more then everyone in this show. is it easy to forgive someone that hurt you and still in love with his ex girlfriend? No! is it easy to save the ex of the boy you love the most? No! it’s damn not easy. it more easy to give up on him and move on, yeas it also hard to do but more easy to run from those who hurt you then to stay. maybe I”m wrong here, but I think Kagome strength and power don’t need to train in physical form like Inuyasha and the others, more train her mind and spirit then skills like Inuyasha get in the show. we can see it more easily on Inuyasha, while his sword get stronger his mind and emotion still weak, he still very childish, behaving the same as before he got the new skills and waving his sword everywhere like an idiot child that play with his toys. when I think about it, Kagome growth emotions for Inuyasha is very interesting and her ability to accept them already did make her stronger then Inuyasha, cause that is the source of her Strength, her ability to accept him the way he is – unlike kikyo, that was strong and skills and train all her life, but her mind was weak – she never could just accept him has who he is – simple as that!
    and wanted to use some stupid magic tool to change him into his human form and why again? so they could love each other? why?!!. can’t they just love each other now? what stopping them? and that where Kagome is very different from her, but! Kikyo, after she come back from the dead also change and grow from her past and become stronger emotionally. and that very interesting to see, she didn’t train physically only grow up and accept her real emotions and get the freedom to be herself. that was interesting to me in this show, and not the physical skills things or training.
    another thing, wow you harsh on her friends don’t you? 0-0 they do have personality, it just they never show up enough to show it. screen time is a bitch XD and even when they did show up they just was the tool to Kagome to spill all her frustrations on Inu and that’s it, but they did have something. just not developed enough. actually I never seen her modern world has boring or dull or that she not belong there, maybe it just me but the magic of this show was that Kagome love both worlds! her family and friends and Inuyasha era. the modern was the only place she could really relax and be a little happy with her family and normal life. she needed that Routine and familiar place to balance her mind. so I never thought she will give this up, never seen it coming and I hate the ending, very much. but then I watch more old anime’s of the same Creator and let’s just say, her female character well I get why she did it to Kagome now. not that I like it, but well this is her creation.
    I really recommend you watch fushigi yuugi, there at last the ending was way batter. fushigi come out way early then Inuyasha. while I know it has his flows I love both those series, but I never grow up on fushigi but I still find it a little batter in ending then Inusasha. I still love Inuyasha very much, since I grow up on it too. but I don’t see Kagome need more skills or training, I think she did train by herself cause we did seen she getting way batter with the bow has the time move on in the series. but I didn’t need to watch her train, like I know she mast did. over wall thank you for the interesting review on my childhood show, I grow up on all those series too ^^ thank you for sharing!

  3. Inuyasha totally did respect her, and I think you have vastly and massively misconstrued his character. However, being that this was based on the anime, which really does his character dirty (remember him saying ‘why can’t he have both?’ regarding Kagome and Kikyou. Yeah, that never happened in the manga. Inuyasha makes it clear as day that his tie to Kikyou is a debt of honor and guilt. He wants more than anything to be with Kagome), I can understand how that would happen. Inuyasha articulates his feelings and concerns much more in the manga than he does in the anime, and while he doesn’t really ever say ‘you’re as good as Kikyou’ or ‘you’re better’, he does praise her a lot.

    But for a fifteen year old boy with no social upbringing, he tries remarkably hard, and no he does not undermine her schoolwork in the manga outside of very early on. It’s more that he doesn’t understand the importance of it, but once he does, he actively tries to help her and supports her.

    Some of your complaints are still in the manga though. Mainly the undermining of Kagome’s power and worth by the narrative. She does fight more in the manga, or at the very least, as there is less random filler where she’s sidelined, she spends more of the story fighting. But there is a continued insistence upon forcing Kikyou into her storyline at every turn. Kagome is SUPPOSED to be the most powerful priestess in the story. Word of god, she’s more powerful than Kikyou. But- although we see this, it’s not really explored. There’s a whole story arc about Kagome’s unusually large soul, but we never find out why she has one! Even after Kikyou dies, Kagome has to live in her shadow because the narrative forces that, and it’s so frustrating.

    Furthermore Kagome is treated as if she should feel guilty about the way she behaved toward Kikyou, which is frankly ridiculous. Kikyou literally tried to kill her. In all but one of her interactions with Kikyou in manga canon, she was cold and rude to her. Heck, when Kagome saved Kikyou’s life, Kikyou didn’t thank her because ‘Kagome would have done that for anyone’. Yet the narrative acts as if Kagome needs to get past her resentment toward Kikyou, even though it’s totally justified! It’s Kikyou that needed to grow, but we are supposed to believe that she did- and we just didn’t see it.

    As a manga reader, I actually thought the story was going to end with Inuyasha in the present, not Kagome in the past. Rumiko put in what I felt was a lot of foreshadowing for it (much of which was cut from the anime), and to me it made so much more sense. But— unfortunately that’s not the ending we got.

    Basically I do agree that the narrative of Inuyasha treats Kagome unfairly, but not to the point that the anime does.

    1. I think, generally when it comes down to it, like Kagome, many opinions about Kagome are done through the anime, and through the anime his stand-off-ish and generally attitude toned up in the anime. This is due to two reasons, fights with Shippo in the anime are a lot more notable (see many fillers), and his fights with Kagome are toned up because both Kagome and himself are shown to be a whole lot angrier and actually fight a lot more with one another.

      We don’t get to see the more vunerable side of Inuyasha, most of the time that anime tries to expand a little more on his past, but many of the moments when we get to hear what he’s thinking aren’t as prominent, so rather than feeling sorry for him (which we should because his life has been hell and he deserves better), some don’t generally feel this because of how far he takes things in the anime.

      Funny enough, I think something that is overlooked is because another situation doesn’t happen in the manga. Up to the point of the Noh Mask arc, he generally acted like a jerk (he even tried to block her from going back to her time by destroying the well once), in the Noh Mask arc. Kagome has to make up a test because she failed a previous one because of her time in the past. She asks Inuyasha if he would mind letting her stay, and he refuses. This refusal pushes her over the egde and she pushes him down into the well, yelling at him for his selfish attitude. This was built up into the series because Inuyasha was shown to be extremely selfish when it came to the Shikon no Tama, but this was the moment where Kagome stood up for herself and scolded him for his attitude. This moment leads to Inuyasha (this also wasn’t in the anime) waiting for her at the end of the chapter, and even grabbing onto her bag for her and walking towards the well with it. (Showing that he better understood that things were important to her as well.) After this, any issues with tests and studying that he had simply came to his own jealousy (because it meant that Kagome would have to leave for a few days). He does eventually get over this (especially when he learns that their not something she likes to do, but something that she has to do) and even asks at one point if he could help “defeat” them for her. 😀

      As far as memory serves, this isn’t as much as it would seem. Earlier on the best example of this was Tsubaki (though the anime took liberties with this and made the situation much more about “who Kagome is”. Really Tsubaki’s situation came down more to Naraku’s involvement and the general fear that Kagome presented. He had a belief that he could use Tsubaki to take out Kagome, and of course, that failed miserably.

      I think in this situation, I do think Kikyo is getting a little too much credit here, because the opposite is more often than not the case. Kagome, sure has something of a belief that she plays second-fiddle to Kikyo, because she doesn’t actually full know the situation of Kikyo’s and Inuyasha’s standing. Mt. Asuza is a good look at this situation. Naraku uses this against her and has “visions” of Kikyo and Inuyasha in the past run through her mind, the visions themselves our a fabrication of the events and allow Naraku to taint her heart. When she goes to retrieve the bow, it’s this influence that attempts to prevent her from getting the bow, but she fights this off, coming to terms with the fact that she knows Inuyasha better than Kikyo ever did. Other than that, she is viewed by Kikyo as the greater threat to Naraku, so much so that Kikyo has to use the jewel to attempt to establish a place in the situation. (Remember her giving the jewel to Naraku? Jump ahead a little and recall her discussion with Inuyasha where she outright states that she is the only person that can defeat Naraku.) Before this point, Kagome always had the upperhand (and even after this point, Kagome still had a large advantage over Naraku. When you look at their records against Naraku, Kikyo has never reached the point where she has actually damaged Naraku in any capacity, in fact each of the situations with Naraku hurt were due to Kagome pulling the trigger, or coming close to defeating him herself.

      That also doesn’t factor in Matgatsuha who feared her power so much that he has to block her from attempting to use it on him. This says a lot, coming from the what is the counter to Midoriko.

      Kikyo’s situation was both living in the shadow of her former self (attempt to retain former glory), while trying to combat the overwhelming shadow that Kagome had in the situation (both with Inuyasha as well as the fear that she brought to Naraku). Naraku ducking and dodging Kagome most of the series shows just how much of a force Kagome was to be reckoned with, he event went above and beyond with Hitomiko and still was defeated, and never dropped to his level any point before this. Which I tend to think also gets a little overlooked. Kagome goes through some of the most emotionally stresed situations in the series and retains who she is, she never uses someone to achieve a goal, her focus remains the same, she never loses herself in the mess that Naraku attempts to create. Where Naraku could (in canon), mess with just about anyone, and use anything he wanted against them, Kagome was the exception, he tried many times, to make her do something by his rules, he’s tried to turn her, he’s tried to taint her heart, even tried to kill her and nothing ever came of it, she fought it off and retained who she was. He can’t mess with Kagome’s emotions, nobody can and anyone who attempts to, tends to meet a bad end.

      I think another factor that is often overlooked is Sesshomaru, his view of Kagome really holds Kagome’s position to a high standard. How many could actually have Sesshomaru actually speak with them like they were a person. After their encounters with one another down the line, there is a notable amount of respect from his position. And why wouldn’t there be? She pulled the Tessaiga, she was capable of reversing the Tessaiga’s powers, and was even able to hit him with an arrow (and in that fight she played a large role in saving Inuyasha’s life).

      The one part you do bring up is Kagome’s soul, which it’s never stated why it is as large as it is, though it does explain her exceptionally high spiritual power. Generally though, without explaination from Takahashi, it could be assumed that the soul natural grew as it reincarnated. The process of reincarnation is done to allow a soul to reach it’s point of maturity. Kagome would be that point. The soul itself though explains her powers, but it also explains why the Shikon no Tama wanted her to be the successor to Midoriko.

      Kikyo was in the wrong in both situations, but Kagome’s approach wasn’t the greatest either. Focusing on the situation you’re talking after the Illusionary Death. Kagome refuses to tell Inuyasha what has happened at that point. Kikyo had just lied to Inuyasha about what had happened, stating she took the jewel from Kagome to keep her safe from Naraku (even though she attempted to kill Kikyo at this point, ironically enough Kikyo didn’t even seem to have an issue with anyone else, including Inuyasha, dying at this point as well). Inuyasha wasn’t buying this though, once Kikyo was gone, he immediately questioned Kagome about it, but Kagome refused to answer it. Even though Inuyasha would have believed her, she decided not to say anything because she believed that it sounded she making it up, in the end it would make her into a tattle-tale.

      The next situation, Kikyo was definitely in the wrong, she should have apologized and had every right to be angry with Kikyo. The problem was when Inuyasha arrived she misunderstood the situation and it ended up with them getting into a fight because of it. It’s not so much that she took her anger out of Inuyasha (because Inuyasha didn’t help the situation by yelling back), but using the command at the moment was wrong, and she realized that. Ironically, Inuyasha showed that he was more sensitive than he lets on, because he didn’t care about the command, he just wanted her to apologize for telling him that she hated him.There are moments when both need time to cool down and one approaches the other, and Inuyasha always escalates the situation by saying something he shouldn’t, he yelling at her in some fashion (his social skills are lacking for a long period of time).

      Kikyo does need to grow, but, Kagome is the one that’s most emotionally mature. She understands when she says something she doesn’t mean and realizes right-from-wrong, it’s not so much to place her in a bad light, but she showcase just how in control and how much she understands her emotions. The same can’t really be said for Kikyo, she’ll blatantly and bluntly tell you something outloud and walk off with a believe that her assumptions are correct, but Kagome is more human in that she ‘feels’ her emotions, she thinks through her emotions. This is one reason she’s one of the most emotionally stable characters in the series, she has more of a grip around her emotions, and understands those emotions, that is another thing that makes her a threat to Naraku, and the baby, and even Kaou.

      That creates a very human character, because even in situations where we feel justified for saying or doing something, we’re going to view those situation negatively because they are negative moments and we’re going to feel bad in those situations because of it. It’s natural. Hate isn’t something that Kagome really presents throughout the series, though she does have moments where they do come out, she doesn’t allow those moments to consume her who she is. Even someone as evil as Naraku, she doesn’t truly hate, but sympathizes with his situation, which again is very human. We all have the capacity to hate, but there are those that just feel hating is something that won’t get you anywhere.

      I found while reading there were many hints at Kagome remaining in the past. Inuyasha lacked the capacity to live that kind of life and considering how he naturally is, the future would would be more trouble for him than needed. Throughout the story, their were hints that Kagome was going to remain in the past if the situation came to it (everything from her friends), but also how the more time she spent in the past, the more she seemed to outgrow the future. Her interaction with her friends was a example of that, each time they would meet later and later into the story, Kagome just felt like she was in a completely different world from them.

    2. What I’m getting from this is that I really need to read the manga! Haha, but no, I appreciate your comment greatly. It points out how much material is changed, left out, and/or distorted when it comes to anime adaptions of manga series. Much like in western media when books are made into movies, or comics made into TV shows. When manga is made into anime material can often times be distorted, and prominent, important aspects of the stories and characters are left out. This all contributes to a story that isn’t as weighted emotionally or narratively as it could be.

      Rurouni Kenshin, is one of my personal go-to examples of this.

      It sounds as though Inuyasha in the manga treats Kagome with much more respect than he does in the anime. Which I’m grateful for. Despite what’s said in this essay, or how I may have sounded, I don’t actively dislike the pair. I simply despised Kagome’s overall treatment as a singular character and how Inuyasha as a character was a contributing factor in that mistreatment.

      The frustrating part of it all is that there was so much potential in the series, especially with Kagome and her relationships with other characters, including Inuyasha. The bits you talk about with Kikyo are exactly how I felt watching the anime. It was extremely frustrating to see Kagome’s feelings of resentment towards Kikyo weren’t justified in any meaningful way. The narrative always felt tipped towards Kikyo and in favor more of Inuyasha’s feelings towards Kikyo. This left Kagome in a tough position of being a martyr, because if she got angry, or outwardly showcased her disappointment and resentment, she would end up being “the bad guy” as it were. Which was unfair towards Kagome as a character, and especially as our main protagonist.

      If anything, that’s the most frustrating aspect of the anime, the overall unfulfilled potential that was bogged down with filler episodes, groping jokes, love shapes, drawn out battles, Shippo repeatedly falling in first love, and not enough time spent on actual story.

      But yes, I really do need to set aside time to read the manga. If only to properly compare Kagome’s overall treatment in both mediums.

  4. It’s very hard not to look at the anime and say this about not only Kagome’s characters, but most of the characters within the overall series. Sunrise didn’t do the best job in handling the characters and took quite a few liberties with changing elements of the storyline as well as actions of the characters.

    I’ll start with the outlook on relationships. Readers of the manga will note just how one-sided the situation was in context. Kiyko’s role wasn’t that of a love interest, that was put to rest early in the manga, but the time you hit the Illusionary Death sequence of the manga and here Inuyasha’s thoughts on Kikyo, you get a general idea that there wasn’t so much ‘love’ in there as much as the need to be accepted. This was one of the most notable times where the anime writers took liberties with the storyline. What the anime does, is it creates the love-triangle that we see in the anime, mind you the problem being they decided create it far to early in the anime, because Kagome’s feelings weren’t officially established until Return to the Place we First Met, they were already creating jealous tension a good 15 episodes before this, without much to establish Kagome’s jealousy, only two very minor scenes I recall, one being the event after Kikyo tries to kill Inuyasha (which if you’ve seen the “Why can’t I have both?” scene, that’s actually filler that covered over a rather important scene that happened in the manga, involving Inuyasha’s guilt and Kagome’s insecurities. And another minor scene at the beginning of the Illusionary Death sequence.

    This doesn’t even take into account the other scenes that they removed to create their own kind of arc. Most of the big scenes that involved Kagome and Inuyasha’s development and growth never make it into the anime, and usually end up becoming about Kikyo. This was basically Sunrise attempting to create and equal plateu to create the drama required for love-triangle.

    I’ll give a few examples. The scene at the dock is a scene used a lot in the series, it’s a nice little scene involving Kikyo tripping and falling into Inuyasha’s arms. It shows up twice in the series, three if you count The Tragic Love Song of Destiny. Would you be surprised to learn that it’s filler? Not only that, it’s filler contradicted by Kikyo when she attempts to kill Inuyasha, when she claims that her and Inuyasha never had any contact with one another while she was alive? The anime really did a good job to build up Kikyo’s character, the problem came that it often came at the expense of Inuyasha and Kagome. Inuyasha’s thoughts were often changed around a little, and the word “beloved” were tossed around a lot (despite Inuyasha never using the word himself).

    Or for Inuyasha’s reasoning for being around Kikyo simply having to do with his guilt, his decision to follow Kikyo is only due to guilt and a belief that he has a obligation to do so. While Kagome’s insecurities are there, but Inuyasha puts them to rest pretty quickly.

    Another aspect was Inuyasha’s openness, he was a lot more open where the anime made him closed off, and usually scenes that involved development (mostly due to Kagome’s influence) never make it into the anime.

    Another aspect you brought up about the dynamic of Kagome and Kikyo’s powers. Is covered heavily by characters words. On numerous occasions Kaede, Miroku and even Inuyasha all are surprised at her abilities. Situations like he saving Mayu (when Inuyasha couldn’t) saving Inuyasha’s skin in his battle with Sesshomaru and taking down Naraku played a large role in these aspects.

    It should be noted, that you left out Kikyo’s side of things, which are actually very interesting. I’d point to Kikyo’s words about Kagome being the ‘biggest threat’ to Naraku, those being Naraku’s words, and even the jealousy Kikyo expresses when she refers to Kagome as her biggest threat. Kikyo in the manga especially is extremely jealous of Kagome because she not only possesses the power to kill Naraku, but she was able to do what Kikyo couldn’t with Inuyasha, bring out the real side of Inuyasha. This happens to be the catalyst for her plan with the jewel, when she could have simply given Kikyo the help, but she doesn’t, she follows through on a delusion that she is still the top dog in the situation and attempts to keep that situation running, but anyone could tell after Kagome’s first encounter with Naraku, the situations were Kagome’s favor power-wise.

    However let’s not act like Kikyo was perfectly portrayed either. Think about her actions that we see in the anime. She was responsible for giving Naraku his “new body” after the Kodoku, just because she wanted to pique her interest. She hands over the Sacred Jewel, which makes Naraku even more of a threat. She walks around assuming that Naraku cannot touch her, which is perhaps the worst kind of logic you could have with Naraku. Naraku of course, adapts and Kikyo finds herself on the losing end of things when Naraku almost kills her. She then has to go to Kagome for help because of how badly Naraku damaged her. Kikyo is of course, the tragic character that suffers from hubris, with her own hubris often being her own downfall. Kikyo might be capable in terms of her powers, but when it comes to her own limits, her own weaknesses, she denies that she has them. I can’t even really say that she is shown to be more capable than Kagome, because in terms of the series, the impact that Kikyo has, is nothing compared to what Kikyo has. Throughout Kikyo’s entire plan, she never comes to the point where she puts Naraku out of commission, she never reaches the point that Kagome does on each encounter that Kagome and Naraku have. Kagome was able to put Naraku out of commission, and if Kagome was only a few feet closer, Kagome would have ended him, even Naraku admits this, and after these events, he’s too fearful to come close to her (which was one of the reason he used the baby to do his work for him). Obviously the plan with the Jewel is a ploy to hide Kikyo’s weaknesses, her weaknesses that become very apparent after Naraku attacks her with the giant soul collector and she has no recourse but to run to Kagome for safety. It might seem that Kagome has more weak moments, but Kagome has more screen time, but Kagome also has a lot of strong moments going for her than Kikyo does. Perhaps one of the biggest aspects would be the number of times that Kagome saved Inuyasha’s life, which winds up being a pretty big chunk of times. The best thing about this fact? Inuyasha doesn’t mind at all that Kagome is the one pulling him out of a mess, he even seems shocked when Miroku states that he cannot allow himself to be protected by a woman (Yes, Miroku does indeed say this, and Inuyasha finds this fact to be stupid on Miroku’s part), showing Inuyasha’s view of Kagome as an equal.

    I’d also take the time to point out, Return to the Place we First Met wasn’t a step of them being together romantically. Inuyasha had made his decision to give his life to Kikyo, as he puts it “Kikyo gave her life for me, it is only fair that I return the favor”, obviously showing that while it wasn’t a decision he liked, it was a decision that he believed was right. That moment was Kagome placing them into ‘friend status’, Kagome took control of the situation, and made the decision to stay beside him, because as she puts it “I want you to be happy”, which is important because Inuyasha claims in that very same speech prior, that he “doesn’t deserve to be happy”. It doesn’t change his interaction with Kagome though, they still have their moments as they usually do.

    “Two Hearts, One Mind” is an interesting example, even though I kind of agree with it. Though you forgot to mention that just the gesture of Inuyasha showing up was actually a big reason that she went back in the first place. Her reasoning was that she didn’t care about being the ‘winner’ in the situation, she didn’t even care about being right, she just wanted to go back and put the situation to rest, she does so, the anime then has her getting angry when he does apologizes for breaking the clock, the manga has her lean up against Inuyasha and simply sigh, it’s over, that’s all that she wanted. She understands how jealous Inuyasha is, but also how stubborn she is, but she also understands that she has to be the one to be the bigger person. I wouldn’t call a bad moment, because it really shows how mature Kagome is, she deals with things as they come and go, and gets over them.

    The baby was actually a very big manipulations of her feelings. One has to remember then when it came to Kikyo’s “death” it was Kagome that told Inuyasha to go and look for her. When she is captured and possessed, it’s due to the baby manipulating her emotions to get a desired effect. What he says isn’t true, and Kagome picks up on that, which leads to her speech in the end, the baby was simply toying with her emotions. The baby, much like Naraku, is a master manipulator, it could talk anyone into just about anything, but just like Naraku, the baby couldn’t do that with Kagome.

    Kagome’s insecurities are a large part of the series, but the anime never did do a good job at explaining them, and the main reason was often due to events that happened that built up Kagome don’t really appear in the anime. Inuyasha says on numerous occasions how much Kagome means to him and who she is to him. A good example of the anime dropping the ball on this. During the events of Inuyasha’s attempted kill of Inuyasha, Kikyo asks a big question “What are you to Inuyasha”, now in the anime this is glossed over, Kagome walks off, asking the question softly, goes to her own time… and nothing ever comes of it, they never explain what Kagome is to him. The manga does though.

    The damsel-in-distress aspect came heavily from the anime, mostly though fillers, but even in moments where she finds herself in those situation, she’s not Princess Peach, a few good instances involve the situation with The Thunder Brothers, where she manipulates them to not only survive, but create the confrontation with Inuyasha. Against the Peach Man? Even when she’s about the size of his thumb, she yells at him as if they’re the same size. Let’s not forget about Koga, he’s apart of this, she’s kidnapped, and what does she do? She slaps the taste out of Koga’s mouth, something that shocks the other demons around the area, they were just waiting for the moment when Koga was going to kill her, obviously it doesn’t happen, but that just shows how Kagome doing something that very few would do, least of all, any of the tribe.

    Kagome’s time never played a large role in the series. In fact, our first introduction to how the character is, doesn’t come from her time, but her time in the Feudal Era. We get a small glimpse of her life in the future, but it’s the past where we’re really introduced to Kagome’s character. Really, Kagome’s time is there for two reasons, to show us how Kagome changes during her time in the past, and used to provide moments of relaxation. Her family and her future life doesn’t need much covering (though I wouldn’t be against some focus on her father), we don’t need much of a introduction to why Kagome is the way that she is when she arrives to the future, a lot of influence comes from her mother as we learn through the series. The other difference comes with the other characters in them deal with their own arcs, while Kagome’s arc involves the entirety of the series. Her time in the future gets more focus, but the time in the past will be the biggest part because it focuses on the overall adventure. Kagome’s own life doesn’t need much covering when you honestly think about it, it’s very much a typical life, she spends time with friends, spends time with her family, goes to school and that’s typically it. In the past she’s fighting demons and saving the world while developing with each passing experience that happens there. This is what makes Kagome a completely different character in the end than how she was in the beginning, you see the growth, it’s there. Even Kagome’s friends were good examples of how different Kagome was becoming due to her time in the past. She was a lot closer to her friends in the beginning, but as the series goes onward, they drift apart, Kagome becomes more mature, and when you compare her interaction with them earlier in the series, and then later in the series, the friendship isn’t there anymore because Kagome grows up. The Trio, are basically around to there for the outside perspective, though their advice isn’t the greatest, and in fact, is often the worst kind of advice. These are the kinds of friends that practically forced her onto a date, even though she probably wasn’t ready for that. They did everything to make Hojo seem like a viable option, but in the end, Hojo was just there to leave open to possibility of Kagome remaining in the future, while Koga was just around to make Inuyasha jealous, he disappears for a good chunk of the end of the series, but is completely gone from the end of the manga.

    As far as in detail, I wouldn’t actually say that’s very true. Takahashi didn’t do very much when it came to the backgrounds of the characters, most of talk about the pasts came from the characters words. Just look at Inuyasha, sure you’re able to tell how his life was growing up, but it’s always through his thoughts or through his words. His history with Kikyo is never really covered in the manga (though the anime worked attempted to create a backstory… a very contradictory one when it came to the canon), most of it was covered in his thoughts, and as spoken about earlier, these thoughts were typically not leaning on the side of love. Miroku has very little going for his past, we know he was cursed, but they never went out of their way to explain it. Sango had the events of what happened to her covered in the story, but we never learn much about her past life outside of stories. Kikyo didn’t have a lot of backstory around her either. The person who could be said to have the most background would easily be Naraku, because his background has to be covered to explain his existence. I always felt Takahashi liked to leave things open to the readers when it came to that, but she used words and interaction to give a good impressions of lives. We never really see Inuyasha’s life, but she uses Jinenji as both a means to show us that life, but to show how different Inuyasha is after meeting Kagome, for example.

    Generally, a lot of your issues come from the anime, the anime had it’s own agenda, the anime wanted drama, so they created the love-triangle. Often they altered and changed around characters thoughts and actions to achieve these actions, though when you look at the build up to their relationship, and the subtle clues left in the anime. For instance, Inuyasha’s “I would have done anything to be accepted, even becoming human.” to his eventually realization that he would have had being human, or Kikyo’s remark about them never hugging or kissing while she was alive, these would only be small moments of the foundation attempted to be made cracking.

    The Final Act’s approach is much better because 1.) the filler in the series is limited, 2.) at this point they couldn’t hide the fact that Kagome had the advantage in the situation and thus couldn’t build things up with Kikyo any more. Unfortunately, this came at the expense of cutting out a good chunk of the manga to do this, The Final Act doesn’t give the whole story the manga does, just covering the major points, but skimming over some of the development in the process, and even never properly explaining many of the important aspects of the series.

    You should definitely pick up the manga, Takahashi did a great job with the character and made the interaction between Inuyasha and Kagome a lot more straight forward. Kikyo is still a factor, but Kikyo’s role in the manga, is more around Inuyasha’s guilt over her death being his fault, but by the time you reach Inuyasha’s illusion in the Illusion Death sequence, you know that there isn’t love driving his emotions, but a duty that he believes has to be paid back.

    I think I kind of covered everything about this, hope that helps you with your decision to pick up the manga, as well as another perspective of the elements of the article that you mentioned.

    1. Thank you for the thorough comment. I will say that yes my issues come from the anime, as in the introduction of this article, I stated it was anime-specific. As for focusing on Kikyo’s side of things, the focus of the article (and my general thesis) weren’t about her but Kagome. But I do wish to pick up the manga in the future, and perhaps write a follow up piece to compare and contrast how Kagome is treated in the two.

      1. You’re welcome.

        Oh yes, I understood where you’re opinion was coming from, which is one reason I hoped that maybe my comment would help pique your interest with picking up the manga, because you probably will find that it does the character better justice overall. I generally agree with your opinion on her characterization in the anime, which wasn’t the best that it could have been, but as I mentioned, many factors played a role in why that situation ended how it did.

        When I mentioned Kikyo’s side of things, I was responding to how the characters are treated and how the characters are viewed by other characters as well as the viewers. This is why I mentioned that some focus on Kikyo’s treatment should be focused on as well, because it allows for a better comparison of the two of them. You did well on focusing on Kagome’s treatment, but you did kind of make it seem like Kikyo was always placed onto a pedestal (this wasn’t your fault and not what was intended of course, it’s just when you focus on one side and make a comparison to the other side, and you’re focusing on the flaws of one in comparison to the good side of the other, you’re not entirely giving the flawed side a fair chance in the argument). This was why I mentioned the flaws in Kikyo’s character that helped create the comparison between the two of them that was on more equal ground, and that showed that Kagome wasn’t completely outmatched, even in the anime, she had a lot going against Kikyo, and while the moments of recognition weren’t as focused as in the manga, there were some moments in the anime. That’s where my comments on that subject came from. Generally I also think that when it comes to this subject, people don’t really give Kagome much of a chance despite how much impact that she has the series and only look at the exterior, while Kikyo, whose exterior is a different but doesn’t have the same impact in the series, would be viewed in a better light. Really though, when you stand the two side by side, look at their methods though the series, their impact overall and pure-raw power, it’s hard not to look at the situation and see that Kagome does have the advantage in the overall scope of things, but sometimes, we don’t want to look deeper and just judge books by their covers.

        Looking forward to that, it’s interesting how different you can view the two different materials side-by-side and really get a grasp around how different the characters and the general flow of the series can be. My above comment is only some of the moments where the anime took it’s own liberties, but there are certainly a lot more.

    2. i disagree with this comment….i read the manga and while yes there are many moments between inuyasha and kagome, the anime actually isn’t all that unfaithful, there are many anime which are waaay less faithful to its source material, and i would disagree that inuyasha’s feelings for kikyo were merely guilt, and i dont think you can judge their past relationships based on a few flashbacks (in which he states, by the way, that she was all he thought about, and also, how are the anime fillers contradictory?? it’s been a long time since i read the manga, but besides the kiss on the deck, i wouldnt consider the rest contradictory). i think you’re biased because your an inukag shipper, no offense. i thought it was obvious from inuyasha’s reactions that he still had feelings for kikyo, even if kagome was more important to him now. the way he acted about her, his expressions, all showed more than a mere obligation, and there was also no need to kiss her at the end if he only felt obligated to her.
      by the way, the earlier scenes between inuyasha and kagome from the manga (such as the “Kagome is Kagome” scene, and a few others) were taken out because Rumiko Takahashi said she was rushing their relationship in the manga, so I’m guessing they tried to slow it down in the anime

      1. by the way, the earlier scenes between inuyasha and kagome from the manga (such as the “Kagome is Kagome” scene, and a few others) were taken out because Rumiko Takahashi said she was rushing their relationship in the manga

        This is absolutely not true. Rumiko never said that.

        That scene was undoubtedly removed to keep the tension of the love triangle in the anime, as the original scene pretty much obliterates the idea that it’s even a love triangle in the first place.

      2. I believe you’re taking some of what I’m saying out of context, in terms of most of the events, things are kept intact (though some things are swapped around and a lot of things never made it into TFA), in terms of characters though, a lot was changed, Kagome was a very noticeable part of this (Note the the Sit command that was used by a much higher degree in the anime, often with a flimsy excuse for it’s use).

        There is a few issues with some of the things you mentioned though.

        You mention how Inuyasha acts around her, his expressions. It’s a pretty good argument, but we have to look at why Inuyasha acts like the way he does. First, the big question, why is Inuyasha acting so differently around Kikyo now, compared to how he was acting around her alive? How did he react around Kikyo when alive? Here is what Kikyo told Kaede: “Inuyasha has changed. His face had a softness. In the past, he trusted no one. His eyes were cold.” Kikyo not long before this mentioned that her and Inuyasha had never had any kind of contact with one another.

        So, what changed him? Well, the most obvious answer would be Kagome, that was Kaede’s response to Kikyo, and that is true, his time around Kagome allowed him to show more of his real self, he wasn’t subdued, he didn’t hide who he was, he was brash, hotheaded, a lot mouth, who loved to pick fights with people, that is who he is, so why does he act so subdued around Kikyo, that’s not the real Inuyasha Kikyo is seeing, the Inuyasha, Kikyo sees wears a mask that hides who he really is, any reactions he makes are foreign to Kikyo because they’re things that he learns about because of Kagome. Before Kagome he didn’t understand the feeling of someone worrying about him, crying for him and generally people wanting him around. The fact that he shows who he really is around Kagome is a good indicator, but with Kikyo? Kikyo never truly gets to see what the real Inuyasha is like until the end of her life, and by that time, Inuyasha has already fully shown that side of him. Those expressions, how he reacts around Kikyo, that’s not the real Inuyasha, that’s never been the real Inuyasha, he never hides himself around Kagome, but with Kikyo, he does so naturally.

        Then we have to take Inuyasha’s words into consideration. The “Kagome is Kagome” scene outlines pretty well where the situation stands for him. He cannot forget about Kikyo because the situation that led to her death was half his fault, so he blames himself for what has happened, and throughout the story, he tries to help Kikyo find peace. Later he comes to the realization of what he has to do, but even his desire to do it isn’t very what you would call the most willing. In his words: “Its only fair that I repay her with my own life.” To repay, means that you have a debt to someone, that you have to do it, that is an obligation, or a believed obligation, he believes that it’s fair to return the debt to her, even though deep down he really doesn’t want to do it. He struggles through these events to go and see Kagome and tell her about this fact, he doesn’t want to do it.

        The final issue is the ending to your response. It’s difficult to believe this because there are a few things about this that come into question. Takahashi herself, would be very doubtful to have had any control over the series (most mangaka have little to no control, once it’s handed over to the company, they pretty much have the liberties to do as they wish with the series), this and at the time, Takahashi was still working on the manga, which leads to doubt her her schedule being able to maintain both of them.

        The other issue, is how this scene could be considering rushing the relationship. The context of that scene was to put Inuyasha’s thoughts into perspective, he was telling Kagome that he though of her as an individual, that anything that might have happened in the past with Kikyo was entirely different, she wasn’t a “replacement” for KIkyo, Kagome was Kagome to him. This scene was Kagome questioning about her individuality in Inuyasha’s eyes, and Inuyasha answered. Inuyasha’s speech that followed would have just connected back to an earlier scene where Kagome was able to make him smile when he was sad and would connect to Kagome’s scent, which played an interesting role in Inuyasha’s emotions (the relaxing feeling that comes over him when she is around), this begs the question, how would this have quickened the pace of the relationship? When you look over at the anime, they removed the scene and replaced it with the “Why can’t I have both?” which brings up a few questions, but when you take into account that they took out the bit where Kagome’s identity was established in Inuyasha’s eyes (something they actually don’t do in the anime) and change around Inuyasha’s feelings on the situation to include feelings of love for both (when love wasn’t a factor in the manga, and when he spoke about Kikyo, he mentioned guilt being the driving force) what other reason is there to keep those two things in, other than going forth with the tension and trying to create a love-triangle at that point in time?

        Now mind you, this isn’t taking account the Illusionary Death sequence, which is very notable for being one of the most altered sequences in the series. Because this scene would have shut down any possible prospect of a love-triangle rather quickly.

        As for the number of inconsistencies, this would take a long time to go over honestly, but when you follow the theory that when filler is done in the middle of canon you’re going to have a few problems, and if you don’t catch all the canon that disputes the filler that you present, then you’re creating those inconsistencies. The anime created a few by doing this, the example by the dock is only one of them, but is really notable when they took that scene and later added it to the events of a filler to make it seem canon (which that filler was also used as a means to explain past events, but that filler also had to re-write history to make it work), they certainly are there and are going to be there because of the route the company behind them the anime attempted to take.

        This shows, that if Takahashi really wanted to make a love-triangle in the manga, she would have definitely taken that route, she has done it in her previous work, and made it extremely obvious when there was a triangle (just look at Ranma), in this case, she doesn’t and in fact, within the first 100 chapters, pretty much made everything straightforward (outside the feelings of guilt), that Sunrise had to alter around events in order to make their love-triangle work, and with that, it still struggled. The reason? Just look at what Takahashi stakes in Kagome’s favor, she’s the one that brings out his real side, she’s the one that brings out the emotion, she’s the one that gives him friends, she’s the one that gives him happiness, she’s the one that gives him acceptance, she’s the one that gives him a place in the world. Look over at Kikyo, what did Kikyo give him in her time around him? Companionship, a cure for loneliness, and if he made a wish on the jewel, acceptance. Inuyasha even states what Kagome has done for him, and honestly, when you look at his words, there isn’t much left for Kikyo’s side of the equation.

        I wouldn’t call myself a shipper, but I don’t care much for companies taking liberties with characters/events, especially when it comes to series that I enjoy from the writers hands, and when those liberties effect the work as a whole, as well as the perception of the characters, as this article is kind of about.

    3. i also dont really buy the whole “Inuyasha just feels guilt over her”, because kikyo (even though i like her as a character) did many questionable things which in my opinion should have to make inuyasha be done with her, and yet he still worried about her, defended her and went after her when he heard about her, even if it was to check if she was okay.

      1. Kikyou did do many questionable things, but keep in mind Inuyasha does not know of some of those. Additionally, just because that’s true doesn’t mean the guilt is just going to vanish. He STILL feels responsible for her death, as much as he isn’t actually, and the fact that she gave Naraku the shikon no tama in some backwards attempt to kill him or whatnot does not change that.

        Of course he cares about her as a person, no one is denying that. It’s not that his sole feeling toward her is guilt, but it is honor and guilt that drives the *fervency* of his actions.

        Is it romantic though? Inuyasha says that the reason he thinks about Kikyou is because he feels responsible for her death. He is not lying. He engages in blatantly romantic actions with Kagome, whereas with Kikyou his concern is with her health and well being. Past very early on, he does not hug Kikyou, embrace her, or anything of the sort. Yes he kisses her when she’s dying, but— well she’s *dying*.

        1. so you’re saying he’s going to randomly kiss someone he has no feelings for just bc they’re dying? lol okay.

          1. It’s not a random kiss, it’s a kiss goodbye, not everything that involves a kiss toward someone has to be a kiss of pure love, you can kiss a family member and you can kiss a friend, and based on his history with Kikyo they were more friends than lovers.

            Of course Inuyasha is going to have feelings, but it was also revealed prior to Kikyos death that they barely knew a thing about one another.

        2. also rumiko has stated inuyasna had feelings for both girls. in more than one interview. she said it in an interview with the seiyuus and in more interviews as well.
          feeling guilt over someone doesnt mean u dont have feelings for them. for example if u read the spiderman comics, he feels guilty over gwen stacy death BECAUSE he loves her. and if he wanted to be with kagome so badly he would simply be with her. it doesnt really make a case for inuyasha’s love for kagome that he hurts over and over again and is even willing to get himself killed and leave her over a guilt feeling.

          1. Rumiko did state something to that effect, however what those feelings were, she used the series itself to tell us that information. She was always vague about information when it came to any of her series.

            However the issue with that statement was how little she invested into Kikyo and Inuyasha as a potential relationship, all invest before her resurrection was placed onto a single moment, while she was building up Kagome’s relationship with Inuyasha continously. Later she added more information, but none of these scenes really give us a full glimpse of what they’re relationship was, most of their history only had to do with the jewel, in fact, every scene that involves them has to do with either the jewel or there position in life, only off-hand comments from Kikyo, Kaede and Inuyasha, and each of those confirms that their relationship was more a relationship of people being around one another, companions, if you will, than lovers.

            Reading over the post your responding to, it was stated that his guilt isn’t the only emotion that he has, he obviously still cares for her and doesn’t want her to be in the state that she is, but his actions are heavily drawn by his guilt. He doesn’t choose to follow Kikyo in death because he loves her, he chooses to because he believes he owes her, his guilt when it comes to her potential death when it comes to Naraku, he doesn’t want to see her die by the hands of the person who killed her, and doesn’t want her to suffer, his failure in doing so hits him hard, but if the emotion of love were as strong as Kaou claimed (who was a liar), he would have died when going against Kaou.

            Your example is not a very good one, Gwen was a very long-term relationship for Peter, so naturally he had a lot of emotional investment into the relationship and that relationship had a lot going for it in the long run. Kikyo and Inuyasha didn’t have this.

            The biggest question that has to be answered when it comes to Inuyasha’s feelings for Kikyo, is why would he love her? Think about it, during his time around Kikyo, they talked with one another, but never trusted each other to open up to one another, they didn’t know one another and kept secrets from one another, Inuyasha hardly opened up, they both wore a mask around one another, never showed weakness around one another, had limited contacted, their was no physical relationship, no emotional relationship, nothing. The biggest thing involved was them being around one another in a time of loneliness, Inuyasha wanted some feeling of normalcy, he wanted someone to accept him for who he was, the offer to become human, although questionable considering his remarks on becoming human later in the series, was ideal for him, and it would have opened door (but ironically the series confirmed that things wouldn’t end up they way they were intended.) He got this with Kagome and as he mentions later down the line, he got so much more. That’s what Mt. Azusa comes into play, because it discusses the bonds, and why these bonds are different. Rumiko pretty much cleared the air during that entire arc, but it showed us what we already knew and what had been pointed out throughout the series. What was it that made Inuyasha develop feelings for Kikyo? She came around at a time when he was lonely and lost and basically offered him the world.

            Finally, it does actually make a case. The most important factor that one always has to remember, who does Inuyasha stay with? Who does Inuyasha want to be with? Why during the entire course of the series does Inuyasha never offer to travel with Kikyo, but is so willing to go and get Kagome every single time that she’s late, or claim that he wants Kagome around in multiple instances throughout the series? People forget that so easily, we always see the occasional going to see Kikyo moments, but we don’t take into account the multiple times more that Inuyasha goes after Kagome, or the multiple instances that he wants her around.

            On the opposite side of this, many scenes involving Inuyasha and Kikyo were filled with guilt, from his decision to follow her in death, to his reactions to Naraku attempting to kill her, these are actions driven by a man who feels guilty, he lived but she died, Naraku was the one that killed her, that’s why it’s a sense of duty and honor.

            Risking your life is something that Inuyasha does naturally, he’s a loyal person and has come to the aid of everyone at one moment or another, at one point in the series, he even shows his human form to Kagura in order to save Koga. That doesn’t quite make a case on either side, but one thing that should be noted, even after Inuyasha chooses to follow Kikyo in death, this fact never changes, and their are even a few points where he puts his life on the line for Kagome and almost dies in the process.

            I’m not sure if the argument is just to figure out if he has feelings for her, or if he loves her, in the former, I agree, he’s going to possess feelings of care for her as Haro remarked, but there is nothing within the series that really does confirm that he actually is ‘in love with her’ there is just too much going against that idea. The argument could possibly be made in the anime, because they do flesh things out a tad more, in the realm of what is canon and what Takahashi put down, that made it into the anime, it’s just not there.

  5. I feel that’s typical of most of the shohen type manga and their anime versions. Bleach and Naruto are also quite guilty of this as well, have their incredibly powered female leads waffle back and forth being savior and damsel in distress. Not every manga is like this but some of the popular ones are. I remember watching Inuyasha in college and liking it well enough for having it’s setting in feudal Japan. I stopped watching because it was clear it was never, ever, going to end satisfactorily, so I just made up my own ending, in my head, where Inuyash joins Kagome in her timeline.

  6. This was a geat analysis and this is coming from someone who absolutely loves the character Kagame. I wanted so much more for her 🙁 will you do another for the manga?

    1. I’d love to! I really adore the character of Kagome, she just had so much wasted potential in the anime. I’ll have to read through the entire manga (I haven’t finished) and form a comparison analysis on Kagome as a character in both the manga and anime. I love discussing older anime, one day I’d love to write about Rurouni Kenshin. Though I’m not sure exactly what points I’d like to make other than how it’s an example of a perfect hero’s narrative.

      1. Oh please PLEASE do a piece on Rurouni Kenshin! Hands down my favorite anime of all time (sans the last arc, which wasn’t really an arc so it doesn’t count). I would be so fascinated!

        1. I am actually working on something for RuroKen now! There’s a lot to cover within the series, but in something of a followup to this, I would love to write about the differences in Kaoru’s portrayal in all three adaptions (anime, manga, movies). Or how the manga gives us a love triangle that is deep and meaningful without pitting the women against each other.

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