Today we’re counting down some pivotal episodes before the release of Yashahime this October. 

We’re big fans of manga author and artist Rumiko Takahashi at SoraNews24. From the wacky “anything goes martial arts” of classic Ranma 1/2 to the noticeably darker and suspenseful Inuyasha, which was voted the most popular anime adaptation of her works in a massive NHK survey last year, Takahashi has a talent for creating characters of depth that readers can’t help but become emotionally invested in. I for one was hooked on the Inuyasha anime back in the day and learned a great deal of Japanese vocabulary useless for daily life such as yokai (demon), taijiya (slayer/exterminator), and osuwari (“sit” as a command to a dog) from the show before I could even give a decent self-introduction.

It’s no exaggeration to say that I was momentarily stunned when the recent news came seemingly out of nowhere that an Inuyasha spin-off anime sequel titled Yashahime would begin airing this October, with main character designs by Takahashi herself. Inuyasha fans around the world were collectively hit faster than a chorus of angry “sits!” by Kagome upon learning that the series would feature the adventures of half-demon Inuyasha and modern-day human Kagome’s daughter Moroha (so they had a kid…and she has the ears!) alongside her half-demon twin cousins, Towa and Setsuna–daughters of none other than Inuyasha’s older full-demon half-brother Sesshomaru (whoah…just whoah!).

▼ Announcement of Yashahime

Once you’ve recovered from the shock, it becomes clear that the timing of the new series actually makes sense as the 20th anniversary celebration of the start of the original Inuyasha anime series and the 10th anniversary celebration of the ending of Inuyasha: The Final Act. After getting its start as a hit manga serialized in Weekly Shonen Sunday from 1996-2008, the original 167-episode Inuyasha anime series premiered in October 2000 and ran through September 2004. While that series ended on an inconclusive note due to catching up with the unfinished manga, the 26-episode Inuyasha: The Final Act eventually premiered in October 2009 and ran through March 2010 to conclude the anime once the manga had ended.

With all the waves of nostalgia brought on by the announcement we subsequently decided to take a little stroll down memory lane into the demon-infested version of the Warring States Era (1467-1615) to revisit some past friends and foes from the series. While it’s more than tempting to compile funny lists of the various times that Inuyasha and Koga throw petty comments at each other or good-guy Hojo gives Kagome a superstitious trinket for her health, the following is meant to showcase select episodes which introduce the key players, dynamics, and developments that contribute to characters’ motivations across the original series through the lens of providing a potentially important basis for viewing Yashahime. Some points are mere speculation at this point since there’s no word yet on how much Inuyasha, Kagome, Miroku, Sango, and other original cast members will factor into the new show, but we’ve taken the few hints that we have so far into account when compiling the list. Let’s jump into the well and go back in time now!

Warning–some minor spoilers from throughout the run of the series are ahead.

1. Inuyasha episode 7 / “Showdown! Inuyasha vs. Sesshomaru!” (激対決!殺生丸VS鉄砕牙!!)

Since Yashahime will star the children of Inuyasha and Sesshomaru, now’s a good time to refresh your memory on the often turbulent dynamic between the two half-brothers. While Sesshomaru was actually introduced in episode 5, this episode culminates in the first big showdown between the two that sets the stage for their ongoing contempt, rivalry, and sword mania throughout the entire series. Someone’s going to leave with their tail between their legs…!

▼ Sesshomaru in his regal attire (yes, he’s a man)

2. Inuyasha episode 13 / “The Mystery of the New Moon and the Black-Haired Inuyasha” (新月の謎 黒髪の犬夜叉)

Yep, it’s sad but true–half-demons also have their own dreaded “time of the month.” This episode introduces a fascinatingly different side to our titular protagonist that appears in recurring installments throughout the series along with a kick-butt climactic battle scene as the morning sun rises. There’s also a tender moment between a vulnerable Inuyasha and Kagome which shows the first hints that their relationship may not be headed for pure companionship down the road.

▼ Just prior to that kick-butt rising sun scene

3. Inuyasha episode 15 / “Return of the Tragic Priestess, Kikyo” (悲運の巫女 桔梗復活)

The unexpected resurrection of miko Kikyo adds a shocking twist to the advancing storyline at that point in terms of the true nature of her death and her past relationship with Inuyasha. Kikyo goes on to serve as an important catalyst of events for the series with her strong spiritual powers and viewers are never quite certain where her true loyalties lie. Her return also serves as a foil to Kagome, who’s none other than her modern-day reincarnation, and adds a rather large complication to the budding feelings between Inuyasha and Kagome.

▼ You may have wondered at some point what kind of conditioner she uses to maintain those luscious locks during feudal times. She’s the only one who could truly give Sesshomaru a run for his money.

4. Inuyasha episode 16 / “Mystical Hand of the Amorous Monk, Miroku” (右手に風穴 不良法師 弥勒)

After Inuyasha, Kagome, and Shippo have teamed up to track Shikon Jewel shards, this episode introduces Miroku, the fourth core member of the main group and the reasons behind his personal vendetta against series antagonist Naraku. It also provides some levity after the heavy events of the preceding episode. There’s one tiny detail that still bothers me 20 years later, though–how does Miroku instantly know how to ride Kagome’s bike?

▼ Kagome and Inuyasha’s reactions at their first glimpse of Miroku’s trademark antics at the end of the episode always cause a laugh.

5. Inuyasha episode 24 / “Enter Sango, the Demon Slayer” (妖怪退治屋 珊瑚登場!) 

We know, this list is heavy on very early-on episodes, but now’s a perfect time to revisit all of those important origin stories…and who could ever forget Sango’s (literal) slaying entrance onto the show! After all, she was the original demon slayer before demon slaying was even a thing. Sango steps in to fill the fifth and final spot of the core team. Equally important, this episode introduces her younger brother Kohaku and their intense sibling bond as the last two surviving members of their clan after both falling prey to manipulations by the evil Naraku. The two go on to cross paths repeatedly throughout the series in heartbreaking fashion.

One of the few pieces of information we already have about Yashahime is that Kohaku has been training Sesshomaru’s daughter Setsuna in his family trade of demon slaying, but how that arrangement came about remains to be seen.

▼ This sums up Sango’s awesomeness pretty well.

6. Inuyasha episode 35 / “The True Owner of the Great Sword!” (名刀が選ぶ真の使い手)

On the announcement of Yashahime, perceptive fans took immediate note that Sesshomaru’s twin daughters are described as being half-demon…meaning that their as-yet unidentified mother must be human. Among some fans, speculation is high that that that woman is none other than a grown-up Rin.

Episode 35 introduces a young Rin, a human girl who tries to care for a wounded Sesshomaru and ends up being mauled to death by wolves (technically unrelated incidents). In a VERY uncharacteristic display of compassion for a human, he then saves her with Tenseiga, his sword of healing. Throughout the remainder of the series, she accompanies him on his travels and he is consistently shown to care for her well-being despite his characteristic indifferent attitude.

▼ One fan already musing the Rin-as-future-mother theory

7. Inuyasha episode 52 / “The Demon’s True Nature” (止められない! 妖怪の本性)

In contrast to his full-human side as first seen above in episode 13, this episode does a 180 and grants us our first extended look at the terrifying full-demon transformation of Inuyasha, as well as featuring another confrontation between the two brothers. It marks an important character turning point for Inuyasha as he realizes that maybe his original goal of using the Shikon Jewel to become a full demon isn’t actually what he wants anymore, but that there are some things–and people–that are now more important to him. It makes us wonder if Towa and Setsuna will experience similar feelings of internal conflict about their half-demon status in Yashahime.

▼ Undoubtedly a disturbing moment for many first-time viewers

8. Inuyasha: The Final Act episode 8 / “Among the Twinkling Stars” (星々きらめきの間に)

This is our first entry from The Final Act. Love her or hate her, Kikyo plays a pivotal role over the span of the series. This episode finally provides some dramatic closure to the love triangle between the series’ trademark love triangle and everyone does a little bit of growing up.

“This scene might be when I cried the most in the past ten years”

9. Inuyasha: The Final Act episode 9 / “Sesshomaru in the Underworld” (冥界の殺生丸)

This Sesshomaru-centric episode is unique in featuring the surprise appearance of his mother (she’s every bit as beautiful and haughty as expected) and a rare display of emotions from him, including rage and grief over the potential loss of Rin. It adds further fuel to the fire about who the mother of his future twins is.

▼ For something a little different, here’s a panel of the events from that episode in the manga.

10. Inuyasha: The Final Act episode 26 / “Toward Tomorrow” (明日へ)

Unlike Kikyo before her, Kagome is able to make the correct wish on the Shikon Jewel to bring the main story to a close. After she decides to live in the Warring States Era and not in the present day, we catch glimpses of everyone’s subsequent daily lives. Apart from the standalone bonus 559th manga chapter (published in 2013) which takes place six months after the conclusion of the manga, these scenes are the best indication of where the story may pick up some years down the road in Yashahime.

On a side note, who can forget Sesshomaru’s excellent cringe when Kagome calls him “big brother”?

▼ After three years apart, this reunion scene is particularly touching.

BONUS: Inuyasha episode 90 / “Sota’s Brave Confession of Love” (思いきった草太の告白)

Ah, young puppy love. This one is an anime-only filler episode in which Inuyasha and Kagome try to give love advice to her kid brother, Sota, who wants to confess his love to his elementary school crush, Hitomi. Hilarity ensues (which tends to happen in all of the episodes taking place in the modern world) as Kagome dresses him in an outfit identical to that of Conan Edogawa (the protagonist of Detective Conan, another long-running series serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump) and Inuyasha ineptly teaches him some of his battle moves.

Sota is in junior high school at the end of The Final Act (we even see him with some friends in “Toward Tomorrow”). In terms of Yashahime, we already know that Sota raises Sesshomaru’s daughter Towa as his daughter after she stumbles into the modern world (and she even takes his last name “Higurashi”). Is it stretching it to think that Sota might have married his childhood sweetheart Hitomi and they’ll both appear in the new series as well…?

▼ What girl could resist the charms of that getup?!

Now, if you’ll excuse us, we think we really will go back to rewatch the entire series over the summer months and compile a list of all of the times that Miroku gets slapped by Sango while awaiting the debut of Yashahime this October.

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