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Villain Overview
I seek nothing more than to battle the most powerful beings alive, which excludes the lowly likes of you.
~ Sesshomaru

Sesshomaru is an antagonist-turned-anti-hero in the anime/manga series Inuyasha. He is Inuyasha's older half-brother, an extremely powerful full-blooded demon. Unlike most demons seen in the series, he shows no interest in possessing any of the Shikon Jewel shards, feeling confident of his own strength and seeming to find the use of the gem to enhance one's power distasteful.

He is voiced by Ken Narita in the Japanese version of the anime, and David Kaye in the English version, the former of whom also voices Jeremiah Gottwald, Dr. Stylish and Shalba Beelzebub. In the English version of The Final Act, he is voiced by Michael Dangerfield.

Appearance

Sesshomaru appears handsome and frail-looking and at the same time, appearing as a tall and slender young man. He has fair skin with pointy ears, golden eyes with slit pupils, and waist-length white hair with short bangs. He has a crescent moon on his forehead that can be seen beneath his bangs, two stripes on each cheek, and a magenta stripe on each eyelid. When he uses his Dakkoso three stripes appear on his wrists.

Sesshomaru's true form is a giant white dog with markings similar to the ones he has in his human form. His eyes become red with blue irises; the yokai marks on his body widen and become more apparent the stripes on his cheeks which are usually smooth become jagged and change into a somewhat fiercer color while his mokomoko wraps around his body and extends into his tail.

Personality

Sesshomaru's aloofness and indifference is a product of dignity that only one of such rare demonic power may possess. Sesshomaru is more or less emotionless; only anger, annoyance, and dissatisfaction showing on his face. Whenever Sesshomaru would encounter an enemy he would kill them without hesitation. He also considered humans to be nothing more than trash, but his views would later change after meeting Rin.

After Inuyasha subconsciously used the wind scar on Sesshomaru, the Tenseiga prevented a possible fatality and transported his body. Sesshomaru quickly rested for the time-being in a forest near a village, where he first met the orphan girl, Rin. He was cared for by Rin during his rehabilitation from injury. He was initially hostile to the mute girl, who offered him food, by refusing to eat and telling her to "mind her own business". However, the little girl continued to serve him. Once he recovered, he set off with Jaken, but he sensed Rin's blood scent when she was attacked and mauled by Koga's wolves; he was initially going to ignore her but when Tenseiga pulsated and told him to save her, he used Tenseiga to resurrect her, where upon she began to follow him. This incident proved to be the turning point in his life as it dramatically transformed his attitude towards everyone else. This was apparent when Rin was seen wearing new and colorful kimono later.

When Rin falls off to the cliff in the process of getting life-saving herbs for Jaken, Sesshomaru comes in a bolt of light to save her after she called out his name. In Forever With Lord Sesshomaru, after Sesshomaru saves Rin, he asks Rin to do what she wishes. This is never typical of Sesshomaru, as he was usually shown to leave Jaken at times before he met Rin. Jaken is even shown to be mumbling that "Lord Sesshomaru will kill him if something happens to Rin," obviously showing his concern for the girl's safety. Sesshomaru, while fighting Jakotsu, rushes off to rescue Rin, who fell when the bridge broke. Jakotsu notes that Rin is Sesshomaru's weakness. Exploiting this fact, Suikotsu and Jakotsu threatens to kill Rin when they are cornered. Sesshomaru even saves Kohaku, Rin's best friend and protector, who was under Naraku's control, under the behest of Inuyasha and his friends. These are some of the many traces of compassion that Sesshomaru displays.

Sesshomaru's compassion for Rin is evident, but he prefers to disguise it, because it would taint his pride. However, he is extremely loving and concerned for Rin when she appears to be dead due to her time in Hell. Sesshomaru enters Hell for the purpose of rescuing her, but upon learning that he cannot save her life, he is crushed. When he realizes that it was his urge to strengthen Tenseiga which brought them to Hell and ultimately killed her, he casts the sword aside and says that for the sword to gain power at the expense of Rin's life means nothing. However, when Sesshomaru's mother revives Rin, he is seems to be relieved. Finally the will of his father, who cared for humans, has been passed to his son.

When Kagura was injured, Sesshomaru originally intended to leave her in the river she was drowning in, but when Rin falls in trying to save her and Jaken follows Rin, Sesshomaru pulls all three from the river. He stayed there afterwards and warned her not to do anything that would get her killed. Later however, before Kagura's death, Sesshomaru seeks her out and considers using the Tenseiga, only to conclude that Tenseiga cannot save her.

He has also been shown saving Inuyasha's friends on several occasions. On his way to Mount Hakurei, Sesshomaru saves Kagome, Miroku, and Sango from the poison master Mukotsu, one of the Band of Seven but only claims that he killed Mukotsu because he would not answer his questions. He also revives a young otter yokai's father, claiming that it was the will of Tenseiga. Another example is when Inuyasha and his companions are involved in a fight with the "water god" Numawatari: when Sesshomaru arrives, he insults Inuyasha's inability to kill a "low life demon", and then easily dispatches Numawatari using his Meido Zangetsuha, leaving straight after.

It is his compassion that caused the Tenseiga to be reforged as a weapon. Its offensive powers were locked until Sesshomaru was able to be truly compassionate and sympathetic. In his battle with Moryomaru, the villain insulted the dying Kagura, which angered Sesshomaru and he shatters Moryomaru's indestructible shell (and his only weapon in the process). Acknowledging that he cared about Kagura to some degree.

Powers and Abilities

Master Swordsman: As Sesshomaru wields a total of three demon swords in battle, he possesses a high caliber of swordsmanship where in several occasions he was able to easily overwhelm his younger brother when they clashed their demonic swords. Even in the rare chance that Inuyasha manages to win against Sesshomaru, it was only after Sesshomaru had consistently held the upper hand and Inuyasha getting used to Sesshomaru's skills. Despite Inuyasha developing his skills with Tessaiga to eventually match Sesshomaru, the older demon is still superior since he practiced his skills more so and longer than Inuyasha.

Immense Demonic Power: As the full blooded son of the Great Dog Demon, Sesshomaru is overwhelmingly powerful, being a match for any opponent he encounters. He has a plethora of powerful techniques at his disposal. Even the arrogant Naraku, who became famous amongst demons through his collection of the Shikon Jewel Shards, acknowledged Sesshomaru to be far more powerful than himself and stated that Sesshomaru is the perfect demon.

Immense Speed: Sesshomaru can move faster than the eye can see, both on land and in the air. He can decapitate an entire army of samurai before they can react. Although, Sesshomaru's top speed is never disclosed in the anime or manga it is known that he can move incredibly fast without using much effort; appearing to be in a frictionless motion upon movement.

Immense Strength: Sesshomaru possesses physical strength far beyond that of a normal demon. His strength with only one arm is equal to Inuyasha’s full strength; Inuyasha’s strength allows him to lift a 9 to 10 ton boulder using one arm with little effort, so Sesshomaru would naturally be capable of lifting double that or far more with the same amount of effort.

Immense Durability: Despite rarely being heavily injured, Sesshomaru displays an incredible amount of durability for attacks that do manage to wound him. This was demonstrated when he was able to easily kill an entire army even after having his left arm cut off.

Enhanced Senses: Due to his lineage, Sesshomaru exhibits extremely heightened senses, particularly his sense of smell. He can discern characteristics of most objects through scent, such as the undead Band of Seven through the scent of graveyard soil and pure-demon blood from half-demon blood (such as when Inuyasha's demon blood takes over).

Full-Demon Transformation: He can transform into his true dog demon form. While this form grants him incredible brute strength and the ability to fly and run through the air, his large size, possible lack of agility (though he has moved incredibly quickly in his true form), and lack of ability to use his swords renders this form of limited usefulness.

  • Flight: Sesshomaru is capable of flying during his transformation, he can also do this while he isn't transformed.

Immortality: Being a dog demon Sesshomaru has a longer lifespan, possibly even longer than those of normal yokai. Sesshomaru does not suffer from old age the way humans do. He appears to be 19 despite being over two hundred years old. He can, however, still receive near-fatal injuries as shown when he gets stabbed in the chest by Magatsuhi.

High-Speed Regeneration: During his battle with Magatsuhi, Sesshomaru's demonstrated the ability to heal the burns and gashes on his right arm, as well as several large holes stabbed right through his body. In the same battle, he was able to restore his left arm, which was cut off by Inuyasha at the beginning of the series. Although, Sesshomaru regenerates his left arm after several periods of time this is not considered to be the full extent of his regeneration ability. It's regarded that the reason Sesshomaru took a lengthy amount of time to regrow his left arm was because it was to come with Bakusaiga. Having being dependent on his father's swords it is thought that Sesshomaru had a psychological barrier preventing him from getting his Bakusaiga and being independent thus averting the restoration of his left arm much sooner. This is supported by the fact that Inuyasha, a half-demon takes a matter of hours to restore a hole in his stomach that was made by Sesshomaru himself. Sesshomaru being more powerful than Inuyasha would regenerate at a much faster rate.

Dokkasou (毒華爪, Toxic Luster Claw): Sesshomaru can release an acidic poison from his claws that can liquify flesh and bone upon contact. Though he normally applies it through his claw strikes, he can also spray the acid from his claws or transfer it into his punches. The acidic effect also has the ability to blind his targets temporarily if they manage to resist it.

  • Poison Resistance: A sub-effect of his poison claws is that he is virtually immune to most if not all other poisons though only if they are weaker than his in comparison. This has been proven when Naraku's miasma in his new body created in Mt. Hakurei which can melt mountains had no effect on Sesshomaru.

Mokomoko-sama (モコモコ様, lit. Lord Fluff-Fluff): The fur on Sesshomaru's shoulder can be extended to great lengths and used to whip, constrict and fling his opponents or carry himself through the air. However, because it is a part of his body, the mokomoko-sama is capable of bleeding and is highly sensitive to pain, to the point that injuring it can render Sesshomaru temporarily immobilized. There is also the possibility that the blood was from his shoulder underneath, and that the pain was caused by the large wound dealt there.

Teleportation: In "Showdown: Inuyasha vs Sesshomaru," Sesshomaru morphed into a ball of energy to escape his father's grave. He later uses this form in the episode Tetsusaiga and Tenseiga to pursue a fleeing Totosai, materializing upon impacting with the ground and producing an explosion.

Telekinesis: In "Showdown: Inuyasha vs Sesshomaru," he was able to levitate and hurl skulls at Inuyasha and Kagome via telekinesis.

Poison Whip: Sesshomaru can generate a thin, whip-like strand of yellow-green energy from his fingertips to aid him in place of his missing arm. It has shown to be able to puncture armor and flesh with ease and can burn flesh upon contact, similar to his poison.

Weapons

Tenseiga: The Tenseiga is the second sword created by Totosai using the Great Dog Demon's fang. This sword is created for the purpose of healing and resurrection and was given to Sesshomaru in an attempt to teach him compassion and empathy. The sword is the first weapon Sesshomaru received and eventually he came to value it as even after obtaining Bakusaiga, which is his own signature weapon with greater power than the Tessaiga, he still kept this sword. The sword emits a blue aura when in use and possesses its own will that Sesshomaru can sense.

Tessaiga: The Tessaiga is the first sword created by Totosai using the Great Dog Demon's fang and is also the sword that Sesshomaru is obsessed with possessing. He believes his father is the greatest demon and thus wished to defeat him to claim Tessaiga for himself one day. However his father placed a barrier on the sword to prevent Sesshomaru from being able to wield it. Despite this during the rare occasion that Sesshomaru manages to get a hold of Tessaiga, he was able to wield its powers quite proficiently while ignoring the damage caused to his hands. Eventually he abandoned his obsession for Tessaiga which in turn allowed him to obtain Bakusaiga.

Tokijin: Tokijin was a sword crafted by the evil sword smith Kaijinbō from the fangs of Goshinki as part of Sesshomaru's continued efforts to obtain Tessaiga or a sword matching it in power. It is shown to capable of matching Tessaiga in power as the fangs of Goshinki were capable of breaking the original Tessaiga before being reforged by Totosai using Inuyasha's fang. Eventually in Sesshomaru's battle against Moryomaru, he broke it when attempting to penetrate the demon's absorbed shell. Sesshomaru refused to repair it because it did not have the power to defeat Moryomaru and resolved to find a replacement sword which is found in Tenseiga's Meido Zangetsuha and eventually Bakusaiga.

Bakusaiga: This sword manifested itself in the hand of Sesshomaru's fully regenerated, and longtime-severed, left arm during his battle with Magatsuhi. Totosai comments that his ability to manifest his own blade suggests his strength and power has far surpassed that of his father's. Bakusaiga is the polar opposite of the Tenseiga, as it has an immensely strong power with the ability to eradicate and decompose any organic material that its blade comes in contact with, nullifying any regenerative capabilities while doing so.

Trivia

  • According to Rumiko Takahashi, Sesshomaru's name means "killing perfection", though it can also be translated as "the perfect killer/assassin", "circle of destruction" or "destruction of life".
  • Sesshomaru makes an appearance as a concept art in the front pages of Chapter 9, before he was introduced as a character.
  • Sesshomaru started out as an antagonist, but as the series progressed he became a protagonist and became one of the most important key players in beating Naraku (his Tenseiga being the only thing to be able to kill Magatsuhi and his Bakusaiga for preventing Naraku from regenerating his body).
  • Sesshomaru's appearance changes as the story progresses. Comparing his first appearance in Chapter 13 with the last in Chapter 558, he appears very young and effeminate in the beginning, but by the end, appears more mature and masculine; the armor and clothes he wears changes slightly overall compared in Chapter 13, page 5 with chapter 468, page 1).
  • His mokomoko-sama grows considerably over the course of the manga, going from a relatively small band of fur to a massive bunch of fur that drags behind him as he walks.
  • Sesshomaru only transforms into his true appearance three times in the series: Once when fighting Inuyasha over the Tessaiga for the first time, once when greeting his mother, and once when fighting Magatsuhi.
  • Early in the manga he was shown smiling a lot. But as the manga goes on, he hides his emotions and rarely smiles, becoming more like his character is portrayed in the anime.
  • The pattern on Sesshomaru's kimono is based upon an actual crest of a samurai clan known as the Azai.
  • In The Holy Pearl, a Chinese live action loosely based on InuYasha, Sesshomaru is paralleled by a character named Wu Dao.
  • In the Inuyasha profiles book, Sesshomaru is described as, "Beautifully chilling. The strongest demon in the Warring States era."

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