Kikyō is the former incarnation of Kagome Higurashi, the sister of Kaede, and the former lover of the titular character of the series. Born with an abnormally high level of spiritual power that few others in the series could match, the Demon-Slaying Clan entrusted the Shikon Jewel to her and she spent her life keeping the jewel from the hands of demons until Inuyasha appeared. They eventually fell in love, with the hopes that he could use the jewel to become a full-human and they could live as a normal husband and wife.
However, Kikyō had also taken mercy on a bandit too injured to move. This man, Onigumo, would later sell his soul to demons in hopes of obtaining her and become Naraku. Naraku fatally wounds her while disguised as Inuyasha, leaving her feeling betrayed. Before she dies, she pins Inuyasha to a tree and leaves him in an eternal sleep.
Her body was then burned with the Shikon Jewel, leaving both it and her soul to be reincarnated into Kagome. She is resurrected shortly after the latter arrives in the Feudal Era, learns of what happened, and focuses on trying to kill Naraku and ridding the world of both him and the Shikon Jewel for good.
Kikyō is a powerful priestess. Even resurrected incompletely, her power is capable of driving fear into Naraku when others cannot. She is a skilled archer, and commands Soul Collectors to bring her souls to keep her tethered to the world of the living.
Kikyō’s relationship with Inuyasha serves as a source of conflict between her, Kagome, and Inuyasha himself. She is envious of the relationship Kagome has with him, feeling that because she has died she can no longer lay claim to Inuyasha despite her longing for him. Eventually, she is struck down by Naraku and dies in Inuyasha’s arms after a final kiss, finally able to find peace and move on.
Kaede is the younger sister of Kikyō and the overseer of the village where both Inuyasha and the Bone Eater’s well are. Fifty-years before the series began, Kaede traveled with her sister and trained in the art of being a priestess. They had lost their parents when they were young and only had each other, so Kaede was close to her sister and Kikyō felt the same.
When Kikyō received the Shikon Jewel and settled down into a village, she came to know of both Inuyasha and Onigumo. She could tell that her sister was acting differently because of Inuyasha, and recognized Onigumo’s obsession with Kikyō. However, she could do nothing to stop the events leading up to Kikyō’s death and remained in the village in her stead.
Because the main group travels through Feudal Japan while she remains behind, they have limited interaction during most of the plot. But her village serves as a resting point and later on becomes the location where the main group and Rin settle down to live. Kikyō also does not initially recognize Kaede because so much time had passed, but later comes to her to learn the truth about Naraku, and once more before her soul passes to apologize for everything she had done since being resurrected.
Kaede serves as a mentor figure for most of the characters during the series when it comes to spiritual matters. She also possesses a fair amount of spiritual power, even if not as great as her sister’s. In spite of losing an eye during her childhood and her advanced age, she remains fairly skilled with a bow and arrow. She acts as Kagome’s tutor on being a priestess at the end of the series.
Myōga is a flea-demon and acts as a vassal to Inuyasha throughout the series. He has lived for a long time and served Inuyasha’s father, who died the night of his birth. Since then he overlooked the grave of the once great demon, protecting it until Sesshōmaru arrives to search for the remains himself. He then seeks out Inuyasha to inform him of this, so that he can claim the Tessaiga as his birthright.
Myōga acts as a voice of reason and informant to Inuyasha, keeping him aware of the present situation and being knowledgeable on many things. He frequently sets out to search for information, such as visiting the Demon-Slaying Clan at their village to learn more about the Shikon Jewel. Being a flea-demon, he cannot participate in battle directly and thus flees when things get dangerous. However, he can save others who have been poisoned by sucking the venom out of them without harming himself, something he does many times.
He is often seen as comic-relief, announcing his presence by sucking on the blood on Inuyasha or someone else and being flattened for it. The other members of Inuyasha’s group don’t like how he constantly runs away from combat, but they do acknowledge him as a source of wisdom and listen to him when he speaks. He is also good friends with the demon blacksmith, Tōtōsai, and stays with him at the end of the series. In the anime, he is also married and continues to travel in order to avoid his wife.
Tōtōsai is a demon blacksmith acquainted with Inuyasha, Sesshōmaru, and Myōga. Prior to the series, he was the one who forged the Tessaiga and Tenseiga from their father’s fangs and gave them their respective abilities. Sesshōmaru, after his first defeat by Inuyasha, came to him in order to have a sword made that can defeat the Tessaiga.
Instead, Tōtōsai fled to seek safety with Inuyasha and watched as they did battle. When the Wind Scar failed to harm Sesshōmaru, he came to realize that the swords were made so that neither could be used against the other. With the threat from Sesshōmaru gone, he returned to his blacksmithing until needed again.
Tōtōsai usually remains inside his home, which is a forge located around a volcano, but occasionally leaves it in order to meet with Inuyasha and Sesshōmaru using Mō-Mō, a three-eye ox that can fly. Because he created the Tessaiga and Tenseiga, he has a very thorough understanding of the blades and what they are capable of, often informing the brothers of these abilities when they seek him out or he senses he is needed. He is also the only one who can repair and strengthen them in accordance to the growth of their wielders.
Tōtōsai is the best blacksmith in the series, knowledgeable about all sorts of weapons. He acts a bit off at times, appearing forgetful, but he considers his blades to be precious and doesn’t want to see them used for evil. This is the reason he expelled his one-time apprentice, who later went on to create the Tōkijin. He is also capable of creating fire to be used as a defensive wall or for forging weapons, and often repairs any weapons the group has if damaged or broken.
Sesshōmaru is the half-brother of Inuyasha and a full-demon. He first appeared seeking out Inuyasha after he awakens from his fifty-year slumber, searching for their father’s resting place. To this end, he first manipulated Inuyasha by having a demon imitate his mother, and then ripped out the black pearl hidden in his eye to reach the remains and Tessaiga.
He was unable to pull it out because it was made for protecting humans, a desire he did not possess. Inuyasha awakened the blade’s true potential in order to protect Kagome, and it led to his half-brother severing one of his arms while he was in his true demon form. Sesshōmaru then traveled in search of a way to wield the Tessaiga or surpass it.
Sesshōmaru is one of the most powerful demons in the series, capable of smiting lesser demons with only his poison claws and inhuman strength. He wields the Tenseiga, given to him by his father, capable of resurrecting the dead once and protecting him from Tessaiga so that the two brothers can’t kill one another with their blades. He also wielded Tōkijin until it was shattered, later replacing it with a sword born from his own power.
He values strength, assured of his own but constantly seeking to be stronger. This leaves him with little room for compassion, seeing it as a weakness, and constantly mocking Inuyasha for being a half-demon and traveling with humans. It isn’t until he starts interacting with Rin, who he resurrected from death using Tenseiga after she tried to help him recover from his injuries, and Kagura, whose death he witnessed and motivated him into killing Naraku, that he realizes otherwise and learns the value of life.
Jaken is a small and impish demon that acts as a vassal of Sesshōmaru. He claims to have been serving him for centuries and helped him search for his father’s remains in order to retrieve the Tessaiga. When that attempt failed, he continued to follow his lord throughout the Feudal Era as he tried different plans to obtain the sword, eventually traveling alongside Rin and Kohaku.
Jaken acts as a servant, speaking for his lord when he deigns not to and fighting when needed. His main weapon is the Staff of Two Heads, allowing him to divine locations and spew fire to kill enemies that were too weak to warrant Sesshōmaru’s attention. He ends up becoming Rin’s primary overseer as well when their lord isn’t present, working to keep her safe against any that target her alongside A-Un and later Kohaku.
Jaken is fairly arrogant, if not in his own strength then Sesshōmaru’s, and works to constantly flatter him. In a manner similar to Myōga, Jaken is abused by his lord in a comedic fashion, but also by other allies and enemies alike. The main exceptions are Rin, who respects him greatly and earnestly, and Kohaku.
Despite the abuse, he is wholly loyal to Sesshōmaru and understands him well enough to cry on his behalf in front of his mother when he could not after Rin’s second death. This gives her a reason to resurrect the girl when Tenseiga could not. Likewise, Sesshōmaru does not kill him for failure when he would anyone else. He continues to travel with his lord at the end of the series.
Rin is a human girl and follower of Sesshōmaru. Early in her life she witnessed her parents being killed by bandits and was orphaned as a result, an event that left her muted by the tragedy and giving her a fear of humans. She had to forage and steal food to survive, eventually stumbling across Sesshōmaru after he had been injured in a forest near her village. She offered him food, that she was beaten for stealing, but showed no fear in his presence.
Her village is later attacked by Kōga’s wolves while he sought out a thief who had hidden in her hut. She tries to flee to safety, but she is killed by them in the forest. Sesshōmaru finds her corpse and revives her at the urging of Tenseiga, and she follows after him while speaking for the first time.
Rin has no combat experience, being a normal human child, and thus has to either be removed or protected during combat. A number of enemies have targeted her in an attempt to get to Sesshōmaru for this reason, using her as a hostage or a way to emotionally manipulate him. Despite that, she is very brave and will stand by his side to support him in whatever way she can.
Rin is a cheerful girl upon being revived, and has absolute faith in Sesshōmaru. She talks a lot, once mentioning she gets scared if she can’t, and loves making up songs. She bonds quickly with Jaken, A-Un, Kohaku, and even Kagura, who once kidnapped her, acting as the moral center of the group and spurring them into being more compassionate by her presence. She later lives in Kaede’s village, so she can adapt to living with humans if she chooses not to go with Sesshōmaru once she is older.
Kohaku is the younger brother of Sango. On his first assignment as a demon-slayer, he ended up being possessed and killed his family before being stricken down and buried along with them. Naraku later used a jewel shard to bring him back to life as an emotional weapon to use again Sango, knowing the connection between them.
Kohaku, at first, lacks any sort of memory of his past and acts as a tool for Naraku. However, as he slowly regains his memories and control of himself, he decides to kill Naraku for everything he had done. To this end, Kohaku continues to act as a loyal servant to him until an opportunity presents itself, teaming up with Kagura, Kikyō, and later Sesshōmaru.
Kohaku is skilled with a chain-scythe, having been taught by his father and trained in the art of demon-slaying alongside his sister. It was only his gentle and fearful nature holding him back at first. By the end of the series, he travels with Kirara to continue work as a demon-slayer, refining his skills further.
He becomes protective of Rin while traveling with Sesshōmaru, forging a strong friendship despite the turmoil surrounding them. His sister never stops trying to save him, while the other members of Inuyasha’s party hold no grudges over his actions because they understood what he had been put through. Kagura, an Incarnation Naraku, protects him and prevents his shard from being stolen once he regains his memories, while Kikyō planned to use his shard to kill Naraku but her power later brings him back to life after the shard is removed.
Kōga is a wolf-demon and occasional ally of Inuyasha. He came into possession of three jewel shards after they were scattered, but another wolf-demon stole a shard. He kills him to get it back and then allows his wolves to eat the human villagers, killing Rin in the process (she would later be resurrected by Sesshōmaru).
Inuyasha’s group happens to be nearby, searching for the jewel shards, and starts killing the wolves he commanded in turn, leading to a fight between them. Once he learns Kagome could see the jewel shards, he kidnaps her to help him and falls in love with her. His entire tribe, barring his two friends, is killed shortly afterwards by Kagura and used to frame Inuyasha by covering him in their blood. Once the truth is revealed, he seeks to kill Naraku and travels across Feudal Japan to do so.
The jewel shards initially gave him additional strength and speed, allowing him to create whirlwinds as he ran and making him a match for most opponents early in the series. But, as the challenges he faced grew, he sought out his ancestral weapon, Goraishi, to aid him. Once he loses the jewel shards and Goraishi, he leaves getting revenge against Naraku to Inuyasha’s group.
Kōga is arrogant, headstrong, and thinks very little of human lives and half-demons initially, like most demons in the setting. It is only through his encounters with Inuyasha’s group and Kagome that he learns otherwise. He constantly flirts with her, but it is never reciprocated. In the anime adaption, he ends up marrying another wolf-demon named Ayame by the end of the series.
Kagura is an incarnation of Naraku. She was made by Naraku after Kanna, making her the second one ever created, but was introduced first in the series. Kagura wanted freedom from Naraku, but to gain it she needed to reclaim her heart from him.
Kagura desires to be ‘free like the wind,’ so she hates being forced or tricked, but is not above doing so to others in order to gain her freedom. To this end, she allied herself with whoever she thought would be able to kill Naraku, from Inuyasha’s party, to other incarnations, and eventually Sesshōmaru. Once Naraku becomes aware of her treachery, he gives her heart back after pumping it full of miasma so that her body would break down and dissolve.
Kagura is capable of manipulating the wind through the use of her fan, using it as a weapon or riding on it with a feather she enlarged with her powers. Her body can regenerate the damage done to it as long as her heart is undamaged. She can also reanimate the dead like puppets.
While an enemy, Kagura is also somewhat an aloof ally of the main characters in order to use them, though she does aid them whenever it is a convenience to her and keeps silent on Inuyasha’s weakness. The same can be said for how she treats Kohaku once he regains his memories and Sesshōmaru, only she ends up becoming protective of the former and smitten with the latter. She dies happy after being poisoned by Naraku, grateful that she could see Sesshōmaru a final time and feeling that she is at last free as the wind.
Kanna is an incarnation of Naraku and the first one he ever made, despite looking so young. She is a demon of nothingness, crafted to be able to elude Naraku’s enemies and observe them from a distance. She initially faces the group by stealing the souls of a number of villagers, but could not contain Kagome’s soul and is forced to release them or have the mirror break prematurely.
Afterwards, Kanna is relegated to more important tasks that involved avoiding conflict. She looks over Naraku’s heart, stealing souls to protect it and hide information. It is only after Kagura’s death that she is tasked with entering into combat once more, in order to copy the Tessaiga and kill Inuyasha’s group. She is killed by Naraku in a last-ditch effort to defeat them.
Kanna has the ability to elude detection and remain unaffected by spiritual influences, allowing her to move without any hindrances. She possesses a mirror that can be used to steal souls and manipulate their bodies, or spy on enemies. The mirror itself can also become a demon, capable of copying enemy weapons, but in that form she takes on any damage it does.
Kanna initially did not seem to have any emotions, having been crafted to be the perfect agent for Naraku and acting as his mouthpiece. Despite that, she is close to Kagura as they had been the longest-lived of the incarnations and sisters. Over the course of the series, she ends up finding her own will and emotions, but is killed before they could fully mature. As she dies, she provides Kagome with the secret of how to kill Naraku.
Naraku is the main antagonist of the series. He was born when the human bandit Onigumo sold his rotten souls to demons in order to be able to obtain both Kikyō and the Shikon Jewel. The demons melded together with him to form Naraku, a half-demon.
Naraku sought to corrupt the jewel by pitting Inuyasha and Kikyō against one another, leading to the latter being sealed and the former dying, but he didn’t expect that she would ask her sister to have the jewel be cremated with her and thus lost it. He decided to wait until it returned, and during this time he committed a number of other atrocities like cursing Miroku’s bloodline. Once he learned of Kagome shattering the jewel into shards, he set out to gather them.
Naraku is a manipulator, tricking others into doing his fighting for him to minimize the risk to himself. While powerful in his own right, the shards gave him the power to create incarnations who could do his bidding, like Kagura and Kanna. Anytime he came across a weakness or a threat, he was quick to rid himself of it, making him stronger in the long run.
Naraku made enemies of everyone, quick to betray those who he had no more use for and prematurely attack those who could be a threat. It is ultimately because of this that he is defeated. His incarnations revealed his weaknesses to his enemies, who became strong enough to overpower him because of his actions against them. He is eventually purified when the Shikon Jewel is destroyed, laying him to rest once and for all.