InuYasha is an anime series that tells the story of Kagome Higurashi, a 15-year-old girl from Tokyo who gets mysteriously transported to Japan's Sengoku period after getting dragged into their family shrine by a large centipede demon. There she meets the titular character of the series—the half-demon Inuyasha. The centipede monster was actually after a jewel embedded in Kagome; the struggle with the beast lead to the jewel being shattered with all its pieces dispersing across Japan. Inuyasha and Kagome then start to travel the ancient land in order to recover the pieces of the powerful jewel.
Weapons in the InuYasha anime are one of the major aspects that make the series so unique. Each weapon has its own origin and amazing power to match. Some have the power to slay hundreds of demons, conjure lightning, or call upon the souls of the dead.
The magical world of InuYasha is home to demons and other magical creatures, and most weapons found in the series are made up of actual demons or parts of these demons—with some actually having a demon sealed within them. Yōkai Swords or Demon Blades are weapons imbued with demonic powers. These weapons are rare to find and are mostly used by Daiyōkai—a more powerful and smarter type of demon that has a longer life span and is generally more adept in combat. Although lower-class demons have been shown in possession of Yōkai swords, the power of these blades is often too overwhelming with its demonic aura controlling the user. In addition, when used by normal humans or low-level demons, the blade's power can become too overwhelming, resulting in the wielder's death.
Notable Yōkai Swords
Tessaiga (Iron-Crushing Fang)
The sword which you'll see the most often in the series since it is the signature weapon of our main hero, Inuyasha. It might look like a dull and battered katana, but don't let its appearance fool you as this blade packs quite a punch. (Or slash. Whatever.) The Tessaiga is also known as the "Sword of Destruction," and it didn't get its name just because it sounds cool. The sword has an attack called the "Kaze no Kizu" or Wind Scar, giving it the ability to slay 100 demons with one slash. (Yup, not one, not two. A hundred.) Inuyusha's trusty blade also has the added ability to absorb the powers and energy of other weapons or people it comes in contact with. This allows the sword to have multiple forms and variations that have ranging capabilities and powers. The Tessaiga was forged by the great sword smith Tōtōsa, creating it from the fangs of the great Daiyōkai—the Inu no Taishō, who is a powerful demon known across feudal Japan and who is also the father of Inuyusha and Sesshōmaru. The sword has also shown to have some sort sentience, advising and guiding Inuyusha throughout his adventure.
Tenseiga (Heavenly Rebirth Fang)
This is Tessaiga's kinder and more forgiving brother that is also forged from the fangs of Inu no Taishō. The Tenseiga is the first signature sword of Sesshōmaru and unlike other blades in the series it can't actually hurt or kill any living being. (Which kind of defeats the purpose of a sword...) But that doesn't mean it's completely useless. It is a Yōkai blade and like many in the series it has its share of special powers. More specifically, it has the ability to heal the injured or revive the dead. If the Tessaiga has the power of utter destruction then the Tenseiga has the ability to restore life, able to revive a hundred beings with a single slash. Like its more destructive counterpart, the Tenseiga also has a form of sentience and would often tell Sesshōmaru when it wants to be drawn or when there is a person that needs his help nearby.
Tōkijin (Demon Fighting God)
This blade is Sesshōmaru's second signature weapon resulting from his obsession to wield a blade much more powerful than the Tessaiga. The sword was made from the fangs of the mind-reading demon Goshinki. Since the demon broke the Tessaiga with its fangs, Sesshōmaru decided he would make it into his new sword. He enlisted the help of the sword smith Kaijinbō, who was Tōtōsa's apprentice, but was expelled due to him killing 10 innocent children in order to make a sword stronger. (Now that's dedication...). However, upon the sword's completion its demonic aura was great enough to possess its creator which influenced him to face Inuyasha. Unfortunately for the swordsmith, he was unable to withstand the sword's immense power which lead to his demise. After a little bit of searching and reviving here and there, Sesshōmaru was able to recover the sword and used it as his main weapon from there on.
Bakusaiga (Explosive Crushing Fang)
This is Sesshōmaru's last signature weapon, having been created from his own left arm. (Yup, that's what happened.) After abandoning what seemed be a never ending quest to find a sword stronger than Tessaiga, Sesshōmaru was able find his own inner strength. This resulted in the creation of Bakusaiga, a sword that surpasses the power of the two blades created from his father. A manifestation of his own demonic powers, the Bakusaiga has the ability to deconstruct any organic material that its blade touches. In addition, any organic material that comes in contact with the original target will also be 'infected' by the decomposition—spreading just like a virus. The blade's ability proved to be the bane of the demon Naraku since its deconstruction powers disabled the demon's ability to reconstruct its body parts. If you thought the Tessaiga had an impressive swing, well the Bakusaiga will surprise you as it has been shown to easily destroy 1000 demons with a single blow.
Sō’unga (Amassing Cloud Fang)
Now this is what you call the "Evil Twin Brother" of the sword Tenseiga, which not quite surprisingly is called—"The Sword of Death." (Well, duh.) The Sō'unga has the opposite ability of the Tenseiga—instead of reviving a hundred beings, it can call upon a hundred dead souls with a single slash. It is wielded by Inuyasha and Sesshōmaru's father—Inu no Taishō. Unlike the two swords wielded by the brothers, Sō'unga was not crafted by Tōtōsai and it is currently unknown how Taishō came into possession of the sword, though it was noted that he possessed the sword even before the creation of Tessaiga and Tenseiga. What really makes the sword unique is that the soul of a demon dragon from hell resides within it (wait... what?) and its overwhelming power can take control of any lower-level demon when wielded. In the hands of a human it can drive the user to go into a mass-murdering frenzy. However, its power can be controlled by a Yōkai who is strong enough.
Banryū (Barbaric Dragon)
A big bad sword that has been drenched in the blood of a thousand demons and humans. (How delightful...) Banryū is a giant sword wielded by Bankotsu, who was the only human who could wield the sword and use it effectively—as its immense weight rendered it impractical for a normal person to carry. It unlocked its demonic powers after drenching itself in the blood of a thousand demons and humans—making it the only demon blade to be wielded by a human being. The sword's attacks usually involve lightning or fire, but after Bankotsu embedded it with two Shikon Jewel shards and also unlocking its demonic powers, the sword was able to launch more powerful attacks that use demonic energy.
Here's a bit of trivia: The sword shares the name of a Japanese Warship, the Banryū, it was one of the warships used by the Shogun in the Boshin War of Japan in 1868.
Sacred Longbow of Mount Azusa
Let's take a break from all the demonic weapons and explore the more spiritual armaments of the series. The Sacred Longbow of Mount Azusa is a mystical longbow wielded by Kagome Higurashi. It is protected by the spirit of Mount Azusa and has vast spiritual power. The bow has an ability that allows the user to hit whatever target they choose regardless of what is between them and the target. Obviously this ability is really helpful for any archer, but more so in the case of Kagome—who has lackluster archery skills. (Pffft ... AimBot)
A Sacred Arrow is a very powerful attack that stems from the user's own spiritual energy. The arrow's power is usually strong enough to subdue Yōkai swords such as the Tessaiga. This attack is mostly used by Kagome and can even enhance the power of Tessaiga which allows her and Inuyasha to make more powerful attacks.
Goraishi (Five Thunder Fingers)
The signature weapon of Kōga and is the most prized treasure of the Wolf Demon Tribe. The claws were given to Kōga by his ancestors after seeing his selflessness in saving others. The Goraishi can withstand the evil influences from other demons, protecting Kōga from the Naraku's corruption on his Shikon Jewel shards. The claws have the ability to create a powerful energy blasts that equal the power of Inuyasha's Wind Scar. (You know, that attack which can slay 100 demons?)
The Kusarigama is the weapon of choice for the Yōkai Taijiya—which are the demon hunters of InuYasha. It consists of a long chain with a sickle connected at the end, the sickle itself as well as its handle are made up of demon bones (is everything just made up of demon bones?). The weapon's design is based on the traditional Japanese feudal era weapon of the same name.
Hiraikotsu (Flying Return Bone)
A large boomerang wielded by the demon hunter Sango, it is made up of various demon bones and body parts and is nearly unbreakable due to its supernatural make up. After a battle between the Bone Demon, Sango lost Hiraikotsu. It was later fixed by the potion maker Yakurōdokusen—dissolving the boomerang in one jar and instructing Sango to slay the demons in a second jar. She was successful and along with the Hiraikotsu being fixed it was also imbued with demonic powers (demons just make everything better, huh?). This made the Hiraikotsu even more powerful in terms of anti-demon offensive capabilities—it is able to emit a demonic aura and can also absorb demonic poison and disperse it when needed.
The Shakujō is a staff commonly used by pilgrims and monks of ancient Japan and is also the signature weapon of Miroku. Despite being a monk, which are most commonly known to be peaceful people, Miroku has exhibited impressive skills when using his staff. He was able to stand against Inuyasha's Tessagai during their first fight, despite it being a demon sword. (Not bad... Not bad...)
The signature weapon of Sesshōmaru's right hand man, (or imp) Jaken. Though he has quite the small stature, Jaken can still pack a punch with his Nintōjō. The staff can shoot long streams of flame and can even call upon large floods of water whenever the imp wishes. The Nintōjō has two human heads at its end, with one being an old man and the other a beautiful woman—no surprise since the staff's name means "Human Head Cane." (Well, that's lovely)
Raigekijin (Lightning Blade)
Also known as the "Thunder Pike" is a weapon wielded by the feared yōkai, Hiten, who is also the eldest of the infamous Thunder Brothers. The weapon has the ability to discharge large of amounts of electricity—fitting as its owner is part of the Thunder Demon Tribe (they have a thing for lightning). When used by Hiten, the Raigekijin proves to be a powerful weapon, as it was able to strike his opponents with bolts of lightning. The pike was broken during Inuyasha and Hiten's battle and is currently hung on a wall at Thunder Brothers Castle.
Jakotsutō (Snake Skill Sword)
Take a sword and a snake and mash them up into a weapon. (Yup that's what this is.) The blade itself consists of 50 or so chain-linked blades that when swung form a zigzag pattern that closely resembles the movement of a snake that is about to strike. The sword can unravel itself to great lengths, which in the hands of Jakotsu, serves to be a real deadly ability. It can enable Jakotsu to attack opponents with frightening precision; he can practically trap opponents with his blade and cut them in to pieces with just a single swoop. (And you though paper cuts were bad...)
The weapons of InuYasha are all truly unique and amazing, it just makes you wonder what kind of creative mind the author had while making these armaments. If you want to see these weapons in action make sure to take a look at the InuYasha anime and dive into its ancient feudal land complete with demons, half-demons and humans who carry weapons that can level a whole city.