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Just a note before we begin: remember that all names are in their original Japanese form, meaning that the family name comes first. Ex: Higurashi Kagome

Inuyasha isn't your typical teenage guy... he's half human and half dog-demon (the dog-demon comes from his father's side). He's pretty rough around the edges, but he does have a soft side to him, although he'd never let you see it in a million years. He's VERY protective of the people he cares about, in particular Kikyou and Kagome. Inuyasha has fought many enemies, and many of those were boosted by a Shikon Jewel shard, making them extremely powerful. Using his "Claws of Blood" and other attacks, he slices and shreds his way to victory. Inuyasha has also become the possessor of an amazing sword called the Tetsusaiga, or "Steel-cleaving Fang" (I've also seen it called the "wolf's fang blade" by Viz). It once belonged to his father, but can only be wielded by a human (remember Inuyasha's half-human). This has led to some interesting plot twists. Anyway, Inuyasha, while being fiercely protective, is also fiercely obnoxious, and he and Kagome have mostly a Ranma/Akane sort of relationship. It'll be interesting to see what develops. ^^

Higurashi Kagome is basically a typical teenage girl. At 15, she's facing school exams, her pesty little brother, boring stories from her grandfather, Shikon-Jewel-seeking youma, and having to spend lots of time with a half-human, half-dog-demon. Ok, so maybe she's not so typical. Kagome quickly adjusts to her new double life in the present and the past. She manages somehow to balance fighting demons with fighting sleep as she does her homework, and she's discovered that many of the items which we take for granted can be very useful in the past. While she's not the best shot ::cringe:: Kagome's kind of learning how to shoot a bow and arrow... but her greatest weapons are courage and loyalty. She doesn't give up when the odds look bad, she keeps going and encourages others to do the same, especially Inuyasha. Speaking of... the love-hate relationship between the two is pretty obvious to the readers, but I wonder if they'll ever admit their affection for each other? I think Kagome realizes how dear Dog-Boy has become to her more often than he realizes the same about her. I hope they manage to work it out though... if I was her I'd want to play with those cute little ears too. ^^

Kikyou was the priestess and protectoress of her village. Her duties included keeping the Shikon Jewel, or "Jewel of Four Souls." Skilled with the bow and arrow, she also had a gentle side which made the village love her. Unfortunately, her life was struck by tragedy when Inuyasha, who had been her friend, seemingly attacked her. Mortally wounded, she fired the arrow which pinned Dog-Boy to a tree in the forest for 50 years (so it appeared). After that, she returned to her village, and entrusting her sister Kaede to burn the Shikon Jewel with her remains. Kaede follows her sister's instructions. However, this is not the end of Kikyou's story. 50 years later, after the arrival of Kagome into the world of feudal Japan, a witch named Urasue reanimates Kikyou's body, trying to draw Kagome's soul into it (since Kikyou's and Kagome's souls are one and the same--Kagome is Kikyou's present-day reincarnation). Even though Kagome does not relinquish her soul, Kikyou's body is still "alive," but she burns with only one desire: revenge on Inuyasha.

Shippou is a young fox spirit. He met Kagome and Inuyasha in a fight with two youkai named Hiten and Manten, who had killed Shippou's father. In trying to get revenge, Shippou became allied with Kagome and Inuyasha, who were trying to retrieve pieces of the Shikon shard from the two demons. After retrieving his father's pelt, Shippou's wish for revenge had been fulfilled, but since he was now an orphan, he joined up with Kagome and Inuyasha in the search for the rest of the Shikon shards. Shippou, though young, has many useful talents. He can change his shape into that of any other living creature, so he often gets used as a decoy. He's also very brave and tries his hardest to protect the others, especially Kagome, and takes this duty very seriously. Shippou constantly pokes fun at Inuyasha, but Inuyasha has no qualms about paying him back by clunking him on the head.

Miroku is a wandering Buddhist priest with a rather unusual problem. The demon Naraku placed a curse on Miroku's grandfather, creating a hellhole in his hand which will eventually suck everything into it, including the carrier. The curse was an attempt to completely wipe out Miroku's family line, and has been passed down for three generations. Currently, the hellhole is sealed shut by a cloth wrapping and a set of mystical prayer beads. Occasionally the vacuum has actually come in handy when Miroku is fighting certain kinds of enemies... unfortunately, though, he's gotten himself in trouble by using it in this manner. He sucked some poisonous wasps into the hellhole, and now the poison is affecting him. Even he has to deal with some serious troubles, he's a pretty laid-back guy. He's also somewhat of a pervert... first of all, he asks every female he meets to bear his child (most of them don't appreciate this). He's also been known to cop a feel when the opportunity presents itself, despite the whole "man of the cloth" thing. Despite this, Miroku seems to have a calming influence on the group. Just my own little note: check out the jangly monk staff! I love those things... you can see them in many manga/anime series, including Fushigi Yuugi (Chichiri) and Slayers (Rezo the Red Priest).

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Hey! Inu-Yasha is 1999 Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan, Inc., and Viz's translations are 1999 Viz Communications.