|The Short and Sweet Version
Ok, here it is in a medium-sized nutshell. Kagome, a 15-year-old girl from present-day Tokyo, time-travels back 500 years to the Warring-States Period via an old, boarded-up well at the shrine where she lives with her grandfather, mom, and little brother. Once she gets there, she starts on an adventure which will change her life. She frees Inuyasha (who is half human, half dog-demon) from a spell which had held him pinned to a huge tree for 50 years, and finds out she is the reincarnation of the village priestess, Kikyou, who died after putting the spell on Inuyasha. Through a series of events Kagome and Inuyasha end up becoming unwilling partners in the search for shards of the Shikon no Tama, or the Jewel of Four Souls. To get them they have to battle various youkai (demons) who are using the shards to boost their power. What happens when they find all the shards? I don't know yet... I suppose we'll find out eventually.
The Long, Long, Long Version
When the story begins, it is Higurashi Kagome's 15th birthday. Kagome's a typical teenage girl, working hard to do well at school and dealing with her annoying little brother, Souta. Living at a temple shrine with her mother, grandfather, and little brother, she's used to hearing stories about magical legends and mythical creatures, but that still doesn't prepare her for the journey she's about to take. While searching for her cat, Buyo, in a closed-off section of the shrine, Kagome gets grabbed by a hideous woman/centipede-youkai (demon) with six arms who appears out of a boarded-up well!! The youkai drags Kagome into the well, and when she climbs back out, suddenly she's not in Tokyo anymore... In fact, she's journeyed back in time 500 years to the Sengoku Jidai, or the "Warring-States Period." There, she finds an interesting looking creature pinned to a tree by an arrow... and it looks like he's been there a while.
Fifty years before, the half-human, half-dog-demon Inuyasha had been dealt a cruel hand. His beloved Kikyou (the priestess of the local village) had turned against him, and without his even knowing why, she fired the arrow which would keep him in a state of sleep for the next fifty years. Kikyou returned to the village, mortally wounded in a fight with (so she thought) none other than Inuyasha himself! The fight itself had been over the mystical Shikon no Tama, or the "Jewel of Four Souls." A demon using this Jewel would find that his power increased one hundred-fold or even more. For a half-demon such as Inuyasha, this would have been a prize indeed, but even for such a treasure, why would he attack Kikyou? The answers to these questions would all come later. Before she died, Kikyou instructed her younger sister Kaede to burn the Shikon no Tama with her remains.
Back to Kagome. After taking a moment to uh, examine the ears of this strange dog-boy, she is discovered by the locals and taken back to the nearest village. There, the villagers marvel over her strange clothing, but there is something about her that's even stranger... she is identical to the priestess Kikyou, who had died 50 years before. Kagome is brought to the village headwoman, who of course is none other than Kaede (younger sister of Kikyou), who is now an old woman. After a surprise attack by the centipede-youkai, Kaede realizes that there can be only one explanation for this incredible circumstance: Kagome is Kikyou reincarnated. This explains why Kagome was attacked: as she comes to discover, the Shikon no Tama is miraculously contained inside her own body! A strike by the centipede-youkai removes the Shikon no Tama from inside Kagome. The youkai swallows the Jewel and becomes extremely powerful. In order to save herself and the villagers, Kagome pulls out the arrow which is holding Inuyasha to the tree, and he kicks the youkai's butt, retrieving the Jewel.
Then, of course, he wants it for himself. Kaede saves the day by throwing a necklace around Inuyasha's neck and telling Kagome to yell a command word: SIT!!!! This throws Inuyasha to the ground (This is a recurring theme throughout the series ^^).
This will forever be a work-in-progress, as I find the time to continue and as more issues are translated. More later.
Hey! Inu-Yasha is © 1999 Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan, Inc., and Viz's translations are © 1999 Viz Communications.