Cast List: Book 11

 

FROM THIS POINT ON, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS IN THE CAST LISTS.
The cast list for each book will not contain spoilers for that book, but each list will give away plot points for the previous books.
DON'T READ THE CAST LIST FOR THIS BOOK UNTIL YOU'VE READ THE PREVIOUS ISSUES OF THE COMIC!

 

 

(in order of appearance) :

Longer and longer . . .

Inuyasha Who Seeks The Shikon No Tama

a.k.a. Koinu; Houjou-kun; in later life, Dr. Inuyasha Houjou. We see him as a 16th-century half-daemon (hanyou) youth on the title page and here and there in the book; otherwise, he's a sometimes bespectacled modern human-type teenager in this book. Born sometime around the turn of the 16th century, Inuyasha was a son of the great dog-daemon Inutaisho and a woman of the Houjou clan, and the younger half-brother of the fully youkai (translated as "daemon") Sesshoumaru. The Inutaisho died during Inuyasha's infancy. During his childhood, Inuyasha and his mother returned to her family home, where she died shortly thereafter. On the night of her death, Inuyasha escaped assassination, seriously injuring and running from the huntsman who had tried to kill him. Two years later, Inuyasha was found wandering, wild and naked, by Sesshoumaru, who had recently lost control of the Inutaisho's stronghold on the island of Kyushu. Inuyasha traveled with his brother and a contingent of youkai for several years, scavenging for food on battlefields, but escaped from the group in order to hide his hanyou secret: that on the night of the new moon, he was fully human until sunrise. When he returned to his brother's cadre, he was given the choice of hunting human flesh, like a youkai, or of being considered by his companions to be human prey. To save his own life and gain the acceptance of his companions, the boy (10 or 11 years old at this point) killed and partially devoured a human man, but was so appalled and disgusted by his own act that he was overcome by paroxyms of vomiting. To his surprise, Inuyasha was not killed by his companions, and he continued to travel with them until he struck out on his own to search for the Shikon no Tama, or Jewel of Four Souls, a powerful gem he planned to use to become fully youkai.

[The next 2 paragraphs haven't changed from last issue.] While seeking the jewel the now-teenaged Inuyasha fell in love with its guardian, Kikyou, who convinced him to become human rather than daemon. Before he could do so, however, the two were tricked by the evil hanyou Naraku into betraying one another. The mortally wounded Kikyou killed Inuyasha with a purifying arrow through the heart, leaving his magically sealed body pinned to a tree and carrying the jewel with her to her funeral pyre. Fifty years later a 20th-century schoolgirl named Kagome was transported to the past and stumbled upon Inuyasha's body, somehow reanimating him. She removed the sealing arrow so that he could save her from a monster chasing the Shikon no Tama, which had inexplicably reappeared inside a wound in Kagome's torso. The priestess Kaede, younger sister of Kikyou (but now grown to late middle age) forced Inuyasha to wear a string of prayer beads that allowed Kagome to control him with a single word (osuwari, the term used to tell a dog to "sit"). Kagome accidentally shattered the SNT into fragments that scattered throughout the archipelago, and she and Inuyasha joined forces to reassemble the jewel. In the process, the two fell in love, but Inuyasha also inadvertently re-vivified the dead Kikyou, dooming his relationship with Kagome. During the quest the two acquired a group of companions who were with them when Inuyasha finally found himself holding the SNT and facing Naraku, who had gained control of Inuyasha's magic sword, the Tetsusaiga (pronounced "Tessaiga"). Finding his options limited, Inuyasha refused to choose to be either daemon or human, instead commanding the jewel to take from him the life he had promised to Kikyou. Kikyou was returned to genuine life, but ran away, declaring the dying Inuyasha had cursed her. Inuyasha, now in human form, declared his love for Kagome and died in her arms, but not understanding he was dying, promised to come find her in her "realm" as soon as he was able.

On October 26, 1981—approximately three weeks before the birth of Kagome—Inuyasha was reincarnated as the child of a high-level government economist named Yoshi Houjou and his wife, Haruka Inuyasha-Houjou, a social activist who was born on Kyushu in what was once the domain of the Inutaisho. A bicycle accident on his fourth birthday left Inuyasha aware of his previous existence—although he did not comprehend that he had died, and believed that he had found his way to Kagome's realm but had inexplicably been transformed into the form of a four-year-old child. Wanting to keep his promise to find Kagome, but unable to do so, he spent the next dozen years trying to become the man he believed she wished him to be. The two became schoolmates in middle school, at which time Houjou-kun, known to his family and old friends as Koinu, attempted to date Kagome, but was somehow too confused about his own situation to identify himself as Inuyasha. Kagome, who was then still traveling to the 16th century and in love with the hanyou Inuyasha, repeatedly stood Koinu up or broke dates with him until almost a year after her experience of the death of Inuyasha, at which time Koinu suddenly understood he had died and been reborn, and ran to reveal himself to her. Her initial reaction was shock, disappointment and—repugnance is too strong a word, but it's close. Suddenly, however, she seemed to see something in him that touched her heart; they kissed, then spent a long teenaged evening hanging out with friends and having fun, eventually kissing goodnight.

[New stuff again]: Koinu ran home to do homework, but he in fact spent a sleepless night being insanely, goofily happy at having finally connected with Kagome (and at last dipped his toe into the great ocean of sex). A morning encounter with his parents sobered him a bit, but not as much as the sight of the terribly thin, terribly fragile Kagome, whose life was shattered by the circumstances of the quest and Inuyasha's death and who continued to refuse to eat. After Kagome fainted in school, and the two overheard the principal discussing having Kagome withdraw from school, Inuyasha effected their escape with the help of his formidable nanny, Auntie Barbra. [Last issue]: In the Japanese room of the Houjou residence, chaperoned by the numerous ladies who make up his mother's Women's International Peace Committee, Koinu found that his sense of his previous life had changed—that what had once seemed like a story he'd witnessed had come to seem real, and that hazy impressions of living as Inuyasha were now concrete memories. He confessed to Kagome the terrible things he'd done in his previous life, expecting her to reject him. To his surprise, she claimed to have guessed some of his dreadful past. Confused, relieved, exhausted, and overwhelmed by guilt, Koinu reacted in true Inuyasha fashion by screaming obscenities at Kagome, who reacted in true Kagome fashion by screaming right back at him. Suddenly he stopped, bowed politely—he's Inuyasha, but he's also Houjou—clapped both hands over his mouth, and dashed out of the room past the surprised committee ladies. A subdued Kagome sat down at the table, took up the ramen he had prepared for her, and finally broke her strange fast.

Auntie Barbra

Houjou-kun's formidable Kiwi (New Zealander) nanny (and, we can guess, frequent co-conspirator), the beloved of Auntie Terra (his less formidable English co-nanny), Auntie Barbra counts as one of the bevy of women who try to protect Houjou from the world, even though she is, as Koinu puts is, still technically a man. Auntie Barbra and her charge express their considerable love and respect for one another through cheerful mutual rudeness using the most obscene and outrageous language possible.

Ms. Habib

One of the women on the Women's International Peace Committee, Maryam Habib was born and raised in Detroit, graduated from the University of Michigan, and was in the process of being arrested for chaining herself to the wrought-iron fence outside the White House in protest against—well, a lot of things—when she was observed and rescued by Haruka Inuyasha-Houjou, who was a guest of the first lady and thereby immune from arrest herself, although several FBI agents had a few bad minutes of it during which their respective lives passed before their respective eyes, and one of them quit shortly thereafter to write those kinds of terse insider action novels that people either hate (Bachan) or love (a whole bunch of other people). Ms. Habib ended up being invited to lunch—giving several Secret Service agents and, we suspect, the First Lady of the United States, a few bad moments. At the time of Book 11, she has completed her master's degree in sociology. Of all the women on the committee, by the way, she is the only one who has not known Koinu since before his birth and therefore the only one of them who is truly aware that he is a sexually mature teenager. (The others still think of him as being, oh, twelve years old at the most.) Habib-san has caught Koinu directing more than one long, speculative look at the ankles below her jilbaab, and while it is her belief as a devout Muslim and ardent feminist that modest clothing frees a woman from the burden of being a sex object, she has the sneaking suspicion that the finer points of Islamic feminism are lost on Koinu-chan. She has mentioned this suspicion aloud to her fellow committeewomen, incidentally, eliciting only blank stares. I don't know that we'll see Habib again in this story, but it's worth mentioning that she goes on to finish her doctorate and in fact has worked with Leo Kraus, the Austrian Jewish cultural anthropologist who works with Dr. Houjou, on several projects. The Kraus/Habib collaboration is an intriguing one to their colleagues. Kraus, as everyone knows, would never consider a relationship with an Arab. Habib, as everyone knows, would never consider a relationship with a Jew. But put them on a panel or in front of a workshop together and they're Beatrice and Benedick. And Kraus isn't above casting a glance or two at that jilbaab, either.

Higurashi, Kagome

As a 20-century Japanese middle-school girl, Kagome was accidentally carried to the Warring States era of Japanese history when, on her fifteenth birthday, a monster pulled her down a magic well. On the Other Side she encountered and revived the half-daemon Inuyasha, becoming his partner in the quest to recover the Shikon no Tama. One year after their meeting, he died in her arms, declaring his love and promising to find her in her "realm"—actually modern Tokyo. She had mourned Inuyasha—isolating and starving herself—for almost a year when she learned he had been reincarnated as her schoolmate Houjou-kun, whose given name was, in fact, Inuyasha. After a rocky start, the two had a happy evening together, but when Inuyasha—nicknamed Koinu—met her before school the next morning, he suspected she was still starving herself. That morning she collapsed in school and was guarded in the nurse's office by Koinu. Together, the two overheard the principal's assessment of themselves: that Koinu, a brilliant student and scion of a well-to-do and influential family, was a "star" while Kagome, the sickly child of a shrine family, was "nothing special." When the principal announced his intention to have Kagome withdrawn from school, Koinu promised to prevent her expulsion and "rescued" her by taking her to his own family home, where the members of his mother's peace committee helped him prepare her a meal of tea and ramen. As Koinu told stories of his lives as Inuyasha and as Houjou-kun, Kagome avoided eating the food he had prepared. After he confessed to murdering and devouring an innocent man during his life as the hanyou Inuyasha, Kagome declared that she had guessed his gruesome past. As is their wont, the two launched into a screaming argument, suddenly interrupted when Koinu inexplicably bowed and ran from the room.

A really nice cat

An early companion of Inuyasha Who Seeks the Shikon no Tama. We find our mentors in strange places sometimes.

A kind lady

It takes really nice people to make a really nice cat.

Kaede

The younger sister of the miko Kikyou, she was a young child during the romance between her sister and Inuyasha. On the day of the couple's mutual betrayal, Inuyasha crashed through a building in search of the Shikon no Tama, and a falling timber struck and destroyed Kaede's right eye. Shortly thereafter, Kikyou shot and sealed Inuyasha, then died herself of the wounds inflicted by Naraku in Inuyasha's guise. The child Kaede fulfilled Kikyou's last instructions, for the Shikon no Tama to be burned with her body on her funeral pyre. Kaede took her sister's place as priestess for the village, protecting it, tending to the villagers' health and welfare, and preventing interference with the body of Inuyasha where it was pinned to a tree by Kikyou's sealing arrow. Fifty years after Kikyou's death, the girl Kagome was carried into the Sengoku Jidai time by a centipede monster, and then captured in Inuyasha's forest by villagers who carried her to Kaede, now a woman of late middle age. During Kaede's conversation with Kagome, the monster returned, and Kagome ran back to the forest to distract the monster, somehow reviving Inuyasha in doing so. Inuyasha convinced Kagome to remove the sealing arrow, killed the monster, and then threatened to kill Kagome unless she gave him the Shikon no Tama, which had mysteriously appeared in a wound in the girl's body. Kaede threw a string of prayer beads over Inuyasha's neck and instructed Kagome to choose a word of power with which to control him. She chose the word osuwari, the command for a dog to "sit." With Inuyasha subdued, the women returned to the village accompanied by Inuyasha, who joined them in Kaede's home and thereby learned of the passage of 50 years and of Kikyou's death. After the SNT was stolen and shattered, Kaede charged Inuyasha and Kagome with the quest of finding and reassembling the shards of the jewel. When Kagome escaped home, Kaede joined forces with Inuyasha against the ogre Yura, and the first signs of affection between the hanyou boy and the old woman became apparent. Thereafter, Kaede's home became the base of operations for the companions during their quest, and Kaede became friend and mentor to the group, and to Inuyasha in particular.

Villagers

First they try to kill Kagome. Then they capture her. Then they try to rescue her. Then they try to kill Inuyasha. Then they worship Kagome. Eventually, they become friendly bystanders. Never a dull moment. (How many villagers quietly figured out how to ride that bike?)

Inuyasha-Houjou, Haruka

Housewife turned social activist, mother of Houjou Inuyasha. Informed she was unlikely to bear a child, Haruka founded the Women's International Peace Committee as an outlet for her considerable intelligence, energy, and high-mindedness. When the miracle of in vitro fertilization made motherhood a possibility, Haruka proved that a properly motivated woman can be totally dedicated to serving a worthy cause and totally dedicated to managing all aspects of her child's life at the same time. If you want to turn a daemon into a Houjou-kun, give him to Haruka.

Obi-Wan Kenobi

From Star Wars, in case you've been living in a box for 25 years. Luke Skywalker's mentor. The wise, enigmatic old Alec Guinness version, not the Ewan McGregor version (it's 1998, remember?).

Sesshoumaru

[Not seen, but spoken of in this issue] The elder son of the great dog-daemon Inutaisho and a youkai mother, Sesshoumaru is fully youkai. Although he appears to be a young man in his early 20s, Sesshoumaru is more than 200 years older than his younger half-brother. Sesshoumaru's true form is that of a huge white dog—approximately 12 feet (4 meters) tall. Like his hanyou younger brother, Sesshoumaru has fangs and razor-sharp claws, but Sesshoumaru's claws are poisonous. Although Sesshoumaru has a deep and abiding respect for his late father, he strongly resents his father's alliance with Inuyasha's human mother and is angered and humiliated by the existence of his half-human younger brother. After his father's death during Inuyasha's infancy, Sesshoumaru attempted to maintain his father's stronghold on Kyushu against the incursions of both youkai and the increasingly efficient human households in the area. Shortly after Inuyasha and his mother removed from the stronghold for her family home on Honshu, Sesshoumaru was driven from the Inutaisho's castle and began a peripatetic exile accompanied by a small and varying company of youkai supporters, including always his personal retainer, the toad-daemon Jaken. During that exile he apparently sought out the child Inuyasha, who was orphaned and separated from his home. The two traveled together with others for several years before parting for unknown reasons.

Miroku

[Not seen, but spoken of in this issue] One of the companions of Inuyasha on the quest for the Shikon no Tama, Miroku was a young Buddhist monk whose male line was cursed by Naraku with a void—perhaps a black hole—in the palm of his right hand. His father and grandfather both succumbed to the void, and Miroku searched for a woman to bear his child to carry on his quest to defeat Naraku should he himself be consumed by the void. A cheerful thief, con man, and womanizer, Miroku was also well-educated, courageous, and possessed of a genuine spirituality and compassion. Originally at odds with Inuyasha, he eventually became the hanyou's friend, confidant, and advisor in matters spiritual and amatory.


Book 11

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