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Note: The entire Hero21 site contains material intended for mature audiences (upper teens and older). Much of The Hero in the 21st Century comic, as well as many of the pictures and stories presented or linked on these pages, might be considered inappropriate for younger readers. Warnings are included for especially intense content, but reader and parental discretion is advised.
You're right, that's a link. It's long enough that it earned a separate page.
Yes, that's also a link. And yes, I warned you back in the beginning that this is a postmodern graphic novel. Now we're hitting some of the postmodern stuff, big-time. Yes, we'll go back to the modern-day adventure. Yes, we'll go back to The Kids. Yes, we'll sneak more real-time looks at the Sengoku Jidai. But right now, we're postmodernizing. Bear with me, I'm overeducated.
Heir to a centuries-old tradition of public service, one of a long line of samurai supporting the rulers of what is now Japan, Yoshi is an economist for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in which capacity he has served in embassies and consulates in Europe and on the Pacific rim. Kendo champion in high school and college; comfortable and happy in a three-piece suit. The kind of dad who takes his kid to baseball games and Star Wars movies. Yoshi's a mensch—but he has high standards, even for four-year-olds.
Housewife turned social activist. 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.
Here for a guest cameo, Ryuukossei is the dragon that was fought by and sealed by the claw of the great dog-daemon Inutaisho, father of the hanyou Inuyasha and of the daemon Sesshoumaru. Victory came at a price: Inutaisho was injured in the battle and eventually died of his wounds. Before he died, Inutaisho commissioned the swordsmith Toutousai to forge the great swords Tessaiga [also spelled Tetsusaiga] and Tenseiga, to be inherited by the infant Inuyasha and by Sesshoumaru, respectively.
Tessaiga was forged of the Inutaisho's own fang, and its power could only be used by one who was both human and youkai (daemon). Part of the sword's purpose was to teach the hanyou to protect and honor humans, and his human heritage: Inuyasha could only transform the sword by dedicating himself to the protection of a human (he chose to protect Kagome). The sword's other purpose was to control his father's tai-youkai blood, which was too strong for Inuyasha's half-human body. When the Tessaiga was broken in battle, the sword's control over the great daemon's power was also broken, and Inuyasha was transformed into a mindless monster that delighted in killing everything, and everyone, it encountered.
Toutousai repaired the sword using Inuyasha's own fang, but because Inuyasha was not his father's equal, the re-forged blade was too heavy and cumbersome to use. Because he would not wield it in battle, the katana could not control Inuyasha's transformation. With each change, the transformed Inuyasha became less sentient, until even Kagome's voice could not undo the transformation. On one such occasion, only Sesshoumaru's intervention allowed Kagome to touch the blade to Inuyasha's hand, bringing to a halt a rampage so terrible that, sickened by the carnage, Inuyasha finally became determined to master the sword.
To allow him to best his father, Toutousai sent Inuyasha to slay the sealed Ryuukossei. But Inuyasha's arch-enemy, Naraku, removed the claw and awakened the dragon. Disarmed in battle, transformed into a monster, Inuyasha used force of will to seek out Tessaiga and undo his own transformation. In the course of the battle, he intuited the secret of the katana's great power, the Bakuryuuha, allowing him to slay the dragon and become master of the sword.What was that—four paragraphs, for a character appearing in one frigging panel? And he's hard to draw, too. Jeez.
American historian of Japanese birth, the world's foremost authority on the near-legendary Japanese warlord known as Sesshoumaru. Youngest sister of Haruka, the favorite aunt of Houjou Inuyasha, who as an adult has collaborated with her on a number of publications.
Italian explorer, sailed the ocean blue in fourteen hundred and ninety two under the flag of Spain after the king of Portugal refused to fund his trip. (Because of that, I had to do a report on Lisbon in second grade. It wasn't Columbus Day, but my teacher, who was a complete looney, had somehow not noticed Columbus Day—how could a teacher not notice Columbus Day? It's a national holiday. They close the schools. In those days, they closed the schools on Columbus Day proper, not on the nearest Monday. Wouldn't you have noticed you didn't have to go to work that day? Didn't the little lesson plan book have "Columbus Day" printed in it, with maybe the whole day X-ed out? I know it was printed on all the calendars. Anyway, we did these reports way the hell the next February, when George Washington's Birthday, which in our family we always called George Birthington's Washday, came around and reminded her that she'd missed Christopher Columbus. I was already bummed out because we'd just moved to Ohio and they celebrated GB'sW instead of Abraham Lincoln's Birthday, which is a very big deal in Illinois, as it should be. So on top of having Abraham Lincoln practically ignored, there I was, saddled with Lisbon. I feel bad complaining about that, because this web page has a number of very loyal Portuguese-speaking readers, although most of them actually live in Brazil. Needless to say, the moment I hit adulthood I headed back to Illinois, which is where I still live today.) First person to discover America, if you don't count a few million former Asians and a handful of Scandinavians.
Tai-youkai (the greatest of the youkai), the Great Dog-Daemon, ruler of the Western Lands (part of the archipelago associated with Kyushu, the large southwestern island of modern Japan), father of the tai-youkai Sesshoumaru by a youkai woman about whom nothing else is known, and of the hanyou Inuyasha by a young human woman of the Houjou clan. His true form was that of a "monstrous dog"—monstrous meaning "roughly the height of a ten-story building," although presumably he assumed humanoid size and form to procreate, at least with his human bride. None of our business, really. The Inutaisho lived many centuries, dying during Inuyasha's infancy after his battle with Ryuukossei. He was succeeded as ruler by his son Sesshoumaru, whose dog-form, while very large, was nowhere near Honored Daddy's. [In the original Inuyasha, this character is never named, being referred to only as inu no taisho, the leader of the dogs. Fanfiction writer extraordinaire Cat Who gave him the name Inutaisho, and so many fanficcers have borrowed the name that it's practically canon. I've used it in The Hero with Cat's kind permission.]
A young noblewoman of the Houjou clan, a niece of the daimyo of the Musashi domain. As a girl on the brink of puberty, she was given to the dog-daemon Inutaishofor whatever purposes suited himin the interest of cementing an alliance between the Inutaisho and her father's cadet branch of the Houjou. When she proved to be a powerful sorceress, he took her to wife. Several years after the Inutaisho's death, in fear of her stepson Sesshoumaru, she traveled with her small son back to her father's household, where she died within two years, leaving the young Inuyasha an outcast.
Younger brother of Kagome, Souta was a young boy during the year that his sister was traveling back and forth from the Warring States era. During that year, he was frequently assigned to entertain the often boisterous and unreasonable Inuyasha while his frantic sister tried desperately to study for her high school entrance exams.
Also known as Mr. S. Taiyou. Flamboyant British businessman of Japanese origin, but a permanent resident of the United States. Claims to be a direct descendant of a semi-legendary Japanese warlord, although Taiyou is a common name adopted by the descendants of peasants in the original Sesshoumaru's domain. Mr. Taiyou was a successful venture capitalist for some years before purchasing a floundering casino, the Oriental House, and reopening it as the Oriental Splendour Las Vegas, now the flagship in a highly successful chain of casinos throughout the United States. Mr. Taiyou lives a surprisingly low-key life in the 25-room penthouse of Oriental Splendour, a home he shares with his adoptive daughter and her husband, Rin and Kohaku Taijiya. The couple have no children. Mr. Taiyou maintains numerous interests in Japan, London, St. Petersburg, Monte Carlo, and Geneva, many of them overseen by a staff headed by Mr. and Mrs. Taijiya and by a Mr. Youma Jaken.
Mr. Taiyou claims a distant relationship with Dr. Noriko Inuyasha, Japanese-American historian and biographer of the original Sesshoumaru, and with her nephew, Dr. Inuyasha Houjou, a Japanese anthropologist and collector of stories about Sesshoumaru's younger brother, Inuyasha of the Shikon no Tama. Perhaps because of the coincidental similarity of given names with the historical Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha, Mr. Taiyou and Dr. Houjou have been heard to refer to one another as "brother," although, of course, forms of "brother" are often used as terms of affectionate respect in Japan.
A novice reporter for US magazine, fortunate enough to corner Dr. Houjou at a Las Vegas press event celebrating the simultaneous opening of Oriental Splendour resorts in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin and Perloo, Georgia, commented on the filial terms used by the two. "How wonderful!" she said. "Do you really feel like brothers?"
"Yes," said Dr. Houjou, "We are a regular—what do you Westerners say?—Cain and Abel."
Overhearing, Rin Taijiya laughed and said, "Oh, Uncle! Surely you mean Castor and Pollux."
"Loki and Odin, perhaps," Dr. Houjou replied.
"Oh, really, Uncle," teased Rin. "Which one are you—Loki or Odin?"
Dr. Houjou smiled and bowed. "Actually, I rather think I would be Baldur," he said.
"I don't know," said the reporter. "I'm not really a Westerner. I moved to L.A. from Moraine City, Ohio." She was glad Dr. Houjou and Ms. Taijiya weren't important enough to write about, so she didn't have to find out how to spell all those weird names.