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Kikyo

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Someone caused my premature demise. Would my murderer's death bring me back to life? The dead have but one wish- to walk amongst the living once again, a wish that will never be realised.
~ Kikyo, stating the wish of the dead.

Kikyo is a character in the anime/manga series Inuyasha. She is the former keeper of the Shikon Jewel and the priestess of whom Kagome Higurashi is the modern-day reincarnation of. She is also the older sister to Kaede and Inuyasha's original love interest. Although she is one of the main supporting protagonists, her moral standing is rather ambiguous for a good portion of the series.

She is voiced by Noriko Hidaka in the Japanese version of the anime and Willow Johnson in the English version.

About

Due to the deception carried out by Naraku, she attempts to kill Inuyasha for killing her, but ultimately only seals him to the Sacred Tree for 50 years. After being revived by the witch Urasue, the only thing that keeps her going is her deep hatred of Inuyasha, desiring to pull him into Hell with her. Even after learning that Naraku was the one responsible for her demise, she refuses to forgive Inuyasha and let him seek revenge, believing it to be pointless as it would not bring her back to life. In addition to trying to drag Inuyasha into Hell with her, she commits several other villainous acts, such as absorbing the souls of women in order to sustain her body, trying to kill Kagome and going so far as to give shards of the Jewel to Naraku.

As the series goes on, however, she becomes more of an anti-hero as the reason for her actions are revealed. She also begins to accept that Kagome is taking her place in the world and that she is Inuyasha's true love. Essentially, she is to Kagome as Sesshomaru is to Inuyasha.

Appearance

Kikyō wore the traditional dress of a miko, which has remained essentially unchanged to this day except for the lack of the slit-shoulder seam. Kikyō wore a white jacket with sode-kukuri (cords) through the sleeves and open shoulders (similar to Inuyasha's and Jaken's outfits). Strings called muna-himo were attached to each lapel and tied in front to keep the garment closed. Kikyō's kosode would be very much like a modern Kendo or Naginata Keikogi, with the sleeve fitting somewhat closely like a modern loose shirt and extending slightly past the wrist. The slits on the side of her hakama, and the openings at the sleeves and shoulders of her hitoe (jacket) showed the white kosode she sported. This was a deliberate fashion effect. Kikyō wore a bright red nagabakama (a very long hakama), which included the small board on the lower back. Like a majority of other characters, she also was perpetually barefoot throughout the series, however this was changed in the anime where Kikyō wore common tabi (socks) and rice straw sandals. Kikyō sported a red Obi, or belt, over all her other garments.

Personality

Kikyō was always known as a compassionate woman. Kind, caring, and considerate, she was very sympathetic toward everyone, even her enemies. This was seen when she tended to Onigumo's well-being despite him being a bandit. She also had compassion toward Kansuke, and sympathy toward Inuyasha. She poured out her soul to anyone in need of help, even after her resurrection. Kikyō was also very good with children during her lifetime; no matter what village she went to, the children were always fond of her. However, Kikyō, after her resurrection, was not always as kind as she once was. She was deceptive. Kikyō devised cunning plans to destroy Naraku, although she went about it in strange ways. For a time, Kikyō seemed to be on Naraku's side since she handed him Kagome's Shikon jewel shards, to which this action caused Inuyasha to accuse Kikyō of betrayal. However, she explained that she gave him the shards to cast Naraku toward death and that she would never allow him to take Inuyasha's life. She wanted revenge just as much as he did and desired to end Naraku's life. She figured out that Naraku was a half-demon and that he still possessed Onigumo's heart, whose owner still had feelings for her. Kikyō found his feelings for her ironic and ludicrous, and felt much contempt toward him. As a Specter, Kikyō has shown more of a sadistic side of her than she was alive as she laughs at Naraku and taunting him, in regards to Naraku's possession of Onigumo's heart, whenever she gets the chance as Naraku spies on her. She was never intimidated by Naraku and was bold whenever she faced him.

History

During their youth, Kikyō and her younger sister Kaede (whose parents died when they were younger) traveled through villages as a part of their training to become priestesses, and killed many demons as a part of it. While on their journey, they met Tsubaki, who would later become a dark priestess. Kikyō's great spiritual power and purity became well-known, and thus the Shikon no Tama was entrusted to her, much to Tsubaki's dismay. It became Kikyō's duty to spend her life guarding the jewel, protecting it from the wicked humans and demons who sought it for their own selfish means. However, her duty as the jewel's protector also meant that she could not show any signs of weakness, lest demons or evil men should take advantage of her.

As a priestess, Kikyō spent her life fending off demons who attempted to steal the Shikon Jewel, as well as protecting the village from disease and famine. However, the one demon whom she refused to kill was Inuyasha because she sensed that he was only a hanyō (half-demon), and has lived an abnormal life of solitude, much like herself. She also tended to Onigumo, a paralyzed bandit with burn scars all over his body. Later on, Kikyō confronted Inuyasha and told him about how she had to hide her real self in order to protect the jewel, and Inuyasha sympathized with her. Eventually, Inuyasha and Kikyō fell in love. Sometime during this period, Tsubaki attempted to attack Kikyō, assuming that she was weaker after falling in love. However, Kikyō reflected the curse back at Tsubaki, and then ordered her to leave.

During her time with Inuyasha, Kikyō and Inuyasha had once sailed to an island that only appeared every fifty years. Kikyō suggested using the Shikon Jewel to turn Inuyasha into a human, an offer to which Inuyasha agreed. If this plan had in fact worked, it might have been possible for Kikyō to carry on the life of an ordinary woman alongside Inuyasha, and for him to finally feel like he belonged somewhere as a human. She promised to deliver the Shikon Jewel to Inuyasha on a certain day. However, the thief Onigumo, who desired both Kikyō and a corrupted jewel, decided to use that day to gain control of both. He offered his body to a horde of demons, and thus, the demon shape-shifter Naraku was born. Naraku disguised himself as Inuyasha and struck down Kikyō, and then attacked Inuyasha while disguised as Kikyō. He set the both of them against each other.

Thinking that Inuyasha had betrayed her, Kikyō summoned the last ounce of her strength and spiritual power to stop Inuyasha, who attacked the village for the Shikon Jewel. However, unable to kill the man she loved with her sacred arrow, Kikyō instead shot a sealing arrow at Inuyasha to pin him to the Goshinboku (the sacred tree or the Tree of Ages), where Inuyasha remained in slumber for fifty years. She then ordered her younger sister Kaede to burn her body along with the Shikon Jewel so that its immeasurable power would never be used for evil again. Because Kikyō was full of bitter hatred for Inuyasha at the time of her death, the Shikon Jewel became corrupted. However, because of her love, Kikyō wished to see Inuyasha again and the Shikon Jewel used this desire to return to the world through Kagome, Kikyō's reincarnation.

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