The characters from the InuYasha manga and anime series were created by Rumiko Takahashi. Most of the series takes place in a fictional version of Japan's Warring States period with occasional time-travel/flashback elements to modern Tokyo or the Heian period. The setting and plot incorporate many elements of traditional Japanese folklore and religion; its main characters (both protagonists and antagonists) include a Shinto miko, a Buddhist monk, and several types of yōkai (usually rendered as "demon" in English-language translations of the series).
The titular character, InuYasha, is a half-demon who leads one of several competing groups in search of the Jewel of Four Souls, or "Shikon Jewel", a magical artifact that greatly enhances supernatural powers even in fragmentary form. He is aided in his quest by Kagome Higurashi, a girl from 20th-century Tokyo who is the reincarnation of Kikyo, a powerful miko entangled by InuYasha's tragic past. Their enemy, Naraku, instigated the original conflict between InuYasha and Kikyo and continues to manipulate many other characters throughout the series.
According to interviews with the author, the style for InuYasha's clothing was based on "priest's garb" of Japan's Warring States period. The series was conceptualized as a "hakama story" historical drama, a genre which Takahashi had not yet attempted as an entire series; she described the initial concept as "a melodrama, something with a strong storyline" with less focus on comedy than many of her previous series such as Ranma 1/2 and Urusei Yatsura.
InuYasha himself was envisioned as "someone who hates to lose", a complex character with "a tense and conflicted personality" rather than being "cheerful and refreshingly straightforward." In contrast, Takahashi wanted "to show [her] readers that InuYasha's opponents are this bad and do these kinds of things to gain their understanding of his actions" and "portray what InuYasha is really angry at, not just that someone is no good because they are evil." She originally planned to make Jakotsu a woman to give the Band of Seven "more diversity" but changed her mind, saying, "when I started thinking about it, I didn't feel comfortable having InuYasha fight and defeat a girl."
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