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Series are multiple stories that go together; the order they are listed in on the tables of contents and directory pages are their chronological orders within the universe, not the order they were written or posted in. A tilde (~) denotes an original fiction series, while an abbreviation such as HP denotes a fanfiction series.

Inuyasha

-Warning: Spoilers ahead-

The series Inuyasha is a shounen series with either a refreshing amount of or far, far too much romance and romantic angst thrown in, depending on your preferences. It has some of the most annoying female characters known to mankind, but also one of the most beautiful bishounen. The series, unfortunately, centers around a high school girl and a convoluted love triangle (pentagon, really) while they fight an evil youaki, who proves to be such a hard opponent that he takes more than 500 chapters to defeat.

My analysis is based on the manga and “Inuyasha Profiles” character book, not the anime and movies (although I have seen them). Please keep in mind that though this is only my own opinion, I have tried to be very objective. If you disagree, please don’t be offended, I only call it like I see it.

The Basics:

Plot

Bonding

4

Isolation

2

Backstory

3

World

Setting

7

Company

5

Ratio

5

Characters

Variety

6

Age

8

Bishi

9

Canon

1

Possibilities

2

Chemistry

4

Total

5.1

In Depth:

Plot

Bonding – Does the plot force male characters to become close friends or allies?

Aside from the triplet of Inuyasha, Naraku, and Sesshoumaru, after their initial meeting and decision to work together, there is little deepening of the relationships between the guys, and they settle into a comfortable friendship. I would like to submit, however, that Inuyasha and Sesshoumaru’s relationship toward the end of the manga, especially the last five volumes, becomes rather interesting. It’s worth mentioning that Kouga and Inuyasha make some progress as well, for a little while. Because of those, this scores a 4.

Isolation – Are the male characters isolated together for any length of time?

In a sense, in that the group of comrades travels together alone for months, but the fact is that very rarely on “screen” are male character away from the females for any length of time whatsoever. It only gets a 2 because of that.

Backstory – Do the characters have a past that implies sexual tension or chemistry, or otherwise ties them closely together?

Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha are brothers who despise each other, and Naraku hates Inuyasha for having had Kikyou’s heart; it’s mentioned that their fates are tied together. There is a back story there, then, but not one that is really conductive to yaoi. Score of 3.

World

Setting – To what extent does the setting allow or encourage yaoi?

Feudal era Japan was openly accepting of homosexual relationships, particularly between men and adolescents, at least among Buddhist monks and samurai. A homosexual relationship between two adults among the general public would obviously not have been the norm, but also certainly not something one would have to hide for fear of death. Among youkai, who are fundamentally not human and commonly engaged in cannibalism, eating of humans, mass murder, and other such “barbaric” acts, it seems even less likely to have been an issue. I rated it at 7, although I’m not sure it shouldn’t be higher.

For more information about historical homosexuality in Japan, I recommend this article.

Company – Are there other, canon, yaoi couples?

Jakotsu of the Band of Seven/Shinnintai was openly gay and perhaps transgender – he wore make up and women’s clothes, and acted effeminately, but was never mistaken for anything other than a very odd man and had no apparent desire to be seen as a woman. Though he was never actually part of a ‘couple’, he repeated constantly his obsession with Inuyasha and desire to see his cute face in pain or covered in blood (obviously he was a sadist). Having this one canon homosexual villain gives the series a decided boost, but the fact that there’s really never so much as a hint for anyone else leaves it at 5.

Ratio – The female to male ratio of the main characters of the series.

There are seven main male characters (see below) and four female (Kagome, Kikyou, Sango, and Rin), which reduces to one female for every 1.75 males, giving a score rounded up to 5.

Characters

Variety – The number of different male main characters available to mix and match for yaoi.

Inuyasha‘s characters are limited, as far as major recurring male characters, only giving a score of 6. For this I did not include the “monsters of the week” (Hiten & Manten, Kinka & Ginka), filler arcs (Band of Seven), or Naraku’s offspring, firstly because Naraku is already included, and secondly because most of them were either there only for a few chapters (Juromaru, Goshinki), in a form unsuitable for yaoi (the baby, Hairball, Kageromaru), or basically didn’t act independently (Moryomaru, Byakuya).

The characters I did use follow, with basic pros (anything that can be exploited for) and cons to (anything that stands in the way of) their use in yaoi. All ages come from the “Inuyasha Profiles” book written by Takahashi and should be canon.

What you do with the characters is your own business, but I feel legally obligated to list being under the age of 18 as a Con.

Inuyasha

Age: 15 (in human years)

Pros: Hotheaded punk, sometimes loses control of himself when he goes youkai, is almost helpless when he goes human, has cute ears

Cons: In love with not one but two girls, is 15

Sesshoumaru

Age: 19 (in human years)

Pros: The only not obviously lovestruck male character in canon, is legal, is extremely gorgeous

Cons: Emotionally stunted, too powerful to be taken non-consensually, too proud to have contact with other living beings

Kouga

Age: 15 (in human years)

Pros: Hotheaded punk, is leader of his own tribe, wears a loincloth

Cons: In love with Kagome, is 15

Miroku

Age: 18

Pros: Is cute and suave, has jewelry and a ponytail, is legal

Cons: In love with Sango, sexually assaults every woman he sees, has a hole in his hand that will suck up lovers if he takes off his glove/beads

Shippou

Age: 7 (in human years)

Pros: Has kitsune illusion magic, is adorable

Cons: Is 7

Kohaku

Age: 11

Pros: Good with a chain, is willing to do things he doesn’t want to for the greater good

Cons: Is 11, is undead, is depressed

Naraku

Age: 23 (in his stolen human form, at least, though he’s obviously actually 50; doesn’t seem to matter with him)

Pros: Completely lacks morals, has tentacles, clones, puppets, and illusions

Cons: Heart is still obsessed with Kikyou, prefers to torture people from far away

Age – The average age of the main characters thought of for the “variety” rank. Between 18 and 30 is ideal.

The average age of the characters is 15.5, rounded up to 16, giving a score of 8.

Bishi – The rating of how beautiful and fascinating the bishounen are.

If Sesshoumaru were the only male character in the series, this would probably be a 10. Regardless, most of the male characters do have appeal and have enough variation to assure that most everyone will like one or more of them, and are not particularly shallow, even if some of them stagnate at points during the series or seem like one-trick ponies. Taking into account characters like Jaken and Mukotsu, it still gets a 9.

Canon – Are any of the main characters gay in canon? If one character is designed by the creator as gay or bisexual, this is automatically a five.

Short answer: no. This only gets a 1 instead of a 0 because there is the slightest chance that Sesshoumaru would like men more than women, because Kohaku isn’t proven to be straight, and because Naraku would not hesitate to rape someone for his own ends (although that is a little bit direct for him).

Possibilities – How possible or likely is it for the characters to actually make a yaoi situation work, within their world?

There is almost no possibility of it actually happening. All of the male characters aside from Sesshoumaru and Kohaku have an obvious love interest (or, in Shippou’s case, a couple crushes), and Sesshoumaru has bare hints of two possible female interests (Rin and Kagura, depending on how you want to take his emotions for them). This gets a 2, again for Sesshouamru and Naraku, and for the three years Inuyasha spent between chapters 557 and 558 without Kagome.

Chemistry – What sort of chemistry do the male characters have with each other?

Most of the male characters do have chemistry… Naraku hates Inuyasha, Sesshoumaru has a hate-turning-to-not-quite-hate relationship with the same, Inuyasha and Miroku and Shippou all have a vague friendship thing going on, and Inuyasha and Koga have intense dislike. This only scores a 4, however, because all of this chemistry is centered around the girls (again, aside from Sesshoumaru’s, which is centered around their father and the swords) and a love pentagon.

In Addition:

Based on solely personality and character interaction, these are my picks for the top pairings. Again, my own opinions, but again, I tried to be objective. (If I weren’t being objective, each of them would have been “__/Sesshoumaru”.) They aren’t necessarily all normal pairings, but they’re only that actually seem like they would work well.

1 – Sesshoumaru X Inuyasha

Who is seme: Realistically, Sesshoumaru, but it has so much more chemistry the other way around (and fits with the last five volumes of the manga)

What it is: It’s a staple, but given the limited characters and their history and chemistry, it’s a good one. The fact that they are fundamentally canine (literally, in Sesshoumaru’s sense) and half-brothers adds a level of kink and some depth of plot at the same time. Dealing with youkai gives the writer the freedom to mess around with biology, society, and magic, leaving a door for MPreg, mating, more kink, and mind control.

Why it wouldn’t work: Firstly, Inuyasha is lamentably straight, IC. Secondly, even at the end of the manga Sesshoumaru does little more than tolerate Inuyasha’s continued existence. Inuyasha is not really the sort to torture his opponent, and Sesshoumaru is not really the type to do something so base, so there’s really no non-con possibilities, either.

How it could work: If Sesshoumaru was terribly weakened and Inuyasha lost the Tetsusaiga and became full youkai. Alternatively, if one or both of their wills were somehow taken over.

2 – Kouga X Inuyasha

Who is seme: Koga, probably, although switching it up might be fun

What it is: Sparks. There’s always sparks between them, and they’re both very emotional, so it would never be boring.

Why it wouldn’t work: They’re both fighting over the same girl. Dogs and wolves apparently don’t like the smell of each other.

How it could work: Mind control would be a good bet, or a slight AU where Kagome was out of the picture. (Slight? Maybe not…)

3 – Kohaku X Shippou

Who is seme: Kohaku is older, but more gentle. It seems like it would be a fairly even relationship.

What it is: Kawai, mostly. Also definitely not legal without an intermission between the series and story. However, a more possible relationship than almost any other and one that seems worth exploring, as ones between relatively minor characters often are. They have compatible personalities, both nice and good but courageous, and might make a good team.

Why it wouldn’t work: Honestly, Shippou’s crush or two is the only real reason.

How it could work: After a time jump of ten or so years, Kohaku is still a loner on a mission to rid the land of evil youkai, and Shippou decides to keep him company…

Bonus – Naraku X anyone

Who is seme: Naraku, Naraku, Naraku

What it is: Rape.

Why it wouldn’t work: Naraku doesn’t get that close to people, and he’d really rather absorb strong demons than have sex with them.

How it could work: If Naraku decided to really screw with someone’s mind, if Hakudoushi got pissed, if Byakuya got some free will, if Naraku decided to punish one of his offspring…

In Conclusion:

Inuyasha is a series with a few extremely usable male characters who are unfortunately bound and gagged by the female characters. Not one of them leaves unscathed, and there aren’t enough who don’t have loving canon relationships to form a single pairing. There’s only one very major villain to choose from, if that’s what you like, and only one beautiful bishounen… although if you like hotheaded teenagers you’re in luck. Working off-screen canon-possible yaoi is almost undoable because of the girls, and working even canon-impossible but in character yaoi is very hard because of the amount of very obvious hetero love. However, the characters are still worth it.

My advice is to go outside of the series, if you want to maintain canon and character integrity without driving yourself insane, and either do crossovers (Sesshoumaru X Youko (YYH)? ), future/past (Inuyasha and Sesshoumaru survive to the present? Naraku and Inuyasha had a tense moment 50 years ago? (I know, that wouldn’t be canon) ), or alternate universe (Kagome never came through the well at all and Miroku’s kazaana accidentally pulled out the arrow in Inuyasha’s chest? All the major players are attending the same high school?). Otherwise, Inuyasha yaoi requires more of a suspension of disbelief than most.

2 comments to Inuyasha

  • Doire

    Hi,

    I wanted to ask if you were knowingly part of this joint essay? http://ship-manifesto.livejournal.com/269717.html

    It doesn’t seem to me to hang together or to fit with your writing on this post.

    Please accept my apologies if I’ve misread the situation.

    • Here’s hoping you get this reply ^^;

      Yes, I did write that. kawaii_shieru / FireMiko requested that I write it for her, so I wrote it. The formatting is a little messed up from what I did, those aren’t the pictures I suggested, and obviously the “Evidence” section is not mine (or what I believe), but it was used, modified, and posted with my consent.

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