Terror of the Ancient Noh Mask is the eleventh episode of the InuYasha anime. It first aired in Japan on January 15, 2001.
- Kagome returns to the present, but her town and home are attacked by an evil creature known as the Noh Mask that is searching for shards of the Shikon no Tama.
The episode opens with Kagome riding her bike as fast as she can, intending to return home to study, but Inuyasha beats her to the well. He demands that she give him the shards they collected, but Kagome tells him that she has to take this test as she has missed a lot of school ever since her time in the Feudal Era. Regardless, Inuyasha attempts to put a large rock over the well to prevent Kagome from traveling through it; however, before he can do so, Kagome uses the sit spell repeatedly, causing the boulder to fall onto Inuyasha's back and hence trapping him under its weight. Kagome tells him that she won't be back in three days, warns him not to follow her and then jumps into the well to modern Tokyo. On the other side of the well, Grandpa is chanting for Kagome to return, claiming that the chant has been passed down through generations of Higurashi priests, while Sōta appears to doubt its reliability. Ignoring him, Grandpa dumps a bucket of sake into the well, and coincidentally, a hapless Kagome appears just in time to get soaked. Misinterpreting the situation and believing that his chant worked, Grandpa declares that Sōta has to train hard as the next in line, but he wants to be a soccer player instead. Listening to them bicker about his future, a frustrated Kagome yells at them to get her out of the well, but they pay no attention to her.
At breakfast, her mother informs her that she will place her new uniform in her room. Sōta asks about Inuyasha, only for Kagome reject the notion haughtily and say that it was difficult enough to lose him. Pondering about how much her life has changed, she thinks about how she has been living at the Higurashi Shrine since she was born, along with her grandfather, her mother, and her little brother Sōta. She also recalls how the demons are after the shards of the Sacred Jewel. Unbeknownst to her, the jewel shards she brought with her back to the modern era awaken an ancient evil. Upon making her way to school, Kagome meets up with her friends, Ayumi, Eri, and Yuka, who are happy to see her. They question in concern if it's alright for her to be in school, revealing that Grandpa has covered for her by lying about all kinds of accidents and illness that have befallen her. Appalled by Grandpa's apparent inability to lie believably, Kagome inwardly seethes. Just then, a boy named Hōjō arrives on a bicycle, asking about her well-being and presenting her with a gift of a pair of therapeutic sandals (under the impression that she has gout). Stunned, her friends ask her if she is going out with him, to which she replies that she doesn't have a guy, but her friends don't let the matter go, persisting in asking her what kind of guys she likes. Kagome then tells them that she likes guys who are not aggressive, spoiled or hot-tempered, but instead kind and understanding; in short, the exact opposite of Inuyasha. Watching her gaze dreamily out of the window, her friends believe that she might still be sick.
Back at Kaede's place, Inuyasha reveals that his back is still sore as a result of Kagome's successive use of the "sit" command, thus refusing Kaede's instruction for him to get more information about the Sacred Jewel. The scene changes back to the modern era, in which Kagome's grandpa smells smoke coming from the shed and goes in to discover that not only is it on fire, but the talismans that have been in place for generations have also been destroyed along with the seal of the box, releasing the Noh Mask. Grandpa pours a bucket of liquid over himself before hurling several slips of paper at it, only for them to bounce off. The Noh Mask attacks Grandpa before attaching itself to a faceless wooden warrior, only for it to fall apart mere seconds after. Thereafter, Grandpa finds himself pinned to the ground by the wooden planks that collapsed atop him as the mask resumes its search for live flesh...
The fire department and police soon arrive. Overhearing a few skaters talking about the fire at Higurashi Shrine, Kagome rushes back to her home. There, she runs into her mother, who tells her that the storeroom caught fire and Grandpa was sent to the hospital, unconscious, albeit not badly injured. Kagome's mother stays overnight at the hospital with Grandpa, leaving Kagome in charge of her younger brother Sōta. Dubiously, Kagome thinks that it is impossible for a fire to start in the storeroom. Meanwhile, some firefighters are exploring the aforementioned storeroom cautiously. Curiosity piqued by several ripples in a body of water, one advances towards it, only for the Noh Mask to surface within seconds. Surging out of the water, it attaches itself to the firefighter's face, thereby taking control of him. Sōta arrives home to be greeted by Kagome, who proceeds to reassure him of their safety. Their brief conversation is interrupted by a loud crash, and the duo rush out to see a fire truck going haywire, crushing many police cars and zooming unsteadily through the streets. A radio broadcast reveals that the same fire truck is involved in numerous accidents, and mysteriously, every accident has resulted in people vanishing. Within the erratic fire truck, the body the Noh Mask has possessed is gradually decomposing. The mask murmurs that if only it could absorb a little more, it would be able to mold a complete body, while a spot on its forehead begins to shine.
In the evening, Kagome pays a visit to Grandpa in the hospital, but her mother informs her that he is still in comatose. Noticing the several slips of paper that her mother is holding, she asks about them, and the former reveals that they are the talismans that Grandpa used to protect himself from the mask. In his state of unconsciousness, the latter keeps saying agitatedly, "Beware of the ancient Noh Mask."
That night, Kagome is studying in order to catch up on the schoolwork she missed when Sōta comes in and asks if he can sleep in her room. Annoyed, Kagome snaps that as a boy, he should be able to sleep on his own, putting the test she has to take the following day before her brother. Lowering his eyes, Sōta says that as Grandpa was found with talismans crammed in his mouth and sacred rice wine all over him, something must have happened in the storeroom. His sister to mulls over this, leading her to realize that it could have been caused by the Sacred Jewel fragments which she brought back. Meanwhile, the Noh Mask is on a hunt for human flesh, killing many police officers and one fire fighter while doing so. Still hospitalized, Grandpa is shown jerking upright in bed, repeating the same words he said while unconscious. The Noh Mask barges into Kagome's house by smashing the window of her bedroom with the fire truck, and the latter shields her brother protectively. Upon seeing it reach for the tiny bottle containing the Sacred Jewel shards, she quickly lunges forward and seizes the object before it can; together with Sōta, she escapes, thinking that she has to get to Inuyasha. Around this point in time, she accidentally cuts herself on the glass.
After sending Sōta to get Inuyasha, Kagome flees into the darkness. Unfortunately, Sōta's attempt to heed his sister's order results in him landing head first at the bottom of the well, unable to get through. The boy bursts into tears, screaming that if he doesn't get through, his sister will die. Surprisingly, at that precise moment, the ground below him begins to glow and Inuyasha appears. With Sōta on his back, they go to Kagome's aid. While leaping from building to building, Inuyasha tells Sōta that in his world, there are a lot of demons who would love to have him for lunch. He then reveals that with his acute sense of smell, he could smell Kagome from the well, and they'd be able to find her by following the scent of the blood drawn by the glass. This causes Sōta to contemplate about whether or not Inuyasha was really as bad as Kagome made him out to be.
At the same time, a panting Kagome is at the construction site where the Noh Mask is about to kill her for the shards of the Sacred Jewel, and notices that Inuyasha isn't there yet. Just as it is slowly advancing toward her, Inuyasha arrives on the scene and uses his Iron Reaper Soul Stealer on the mask's body, slicing it in half. Inuyasha interrupts the siblings' reunion, saying slightly irksomely that he doesn't mind helping them, but he wants Kagome to apologize for the sit commands that injured his back. Kagome remembers that and apologizes with a smile, but Inuyasha doesn't buy it, saying that he's going home. Miffed, she informs him that the mask has a shard of the Sacred Jewel, only for him to continue putting up a stubborn front. Sōta observes their interaction in confusion, thinking that Inuyasha seems to be smitten with his sister.
Subsequently, the Noh Mask starts moving again. It turns out that the mask was carved from a demon tree that had a fragment of the Sacred Jewel embedded in it centuries ago. Since then, it has consumed the flesh of humans and wants an everlasting body - and for that, it requires the power of the Sacred Jewel. Yelling out his typical cocky battle banter, Inuyasha charges forward and punches the mask; however, it splits into two vertically and his hand is ensnared in the two rows of hooked teeth, revealing that he has fallen into its trap. The Noh Mask proceeds to draw Inuyasha in before charging at Kagome, who has the bottle. In a moment of desperation, she throws it to Sōta, marking him as the mask's next target. However, as Sōta tries to escape, he trips and falls to the floor. He contemplates hurling the bottle away just to save himself, but eventually gets back on his feet and resumes running. Within moments, he finds himself at the edge of the building, but thankfully, Inuyasha comes to his aid just in time to slice through the Noh Mask, causing it to shatter. Its Sacred Jewel shard falls onto the ground, still billowing smoke.
Sōta, saved by Inuyasha, from then on admires him immensely, calling him his "hero". The latter turns around to ask Kagome in a different tone if she's hurt, to which she responds dazedly that she isn't. Inwardly, she admits that in that moment, he seems a little attractive. Seeing the sun rise, Kagome realizes that it is morning and rushes home to change her clothes after entrusting Sōta with the task of collecting the newfound Sacred Jewel shard and instructing Inuyasha to return to the Feudal Era. She is then seen running to school while attempting to study for an important test that day.
Characters in Order of Appearance
- This is the only time a shard of the Shikon no Tama is recovered in the Modern Era.
- At the end of the episode when Kagome is running for school, an instrumental version of the first ending, My Will, is played.
- This the first time that Shippō and Myōga don't make appearances since their respective introductions.
- This is one of the few episodes where Inuyasha is actually shown coming out of the well.
- Because the jewel shard in the Noh Mask was there for several hundred years, it means that that shard is 500 years older than the rest of the jewel. It also means that when Kagome wishes the jewel away in the Sengoku period, the one shard would continue to exist in the tree/mask until Kagome collects it 500 years later. It also means that that shard existed in two places at the same time for 15 years: in Kagome's body before the jewel was shattered, and in the Noh Mask from after the jewel was shattered.
- This episode and the following one (much like the manga chapters) are the only episodes when something dark in tone happens in the Modern era; every Modern era episode afterwards become comic in tone.
Differences from the manga
- Due to the highly graphic and disturbing ways the Noh Mask devours its victims, the anime deviates quite a bit from its source material. This includes omitting the entirety of Chapter 24. Because of the omission of said chapter, Kagome never makes a date with Hōjō that she fails to go to, and her teacher informing her she needs to take a make-up exam for math never happens. Inuyasha attempting to force Kagome back to the Warring States era is left out as well, as is the devouring of the punks in the park.
- The scene of a villager informing Kaede that Kagome and Inuyasha returned to the village and headed towards the well is omitted in the anime.
- In addition to throwing sake in the well in an attempt to bring Kagome back, Kagome's grandpa also throws lit paper charms in the manga. The anime also includes a conversation Sōta has with his grandpa about what he will be in the future in the same scene.
- All scenes involving the woman, who was originally heading to the Higurashi Shrine to exorcise the Noh Mask, are manga exclusive due to the violent nature in which she is possessed and killed. Instead, the anime places the Noh Mask on the shrine grounds the entire time, reacting to the Shikon shards Kagome brought to the present with her.
- In the anime, Grandpa Higurashi's hospitalization is due to the fire caused by the Noh Mask, whereas he is hospitalized merely due to food poisoning in the manga.
- All scenes of the Noh Mask recklessly driving an fire truck are anime-exclusive.
- In the manga, Inuyasha saves Kagome from the Noh Mask by skillfully cutting it with Tessaiga, whereas he saves Sōta in the anime.
- In the manga version, this storyline happened first, then the storyline with Shippō and the Thunder Brothers. This might also explain why Shippō and Myōga don't appear in this episode and why Tessaiga's sheath isn't cracked even though Inuyasha doesn't repair it until the next episode.