The Cursed Ink of the Hell-Painter is the seventeenth episode of the InuYasha anime.
- Inuyasha must learn to get along with Miroku when they come up against an artist who seeks to rise in standing by drawing up endless armies of bloodthirsty demons.
The episode starts in the feudal era with a man with scrolls running through a field being chased by men with swords and horses. The man apparently has a jewel fragment and the other men are trying to take it from him. Soon after, an army of demons appear, seemingly out of nowhere, and slaughter the men.
The next day, Inuyasha, Miroku, Kagome, and Shippō come across the battlefield from the night before, and Shippō states that he's never seen this many bodies. Miroku surmises that this must be the work of a demon, and it possibly has a shard of the Shikon no Tama. Inuyasha then rudely says that he has no intention of teaming up with Miroku or of sharing any jewel shards with him; Miroku decides to leave the group afterwards.
Inuyasha is next seen sniffing a man's scroll, frightening him, noting that it's the same scent from the battlefield, thinking that if he can track down the scent, finding the demon will be much easier; Inuyasha is intent on finding the jewel shard before Miroku. Kagome asks what Inuyasha has against Miroku, and Inuyasha asks if Kagome actually likes him, which she replies that she does. Inuyasha then mutters to himself that he can't believe that she actually likes Miroku.
Next, the man from the night before with the scrolls, Kōtatsu, is seen speaking to a lord, saying that he was the one who defeated the army of men, on his own. The lord says he would be honored to have the man join his military, if his story is true. One of the lord's underlings comes in and tells the lord the truth, saying that the man is simply an artist; the lord has Kōtatsu thrown out. Two guards begin abusing the man, until the princess of the temple interrupts and tells them to stop; Kōtatsu is next seen being thrown into a river. Kōtatsu vows revenge. While he is contemplating his next heinous act, Inuyasha grabs him and asks him why he reeks of ink and fresh human blood; Kōtatsu then uses his scroll and a giant demon appears and attacks Inuyasha and the artist is able to escape. Inuyasha slays the demon, and a mixture of blood and black ink comes spewing out of it. The aroma is so overpowering that it dazes Inuyasha.
Miroku is next seen at the same temple that Kōtatsu was at earlier, saying that he will exorcize the demons within it; there is an "evil shadow" over the temple. As the guards turn Miroku down, the evil shadow he spoke of actually appears and two fearsome demons appear. Kōtatsu is then seen, asleep, having a frightening dream about the princess. Miroku goes to protect the princess from the demons, but they disintegrate into ink, proving to be Kōtatsu's demons; somehow they acted on their own while he was asleep.
The lord then thanks Miroku for saving his daughter, and asks forgiveness for his men's earlier rudeness. Miroku says that the danger has surely not passed, and says that he should stay with the princess, and sleep in the same bed. As he says this, Inuyasha and the others appear, asking about the ink demons. They discuss the ink demons, and the fact that they are being controlled by a human, not a demon, and Miroku surmises that the human must be using a Shikon Jewel shard. As Kagome and Miroku talk, Inuyasha sits away from them with his back turned, not wanting to talk to Miroku. Kagome then notes that Miroku actually has three shards of his own, and he is surprised to learn that she has the power to see the shards.
The lord's men are eavesdropping on their conversation, and rush to the lord to tell him that the artist was manipulating the demons, and that the monk has a shard of the Shikon Jewel as well. Later that night, when Miroku is sleeping, the men attempt to stab him, but he was prepared and quickly incapacitates them.
Inuyasha and the others then rush off to find the artist. Before they get there, the lord has an army attack him, and he prepares to unleash his demon army. Demons come streaming out of his hut and attack the men, easily defeating them; many of the survivors attempt to flee. Inuyasha arrives and slays some of them, saving the lord. Inuyasha is again overcome by the smell of ink and blood and is momentarily dazed. As another demon attacks them, Miroku destroys it and prepares to protect them from the hoard of demons still alive. He tells them to get behind him, and begins sucking up the demons in his Wind Tunnel. After sucking in most of them, Miroku grimaces and falls to his knees and says that he's never sucked in that many demons before.
Kōtatsu then bursts out of his home on a three headed serpent-like demon, and Inuyasha asks Kagome where his shard of the jewel is; she says it's in his ink pot. As Inuyasha jumps on the demon as well, Kōtatsu uses another scroll and more demons come forth. Inuyasha fights off the demons and demands that the artist give him the shard. The demon breathes fire on Inuyasha, but the Robe of the Fire-Rat protects him from the flames. Inuyasha then slices the ink pot in half, and the giant demon disappears. Kōtatsu then grabs a nearby sword, and stabs himself in the forearm, telling the ink to drink his blood and come to life. As the ink surrounds him, he thinks his plan is working, but then he begins to fade away and realizes that the ink did not fuse with his blood, but devour it; the man then fades away into nothing but a puddle of ink.
Kagome picks up the tainted shard from the puddle of ink, and it is purified, much to Miroku's surprise. Afterwards Miroku agrees to join them in their journey, stating that Inuyasha isn't such a bad fellow; Kagome agrees.
Characters in Order of Appearance
- While running into the castle to save the princess, Miroku was still polite enough to take his shoes off before rushing to her aid.
- This episode features one of the very few instances that a Sacred Jewel shard is collected from a human.
- This episode features an example of just how dangerous and uncontrollable demonic objects can be when wielded by humans (especially those who are unaware of the dangers), an oft touched-upon topic in the series.
- Kōtatsu unintentionally activates the ink in his sleep and nearly kills the object of his affections in the process.
- Kōtatsu's own greed, hatred and bitterness taints the jewel shard to such an extent that Miroku wouldn't even risk touching it.
- Kōtatsu is driven mad by the tainted shard, and winds up sacrificing himself to his own creations in the mistaken belief that he is actually in control of them.
- The sheer power of the Kazaana is established in this episode when Miroku sucks up Kōtatsu's entire legion of ink demons; his resulting exhaustion from the endeavor also establishes its limits.
- Kagome notes that Miroku has three Shikon shards (two + the weasel).
- Kagome recover's Kōtatsu's shard.
Differences from the manga
- In the anime, the opening has Kōtatsu being chased by a group of bandits after the Shikon shard he possesses.
- The entire scene of Kōtatsu being accosted by guards is different between the two mediums. In the manga, he is attacked for trying to take a peek at the princess in the middle of a crowded road, a scene Miroku witnesses. In the anime, Miroku doesn't witness this, and the painter is thrown out of a castle for lying about defeating an army of men.
- Because Miroku never saw the princess himself, him arriving at the castle was purely random in the anime.
- Kōtatsu's nightmare of the princess stealing his blood is anime only. In the manga, he is constantly unable to draw the princess's eyes without making them look like a demon's, which is why he sends an army of demons to her room every night.
- The lord ordering his men to kill Miroku to steal the Shikon shards, and then leading a small army to steal Kōtatsu's Shikon shard only happens in the anime. Instead, the lord is merely worried about his sick daughter. Because of this, the princess's role in the anime is greatly reduced, and Inuyasha's group's plan to find the painter is never executed.
- Kōtatsu's backstory is never mentioned in the anime.
- The final fight with Kōtatsu plays out differently in the anime.