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Naraku's incarnations (奈落の分身, "Naraku no bunshin") are fragmental yōkai created by Naraku to aid him in his battle against Inuyasha and his group as well as keeping a better eye on his surrounding situations. Naraku was constantly releasing detachments of himself to carry out his bidding. Only a few of the detachments truly lived up to their purposes as most betrayed him or were quickly disposed of by the people going after him.

To keep his control over his incarnations, Naraku usually held their hearts within his own body. By squeezing their hearts, he was able to inflict them pain, and by destroying them he could kill them off altogether. Only three of his detachment were not controlled in that manner, namely Musō, Akago, and Hakudoushi, since they were actually manifestations of Naraku's human heart and (except for Hakudoushi) they carried their (and his) heart within themselves. In the manga, he is also never shown manipulating Kanna's heart. But Kanna, as the personification of Nothingness, possibly did not possess a heart of her own; which is in fact what Naraku says of her just after her death. In the anime, by contrast, in Kanna's final battle, he's shown holding her heart, which has a crystal-like appearance, and then destroying, effectively using her and her mirror monster as bombs to kill Inuyasha's group.

Naraku gained the ability of producing detachments from his body after Kikyō handed him a large fragment from the Shikon no Tama that she had stolen from Kagome. The process by which they are created, however, is never clearly explained. In the manga, lumps of Naraku's flesh are shown inside of large pots, from which mature incarnations will eventually spring forth.

Naraku's incarnations are wholly new demons, that is, they are distinct from the demons absorbed previously by their progenitor. Like Naraku himself, they are a miscellany of his various demon and human parts. In fact, several of Naraku's incarnations (namely, Kagura, Goshinki, Musō, and Hakudōshi) are shown to possess the same spider scar on their backs as Naraku. That scar is explained in the series as consequence of Naraku's unbreakable tie with Onigumo, the heavily scarred and deformed human bandit who gave up his body to a crowd of demons in order to create Naraku. Onigumo's feelings, including his love for Kikyō, also appear to exist within Naraku's incarnations, even if they themselves never manifest any feeling for the priestess except for hostility or wariness in face of her powers. This is proven in Chapter 174 of the manga. In this chapter, Kikyō explains that she completed a spell to protect herself from any future attacks by Naraku: this spell would awaken Onigumo's feelings inside Naraku as soon as he touched her, and destroy the half-demon's body. In this chapter, she suffers an attack, not from Naraku himself, but from a stillborn detachment of his, causing its body to implode, thereby proving that Onigumo and Naraku's feelings for Kikyō are transferred to his incarnations.

Though some of his incarnations rebelled against his rule and plans, and desired to live free from his presence, it seems this would not be possible, and that the moment Naraku should be killed, they would die with him. This is proven by the fact that, after Naraku's main body is pierced by Kagome's purification arrow during the final battle, losing an arm, Byakuya, his one living incarnation, loses the same arm himself. Plus, after Inuyasha dispatches Byakuya to the Netherworld with the Meidō Zangetsuha, Byakuya calmly says in his final moments that he has no regrets, since he would die the moment that Naraku (himself already on his death throes) perished.

Kanna

Kanna

Kanna was an albino girl that barely spoke. She was a demon of mu, "void" or embodiment of nothingness; which also explained why she had no demonic aura. Kanna comes from an old word meaning "godless world." She was Naraku's first detachment, and remained utterly loyal to him while knowing that they were just used as tools in his schemes. Representative of the void in which she controlled, Kanna herself was completely devoid of any emotion, and never questioned any orders that were given to her by Naraku. In Chapter 480, after a failed attempt to destroy Inuyasha's Tessaiga, Naraku ordered her to commit suicide by shattering herself—as a final attempt to destroy Inuyasha's group (in the anime, he destroyed her heart). In her final moments, however, Kanna seemed to display some signs of emotions, as if she really did not wish to die. It was in her death that she committed her only act of defiance to Naraku: As a shard of Kanna's shattered body flew into Kagome's eye, Kanna used this opportunity to show Kagome the light that was present within the Shikon no Tama, which was the key to defeating Naraku.

Kagura

Kagura

Kagura was a powerful wind sorceress. She was the first of Naraku's detachments to appear in the manga and the anime, though by order of birth, Kagura was actually his second detachment. Naraku endlessly used her as bait to test his enemies' strength and, aware of her betrayals, kept good watch over her. Her storyline was constantly followed as she plotted to destroy Naraku and win back her heart, often in combination with Sesshōmaru, to whom she was attracted. Eventually, Kagura was killed by Naraku after she openly betrayed him to protect Kohaku.

Goshinki

Goshinki

The third detachment of Naraku, Goshinki was a large horned ogre with the ability to read minds. He was extremely agile, physically very powerful, and had teeth so strong that they ultimately broke the Tessaiga. That, however, ended up being his own undoing. As happened whenever his sword was taken away from him in life-risking situations, Inuyasha transformed into a full yōkai out of desperation and thus quickly destroyed Goshinki.[1] Following his death, Sesshōmaru contracted Kaijinbō to create Tōkijin from the fangs of Goshinki.[2]

Jūrōmaru

Jūrōmaru

Jūrōmaru was the fourth detachment and brother of Kagerōmaru, who lived in his stomach. Unlike the other detachments, Jūrōmaru lacked any intelligence, and acted simply as a feral beast that could only be controlled by his brother. Indeed, Naraku kept him shackled to maintain some control over him. Both he and Kagerōmaru loved to feast on the insides of those that they killed. He and his brother Kagerōmaru were both killed in battle by Inuyasha with Tessaiga.

Kagerōmaru

Kagerōmaru

Kagerōmaru was a small, fast and intelligent detachment from Naraku, proving to be a worthy adversary to the wolf demon Kōga. Unlike most detachments, he was born with his brother at the same time. He was not loyal to Naraku, and even tried to kill him by decapitation and had his heart squeezed as punishment before being sealed in his younger brother's gut. Like Jūrōmaru, he loved to feast on the innards of those he fought. Kagerōmaru's appearance bared similarity to a parasite, which takes residence in other people. He further proved this similarity by being able to hide within Jūrōmaru's stomach for sneak attacks. He and his brother, Jūrōmaru were both killed in battle by Inuyasha with the Wind Scar.

Unnamed Yōkai

Naraku's unnamed incarnation

An unknown yōkai was created by Naraku in Chapter 174 in the manga, after Kikyō destroyed Naraku's right arm. Its body structure was similar to Kagerōmaru's. Out all the incarnations Naraku created, this one had the shortest life - only a few moments. It slithered out of one of the pots containing Naraku's flesh and attempted to wrap its tongue around Kikyō's ankle. However, at the very moment that it did, it disintegrated into ash. Kikyō had armed herself with the dirt from Onigumo's cave, which absorbed the bandit's lust for her. This demon served as a preview of what would happen to Naraku himself if he attempted to harm Kikyō. Given that its brain and ribs were exposed, it was highly possible that this incarnation was not fully completed.

Musō

Musō

Musō was the reincarnated Onigumo, Naraku's human kernel. Naraku dumped him in order to get rid of his feelings toward Kikyō, which Naraku felt impeded him from defeating her. Due to Onigumo's disfigurement, Musō was born faceless. He attacked scores of men until he found a face that he thought was appropriate for himself. At first, he appeared to have no memory, either of his life as a person, or as the human heart of the half-demon, Naraku, who shut him off shortly after being born so as to avoid being overcome by Musō's human feelings. Musō recalled his memories during his fights with Inuyasha, and also remembered his attraction to Kikyō.[3] Musō was ultimately reabsorbed by Naraku after a short time of independence. He demonstrated infuriatingly powerful regenerative abilities, able to piece himself back together even after taking the Wind Scar from Inuyasha. However, had Musō's heart been destroyed, not only his, but Naraku's downfalls would have been assured. He also demonstrated the ability to shapeshift new limbs, spikes, multiple legs and arms, claws, and a tail. Unlike Naraku (post-Hakurai-zen), Musō could not regenerate his clothing, which forced him to constantly murder others for new outfits. He named himself "Musō" because that was the name of the monk that he killed for his face.

The Infant

The Infant

The Infant was a child with the ability to force other people into doing his bidding by manipulating the corruption within their hearts. He used his powers to track down the whereabouts of a Shikon no Tama Shard. During his journey, the Infant was cut in half by a monk's spiritual powers. The left half (which remained as the Infant) was taken by Kanna, while the right one (which became Hakudōshi) was put in the charge of Kagura. He later was placed inside the haku (life force) puppet, Mōryōmaru, in a plan to make it so strong that it would be capable of overthrowing Naraku. In Chapter 446, however, Naraku managed to absorb Mōryōmaru, and with it, the Infant. In Chapter 448, Naraku disappeared along with the Infant, and by his next appearance in Chapter 452, had reabsorbed him.

Hakudōshi

Hakudōshi

Hakudōshi was an incarnation that was separated from the Infant. Taking the form of a young child, he was able to tame the horse demon, Entei. He continued the Infant's quest to get the last Shikon no Tama Shard. After Naraku was nearly destroyed at the Boundary of the Afterlife, Hakudōshi was charged with flushing out Kikyō. Tiring of being under Naraku's thumb, just as the Infant and Kagura were, Hakudōshi created Mōryōmaru to protect his other half. They plotted to replace Naraku and take the Shikon Jewel for themselves. However, Naraku destroyed his barrier and left him without any Saimyōshō, which allowed Hakudōshi to be killed by Miroku's Wind Tunnel.

Byakuya

Byakuya

Naraku's ninth and final incarnation that first appeared in Chapter 396, as well as the Fourth Episode of The Final Act. Byakuya, of the Dreams was created to replace Kagura, and served the purpose of tracking down Mōryōmaru while keeping tabs on the full-extent of Inuyasha's Tessaiga. Byakuya used origami as his primary weapon, while also having the ability to weave illusions and warp others to different dimensions to avoid interference. Like Hakudōshi, he was linked to Naraku, although on a higher scale. If Naraku lost an arm, Byakuya lost the same limb as well. He was killed when Inuyasha used the Cutting Meidō, one of the Tessaiga's abilities, on him after he attacked Kagome. Unlike his other siblings, Byakuya accepted his death.

Akagane

A character exclusive to Secret of the Divine Jewel. Created by Naraku to steal Janis's Kamuitama. He appeared before them after they had all been weakened by the Banshee's scream at the Sakata Village since he put a shard of the Shikon Jewel on the soul of a woman's monument. Until he retreated to Osore Valley where he set up a fake village (with fake villagers who pretended to be outcasts) inside of a nearby cave. Inuyasha tells Akagane he was impressed by his use of Osore Village's polluted air to counter Inuyasha's sense of smell and Kagome swears she won't lose to a coward like him. Inuyasha and the others once again engage Akagane in battle and in the end he is slain.

Skeletal Demon

A character exclusive to The Secret of the Cursed Mask. As the name implies, it’s a bone demon. Having a bird-like face, it dresses in dark green robes and can use miasma attacks.

Trivia

  • The data book suggests that the demon Naraku uses from his body for the base of an incarnation decides its form; explaining why Goshinki was the only ugly non-humanoid.
  • It would seem Byakuya is the only incarnation to be directly linked to Naraku's own life.
    • The fact Naraku killed Kagura and Hakudōshi, instead of letting them live only to die along with him, suggests he had gotten extremely cautious with creating his ninth incarnation.
    • It's likely Naraku had just grown weary with having to monitor his incarnations and squeeze their hearts; considering he was in the endgame of completing the Jewel and didn't wish to divide his attention, so he could solely focus on the Jewel.
  • Inuyasha mentions that the incarnations all smell like Naraku.
    • However, after Mount Hakurei, he noted Naraku's scent was much more pungent. Thus he could tell the difference between Naraku and Kagura, who still had Naraku's earlier scent.
  • In Episode 27 of Hanyō no Yashahime, it’s revealed that the pirate Riku was born from the severed horn of the demon lord Kirinmaru, thus making Riku an incarnation of Kirinmaru. This makes Riku the first incarnation to not have been born from Naraku’s flesh.
    • Also it's revealed that Riku threw Kirinmaru's right arm into the Bone-Eater's Well from 919 AD in the Heian period, to 1419 AD in the Muromachi period in which Osamu Kirin was born from the arm of Kirinmaru's too, thus making Osamu Kirin an incarnation of Kirinmaru too. This makes Osamu Kirin the second incarnation to not have been from Naraku's flesh. Osamu lived for 600 years all the way to the modern era.

References

  1. InuYasha anime; Episode 43
  2. InuYasha anime; Episode 44
  3. InuYasha anime; Episode 69
Naraku
Incarnations KannaKaguraGoshinkiJūrōmaruKagerōmaruMusōInfantHakudōshiByakuyaAkagane
Rejected parts Unnamed incarnationHair monsterEye monsterOnigumo (reabsorbed)Kugutsu
Allies SaimyōshōSesshōmaru (formerly)TsubakiHakushinShichinintaiAbiTekkeiMōryōmaruMirror demonMagatsuhi
Enemies KikyōInuyashaKagome HigurashiMiyatsuMiroku's fatherMirokuSangoKiraraKohakuKōgaSesshōmaru (currently)KaguyaMōryōmaruHitomikoKansukeKaedeMidorikoRinJakenA-Un
Miscellaneous Shikon no TamaKazaanaOnigumo's caveNaraku's castleMount Hakurei
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