Inuyasha was many fans’ introduction to the world of anime thanks to Cartoon Network’s Toonami. With seven seasons, four movies, and now a sequel series, it’s one of the most popular anime series across the globe. Even now, twenty-one years after its original air date, Kagome and Inuyasha’s adventures in feudal Japan continues to draw new fans.
With Inuyasha now available on streaming services such as Hulu and Netflix, many people have either come back to the beloved series or started it for the first time. So it’s only right we share the most memorable, entertaining, and even just fan-favorite episodes from the show’s entirety. Here are our top 10 picks.
Be warned, spoilers for the series follow, so tread carefully.
1. The Bond Between Them, Use The Sacred Jewel Shard Pt. 2 (Season 6, Episode 167)
With a show as long as Inuyasha, we’re bound to run into filler episodes. So when fans received what seemed to be a final battle, they were ecstatic. Though this episode didn’t offer a penultimate battle between Inuyasha and Naraku, seeing the relationships that had grown throughout the series come to a head was almost as fulfilling. And when it came to Inuyasha’s connection with Kagome in particular, fans knew this episode was a win.
In this episode, Inuyasha and Kagome end up in the pit of a demon’s stomach. It seemed hopeless for our heroes as they huddled under Inuyasha’s Robe of the Fire-Rat, but when Inuyasha used the last Shikon Jewel shard on Tessaiga to break them out, Inuyasha risked losing control into his full demon form. Fans got to see an intimate moment between him and Kagome, where she encouraged him to hold on to himself until she was able to grab the jewel and purify it again.
Not to mention, Inuyasha breaking the out of the demon’s belly with Kagome clinging to his back was pretty badass.
This episode’s importance to fans cannot be overstated. When it premiered in October 2006 in the US, it marked the end of the original series. Seeing the core group swear to keep fighting until the end was a bittersweet moment as we awaited the announcement of the final act.
2. The Red Tessaiga Breaks the Barrier (Season 3, Episode 74)
Shiori was born to a human mother and demon father, mirroring Inuyasha’s parents. She was to be chief of the bat-demon tribe now that she was of age, but that meant Inuyasha had to let her blood soak into his sword. This episode was intertwined with Shiori’s life of bullying and isolation and similar flashbacks to Inuyasha’s childhood. Inuyasha saw himself in Shiori, and when she was forcefully taken by her grandfather, Inuyasha’s focus changed completely toward helping the young hanyo.
Their connection throughout the episode was a welcome change, one that hadn’t been seen since Inuyasha’s relationship with Kikyo at the very beginning of the series.
One of the best parts about Inuyasha was its distinct and usually conflicting characters. Inuyasha was the stubborn and tough half-demon who rarely showed weakness. In this episode, we get to see him faced with a moral dilemma. Should he kill another half-demon to get the Red Tessaiga, or save the half-demon child who reminds him of himself? Seeing Inuyasha let his guard down with someone, let alone a child he didn’t know, was something new and intriguing for fans.
3. Toward Tomorrow (The Final Act, Episode 26)
There is no Inuyasha without the twenty-six episode conclusion of the series, and The Final Act series wrapped up the full story arc in just enough time. We finally got to see Kagome and Inuyasha together after ten years of teasing. Seeing Inuyasha come to terms with his feelings for her before jumping into the void was something fans had been waiting for since the series first premiered, and their kiss in the dark was the cherry on top of the finale.
The final episode had just enough left of the plot to close out before giving fans a flash forward into the characters’ futures. Seeing Rin growing up with Kaede, Kohaku training to be a demon slayer, and Sango and Miroku having kids was amazing.
The best part, though, was making The Bone-Eater’s Well close once Kagome left. She lived her life in her own time, and once she was ready, she made the choice to go back to the feudal era to be with the people that impacted her the most. It was an amazing moment and fan-favorite ending to the entire anime.
4. Kagome’s Instinctive Choice (Season 6, Episode 151)
Though Inuyasha focused on battling and defeating Naraku, the love triangle between the titular protagonist, Kikyo, and Kagome continued to build throughout the seasons. This episode focused on emotions and how to handle feelings, which remains rare in an action anime.
One of the best things about Kagome’s character is her selflessness, and we see that tested in this episode. After Kagome storms off in frustration, she finds two shikigami that lead her to a hidden waterfall containing Kikyo’s body. It’s up to Kagome to save the one woman that stands in between her and Inuyasha. Though she does agree immediately to save the priestess, it’s harder than she thought, and through her inner dialogue we hear thoughts of jealousy, anger, and heartache that she’s never spoken aloud.
Getting to watch Kagome force her way through all of the negative emotions to save Kikyo is what makes this episode so great, and it’s what makes Kagome as a character so endearing. Even after she saves Kikyo and Inuyasha finds her alone, Kagome tells him to go after her. It was a great character-driven episode that showed Kagome’s growth.
5. Vanishing Point; Naraku Disappears (Season 3, Episode 81)
After the barrier at Naraku’s castle is broken, all hell breaks loose. Inuyasha saves Sesshomaru from Naraku’s grasp, only for the siblings to begin a fight of their own. It isn’t until Kohaku is ordered to kill Rin that the fighting stops and Sesshomaru flees to find the child. Inuyasha reluctantly follows, hoping to save Kohaku from his brother.
An interesting dynamic that is constant throughout the series is Sesshomaru and Rin’s relationship. Is it romantic? Or is it more paternal? Fans interpreted it in different ways, but for those who’ve seen Yashahime, the answer is revealed.
Getting to see all of the characters in one place always makes for a good episode, and seeing Rin and Kohaku have moments of their own was something that rarely happened. Sesshomaru showed off a side only ever seen with Rin, and he held himself back from killing Kohaku. Once he was sure Rin was okay, he let the boy live as Inuyasha and Kagome asked, not what Naraku demanded. It was an episode full of character development, insight into different characters’ minds, and another frustrating loss to Naraku.
6. True Heir (The Final Act, Episode 15)
Sesshomaru and Inuyasha spent the entirety of the series fighting each other, trying to prove which one is the stronger brother. In The Final Act, it is revealed that Tenseiga was originally a part of Tessaiga and the two swords were cast apart because of the dangers the Meido Zangetsuha technique held. Once Sesshomaru learned his father intended him to merge the two swords for Inuyasha once he gained the technique, he decided to battle Inuyasha and make him prove he deserved it.
In the end, the two swords merged and Meido Zangetsuha was returned to Tessaiga.
Many episodes in The Final Act are devoted to closing off character arcs and showing how much characters have grown throughout their time in the series. Watching Sesshomaru come to terms with Inuyasha owning Tessaiga and admitting his strength was something their father hoped to see happen. Once Sesshomaru accepted this truth, he found himself at peace and eventually obtained his own sword made from his left arm. It was a nice end to Sesshomaru’s character arc, which up until then revolved around hate/jealousy towards his brother—and provided a touching message about accepting one’s weaknesses to learn one’s strengths.
7. Tsubaki’s Unrelenting Evil Spell (Season 3, Episode 62)
After Naraku revives an evil priestess from the dead, she defiles Kagome’s shards of the Shikon Jewel and implants them in her neck. While Inuyasha is fighting Tsubaki, Kagome finds herself in a dream world where she never traveled back to the Feudal Era at all. She’s living a fine life, but she feels like something is missing. At this point in the series, there’s push and pull between her and Inuyasha because of her continuously having to return home for school. She’s a teenage student who lives a double life, but this world shows her how life could be if she had never left home.
Ironically, it’s Kikyo that helps Kagome break out of this fantasy world. Using Kikyo to draw out Kagome is a way to remind us that Kagome cares for the people of the Feudal Era and cares about what happens, even if it’s not her home. There’s also the reminder of Kagome’s ties to Kikyo in her defeating Tsubaki in the same way the priestess did fifty years ago. It was one of the first times seeing Kagome accept her ancestry and use it to her benefit.
8. The Mystery of the New Moon and the Black Haired Inuyasha (Season 1, Episode 13)
First seasons are full of exposition and backstory that can sometimes feel overwhelming. But this episodes establishes Kagome and Inuyasha’s relationship further than we’ve seen before, paving the way for the rest of the series.
In this episode we learn more about the lore of the Feudal Era and the creatures that inhabit it. Myoga explains that half-demons lose their powers at certain times, Inuyasha’s being the night of the new moon. Kagome takes action as Inuyasha feels powerless and protects him throughout the endeavor.
This episode also begins to shape Inuyasha’s personal character arc. He says he doesn’t trust anyone, but also tells Kagome it’s not personal, it’s just how he’s always had to live to protect himself. Kagome confronts him, forcing him to open up and learn how to rely on her. Troughout the series we see Inuyasha learn to lean and trust his newfound friends, in one episode even going as far as fighting a demon alone to save each of his friends. Episode 13 is where that path starts, and it’s a great and subtle beginning to the leading character’s arc.
9. Kagura’s Wind (The Final Act, Episode 2)
Kagura was one of Naraku’s first incarnations, a yokai fragment split from Naraku to do his bidding. Kagura is a wind sorceress who resents her master, and all she wants from her first appearance is to be free to do as she pleases. Naraku knew Kagura was looking for a way out of her servitude, and so he kept her at arm’s length. When Naraku asked Sesshomaruto kill Naraku because in her mind only he could, Sesshomaru thought this was a trick and wanted to do it of his own will. Of course, fans quickly shipped the two.
The series shows just how cruel Naraku is, but in this episode his cruelty is so blatant that it almost came as a shock. Naraku gave Kagura her heart back so she could be free, but only for a few minutes, after which he pierced her with miasma and left her to die. Sesshomaru smelled her blood in the air while fighting against another of Naraku’s incarnations, Moryomaru, and fled the battle to find her. Unable to use tenseiga to save her, he can only watch her die with a smile on her face as she sees him. It was beautifully heartbreaking, and a bittersweet moment for both Kagura and Sesshomaru.
10. The Female Wolf-Demon and the Lunar Rainbow Promise (Season 4, Episode 83)
Few filler episodes are as funny and out of the blue as this one. The wolf-demon Koga is a recurring character who pines after Kagome by frequently stealing her away from the group. This time, Kagome meets another wolf-demon, Ayame, who claims she is betrothed to Koga. Kagome immediately takes her side, calling Koga awful and berating him for forgetting such a promise. The whole episode is comedic gold and a nice break from all of the intensity the rest of the season has brought.
Ayame is a two-episode character, really only there for this small story with Koga. She manages to steal the show with her insults at Kagome, who in turn continues to insult Koga for being a bad guy. While there is certainly plenty of fighting (as one would expect from Inuyasha), the fun part is watching these three characters interact until Kagome turns into their own couples therapist.