Inuyasha (1998)


Volume 8

Inuyasha - Volume 8 (1998)

Author/Artist: Rumiko Takahashi
Publisher: Shounen Sunday Comics

Shippou tries to call Kagome back from the present world while an injured Inuyasha fends off Naraku's trap.

We get the first face-to-face showdown with Naraku, teasing things to come, but the real showcase is the return of Kikyou, firmly cementing the central love triangle of the story. As a veteran of the InuKag-InuKik shipping wars, I can remember how prominently this story featured in the debates. I've since moved beyond arguing one pairing over the other (largely because the story resolved the matter as pretty much everyone expected). I do like how honest Inuyasha is about his feelings for both girls, so much unlike Ranma who didn't even come close to being honest with himself until dang near the end of the series. While Kagome's critics use her attitude against her, she is just a 15-year-old girl and I actually like that she isn't perfectly mature about the whole thing. If she were flawless, she'd just be a Mary Sue and while it wouldn't have hurt for her to be called out once in a while, I've seen relationships handled worse in fiction. Kikyou is rather interesting with her grudge against Inuyasha being the core of her being and yet the better aspects of her personality are also coming out. Back in the day, I theorized that the souls of the dead she uses to power herself provide the yang to complement the yin that stuck with her after Kagome reclaimed her soul. Anyway, she's a complicated character and I can understand why InuKik fans would gravitate toward her as being more interesting than the more plain Jane Kagome (who, to be fair, has her own multiple facets, just not so sharply cut).

I really love how Takahashi portrays Kikyou's vulnerability and menace. She's both a deadly threat to any who cross her and a girl who almost literally died of heartbreak. Then there's the big dang kiss, something InuKag fans never get to enjoy, dagnabbit.

As much time as I wasted back in the day arguing in the shipping wars, I really do like all the layers of the Inuyasha-Kagome-Kikyou love triangle and if you do too, you'll definitely want to add this volume to the collection.

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