Character: All About Sesshoumaru » The Sesshoumaru FAQ
If there's one thing I get a lot of, it's emails filled with questions about this site or just Sesshoumaru in general. Now, before you read on- please know that I'm not Rumiko Takahashi, which means I probably don't know half of the things you guys are asking me. That said, I will never be able to answer questions like what's going to happen to Sesshoumaru by the end of the series since it's still ongoing as I type this. The questions addressed below are some of the common ones that I get. However, keep in mind that some really don't have concrete answers as Sesshoumaru's character has always been a mystery. I do attempt to give my answer with my own reasonings though. So in a way, some answers here are really just my theories and guesses.
-Content Last Updated: December 28, 2002
Minor Edits Made: February 19, 2004
1. Is Sesshoumaru immortal?
I don't think Sesshoumaru is "immortal" as in "unkillable" but I think being a youkai, he is able to live for a very long time. Exactly how much longer than humans, we don't really know. Although their life span is a little different from your typical human, it doesn't necessarily mean he can't die. In fact, Sesshoumaru was almost killed by Inuyasha's Kaze no Kizu attack but was instead saved by the Tenseiga. So judging from this, I'd say that even though Sesshoumaru has lived many years, I don't think he's going to live forever. I've wondered before if they can live forever as long as they weren't killed or injured, but I somehow doubt that as well.
One point to consider, however, is the fact that he has the Tenseiga in his possession. As we know, the Tenseiga is able to save him from mortal injury and it's also able to bring back the dead. Given this reasoning, it is possible that with the Tenseiga, he can perhaps be immortal.
2. If he's a "pure" dog youkai, why does he look more human than Inuyasha, who's only a hanyou?
My guess is that it is precisely the fact that Sesshoumaru is full youkai that allows him to look the way he does. Being the full dog demon, he's able to transform into a massive dog and then back again to his "human" form. I think in that sense, he retains more of a human look because he can be in a human form. Inuyasha on the other hand, is only half demon and half human- therefore, he's not able to transform into a huge dog like the way Sesshoumaru and his father can. There is only one form for Inuyasha and perhaps that is why he appears as a mixture of both, hence the dog ears.
3. Okay...so what about the stripes and the crescent moon on Sesshoumaru's forehead?
Your guess is as good as mine. I've had so many people emailing me making big and positive claims about how the moon definitely represents his status as the rightful Lord ofthe Western Lands. I understand that the idea sounds interesting but I must remind you all that although this theory is often made in fanfictions, it doesn't make it true. Although I'd like to think that the moon may be a significant symbol of some sort, the actual meaning of it has not been touched upon yet. I personally don't think it's a symbol of his status as the Lord of the Western Lands though. My reason? His father was the previous lord and he obviously didn't have the moon symbol on his forehead in the pictures we see of him during flashbacks.
The talons and stripes on the other hand, may perhaps just be a youkai thing. My reasoning for this is due to the fact that Inuyasha "grows" them as well during his youkai-charged state. Additionally, I've had many visitors tell me that the stripes on his wrist actually stretch longer when he's getting ready to perform his Toxic Flower Claw attack. I've never noticed it before, but I'll be sure to pay closer attention to it next time. But if that was the case, then it's a possibility that his wrist's talon marks have a certain purpose in executing the attack. Then again, for all we know...his markings could all just be there for the sake of character design with no actual purpose.
4. What is up with that detachable arm?!
I notice that most people who tend to ask me this are those who had missed the first few episodes. Basically, his left arm was hacked off by the Tessaiga during his first battle with Inuyasha. This happened when Sesshoumaru was in his transformed state, therefore it is only natural that when he returns to his human form, his arm would still be gone. However, Sesshoumaru is able to attach demon arms and use them as substitutes though only temporarily. For some reason, all the arms he has tried was rejected by his body.
For a short period of time after he first lost his arm, he tried looking for suitable arms but failed in finding one that was satisfactory. We've seen him with the powerful green claw that he took from a dragon. Then there's also that one time when Naraku gave him a human arm embedded with the Shikon no Tama so that he could wield the Tessaiga. All in all, he doesn't seem the least bit affected by the fact that he's missing an arm. It certainly doesn't make him any less powerful.
5. What about that piece of fur around his right shoulder? What is it?
For some odd reason, the piece of fur seems to be regarded with much fascination by fans. Like the crescent moon, I've received tons of emails telling me exactly what it is and claiming that it is confirmed to be whatever it is that they're claiming it to be. Again, I have to remind you all that what you read from fanfictions are a result of ideas by the author and not necessarily facts! That said, the most popular speculations for the fur's identity are as follows: his boa, his tail, or a pelt of some sort- like in memory of his father or mother. The most outrageous one I've heard is armpit hair. That's a scary thought in my opinion. Aside from having armpit hair that long, it's even creepier if he has it growing out of one arm only, no? Imagine that. So no, I obviously don't think it's his armpit hair.
6. What do I think? I somehow don't think it's his tail- only because I've seen both ends of it before and they're definitely not attached to his butt. The most likely theory I have, however, is that it could be a part of his fur from his transformed state- perhaps left over or carried over either by choice or necessity. The reason I say it's probably a part of him is due to the fact that you see a patch of "extra" fur wrapped around his right arm and body while he is in his dog form as well. This lends theory to the fact that it may be the same piece of fur. We really don't know for sure yet though.
7. Did Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha know their father?
Let's start with Inuyasha first. We've heard Inuyasha mention something about how the last time he saw his father was when he was so young that he doesn't even remember much of him. Additionally, his father had also passed away when Inuyasha was still just a small child. We've also seen clips of Inuyasha when he was a child with his mother at a house of some sort, so it's a possibility that this house was where they resided as a family unless his father had abandoned his mother. All in all, I think it's safe to say that Inuyasha did know his father though I don't think he was on very personal terms with him.
Sesshoumaru, on the other hand, I believe had a much closer relationship with his father. In fact, his father is the only person I've ever seen Sesshoumaru spoke of with respect. It seems he admires his father as a person and as a powerful youkai. You can often hear him say things in reference to his respect- they're subtle but you can still denote the positive feelings he carries for his father. It's also obvious that he thinks highly of his father's blood as he has criticized Inuyasha for demeaning his father's youkai blood or for being unworthy of wielding a sword that was forged from his late father's fang.
During the later anime episodes, we also see clips of Sesshoumaru during a time when his father was still alive. At the time, he was by his father's side when they went to war with the Leopard clan. He seemed to find those matters to be of great importance- which also seemed to cause his hatred for Inuyasha to grow since Inuyasha was sealed away at the time, making him unable to assist in the war. This in itself gives weight to the idea that Sesshoumaru greatly values his father and cares for him as well as the Western Lands. In conclusion, I believe that they must've been relatively close while his father was still alive.
8. Why did his father give Sesshoumaru the Tenseiga while Inuyasha got the Tessaiga? Is it because he favors Inuyasha?
First of all, I believe that the Tenseiga is equal to the Tessaiga, meaning one sword is not greater than the other. I see it just like swords that are brothers- unable to work against each other while what it does is completely opposite from each other...like two sides of the same coin. What I'm trying to say is that I do not believe their father favored Inuyasha by giving him the Tessaiga. In fact, many would even say that the gift of life is much more valuable than the ability to take away life- hence actually making Tenseiga the "better" sword. In either way, I personally believe that their father gave Inuyasha and Sesshoumaru these particular swords for a reason. Some theories I have are as follows:
Perhaps he wanted each of them to learn something from the swords. Being the cold and "unfeeling" person that Sesshoumaru is, maybe his father was hoping that he could learn the value and gift of life from the Tenseiga...that maybe through the sword of life, Sesshoumaru might discover the love for humanity. Giving Tessaiga to Inuyasha could be the means of protecting himself and his loved ones..after all, the sword's purpose is to protect. Inuyasha is a hanyou and maybe his father felt that there would be a time when the Tessaiga might become useful for his younger son since hardship is to be expected for someone who is neither full youkai nor totally human. Even more so, maybe he foresaw the fact that Inuyasha would want to thrive on becoming a full youkai...and through the sword, he might learn to instead live with being a hanyou and to protect his loved ones with the sword.
Of course there's also that major reason where the Tessaiga also acts as a binding shield to prevent the full youkai side of Inuyasha from coursing through his blood and thus making him lose himself completely. Inuyasha needs the sword by his side in order to keep his youkai blood from consuming his whole being, and this is probably the most talked about reason as to why Inuyasha inherited the Tessaiga over Sesshoumaru. Finally, we also can't forget that the Tessaiga can only be wielded by someone who has human blood within them...and that, Sesshoumaru does not have.
Since the Tessaiga and the Tenseiga cannot technically work against each other, another theory may be that perhaps their father realized there would be a day when Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha would eventually fight each other. Therefore, by giving them these particular swords, he would be able to keep his two sons from killing each other. The first time we see Inuyasha successfully attempt the Kaze no Kizu attack, Sesshoumaru would've died had it not been for the Tenseiga's protective light that glowed bright as he was being struck by the attack. So in that sense, we can see that Inuyasha would be unable to kill Sesshoumaru as long as he had the Tenseiga by his side. And needless to say, Sesshoumaru would also not be able to use a healing sword to kill Inuyasha. With such a powerful sword, Inuyasha would stand a much greater chance against his more formidable brother. Thus the theory that as long as they both wielded the swords, it would be hard for them to truly go against each other...for even if the two men aren't exactly brothers at heart..the swords they carry are. To go even further, maybe the swords will even be capable of uniting the brothers.
And finally, I also have this personal theory that the swords are actually meant to work together...like I think there could be some special powers awakened when used together. The reasons that their father might've had could be speculated in different ways...we don't know the real definite answer because their father is dead and can't exactly stick around to give an explanation. However, little by little, the swords' capabilities and mysteries are revealed and I hope eventually, we'll be able to say for sure why each of his son inherited the particular sword that they got.
9. Why does he want the Tessaiga so bad if he already has the Tenseiga, a sword that was also made from his father's fangs?
To put it in simplest terms, Sesshoumaru did not want a sword that saves or restores life. That is not something he values or seems to value. In fact, he had even made a comment about it being a useless sword that is not capable of killing. When Sesshoumaru was first introduced, we hear it from his own lips that he craves more power even though he already has so much. He wanted the legendary sword, Tessaiga, to attain his father's spiritual power and become even more powerful himself. Perhaps this is also a reflection of his desire to be more like his father.
Throughout the series, we don't exactly see Sesshoumaru as someone who's rushing to save any lives as he's more the type that couldn't care less about whether you're dead or alive. And if someone gets in his way, he wouldn't hesitate to harm them. So it's very ironic when he is instead bestowed upon,the sword of life rather than the sword of destruction. Naturally, it only makes it worse that it is his despised brother that inherited the Tessaiga instead of him. It seems he did not believe Inuyasha to be worthy of the Tessaiga and it was his main goal at one point to either obtain the sword for himself or even destroy it so that Inuyasha would not be able to use it. Further information on the swords may be found at its respective section within the site. Please refer there.
10. If Sesshoumaru wants power so bad, why doesn't he desire the Shikon no Tama like everyone else?
Although Sesshoumaru may crave power, I don't believe he wants the sort of power that the Shikon no Tama offers. I think he desires "real" power and not a jewel that produces some deranged power and feeds off the dark side of the heart. I also think that with the kind of power he already has, he feels he has no need for such a thing. The Tessaiga, on the other hand, was a legendary sword created by his father's fang that carried his father's spirit within. And this is probably part of the reason why Sesshoumaru desires it. I don't think he's interested in straying towards the Shikon no Tama in the way that many other youkai seems to want it for. He doesn't seem like the type to want power for world destruction or something like that- it's just something he craves for himself. On top of that, Sesshoumaru is also a proud person with a certain sense of honor- and for that reason, I doubt the Shikon no Tama is anything of particular interest to him. Almost like a child's toy or something similar.
11. Is Sesshoumaru a bad/good guy?
This is one topic that has literally been beaten to the ground again and again. I've read so many different point of views and their supporting theories- some of which are so far and beyond that I have to wonder where people get these references from. I can sit here and write an essay about the characteristics that makes him both a good and an evil person but alas, I'm not going to do that. Instead, I'm going to go with the more straightforward approach.
Technically, in the anime, he is considered to be one of the bad guys as he is sort of an enemy of the main character. Much as his fans may like to disillusion themselves with the fact that he's a saint, you must admit that his persona isn't exactly viewed as "good". Afterall, he's made attempts to kill his own half-brother, he walks around with this cold confident air of an emotionless mask- killing people who gets in his way, despises humans, and is seemingly unfeeling towards generosity or love. So yes, it's safe to say that he's not exactly a guy you would describe as good by general standards.
To be fair, however, you must consider the fact that he is a youkai. By youkai definition, the things he does aren't exactly worse off than other characters that are perceived as "good". Let's use Kouga as an example. When first introduced, Kouga was seen to have sent his pack of wolves to devour a village full of living humans as a meal. Even Sesshoumaru doesn't really kill people so carelessly. So does this make Sesshoumaru a "good" person then? There are many contradictions on his character because his actions sometimes bring about questions as to whether he is really actually a "good" person underneath that cold exterior of his. Overall, I'd just say he's ambitious. And good or bad, I think it's safe to say that he's not "evil" like say, Naraku. But as much of a fan as I am of him, I wouldn't go so far as to say he's kind-hearted. I think he lives through his own logic and reasoning rather than following his emotions.
12. Why did Sesshoumaru bring Rin back to life if he despises humans so much? And why did he keep Rin with him afterwards?Yet another famous question. He cares not for the Tenseiga or life in general..and yet he brings Rin back to life. He despises humans the most and yet the girl he saved and later allowed to stay with him is a human. Not to mention the fact that even later when Rin is kidnapped, he saves her yet again. In fact, he also seems to be quite protective of her. All the while, he claims to think very lowly of humans, looked at the Tenseiga with distaste, acts completely cold and emotionless...my, is that a huge contradiction or what?
Unfortunately, we don't know exactly why he brought Rin back to life. At the time, he made a statement implying that he was testing the sword out though many fans often prefer to think otherwise. Perhaps he really did just use the sword as a test- but it's obvious that he has since come to care about Rin in his own way. Because she travels with him, she is in a sense, his responsibility and a part of his "image". If harm comes to her or if his enemies manages to successfully use her to manipulate him somehow, then it would be like an insult to him. As to why he "kept" Rin...I actually tend to give preference to saying that he just "allows" her to follow him. He has never asked her to come along with him or has he ever asked her to stay with him. She just does so because she wants to and he lets her.
Regardless of what the true motive may be in bringing Rin back to life, I think it can be expected that there's still much more to be seen when it comes to Sesshoumaru and Rin. We already see Rin slowly bring about a side of Sesshoumaru that we didn't get the pleasure of seeing until she appeared.