Character: All About Sesshoumaru » Tessaiga: The Sword He Desires
The Tessaiga was initially mentioned during one of the beginning anime episodes and manga tankoubon volume 2 when Sesshoumaru first made his appearance. Keep in mind that I only include the sword's information where Sesshoumaru is concerned. Although it's relatively detailed, this does not document the entire possibilities and techniques that the sword holds as Inuyasha continues to wield it. I may or may not include all that at a later date.
The Tessaiga, also seen to have spelled like Tetsusaiga, basically translates as the "Iron Pulverising Fang." It is a sword in which the blade was created from the fang of Sesshoumaru's and Inuyasha's father by a swordsmith called Toutousai. From the first moment when we were introduced to Sesshoumaru's character, he was already avidly searching for this sword...and it seems he has been searching and failing to locate it for quite a lengthy period of time now. We quickly learn that he's a very powerful demon lord, and his indescribable desire to wield the Tessaiga in order to gain more power than he already has, amuses and perplexes even Sesshoumaru himself. However, the search is not easy because the sword was extremely well-hidden by his father...and soon it becomes apparent that the key to obtaining this sword lies within his own half-brother, Inuyasha..a person that he despises the most.
It is said that the sword contains the spiritual aura of their father, the Inu Taiyoukai, and by obtaining the sword, it would be like inheriting his spiritual power. Legend has it that the great Inu Taiyoukai had commissioned the sword for the purpose of protecting his human bride, who was Inuyasha's mother. When wielded correctly...it is able to unleash extremely powerful hidden attacks, one of which is called "Kaze no Kizu" - also known as "The Cutting Wind" attack. It is a technique that is capable of killing 100 youkai with one swing when used correctly with the right mentality- which is, to protect. Quite spiffy eh? But all does not go well for Sesshoumaru because aside from having those legendary powers, the sword also contains some sort of magical/spiritual barrier that prevents Sesshoumaru from even drawing it out of the ground of its hidden place. Alas, the sword was not meant for him...but was instead an inheritance left for Inuyasha by their father. Aggravating for our dear Sesshoumaru isn't it? Well, it gets worse! Apparently, you also need to have human blood coursing through your veins in order to transform the chipped katana in to a huge fang so that the sword's inner potential could be used. Being a full youkai, the sword will not accept Sesshoumaru as opposed to Inuyasha who was half human. Poor Sesshoumaru had to watch his own hated hanyou brother clumsily hold the sword as his own when he knew that he could unleash the great potentials of their father's fang.
Of course Sesshoumaru does not give up...he believes that his hanyou, half-brother is not worthy of such a great sword as Tessaiga and sets out to find ways in which he could obtain the sword for himself. And so there, it begins the root story of the many encounters that Sesshoumaru would come to have with Inuyasha.
More - spoiler content up to anime episode 18:
The Tessaiga was also the sword that Inuyasha used to hack off Sesshoumaru's arm (which ended that initial battle at their father's tomb). Since then, Sesshoumaru has made several more attempts at claiming the sword even though technically, he won't be able to wield it with his full youkai blood. This naturally doesn't stop Sesshoumaru from trying to take the sword which eventually led to a one-time alliance with Naraku when he showed up with a Shikon no Tama-embedded human arm for Sesshoumaru to use. Using that human arm, the Tessaiga accepted him and even transformed in to a large fang. That's a small contradiction actually- as the sword was supposed to transform for those who have the will to protect so there have been speculation as to why the sword actually transformed for him (especially since at the time, he was not using it to protect). Some say Sesshoumaru could do it because the arm he was using had a Shikon no Tama jewel in it while others say it's just plainly because Sesshoumaru is powerful. In any case, Sesshoumaru was also the one who showed Inuyasha what the Tessaiga was capable of doing. On his first time wielding the sword, he actually performed the Kaze no Kizu attack with no difficulty at all. And I just have to add that he looked quite cool executing it. ;)
More - spoiler content up to episode 52 and a little beyond:
Another thing that I've come to notice about Sesshoumaru and the Tessaiga is the fact that he doesn't seem to be pursuing it anymore. It used to be that he appears every time for the purpose of claiming the Tessaiga but that has not been the case for a long time now. Does he not want it anymore? Or has he given up on it? The reason was never stated...as it just sort of faded away. However, there was about 3 significant events that happened around the time he stopped tracking the sword. One was when he was almost killed by Inuyasha's accidental execution of the Kaze no Kizu attack and then later he obtained a new sword called the Toukijin. That sword is often seen as an equivalent to the Tessaiga in terms of power so some people have said that he no longer wanted the Tessaiga because he now has the Toukijin.
All that may be contributing factors but I noticed another event that I believe have more significance in terms of Sesshoumaru's feelings towards the Tessaiga- and that's the discovery of the Tessaiga's importance in terms of Inuyasha's welfare. Aside from just being a powerful sword, the Tessaiga also serves as a seal for Inuyasha's youkai blood in order to keep it from taking over his mind (which would basically keep him from going on a killing spree). After the discovery, Sesshoumaru had paid Inuyasha a visit to see it for himself...but he did not make an attempt for Inuyasha's life or the sword. Instead, he even told Kagome that she should use the Tessaiga to revert him back to normal. And then he plainly just left them alone. To me, that was a turning point as he has never made another move for the Tessaiga since. My conclusion? It makes me wonder if he really cares about Inuyasha more than he thinks/admits. Another possibility may also be that he is just waiting to see further developments and how Inuyasha handles the sword.
-Content Last Updated: December 28, 2002