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A large portion of the InuYasha manga and anime series deals with the emotional issues surrounding the primary love triangle of

Inuyasha, Kagome, and Kikyo, particularly from Kagome's point of view. However, it is revealed that Kagome is, in fact, a reincarnation of Kikyo, so they actually share the same soul, albeit from different time periods!

If that's the case, then this appears to remove all of the tension and underlying conflict, in effect Inuyasha is in love with

the same person (in two forms, one of which is even a vengeful spirit of the dead who wants to move on the afterlife)!

How exactly was this love triangle supposed to work, narratively? While I can't speak for the mangaka's inner thoughts, perhaps there are cultural nuances or tropes that I'm not aware of at work here?

  • I have no idea what you're asking. Mechanics is an area of science concerned with the behavior of physical bodies when subjected to forces or displacements, and the subsequent effects of the bodies on their environment. A narrative or story is any report of connected events, actual or imaginary, presented in a sequence of written or spoken words, or still or moving images. Are you asking how the their relationship effected the story? Your question right now is probably too unclear or too broad to be answered as it is. – ton.yeung Sep 10 '15 at 1:38
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    I don't read the series, but it sounds like the love triangle is possible if Kagome and Kikyo are not aware that they share the same soul. – nhahtdh Sep 10 '15 at 1:50
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    I know some contributors to this forum don't speak English as a first language, so to assist you, check out this online dictionary which lists some of the variety of definitions of the word "mechanics" dictionary.reference.com/browse/mechanics The definition I use here is #4, but there is of course some crossover with #3. If still in doubt, read the whole question through and you will understand the context in which the word applies – Meir Illumination Sep 10 '15 at 2:08
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    Come on, @ton.yeung, I know you know English well enough to know what OP means. Let's not be deliberately obtuse here. – senshin Sep 10 '15 at 2:52
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    @senshin I'm sorry if that's the impression I gave. I really don't understand what kind of answer the OP is expecting. If you understand, stop by chat and tell me. – ton.yeung Sep 10 '15 at 3:26
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The mechanics work like this:

Inuyasha is in love with Kikyo. She is the first human since his mother that treats him well. Despite Kikyo killing him and sealing him to the great tree, he still loves her.

Kagome falls in love with Inuyasha at first sight, but he doesn't like her at all. When he firsts revives from death, he thinks it is Kikyo, but once he figures out she is someone different, he doesn't care for her.

Due to framing plot reasons, Kagome and Inuyasha have to work together to save the world. Inuyasha slowly starts to warm up to Kagome over time, as she overcomes the dead Kikyo's shadow. Then Kikyo gets resurrected (as a walking dead corpse). This causes Inuyasha's cooling love for Kikyo to flame strongly again, and causing him to be torn between his first love (Kikyo) and has new growing love (Kagome). However, his loyalties are first to Kikyo, so Kagome always loses out when he must choose between them.

Inuyasha's first loyalty is what prevents Kagome from being able to "seal the deal" with him, and is a hurdle she can never overcome as long as the animated dead Kikyo is around. No matter how close Kagome and Inuyasha become over time (in the main series), he will desert Kagome to run off and save Kikyo if he thinks Kikyo is in danger.

  • Thanks for pointing that out. I fixed it. Should show up if the reviewers don't find it to trivial to approve. – StarPilot Nov 10 '16 at 11:28
  • if you edit your own post, it does not need approval – Federico Nov 10 '16 at 11:37
  • I'm not used to that. Most of the other areas I use here require self-edits to be reviewed until you gain "trusted edit" privs and do not need to have your edits reviewed. – StarPilot Nov 10 '16 at 11:49
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One of the big things divides Kagome and Kikyo, particularly after Kikyo's death, is Kagome's selflessness. She goes out of her way to help those that are in distress, even when she might benefit from letting them die instead- particularly in the scene where Kagome jumps into the pond to purify Kikyo's spirit. She was never thanked for it, and she didn't gain from it, but she did it anyways.

The thing they share is their courage- even when faced with adversity, you don't see Kikyo and Kagome backing down- and if Kikyo does, it's more of an "I don't wanna do it" thing than it is "I'm too afraid."

Kikyo is dignified and introspective, whereas Kagome is gregarious and spirited. Inspecting Inuyasha's demeanor, he is the kind of person that likes to portray himself as careless and tough, but has a gentle heart (like when Kagome says "I hate you" after saving Kikyo's life when Naraku's evil energy had begun to taint her, and Inuyasha admits that it hurt him, whereas Kagome barely remembered saying it) which he reveals through his willingness to step up to the plate and defend others.

The love Inuyasha and Kikyo was brief and hot-blooded, sweet and transient like daylight in an Arctic winter. On the other hand, the bond he built with Kagome was something they built via adversity, blood and tears shed together, providing and caring for one another, and TIME.

Ultimately, while Kikyo before her death was a lively person, post-mortem she is only quite literally a shell of herself, as she only has a tiny fragment of her and Kagome's shared soul stored inside of a clay body (from when the witch brought her back from the dead and Kagome's body absorbed most of the soul back into herself).

It's notable, however, that Inuyasha was with Kikyo out of choice, and went back to her out of choice, as when he followed her tree to tree, spoke with her, and agreed voluntarily to meet her at the Tree of Ages to give up his demon half. He has no choice where it comes to Kagome- she was thrust into his life and even uses the Beads of Subjugation around his neck for vengeful and immature purposes and to restrain his wild nature- they were something that Kikyo ultimately decided she didn't need for him.

Inuyasha and Kikyo were two lonely souls, Kikyo out of the solemn duty to the Shikon Jewel, and Inuyasha because neither the community of demons nor humans would accept him as one of their own. They found kinship, community, and companionship in each other.

Kagome accepted Inuyasha unconditionally. She shows open affection and worry for him, like when she ran toward him in the episode where Inuyasha plummeted over the cliff and she was unsure if he'd been able to survive the fall. The experiences they have shared are numerous, diverse, and impactful- the battles they've been in, the lands they've traveled, and the arguments they've had and resolved. You guys have seen it.

The whole love triangle thing makes me mad sometimes, too.

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Reincarnation is tricky business and there are so many opinions what changes when a soul returns in another body. The gender or character can be different from the previous version, so no wonder Inuyasha treats the two girls as different entities. Also there are shared history and memories between Inuyasha and Kikyo which are very precious to him. There is also guilt that he couldn't protect her and a promise he made and intends to keep, while Kagome at first is a complete stranger.

Saying that, I am not sure Kagome being and looking similar wasn't a contributing factor for Inuyasha falling for her. She even had the same talents: both women have miko powers. Maybe on same level he did preceive their relationship as some kind of second chance with Kikyo. He shows no romantic interest in other females, but he does with Kagome pretty early on, even saying she smells nice and when Kagome says

"I thought you didn’t like my scent"

Inuyasha replies with 'I lied'. Which is curious, especially as at their first encounter he confuses her with Kikyo based on her scent. He says:

"Who else would give off a scent like you?"

Inu is a dog hanyou, so olfactory perception is extremely important for him, and if his nose senses that Kikyo and Kagome aren't that different then maybe he did preceive Kagome as Kikyo. But then the 'real' Kikyo returned, which messed Inuyasha up quite a bit.

My impression was that in some instances he'd preferred to stay with Kagome and not, say, die with Kikyo, but he felt that abandoning her wouldn't be fair.

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While in the beginning and through the series, Inuyasha does tend to break Kagome’s heart more than once, she always comes back. And again, it's true that he loved Kikyo.

From my point of view though, it was companionship that he mistook for loving Kikyo. With Kagome, he didn’t like her at first, but as time went on, she became his friend, then in InuYasha: The Final Act, she becomes his wife (and possibly mate).

If we rewind to the Band of Seven when Kagome, Sango, and Miroku were poisoned, Inuyasha cried thinking he lost Kagome, and if we rewind again to the previous episode, then we can clearly see that he’s worried she ain’t gonna make it causing him to use the wind scar to extinguish the fire getting them out of danger.

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Honestly, yes, it is true that Kikyo and Kagome share a soul, but they have different personalities. Kikyo was someone Inuyasha once trusted and grew attached to her because of her personality (not just because she held the sacred jewel).

Kagome, on the other hand, is from a whole-another world. Inuyasha grew attached to Kagome for her personality and many other aspects. Inuyasha forgot about Kikyo until she was resurected from clay and bones.

Yes, it's a very confusing triangle of love.

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Inuyasha was in love with Kikyo and when you truly love someone, a bad experience from that person can't make the feelings just go away --- BUT that doesn't mean that it won't be tainted.

When he met Kagome, he hated her because he thought she was Kikyo who sealed him to the tree. It's actually possible to hate someone you love. Love ignites hatred.

Over time, Inuyasha was slowly forgetting Kikyo and became close with Kagome. Friendship is the foundation of their relationship. And friendship is a strong one.

Unfortunately, didn't take long, Kikyo was resurrected by Urasue. Yes, Inuyasha got confused. But still, Kagome was in good standing because Inuyasha was already fond of her the time they first discovered that Kikyo was still around using dead souls.

And Kikyo was a changed woman. Her behavior had nothing to do with the little amount of soul she got from Kagome. Remember she reclaimed it in full but she's still very angry. It's normal because she thought she was betrayed by the only man he loved. And change happens all the time to every woman who felt betrayed.

After resurrection, she wasn't the same Kikyo that Inuyasha once loved.

Imagine that in real life.

You only know the person's face and name but everything including her actions and the way she talks was unrecognizable.

Inuyasha remembers the past. The way it felt. Nothing more, nothing less.

Remembering is different from what you actually feel. You may jump back to memory lane at times but it will only last a few moments.

He will never leave Kagome.

BUT, Inuyasha is a good person. He must've felt guilty every time he remembers Kikyo suffered living, died and still suffering alone --- while he isn't, anymore.

He tried to cut tie with Kagome, because he thought he owe Kikyo his own life but can't fully decide to do it. He was hesitant. Then he met Kagome and admitted he shouldn't be having fun because Kikyo is suffering.

Coz he's not suffering. Means he was over his love for her.

Everyone knows the feeling of loneliness when you and the one you love are apart? But he wasn't lonely.

Inuyasha is not suffering.

He is having fun with his new friends, especially knowing that Kagome's around and safe.

One thing I'm sure is he'll be really lonely if it's Kagome who's gone.

He loved Kikyo. It's a thing from his past and a part of him that can never be erased. He wants his first love to be remembered a great woman. He wants to protect her, including her memories.

And watching Inuyasha over and over again made me realized that the 3 of them are all good people --Kikyo, Inuyasha & Kagome.

Kikyo didn't talk much about her feelings but you'll see through her actions that she later made up her mind and decided to not do anything about her feelings with Inuyasha, but instead serve other people.

Also, Kikyo doesn't want Kagome gone. She doesn't want Kagome to replace her as Inuyasha's past as she can't be his future either. She thinks rationally. She and Kagome are the same on that manner. And she love Inuyasha too much she doesn't want him to be lonely.

On the other hand, Kagome gets jealous and all because she's only human but still saved Kikyo a few times. She respect her as the first woman in Inuyasha's life. 1. Kagome didn't let Miroku carry Kikyo to Mt. Hakurei barrier's boundary. 2. She let Inuyasha leave to look for Kikyo's remains.

She's the perfect version of Kikyo. She's exactly what Kikyo subconsciously wished to be. Both nice girl.

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I agree with the existing answers, except Kagome isn't just Kikyo's reincarnation. If you go deeper, you'll find that she is a multi-reincarnation, though it appears Inuyasha goes after Kagome because she has some similarities to Kikyo.

Part of that is true, he also likes her because she is herself. Kagome has convinced herself of this, thus she has proved that she does not live in Kikyo's shadow, she actually surpasses Kikyo in some way.

It's true that Kikyo is the first human besides his mother to treat him kindly, but she also only loved his human-side since that was the first side she met him in, so she suggested that he become a human and that they live together.

However, in the second movie, Kagome clearly states "to be who you are" and that "she loves him as a half demon", and she even chose to stay with him when he was having trouble with his full demon side.

Kagome loves Inuyasha the ways he is, but Inuyasha at times still sees her as Kikyo.

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