Naraku is the manipulative villain of this piece. He is the ultimate evil, born from a human's petty jealousies and lusts, merged with the bodies of demons to form an unyielding being of hate. Naraku began his life as a simple human bandit named Onigumo. Onigumo was severely injured, leaving him badly burned and paralyzed. Soon he fell into Kikyo's care, and began to covet her attentions. Once Onigumo realized that Kikyo was in love with Inuyasha, he made a vow to surrender his soul to demons in order to regain his mobility in hopes of claiming Kikyo for himself.

Onigumo was misled however, and upon merging with the demons Naraku was born and Onigumo's persona was silenced. Using his newfound powers, Naraku was able to alter his appearance and tricked the lovers into betraying their trust in each other. Naraku pitted Inuyasha and Kikyo against one another in order to corrupt the Shikon Jewel Kikyo was entrusted to protect, however Kikyo took the jewel with her in death, and Naraku was left to wander aimlessly for fifty years.

During this time Naraku encountered a persistent monk who attempted to exorcise him. Using his abilities to change his appearance, he assumed the guise of a courtesan and stabbed the monk in his right hand. This created the Wind Tunnel, a curse which was passed from generation to generation until it was passed to Miroku.

With the arrival of Kagome the Shikon Jewel reappears, and Naraku resumes his search to capture the jewel and gain its power. During the course of his quest he comes into conflict with Inuyasha and his companions, and seeks to modify his own power. Initially he assumes the appearance of Kagewaki Hitomi, the son of a local lord, and uses his position to complicate the lives of the Inuyasha and his friends. As Naraku gains more shards, his powers increase to the point where he can create incarnations of himself, such as Kagura, Kanna and Byakuya. These incarnations are like his children, separate beings with their own unique personalities and varying degrees of loyalty to their "father".

Eventually Naraku is overwhelmed by Inuyasha and Sesshomaru, leaving him near death. At this time he flees to the safety of Mount Hakurei, where he begins the process of reinventing himself. As a half-demon Naraku, like Inuyasha, has periods of time where he loses his powers. Unlike Inuyasha however, Naraku can control when this happens and is able to break his body down into all its various demonic components. He then filters out what is weak or unnecessary and retains only the most powerful aspects. Naraku uses this time to filter out his human heart and with it any lingering affection for Kikyo.

With his body constantly undergoing revisions and the addition of more Shikon shards, Naraku continues to gain power, eventually becoming a demon nearly unrecognizable from his humble beginnings.

The Meaning Behind the Name

Naraku literally means "hell".

Hiroshi Yanaka & Paul Dobson

Toshiyuki Morikawa (pictured) is the voice behind Naraku once he took the form of Kagewaki, the young lord. Morikawa's previous work includes Griffith in Berserk, Jinpachi Ogura in Please Save My Earth, Shuuichi Tataki in Key the Metal Idol, and Yoshinari Satomi in Hakkenden.

When shown wearing his baboon pelt Naraku is voiced by Hiroshi Yanaka. His previous roles include Tomoyo Wagaki in Key the Metal Idol and Tsunan Tsukioka in Rurouni Kenshin.

Paul Dobson is the multitalented voice behind the English language version of Naraku. Paul also provides the voice of Myoga as well. Paul's previous work includes Happosai in Ranma , Folken in The Vision of Escaflowne, Chiaki Asami in Sanctuary, and Shion in Please Save My Earth.

An Introduction to Inuyasha