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Why Sesshōmaru Is Problematic

Like most Millennials, the '86-born Koriander also watched Inuyasha in her teen years, following the series from start to finish.

The once heartthrob of a demon isn't aging well in the modern era.

The once heartthrob of a demon isn't aging well in the modern era.

The Problem With Sesshōmaru

While Inuyasha, Inuyasha: Final Act, and Yashahime still need Sesshōmaru to further the narrative, the once-heartthrob of a demon isn't aging well in the modern era.

With Yashahime taking center stage, Inuyasha fans new and old are re-watching the original anime and coming to the adult conclusion that Lord Sesshōmaru—even by demon standards—is kind of a bad person.

From his brooding attitude (which his youngest child Setsuna has inherited) to his poor communication skills, Sesshōmaru comes off less like an aloof bad boy and more like a hindrance.

Sesshōmaru takes this jealousy to an unhealthy degree.

Sesshōmaru takes this jealousy to an unhealthy degree.

He’s a Bad Older Brother, and a Bad Uncle

While it's easy to understand the fact that Sesshōmaru always feels slighted against his father, Tōga, for leaving his mother (whom he never married) to marry the human princess Lady Izayoi, it hardly seems fair that Sesshōmaru takes out so much of his anger on his younger half brother, but he does. While sibling rivalry is quite common, especially when it becomes clear that one parent won't admit to playing favorites, Sesshōmaru takes this jealousy to an unhealthy degree. More than once, he's actively tried to murder his brother, steal his sword, and a few times, even gone after Inuyasha's friends, even once blasting Kagome.

Making matters worse, until he adopts Rin, Sesshōmaru tries to justify his actions by being flat-out racist against humans. Nothing screams out "maturity" quite like name-calling your brother because he's only half-demon, right?

Even after he learns to temper his racism and team up with Inuyasha, he chooses not to let his brother in on any of his plans, even if it would be for the good of both of their lives. Perhaps his one saving grace as of this writing is that he has sent his brother and sister-in-law Kagome to hide out in the black pearl until the current demons of Yashahime cease to pose a viable threat to their lives.

But then in doing so, he has robbed his niece Moroha of the right to be brought up by her parents, As a result, she's been pushed off from one bad foster wolf to another and now lives a life of servitude to a child slave owner in The Corpse Dealer Jyubei and now the quarter demon would-be priestess lives as a lonely bounty hunter with no access to the family she actually is curious about. He knows where she is at all times and has made no effort to contact her at all. What a jerk.

He’s a Bad Adoptive Father

During Inuyasha, Sesshōmaru takes in eight-year-old Rin as a ward, and for the rest of Inuyasha, it seems as though he isn't a bad parent. He protects Rin as much as he is able to, he brings her back from the dead, he keeps her clean and healthy, and for the duration of that first anime, there are only two episodes where Rin is ever in any serious danger. Even in the movies, Rin is very well taken care of, and there are many sweet moments revolving around the two.

That is of course if you ignore every instance where he barked an order at her.

Inuyasha: Final Act was a slightly different story, as we saw a dark arc of episodes where Rin died as a result of Sesshōmaru being negligent while trying to get stronger. But it seemed as though this had a positive effect on him, as he dove into the underworld to revive her, and even had a reconciliation moment with his mother, leading to Rin being brought back from the dead. The season ended with him leaving her in Kaede's care for her education, along with silks and new kimonos as she was growing out of her own clothes.

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But all that fatherly goodwill was erased recently with Yashahime, where we discover that within a year of this happy ending, he has married Rin and fathered her twins - all while Rin is still legally a child.

Despite the mental gymnastics of SessXRin shippers worldwide, there's just no denying that Sesshōmaru groomed Rin.

Even married, the two share a strong imbalance of power. She still calls him "Lord Sesshōmaru," not his first name, not any cute nickname, always Lord Sesshōmaru, deviating from Kagome and Sango, who call their husbands by their first names. He commands, she obeys.

And then to make matters worse, the day the twins are born, he snatches the babies away from her and doesn't even tell her what's going on, if she will see them again or if he's coming back for her, and as of this writing, she is currently dormant inside of The Tree of Ages, and it is made perfectly clear that Sesshōmaru is the only reason for this. He barely even checks on her.

Sesshōmaru has provided his family with nothing substantial.

Sesshōmaru has provided his family with nothing substantial.

He’s Also a Bad Biological Father

Once he has the twin girls Towa and Setsuna bundled away from their mother just minutes after their birth, he immediately leaves them by The Tree of Ages and has Jaken cast a force field around the two, with the understanding that Rin will soon join them. Sounds like a protective father, right?

Well, not really.

Fast forward to when the girls are four years old, he agrees to let the main villains of Yashahime set fire to the forest the girls are hiding out in, fully aware that the force field is down and that the girls—and subsequently Rin—will be in immediate danger. This of course triggers the strange events that lead Towa into the 21st Century, and Setsuna to lose her memories and go on an adventure alone.

As Yashahime progresses, we learn that Sesshōmaru at all times has known where his daughters are, has known when they are in danger, and with the exception of episode 18, has made no attempt to talk to his daughters, have Jaken explain anything to them, or even help them out when the enemy appears.

You could make the argument that since he has a target on his back, he's trying to keep the worst of the bad guys away, but that hardly works when the girls keep running into fights with those very same people.

Sesshōmaru has provided his family with nothing substantial. His refusal to give vital information has done more to hurt everyone around him than it ever has helped, and the only explanation for his moody actions is that personality-wise, he is very much like his mother—calculating, cold, and just problematic.

The battle over which of Tōga's boys is the better man is clearly over, and Inuyasha—who not for nothing, at least waited until Kagome was 18 and out of high school to do anything with—is obviously the winner. Sesshōmaru may still be necessary to the overall plot of Yashahime, but we just can't overlook these problems anymore.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Koriander Bullard

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