In Inuyasha, the “Iron-Crushing Fang” Tessiaga can slay 100 demons in one full swing. It protected Inuyasha and his comrades several times against Naraku and is one of the most recognizable swords in anime. Since the new Inuyasha spinoff series, Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon, is currently airing, let’s take a look at the history of this legendary yokai sword, Tessaiga.
Origin of the Tessaiga
The Tessaiga, also known as “The Sword of Destruction,” was forged by the swordsmith Totosai. The blade is made from the fang of Tōga, the father of Inuyasha and Sesshomaru. Tōga requested Totosai make the Tessaiga so that he could steal Shishinki’s Meidō Zangetsuha. But Meidō Zangetsuha is deemed too powerful and dangerous, and so Tōga asked Totosai to forge the Tenseiga. The Tenseiga, also known as “The Sword of Life,” is used to contain the power of the Tessaiga. Sesshomaru inherits the Tenseiga, much to his dismay. As for the Tessaiga, Tōga placed a barrier around the sword to prevent evil and greedy demons from using it to kill innocent lives. Then, Tōga secretly hid the sword at his gravesite located in the realm between the living and the dead.
In Episode 6, “Tessaiga, the Phantom Sword,” Sesshomaru interrogates Inuyasha about the location of the Tessaiga. Sesshomaru locates their father’s tomb, which happened to be in the right eye of Inuyasha, and the two brothers enter the tomb to retrieve the sword. Kagome is able to pull it out and when Sesshomaru attacks, the sword protects her. The Tessaiga holds immense power that can be abused by others, but when Inuyasha promises to protect Kagome, the Tessaiga accepts Inuyasha as its swordmaster.
Tessaiga’s Abilities & Memorable Moments in Battle
At first glance, the Tesssaiga looks like an ordinary katana, but when the wielder cares for both yokai and humans, the sword transforms into a larger weapon. The Tessaiga protects humans, but a human can never wield the sword properly because you must have yokai energy to unleash its true power. Throughout the series, Inuyasha fights against powerful yokai that test the Tessaiga's durability and power. Whenever Inuyasha loses a battle, he learns a new technique to get stronger.
The first technique that Inuyasha learns is the “Wind Scar.” The sword wielder must recognize the rift between them and their enemy’s auras clashing against one another. When the wielder sees the rift, they can slice through it, releasing an energy that can kill 100 yokai with one swing. Inuyasha isn’t aware of the “Wind Scar” technique until Sesshomaru demonstrates the ability in front of him. In Episode 35, “The True Owner of the Great Sword!,” Inuyasha masters the Wind Scar when he fights Sesshomaru in front of Totosai, the forger of the Tessaiga and Tenseiga.
When Goshinki breaks the Tessaiga with his fangs, Totosai reforges the Tessaiga with Inuyasha’s fang and tells him not to rely on his father’s power anymore. Instead, Totosai advises Inuyasha to defeat Ryukotsusei, his father’s old enemy. Inuyasha does so by using the “Backlash Wave.” When an opponent attacks, the Tessaiga can absorb the attack and then send the enemy’s attack, along with the “Wind Scar,” right back at the opponent.
The sword also has the unique ability to absorb and assimilate another yokai’s or a demonic artifact’s special abilities. When Inuyasha is unable to break through Naraku’s barrier, Myoga advises him to destroy the barrier of a powerful bat demon. With the help of Shiori, the new guardian of the bat barrier, Inuyasha defeats Shiori’s grandfather, Taigokumaru. As a reward, he absorbs Shiori’s orb (in Episodes 73 and 74), allowing the Tessaiga to transform into the “Red Tessaiga,” gaining the ability to break through any barriers -- except holy barriers such, as in Mt. Hakurei.
The next ability that Inuyasha obtains for the Tessaiga is the “Adamant Barrage.” Inuyasha acquires this power after fighting Hōsenki in Episode 157, “Destroy Naraku with the Adamant Barrage!” Hōsenki gives this power to Inuyasha because he proves himself worthy by choosing to protect his friends rather than seek selfish gains. The “Adamant Barrage” allows the Tessaiga to transform into a blade of diamonds and launch shards at an enemy. The sword is also strong enough to pierce through barriers.
Next, the Tessaiga gains the ability to absorb demonic energy when fighting against the yokai sword, Dakki. Dakki was forged by the swordsmith, Tōshū, using Ryūjin’s dragon scales. Tōshū desired to make the strongest sword in the world but he met his demise when the sword consumed him. Eventually, the Dakki cracked and released all the demonic energy it stole. As a result, the Tessaiga is now able to absorb demonic energy when transformed into a dragon-scaled sword, as we see in Inuyasha: The Final Act, Episode 4, "Dragon-Scaled Tessaiga."
The last technique is the special ability that Inuyasha’s father, Tōga, gained when defeating Shishinki: the Meidō Zangetsuha. The Meidō Zangetsuha manifests a large black sphere that can send anything in its vicinity to the Netherworld. Yet, when Sesshomaru used the technique with the Tenseiga, he could only manifest a crescent, elliptical form. It is only when the Tenseiga is alongside the Tessaiga that Sesshomaru can perfectly use the Meidō Zangetsuha. When Inuyasha proves himself worthy of the Tessaiga, Sesshomaru breaks the Tenseiga, allowing the Tessaiga to absorb its power. The Tessaiga transforms into a black blade and releases a barrage of blades that can cut through objects or enemies and send their remains to the Netherworld. In the final epic battle to defeat Naraku, Inuyasha uses the Meidō Zangetsuha while Sesshomaru uses the Bakusaiga.