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Overview

Alternate Name(s) Shippou, Shippoo, Shippoh, Shippo-o Age Appears 7 Race kitsune Weapons Fox Magic, Fox Fire, Heart Scar First Appearance (Anime) Enter Shippo… Plus, The Amazing Thunder Brothers! Family Connections Father (deceased)

Shippo (七宝 Shippō?) is a fictional character in the anime and manga series InuYasha by Rumiko Takahashi.

'Shippō' means 'the seven treasures' (as in gold, silver, pearls, agate, crystal, coral, and lapis lazuli) in Japanese. (The English anime and manga of InuYasha spells his name in a manner that ignores the double “o” - “Shippo” has a different meaning than “Shippō”). The similar-sounding 'shippo' (しっぽ) means 'tail', which is likely a deliberate pun.

He is a kitsune, a (yōkai-fox) who tags along with Kagome and InuYasha after they defeat the Thunder Brothers. At first, Shippo attacks InuYasha and Kagome in an effort to steal their shards of the Jewel of Four Souls (Shikon no Tama). In VIZ (a less popular version of anime and manga) he plans on using them to lure out the thunder brothers. He wants to use them to become stronger so he can avenge his father's death at the hands of the Thunder Brothers. After InuYasha and Kagome hear Shippo's story, they help him fulfill his revenge and he becomes the first new member of the group. Shippo, unlike some yōkai, has no problem with humans, but InuYasha and Shippo always tease each other while Kagome acts like katsumomo a combination of mother and sister to Shippo. Though young and rather naïve, he has a very good grasp of the emotions and motives of his companions, and has oddly accurate moments of insight. He wishes very much that Kagome and InuYasha would not fight, and when they do, he is right there trying to convince InuYasha to apologize for whatever he did, resulting in a quick bop to the noggin for the kitsune.

As a kitsune, his specialty is trickery. He has fooled with InuYasha in particular on a few occasions, once abandoning him on the side of a road with his hands trapped beneath a stone with a sutra on it, which he is unable to touch, one act among several that have garnered InuYasha's mild resentment. Shippō's illusions aren't always complete and don't always last for very long, leaving Shippo to face trouble from the people or yōkai he may be trying to deceive.

Note: Although any family relationships with Shippō are unknown, when Shippo speaks of his father in the InuYasha manga, it shows his dad resembled a fox, as apposed to Shippo who looks like a human boy with pointed ears, fox legs, and a fox tail.

As of recent chapters, Inu-tachi come upon an inn which is being used by a group of kitsune in a sort of exam to test their skills at trickery and getting the better of others, and when Shippo arrives on the scene, he is immediately given the applicant number 77 by a leaf with the number 77 flying at and sticking to Shippo's head. When Shippo learns of the nature of the inn, he tries to evade Inuyasha's usual harassment and in doing so gets him with his Spinning Top illusion, causing a slip of paper to descend from the sky, awarding him an increase in rank, to Junior 8th Rank, where the ranks are, from lowest to highest: Lower Weak Novice, Upper Weak Novice, Lower Strong Novice, Upper Strong Novice, Junior 8th Rank, and Senior 1st Rank. According to a couple of participating kitsune, it ordinarily takes 100 years of studying (apparently the art of trickery and deception) to reach Senior 1st Rank, but thanks to Shippo's successful illusionary attack on Inuyasha (who counts as a yōkai for the sake of the exam, and whose downfall at the hands of a participating kitsune awards him with a larger number of yet unexplained points than tricking say, a human) Shippo essentially begins the exam at Junior 8th Rank, one rank away from the top.

Abilities

  • Kitsune Youjutsu (Fox Magic) - An umbrella term for all his magical ability *Naki Kinoko (Weeping Mushrooms) - Leaves a trail of wailing, crying mushrooms that can be followed to his current location, or can also be used in a blast like formation where every individual mushroom tackles an enemy or target in a huge swarm. *Tsubushi Goma (Smashing Top) - Illusionary magic using a small toy top that gives the appearance and presence of a very large top, often used to pin opponents to the ground. *Bunshin (Divide) Using special happa (leaves), creates many illusionary clones of Shippō that distract the enemy. *Kitsune-bi (狐火 Fox Fire) - Summons a ghostly-looking blue fire. Used mostly for defense but works as an effective attack against weak yōkai. *Shape-changing Deceives the enemy by transforming into another creature, person or object. These transformations are often incomplete, his untransformed tail (in Japanese folklore, the kitsune are believed to have the greatest difficulty in shape-shifting their tails) usually gives him away, and the appearance usually can't be maintained for very long. He has transformed into Kagome at least four times (episodes 10, 20, 89 and once with Hachiemon in episode 135) (in VIZ, volume 7, he tries to calm Inu-Yasha by turning into Kagome, Inu-Yasha doesn't even notice the tail until Shippo/Kagome ask if Inu-Yasha would like to sleep with Shippo/Kagome-giving him a decent sized bump), Koga (episode 37) and a woman (episode 129), although his tail was visible in all the transformations. He is also able to transform to a pink balloon-like shape with limited flying ability to carry one light person like Kagome. Shippō has also transformed into a spider (episode 13) thinking that InuYasha was afraid of spiders. Near the beginning of the second movie, it is seen that he turns into a large duck-like creature carrying Kagome (who comments on the incomplete transformation in which his ribbon is visible in which Shippo replies, “Give it a rest”) in order to confront Naraku. Also in the second movie, he turns into a bow for Kagome (at her request), but feels pain when she actually tried using him in battle. This originally occurred in episode 10 as Shippo's own idea sans pain (it was also oddly shaped: Kagome at first thought it was a snail!). *Kokoro no Kizu (Wound of the Heart, or lit. Wounded Heart) (Dub = Heart Scar) - Shippo's answer to the Kaze no Kizu. He learned this new attack while fighting a lizard demon (episode 130). Shippō simply inflicts a painful but not deadly bite. This technique may release some of the yōkai's energy every time it strikes, as Shippo says that he saw the Kaze no Kizu, but since he has so little it has no noticeable effect (the lizard was for the most part annoyed at him). *Kumogakure (Hidden Cloud) - In episode 136, Shippo combines happa and a talisman given to him by the old woman exorcist (introduced in episode 85) to become invisible. Of course, like his other transformations, it doesn't last very long.

Relationships

Shippo the fox meets a variety of young girls upon his travels. They are drawn to him due to his innocent sense of fun, his cuteness and tiny size, his sense of humour, and general pleasantness. Some of these include: *Souten, the younger sister of the Thunder Brothers. Shippo accepted her challenge to duel, thinking that she was a boy. Later, when she revealed her true gender, Shippo called off the battle and permitted her to keep his box of coloring crayons (which Souten had found extremely fascinating). After witnessing this act of chivalry on Shippo's part, Souten develops a crush on the kitsune. (anime only) *Satsuki, who he saved from a lizard yōkai who tricked her into believing that it was her brother. Shippo's “First Love.” *Koume, a girl that mistakes Kirara for Kuroro (the village's twin tailed cat) and Shippo immediately develops a secret crush on her. He helps her look and find Kuroro. When Shippo and his friends leave the village, Inu Yasha starts to tease Shippo saying that Shippo was in love with her. Shippo becomes upset and Kagome “sit”s InuYasha. *Mizuki, a girl who he was pressured into playing a trick on by a band of fox demons who idolized him. Mitsuki later became angry with Shippo and never wanted to see him again. (anime only) *Kirara Shippo has a special relationship with Kirara, Sango's pet, and he is often found talking to her, particularly during battles in which their skills are not needed, and sometimes when Sango becomes immensely furious at Miroku they tend to cower in fear and hug until the display is over. They're both quite small, they are the only full demons of their group, and both specialize in fire techniques. These similarities lead to a strong sense of camaraderie, even if they are fox and cat. Some fans even suggest that they might have crushes on each other, though this is not proven.

  • InuYasha - Shippo focuses many of his tricks upon the main character. Also being a canine demon, he sees InuYasha in the role of an older brother. He values his strength, and emulates him, even asking to borrow his Tessaiga, and mimicking his 'Wind Scar' with his own 'Heart Scar'. Despite this, like any bratty younger brother, Shippo constantly torments InuYasha with practical jokes and thinly veiled insults. This often causes InuYasha to smack Shippo. While the two have a strong rivalry, when confronted by an enemy they both are willing to risk their lives to defend each other. Since InuYasha commonly talks to Miroku, Shippo occasionally gets confused about the Adult type of talk, and usually when he asks, they reply “I'll explain it to you when you're older”.
  • Kagome and Sango - Kagome and Sango view Shippo like a younger brother since they also have/had one, and take on a rather motherly role. When InuYasha begins his assault, Kagome tells him “Sit, Boy!” punishing him for beating on the younger and weaker demon. InuYasha usually does not go easy on any male or demon of any age, especially if they've made him angry. Also many times Shippo's joined the girls in their separate travels (to stores etc.), and in the occasional bath. He regularly sleeps in Kagome's sleeping bag or on Kirara.
  • Miroku - Other characters have remarked that Shippo has been emulating Miroku's flirtatiousness with women (in Shippo's case, girls), and gained his natural charm (the only difference being the young demon having much more success than the older monk). Shippo has shown his affection for Miroku by crying when he was willing to kill himself to destroy Naraku and by repeatingly riding on the Monks' shoulder throughout the series. At times, he doesn't seem to realize that Miroku is doing less than moral things, but later catches on and is the most skeptical towards the monk's motivations. They usually get along and both like to avoid unnecessary conflict—especially if it means that they can get out of it alive.

Reference

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