On Kagome Higurashi
I initially wrote this as a comment in response to a review on Amazon. It was the first time I felt like I had written something that was halfway decent from an analytical standpoint, so I think it’s fitting that this be my first blog post, even though I think I’ve gotten a little better since then.
This isn’t a verbatim copy/paste. In addition to cleaning up some of the writing, I’ve edited it to work better as a standalone piece.
As this is an analysis, it will not be spoiler-free.
Kagome is one of the more (most?) selfless characters in Inuyasha. Despite being Kikyo’s rival for Inuyasha’s love, Kagome realizes how important Kikyo is to Inuyasha. Even though it causes her great emotional pain, Kagome tolerates him going off to see Kikyo alone multiple times throughout the series. She even ends up coming to understand Kikyo on her own terms a little bit, as well as saving her life when she purged Naraku’s miasma from Kikyo’s body, not only because Inuyasha would be sad if Kikyo were to die, but because she felt that saving a person was the right thing to do, even if that person stood between her and the person she loved (Kikyo did stand between Inuyasha and Kagome, but not to the extent Kagome thought she did). This also happens in the episode where Kikyo and Kagome get trapped inside the Priestess Sealer demon cave.
Kagome is jealous of Kikyo, but that’s a very natural feeling for people to have in her situation. The fact that she only once lets her jealousy get the better of her throughout the entire 193 episode run of the series (this number includes The Final Act) is proof of her inner strength. Notably, Kagome immediately regrets harboring such thoughts towards Kikyo.
Kagome is one of the best role models in regard to understanding and accepting oneself and others in (primarily romantic) relationships I have seen in an anime. In many anime with romantic relationships, regardless of whether they are actually in the romance genre, the love between the characters is often very shallow and selfish in nature. Kagome’s love for Inuyasha is much less superficial. As I mentioned above, she realizes how important Kikyo is to Inuyasha and accepts that, even though it causes her pain. It takes a much fuller and more holistic love to accept all aspects of a person, especially those that are harmful to the lover (see: Carl Rogers’s concept of unconditional positive regard). Though Kagome doesn’t display a vast depth of this kind of love, it is clearly shown that she is capable of feeling and expressing it to a good extent.
Finally, on at least a couple different occasions when she has been confronted about her jealousy or other negative feelings regarding Kikyo, Kagome is always able to see the positive side of it (e.g., when told by Naraku’s infant she should feel bitterness and hatred toward Inuyasha and Kikyo, she realizes these are natural feelings and that she is justified in having them, but beyond that she realizes that it’s an indication of just how much she loves Inuyasha, so she is easily able to put those negative feelings aside). This shows her ability to understand and accept all aspects of herself, good or bad, which is very psychologically healthy and empowering.
Do you think I’m right about Kagome? Do you think I’m wrong? What are some of the best-done relationships you’ve come across in anime with regard to understanding oneself and others (this could be best-done in a healthy sense, as well as an unhealthy sense)? What makes them stand out to you as being more noteworthy (this doesn’t inherently mean better) than most?