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Characters from Naraku's Group

Name: Onigumo, Kagewaki Hitomi
Age: 50 years old (23 in appearance & mindset)
Race: han'yo or yokai
Weapons: various

Naraku is a han'yo ("half-demon" yo is derived from yokai, which means "demon"), although he differs from most han'yo.

There was a man named Onigumo ("demon-spider"), who was full of deceit and hatred for others. In the anime (and in the manga; he is the elderly man who gives Kikyo his top knot to be sent to Mount Hakurei in order to purify his soul) he tricked his bandit leader, Rasetsu into approaching Kikyo and attempt to obtain the Shikon no Tama, or Jewel of Four Souls; however, Onigumo did not warn him that with Kikyo, there was a han'yo named InuYasha. Rasetsu survived the encounter with InuYasha, lost an eye, and returns to camp annoyed to find that Onigumo has made off with his troops. Rasetsu finds Onigumo and his troops at an inn down the road celebrating their change in leadership. Rasetsu blows up the inn, but the charred body of Onigumo somehow manages to survive the blast. Rasetsu throws the barely-living Onigumo off a cliff. (This, however, does not explain the spider scar, as Onigumo had the scar before he met Rasetsu).

By either chance or fate, Onigumo barely survived and was found by Kikyo who slowly nursed him back to the point of being able to speak. Onigumo developed feelings for Kikyo, but knowing that he could not move for the rest of his life, he summoned countless male yokai using his corrupted soul. He then had them devour his body in exchange for giving him a new body with which he could claim Kikyo and the Jewel of Four Souls. Thus the countless yokai were bound together in a form with Onigumo serving as a connector. (In an anime special, it is implied that a spider-yokai, which looked like a small replica of Naraku's spider form in the second movie, was the de facto leader of these yokai.) This resulted in the part-human, part-yokai Naraku.

Evolution of Naraku
In the meantime, he did not forget about his ultimate goal of obtaining the corrupted Shikon no Tama. He disguised himself as both InuYasha and Kikyo and tricked them into hating each other, as he describes that "the Shikon Jewel is the most beautiful when it's tainted by the hatred Kikyo and InuYasha have toward each other".

He mortally wounded Kikyo while disguised as InuYasha, took the Shikon no Tama and returned it to the village, then disguised himself as Kikyo and attacked InuYasha. InuYasha, sensing something was wrong, instinctively went back to the village to retrieve the Jewel. However, disguised as Kikyo, Naraku told the villagers that InuYasha would come for the Shikon no Tama at any cost, thereby forcing InuYasha to use force to obtain the Jewel. As he was getting away with the Jewel, Kikyo, with her remaining strength, sealed InuYasha to the Tree of Ages. Naraku, who desired both the Jewel of Four Souls and Kikyo thought that she would use the Jewel to heal herself but instead she requested Kaede to cremate the Jewel along with her dying body, so that it would be taken to the afterlife with her.

For fifty years after Kikyo's death, Naraku secretly plotted and waited for the Shikon Jewel to appear again. After the appearance of Kagome as the present-day reincarnation of Kikyo and InuYasha's awakening, he moved forward with his plan of gathering the shattered shards of the Jewel. Knowing his weakness as a han'yo, he relied mostly on dirty tricks and traps while gathering information on his potential enemies that would stand before his insidious plot.

Being a han'yo like InuYasha, Naraku also sometimes experiences a period of weakness. During those times, he loses all his yokai powers and reverts to his human "form". While in this form, he is composed of his head attached to countless random yokai parts. Naraku has the freedom of choosing this time, unlike InuYasha, and since he is made up of thousands of yokai, each time he "experiments" and "reconstructs" his body, he gets rid of weak and useless parts while keeping the vital ones to get stronger. It is possible that during each of these periods he expelled more and more of his humanity. This process ultimately led to the creation of his stronger form.

Disposal of his human heart
After InuYasha was able to defeat his barrier with the red Tessaiga, Naraku retreated to Hakurei-Zan for a long time, resurrecting the Shichi'nintai in the meantime to keep his enemies busy. To better protect himself from powerful yokai enemies like InuYasha, Sesshomaru, and Koga, he deceived a living Buddha into creating a barrier so holy, that it would purify and cleanse any yokai that came close to it, depending on the power of yokai. The closer Naraku's enemies came to the core of the barrier, the stronger it was. This was also the most powerful barrier in the series as its reach extended over the parameter of an entire mountain and much of the land around it. The stronger a yokai, the deeper into the barrier they could go until they got to a specific sort of critical point where anything with even the slightest bit of yokai energy would be utterly purified. For any creature with yokai as its spirit, they would die at this point no matter how powerful. For example, Koga could not even pass the perimeter of the barrier due to the fact that he is a lesser yokai. Sesshomaru however was able to penetrate the barrier's perimeter and travel deeper into it, albeit weakened, during his battles with Suikotsu and Jakotsu. InuYasha was able to pass this final point, but his yoki was purified so completely that he transformed into his human form while inside the barrier.

Naraku separates himself from his heart, rendering it in two pieces. The physical heart (shinzo) he imparts to Akago, rendering Naraku effectively immortal unless Akago is destroyed. The spiritual heart, or soul (kokoro), which he inherited from the human Onigumo, is discarded inside Hakurei-Zan. This allows Naraku to become stronger, much like a full yokai. (Comments later made by Abi-Hime and Tekkei revealed that Naraku was still technically a han'yo.) Furthermore, he now possessed an even stronger barrier, which proved impenetrable to anything except for the Tessaiga's Kongosoha ("diamond shard blast").

As soon as Kikyo gives the man who created the barrier the ability to find peace, he departs for the afterlife, the barrier dissolves. Naraku then reveals his new, powerful form and strikes down Kikyo. His powers increased dramatically as he challenged Sesshomaru and deliberately let him tear his body apart with a point-blank range youki blast, however it had no effect and Naraku proclaimed that "I cannot die". In order to find the final Shikon shard located at the border between this world and the afterlife, Naraku made a deal with Abi-Hime, the princess of the bird yokai. However, Abi-Hime and her mother, Tekkei, never did trust Naraku because he was "merely" a han'yo. Both being full yokai with utter contempt for han'yo, Abi-Hime and Tekkei plotted against Naraku and later attacked him. Naraku proceeds to behead Tekkei, the river of her blood producing a gateway to the world between this and the next.

Throughout the series Naraku is always constantly absorbing yokai. Even though he is now completely as powerful as a full yokai, he is still able to carry on the process of expelling the weak components of his victims and retaining the stronger ones. Thus he is able to constantly increase his strength even after the events of Mt. Hakurei, though it never increases enough to counteract Inuyasha's Kongosoha until he has absorbed Moryomaru and a barrier-desolving Daiyokai tree.

Re-absorption of Naraku's heart
Following the death of Kagura in the manga, Naraku becomes largely absent from the series, and the focus shifts to Akago's and Moryomaru's quest to absorb yokai and Shikon shards. Naraku finally reappears, reviving a tree yokai known as Yomeiju, a tree which devoured humans and yokai alike. But this time, as InuYasha and his group watched, Naraku devoured the tree. Shortly thereafter, he and Moryomaru squared off for the first time in an open battle. Naraku then reveals that the reason he created Akago as an infant and purposely made him so weak, while providing him with a powerful barrier that he had the power to disable, was because he always knew his heart would turn against him. Taunting Moryomaru about his shell, referring to it as a castle and to Akago as a king who has grown fat in said castle, Naraku at first appeared to be trying to reabsorb him. But this clash ended with a shocking twist: Moryomaru absorbed his maker, supposedly defeating him for good. Naraku soon revealed that he was in fact alive, having allowed Moryomaru to absorb him in a Trojan Horse-style ploy in order to then devour Moryomaru from the inside. He then used the Yomeiju's barrier-dissolving abilities to reclaim Akago and then fully assimilated Moryomaru into his being.

In Chapter 452 of the manga, "Spider Web", Naraku also returned to Hakurei-Zan to reabsorb the heart of Onigumo which he discarded there. Onigumo speaks to him, gloating that Naraku still needs this discarded human heart to avoid being purified by Kikyo, because of Onigumo's intense negative feelings. The human heart says it possesses more intense negative feelings than Naraku's yokai heart, and these can prevent purification by bringing darkness to the Shikon Jewel. Naraku seems to confirm this analysis. He intends to exploit the emotional connection between the hearts of Onigumo, Kikyo and InuYasha to destroy both Kikyo and InuYasha. The re-absorptions may mean that Naraku has lost the invulnerability he obtained from keeping his heart outside his body. However, the Shikon no Tama also allows yokai and humans to survive otherwise fatal injuries. But it's quite possible that the diamonds on Naraku's new body, along with his armored shell, may add some extra protection (due to the former being the hardest substance on the planet, and the latter easily able to swat off even the destructive brunt of the Kongosoha).

Nearly completed Shikon Jewel
In chapter 463 in battle with InuYasha, Naraku takes Koga's shikon shards because he placed his Jewel shard inside Kikyo. After he placed it in Kikyo Kagome shot Kikyo with her last sacred arrow to purify her, then Naraku used Koga's shards to corrupt the Jewel as Kikyo plans to purify the Jewel. But Naraku's evil overpowered Kikyo's holy aura and allowed him to reclaim the Jewel, leaving only Kohaku's shard. Once the Jewel is completed, Naraku's power will be augmented nearly to the point of invincibility.



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