Our story begins one fateful day when Kagome Higurashi is celebrating her fifteenth birthday. She celebrates with her family, and then goes to check on her little brother who is playing around the old well on the temple grounds where they live. Sota, Kagome's little brother is afraid that Buyo the family cat has fallen down the well. Kagome bravely ventures inside the darkened shed where the well has been for centuries.
Suddenly arms emerge from the dark well and Kagome is dragged down into it. She finds herself face to face with a giant centipede woman who keeps mentioning a jewel. Kagome shoves her away causing her one of her arms to tear off in the process, much to Kagome's bewilderment. When she exits the well she finds that she is standing in a forest. Soon she notices a strange boy pinned to a tree with an arrow through his chest. Eventually Kagome makes her way to a nearby village where she meets an old woman named Kaede.
Everyone in the village, including Kaede is shocked by how much Kagome resembles her deceased sister Kikyo. Kagome discovers that she has travelled through time to feudal Japan and that the boy she saw pinned to the tree is Inu-Yasha, a half demon that was once in love with Kikyo, but Inu-Yasha betrayed her, and tried to steal the Shikon Jewel, a mystical jewel that grants demons immense powers. Inu-Yasha had killed Kikyo and the Shikon Jewel was cremated with her body. Eventually Mistress Centipede comes looking for Kagome again and manages to seperate her from the rest of the villagers who are trying to protect her. Mistress Centipede tears at Kagome's side and amazingly the Shikon Jewel pops out. Mistress Centipede swallows the Jewel and begins to transform. Kagome's only choice is to free Inu-Yasha in hopes he will save her.
Rumiko Takahashi has published her work in Shonen Sunday since the beginning of her career in the late 1970s. Inu-Yasha was first published in Shonen Sunday 1996 Vol. 50. Urusei Yatsura and Ranma ½ both ran in this weekly magazine during the 1980s and 1990s. Takahashi also regularly publishes her work in other Shogakukan owned magazines such as Big Comic Spirits (Maison Ikkoku) and Young Sunday (One-Pound Gospel). Each week, approximately 18 pages are published each week per Inu-Yasha chapter. Up to 21 other manga stories are published each week alongside Inu-Yasha, some of the most notable that ran concurrently were Detective Conan by Aoyama Gosho, Katsu by Mitsuru Adachi, Midori no Hi by Kazurou Inoue and A Cheeky Angel by Hiroyuki Nishimori.
Each week a different artist is commishioned to do the cover and the first few pages which are done in color. With the exception of artbooks, these color pages are usually never reprinted unfortunately. These days many artists use computers to color their work, but Rumiko Takahashi has stated she doesn't own a computer. She primarily uses watercolor for her coloring work.
A few months after a title has been published in Shonen Sunday, they are collected into a small graphic novel called a tankoban. As a series gets older it is sometimes collected into other formats such as wideban, bunkoban, or shinsoban formats. Because Inu-Yasha is a new series it is still years away from being published in other formats such as these.
Inu-Yasha has had three artbooks released so far in Japan and one in America, which goes to show the immense popularity of this series. The books collect the color artwork of Rumiko Takahashi without the titles and other writing the is layed overthem when they are published in Shonen Sunday.
The second artbook primarily features character designs from the anime series and voice actor interviews as well. It features an illustration of the villans from the first movie done by Rumiko Takahashi herself, as well as more of her color manga illustrations. It also features set designs from the first film and many screen shots as well.
The third book is almost completely black and white and deals with the characters of the manga series. It ranks their various stats and covers the basic storyline, characters, and demons appearing up to approximately volume 30 of the manga series.
Extremely popular manga series get turned into anime, and extremely popular anime get turn back into manga. The anime book series is close to 30 volumes currently and takes still images from episodes of the television series and captions them with speech balloons like a traditional comicbook. Takahashi's only previous work to get this treatment was Urusei Yatsura, although Ranma ½ did recieve one volume like this.
Outside of Japan Rumiko Takahashi has an extremly large following as well. Her biggest publisher outside of Japan is Viz Comics, which is owned by Shogakukan, Takahashi's Japanese publisher. Her works are also published in Latin America, throughout Asia, and are extremely popular in Western Europe.