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English

Pronunciation

Noun

  1. Abbreviation of musician.

Esperanto

Noun

  1. mouse

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Noun

  1. muzzle (of an animal)
  2. mug, face (of a person)
  3. nose (of an aircraft)
  4. front (of a car etc)

Extensive Definition

Naraku's Incarnation are characters in the popular manga and anime series InuYasha created from the body of Naraku, the series main antagonist.

Purpose

As Naraku's enemies continue to grow more powerful and constantly increase in numbers, Naraku, using the power of the Jewel of Four Souls, creates many powerful incarnations with various abilities and appearances. Naraku's main reasons for this are to keep a better eye on his enemies and to divert attention from himself. Naraku is also known to have created incarnations for the purpose of removing unnecessary parts (e.g. Muso).
As the series progresses, Naraku begins to wish the heart of the bandit Onigumo was removed from his body, allowing him to be able to kill his most powerful adversary, Kikyo. While his first attempt, Muso, remained unsuccessful and had to be absorbed into his body, his second attempt, due to his dramatic increase in power following the first attempt, was successful.
However, only a select few of Naraku's incarnation truly manage to serve their purpose, most being disloyal or destroyed quickly after their creation by his enemies.

Loyalty

Despite having been created from Naraku's body, very few of Naraku's incarnation are truly loyal to their master. Naraku, to make sure none turn against him or leave his side, always keeps the hearts of his incarnations with him. Should one go against orders, Naraku can squeeze their hearts until they give in to him, or simply kill them on the spot. It is possible that Kanna, Naraku's most loyal incarnation, is an exception, as he had to tell her to kill herself rather than use her heart to destroy her.

List of Incarnations

Kanna

, in the form of a small, pale girl, is the first, and longest lasting, of all of Naraku's incarnations, and the most trusted. Kanna is recognized easily by her emotionless expression and white clothing. Kanna is formed from mu (無, む, "nothingness"), giving her neither yōkai properties, emotions, or a presence. Kanna seems fully aware of existing only as a servant to Naraku, though due to her lack of emotions, does not seem to care. Because of this, Kanna is the only incarnation Naraku truly trusts, telling her important information about his actions and allowing her to give orders to his other incarnations and pawns. His trust in her is also shown when it is hinted at that she is allowed to keep her own heart, as he had to tell her to destroy herself rather than doing it himself with her heart. Despite her loyalty, in Chapter 415 of the manga, Kanna appeared to have abandoned Naraku. Though Akago confirms this was done of her own free will, Kanna still remains loyal to Naraku.
Kanna carries with her a demonic mirror, with which she can steal the souls of those reflected in it. Once a soul is trapped within her mirror, Kanna can control their host bodies to her bidding. The people whose soul were stolen are almost unrecognizable from normal people. Should a powerful soul, such as Kagome's or Kikyo's, be locked into the mirror and overflow it, the mirror will start to crack, forcing Kanna to release all souls currently trapped within. It is later shown that the mirror can create powerful rays of light to blast at Kanna's enemies. The mirror has other purposes as well, such as reflecting any attack it catches(however it seems that one of the few attacks that Kanna's mirror can't reflect is Kagome's Hama No Ya as shown in episode 42 of the anime) or observing to goings on of the world. The most powerful of the mirror's powers, however, is the ability to create a glass demon that can copy the abilities of whatever it happens to reflect. Kanna, however, receives all damage in the glass demon's stead.
Interestingly enough, Naraku seems to always create his plans while keeping in mind not to have Kanna harmed, despite however an important role she plays. Naraku only uses Kanna twice for battle, the first being just after her introduction to test Kagome's soul, and the second being for her to destroy InuYasha's Tetsusaiga. During the latter attempt, in Chapter 480 of the manga, Kanna is ordered by Naraku to commit suicide, shattering herself and the glass demon she was currently using into thousands of tiny shards. One of the shards hits Kagome's right eye, and using it Kanna directs her final thought into telling Kagome how to destroy Naraku, the only time shown Kanna has betrayed Naraku. While Naraku comments Kanna had no care for either living or dying, Kagome states Kanna did not wish to die, and perhaps developed feelings of her own over time.

Kagura

, the wind-witch, is Naraku's second detachment and one of the longest-lasting. She, Kanna, and Hakudōshi are the only three to survive through multiple battles. Kagura is very frequently used to scout unknown territories or to keep and eye on Naraku's enemies and other incarnations, though she fulfills her job very reluctantly.
After her first battle, staged by Naraku to test InuYasha's power, Kagura began to resent Naraku's hold over her and plots secretly to destroy him by aiding Sesshomaru and sometimes InuYasha. Her plans, however, are unsuccessful, as Naraku eventually discovers her secret after she allows Kohaku to escape.
Naraku pretends to be setting Kagura free by returning her heart to her, but then subsequently poisons her. She dies soon after in a field of wildflowers, with Sesshomaru and InuYasha's group looking on. When asked if Kagura was suffering, Sesshomaru replied only that she was smiling. The chapter ends with a frame showing Kagura's white feather floating away and Kagura's "signature" line, "I am the wind, as free as the wind."

Goshinki

is Naraku's third detachment, a large horned ogre. Goshinki has the ability to read minds, allowing him to predict an enemies' attacks or locate those hiding from him. Goshinki's most powerful ability, however, are his mouth full of teeth harder than most metals. Goshinki's purpose was to attack a village and lure out InuYasha and kill him by breaking Tetsusaiga, his main weapon. The sword's destruction ultimately led to Goshinki's undoing, however, since part of the reason of its existence is to allow Inuyasha to suppress most of his Yokai qualities, until such time that the sword is ever damaged beyond repair. InuYasha's yōkai blood took over his body and granted him power to easily kill Goshinki. Goshinki's remains, more specifically his teeth, are brought back to life for Kaijinbō to create the sword Tokijin.

Kagerōmaru

is the fourth detachment, a tiny slithering creature with a human head and two scythed-arms. Despite his form, Kagerōmaru is revealed to be quite fast, and can also tunnel in the ground. He resides in Jūrōmaru's stomach, who is loyal only to him, where he can make surprise attacks on the enemy. Kagerōmaru has a love of eating the insides of people and yōkai alike. Despite this, Kagerōmaru is revealed to be quite intelligent, and, unlike Jūrōmaru, is shown being able to talk. He was killed along with his younger brother when InuYasha and Koga reluctantly worked together.

Jūrōmaru

, the fifth incarnation, is perhaps the least loyal of all of the incarnation Naraku creates. Jūrōmaru's only loyalty is his elder brother Kagerōmaru, who is hidden in Jūrōmaru's stomach when covered by a metal mask. When first introduced, Jūrōmaru was chained up, possibly because his elder brother attempted to kill Naraku. Jūrōmaru has little intelligence and never speaks, characterized only by a lust to kill. He and his elder brother were killed by InuYasha and Koga when they reluctantly worked together.

Muso

was an incarnation created by Naraku to remove the heart of Onigumo, only to get abandoned by its creator. Due to him having Onigumo's heart, Muso has the only remaining emotion left from Onigumo: a desire for the priestess Kikyo. Naraku cared so little for this incarnation he neither named it or gave it a face. Muso took both his name and handsome face from a wandering monk he slew.
Muso then ventures towards Kikyo's former village, where, by chance, he runs into InuYasha's group, and battles them quickly after their encounter. Muso is trouble for InuYasha, however, as the Saimyōshō merge with Muso to regenerate any lost limbs. Soon Naraku quickly realizes, however, that he is not ready to abandon Onigumo when demons try to gain their freedom from his body. Muso is therefore hunted down and reabsorbed by Naraku.

Akago

is a young infant incarnation, capable of speaking fluently, that Naraku created while in Hakurei-Zan. Akago is the physical life force of Naraku planted within an incarnation, allowing Naraku to withstand otherwise fatal damage. Akago, much like Naraku, has a liking of ordering others around and watching from the background. Akago has the ability to peer into living beings' souls, with which he can manipulate and control by grabbing on to their inner darkness. Due to being created on a holy mountain, Akago can also erect barriers with which he can block and reflect yōkai energy.
Once Naraku receives news of the final shard of the Jewel of Four Souls being in the borderland between the worlds of the living and dead, Akago and Kagura half-kill priests and monks in order to peer into the borderland. This remains unsuccessful until a more powerful priest slices Akago in two during his final seconds of life. Akago's halves are split between Kagura and Kanna, Kanna's half reforming into Akago, while Kagura's half became Hakudōshi. Akago is then placed by Kanna and Kohaku into the care of a daimyōs wife, who Kanna led to believe was her own newborn child, the actual child having been a stillborn child. After Abi-Hime's birds attack the castle and Kanna kills the daimyōs wife, Akago was taken into hiding again.
After some time, both Akago and Hakudōshi grow tired of being ordered around by Naraku. As Akago is Naraku's life force, becoming independent was all the two needed to do to make Naraku lose all power. Thus, Hakudōshi created Mōryōmaru to protect Akago and be a more powerful body for him. Akago later is merged inside of Mōryōmaru by Kanna to give Mōryōmaru a soul. After Mōryōmaru is merged back into Naraku, however, Akago is as well, thus destroying both of them.

Hakudōshi

is created after Akago gets split in two, Hakudōshi having been created from one of the halves. Hakudōshi takes the form a young, pale child, much like a male version of Kanna. Hakudōshi freely risks the lives of Naraku's other incarnation in order to further his own knowledge or power.
Due to being created from Akago, he is capable of using all of Akago's abilities, and can regenerate all damage, as his heart is not in his body, but inside his brother Akago. Hakudōshi is able to tame a fire-horse named Entei (炎蹄, flaming hoof), which Hakudōshi used to move from place to place prior to Entei's destruction. Hakudōshi also claims a naginata from a pig-demon that can decapitate yōkai while keeping their head and body alive. Hakudōshi uses this ability to decapitate ogres and use their heads to see into the borderland between the dead and living worlds. Hakudōshi is later used to force Kikyo out of hiding.
Overtime, both Akago and Hakudōshi grow tired of Naraku's rule over them, and seek to betray and overthrow him. To help Akago in battle and protect him, Hakudōshi creates Mōryōmaru. Naraku eventually realized their wish to betray him, however, and Naraku instructs his Saimyōshō to abandon him in battle, giving him no protection against Miroku's Kazāna (wind tunnel). This makes Hakudōshi the first incarnation directly betrayed by Naraku.

Byakuya

was the ninth and, as of chapter 480, Naraku's only living incarnation. However, Inuyasha disposed of him using the Meidou Zangetsuha in manga chapter 548. Unlike most other incarnation, Byakuya's loyalty to Naraku is probably only surpassed by Kanna's. His main purpose was to observe InuYasha and Mōryōmaru's growing powers and report these observations back to Naraku, though was never given details about these missions, much like Kagura, and had chosen to stay protective of his own life after witnessing Kanna's death. While having the typical arrogant personality of "incarnation," Byakuya was quite playful at times.
He hasn't shown any frightening offensive abilities and never has directly engaged in combat with any of his enemies, mostly choosing to use illusions to help InuYasha's enemies. The sword on his back has no blade but it has the ability to absorb powerful attacks like the Meidou Zangetsuha, as evidenced in chapter 544. It is possible that Byakuya was one of the more powerful of Naraku's incarnation, as every incarnation Naraku creates is usually more powerful than the previous. Not only that, but also when Byakuya was created, Naraku did not contain Onigumo inside him, which weakened him, and also, he had the Shikon no Tama in an advanced state then. Byakuya's strength was proved by his actions, such as possessing people with paper soldiers, summoning vines to entrap his enemies, and teleporting others to different dimensions on occasions. Byakuya can also fly on a paper crane, detach organs from his body, and erect barriers.
After taking the power of one slash of Inuyasha's Meidou Zangetsuha, he later slashes Kagome with the blade. However before he gets a chance at a second strike, Inuyasha attacks him with his Mediou Zangetsuha and Byakuya get absorbed into it. His last words said that he would have died along with Naraku, so he died with no regrets. Finally when Naraku dies, a meidou appears behind Kagome(due to Byakuya's meidou-blade).

Unnamed Incarnation

Naraku is shown having two unnamed incarnations. The first was a zombie-like upper body with a serpentine lower body that can use its tongue as a whip. This was immediately destroyed after its creation by Kikyo.
The second is a multitude of baby-like beings he created in Hakurei-Zan to contain Onigumo's heart. When he returned in Chapter 452, the pieces merged together to form a single being: a disembodied, white-haired head of Naraku. The being then transformed into a spider upon Naraku's arrival, which Naraku reabsorbed to gain the "psionic spider web" ability. Interestingly enough, this incarnation had no qualms about being reabsorbed, and in fact seemed quite jubilant about it.
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