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Sesshomaru is the yōkai son of the powerful Inu no Taishou and another, yet unnamed inuyōkai known only as Sesshomaru's Mother.2 Since Inu no Taishou is considered to be a daiyōkai (great yōkai), Sesshomaru is a daiyōkai himself. In both the manga and the anime, he appears stoic and hard to read. He rarely smiles, and when he does, it is usually not a good thing; Jaken once begged Sesshomaru to beat him rather than to smile because it was Sesshomaru's smile that he feared most.3 Sesshomaru believes that struggle is the only way for survival, and throughout most of the series, he shows his contempt for InuYasha, his half brother.
Although Sesshomaru inherited his father's Tenseiga, which can bring 100 people back to life with a single swing, he originally coveted InuYasha's inheritance, the powerful Tessaiga. However, a barrier was cast around Tessaiga so that full yōkai cannot wield it without burning their flesh. Even knowing that he cannot touch the sword,4 Sesshomaru still desires to take it from InuYasha. He fights with InuYasha in their father's grave and by chance, InuYasha transforms the blade and hacks off Sesshomaru's left arm.5 It is not until his fight with Magatsuhi that his left arm returns.6 By the time he regains his left arm, however, he is no longer interested in obtaining the Tessaiga.
He is followed by his retainer, an imp-like yōkai with a small beak named Jaken, and later by a human orphan named Rin, whom Sesshomaru brings back to life using Tenseiga, which he tells Jaken was merely a test of the sword (bringing a great deal of distress to the retainer). He is also followed by a two-headed dragon that Rin names Ah-Un. Ah-Un is Rin and Jaken's main form of transportation when Sesshomaru takes flight or when they need to cover long distances quickly. Also, Sesshomaru later saves Kohaku from Byakuya, resulting in Kohaku's decision to join his retinue as they leave Sesshomaru's mother's palace.7 It is also revealed that none of his companions (excluding Ah-Un) can no longer be revived by the Tenseiga since they have all died before and were either already revived by Tenseiga or are being kept alive by a Shikon Jewel shard.