Story of Jaken: His Past, Present, and Future

I think one of the great things about the Inuyasha series that appealed to me was the fact that there's character depth. Everyone has their own story, their own pasts, and reasons for being where they are in the the storyline. And I'm really glad to say that Jaken isn't an exception to this- he too has his own story that contributes to why he's where he is in his life now and how he came to become who he's portrayed to be in the series.

Throughout the majority of the series, we usually see Jaken as Sesshoumaru's servant and that's all we ever know of him to be until anime episode 79 rolled around. Most people had assumed he was like Myouga in that he had probably been serving the Inu family from back in the days when Sesshoumaru's father was still alive. Like Tessaiga for Inuyasha and Tenseiga for Sesshoumaru- maybe it was like Myouga for Inuyasha and Jaken for Sesshoumaru. But it soon became apparent that this was not the case. With a glimpse of Jaken's past, we learned how he came to travel with Sesshoumaru- and the reason was quite different from what anyone else had imagined.

Once a Lord

Episode 79 introduced us to a Jaken who was feeling depressed because he hasn't been able to truly offer Sesshoumaru something great, and he also felt as though Sesshoumaru would think he was a useless servant. This was when he came up with a plan to steal the Tessaiga from Inuyasha in order to give his master what he desired. This was also when he tried to explain to Rin and began recalling back to a time of probably hundreds of years ago- before he even met Sesshoumaru.

Here, we discover that Jaken was actually a lord/ruler of his own kind in the Musashino area. In the picture below, you can see Jaken being revered and carried on a "float" of some kind by his people as they all tread on foot with spears like an army. And it was a huge army, extending really far and offscreen. ^^; It was obvious that he was someone very important to his people. He looked like he was sitting on a throne, and his clan all called him "Jaken-sama" with respect. During these times, they were sometimes at war with other youkai and Jaken will always be in the thick of things, trying to protect his clan along with his people. He was quite the no-nonsense sort of guy and if you had seen him then, it'd be hard to imagine him as the one who always got bullied later on.

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Then one day while they were fighting with a group of youkai, a particularly fierce woman demon attacked the clan and Jaken was having some trouble defeating it. To be more accurate, Jaken was really about to be killed. Actually, it looked like he was about to be eaten. ^^; But guess who happened by as though he was on a casual stroll? Sesshoumaru. Apparently, Sesshoumaru was traveling and wanted to cross the Musashino fields- but of course he couldn't because there was a war going on, and the huge woman demon who was intent on eating Jaken was in his way.

Sesshoumaru basically commanded the youkai to move out of his way but then she refused- which probably annoyed him. To solve the problem, Sesshoumaru simply unleashed his "whiplash" attack from his fingers and sliced her arms off- the ones that was grasping Jaken and holding him right at the entrance of her mouth. This of course frees Jaken from the woman demon's grip while Sesshoumaru proceeded to annihilate her along with all the other youkai that was warring with Jaken's clan- which consequently saved Jaken and all of his people.

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Very quickly, all the youkai (aside from Jaken's clan) was completely demolished- in fact, I think it was all done with that one solitary attack. This completely shocks Jaken, but he reacted very fast by immediately commanding all his people to clear the path for Sesshoumaru to walk through. In honor of their lives being saved, Jaken knelt down on the floor and his entire clan who filled the vast lands all knelt and bowed down in respect. Sesshoumaru, being his usual self, just walked through the field without a single word or reaction to all the mini-Jakens bowing to him on both sides.

Then as Sesshoumaru walked by, Jaken stole a peak at Sesshoumaru's "regal" profile and in short, became completely in awe with him. It looked like he was totally enraptured by this mysterious powerful and beautiful youkai who had so easily saved his life. In fact, he uttered something like "Beautiful..." when Sesshoumaru walked by. Looks like Jaken was a fan-youkai at first sight. XD He must've really liked what he saw because before you know it, Jaken suddenly shot up from the floor and ran after Sesshoumaru like his life depended on it.

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As you can see from both the screencaps on top and below, Jaken literally abandoned his clan without so much as a good-bye. He was just bent on following Sesshoumaru no matter what. This of course greatly confuses his people as well as made one particular youkai panicky. You can see one of his followers trying to run after Jaken as he was calling out "Jaken-sama!!" I felt quite bad for him actually. They must've been devastated to lose their ruler. :p

After this whole scene, Jaken basically tried to follow Sesshoumaru in order to enlist himself as his servant. He even tried to intercept Sesshoumaru in a forest by kneeling and bowing in Sesshoumaru's path, proclaiming that he wants to repay Sesshoumaru for saving his life. At this time, Sesshoumaru completely ignored Jaken as though he didn't even see or hear him. Jaken doesn't give up though- he continues to quietly follow Sesshoumaru for quite a while until Sesshoumaru finally stops at a rocky area with a waterfall. This was where Sesshoumaru retrieved the Staff of Heads and paid direct attention to Jaken for the very first time. To sum it up, Jaken was given the staff and finally allowed to serve Sesshoumaru. For more information and details on how the staff comes into play, please refer to the Staff of Heads page. In the picture below, you can see Jaken accept the staff with respect and in turn, officially gave his past up to serve Sesshoumaru.

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Now a Servant

To give up the position of a noble lord only to become a servant- one may wonder why Jaken chose such a path when he seems miserable half the time. The root of such an action really ultimately stems from his desire to repay his life debt to Sesshoumaru. That and probably also because of his great admiration for Sesshoumaru. It seems in the moment when Jaken had a close view of Sesshoumaru- something had clicked in him and made him want to serve Sesshoumaru rather than be served by his own clan. But he has mentioned that his wish was to finally be able to repay Sesshoumaru for what he has once done for him.

As mentioned in his character role section, he doesn't have an easy time in being Sesshoumaru's servant. Aside from not being treated all that well, he also has a tendency to feel that he's not doing his job very well. Which of course eventually led to him trying to steal the Tessaiga for Sesshoumaru. Yet he endures it all- constantly trying to see if he can decipher any inkling of care from his master. The goal to repay his life debt aside, his wish at heart is really for Sesshoumaru's approval and "affection". Of course he isn't expecting Sesshoumaru to hug him or anything like that- but he'd probably keel over if he was every praised by his master. Although he may be made fun of for being a groveling servant, it should be remembered that he willingly gave himself to serve Sesshoumaru- and at least has the incredible will to continue regardless of whether he's appreciated or not.

A Glimpse of the Future

I often wonder what would happen to Jaken by the end of the series- will him, Rin, and Sesshoumaru continue to travel together? Will they become more and more like a "family" of sorts as they seem to be right now? Moreso, will he finally earn his master's approval after so many years?

Since Jaken's goal seems to revolve around serving Sesshoumaru and being able to repay his life debt, perhaps he will finally be given a chance to do that. But I can't help but worry that it may be a big sacrifice of some sort. Like maybe he'll die trying. -_-* Another thing to consider, however, is the fact that Jaken's history was only covered in the anime storyline and not in the manga. And with rumors of the anime ending, we may never get to see what truly becomes of Jaken. If that's the case, we can only hope that his character will have the chance to develop in some significant way by the end of the manga. In the meantime, I'll try to add any additional updates on his story as the series continue.

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