|“||To live is to die. To die is to live. My name is Kikyō. I am a priestess who is unable to leave this world and reach the sacred place. No, that is not entirely the truth. Once I was a priestess. Now I am but a corpse with a cursed, false existence. No matter how much I desire to do good and help others, the truth is I live off the souls of the dead. Pure is impure. Impure is pure. Good is evil. Evil is good. Or is it?||„|
Kikyo is a supporting protagonist in the anime/manga series Inuyasha. She was a shrine maiden who loved Inuyasha and was killed by Naraku (disguised as Inuyasha) who made the two fight fifty years prior (in Inuyasha's time) to the story's start. She was brought back to life by the ogress Urasue. Although she looks alive, her body is still dead, and she must ingest the souls of deceased women to move.
She is voiced by Noriko Hidaka in the Japanese version of the anime, and by Willow Johnson in the English version of the anime.
Kikyo was often described as a very beautiful woman. She had white skin and long black hair that fell past her waist, which was often tied into a loose ponytail with a ribbon. Like Kagome, she had brown eyes in the anime, but in the manga, they varied between blue and gray. Kikyo also resembled Kagome more in the manga, and vice versa, than in the anime.
Kikyo wore the traditional garb of a miko, which has remained essentially unchanged to this day except for the lack of the slit-shoulder seam. Kikyo wore a white jacket with sode-kukuri (cords) through the sleeves and open shoulders (similar to Inuyasha's and Jaken's outfits). Strings called muna-himo were attached to each lapel and tied in front to keep the garment closed. Kikyo's kosode would be very much like a modern kendo or naginata keikogi, with the sleeve fitting somewhat closely like a modern loose shirt and extending slightly past the wrist. The slits on the side of her hakama, and the openings at the sleeves and shoulders of her hitoe (jacket) showed the white kosode she sported. This was a deliberate fashion effect. Kikyō wore a bright red nagabakama (a very long hakama), which included the small board on the lower back. Like a majority of other characters, she also was perpetually barefoot throughout the series, however this was changed in the anime where Kikyo wore common tabi (socks) and rice straw sandals. Kikyo sported a red obi (sash-belt) over all her other garments.
Kikyō was known as a compassionate woman. Kind, caring, and considerate, she was sympathetic toward everyone, even her enemies. This was seen when she tended to Onigumo's well-being despite him being a bandit. She also had compassion toward Kansuke, and sympathy toward Inuyasha. She poured out her soul to anyone in need of help, even after her resurrection. Kikyō was also very good with children during her lifetime; no matter what village she went to, the children were always fond of her. However, Kikyō, after her resurrection, was not always as kind as she once was. She had developed a new-found hatred that she never had when she was alive. At first, she wanted revenge on Inuyasha, believing him to be her murderer. However, she eventually found out the truth and turned her hatred toward Naraku. Slowly, she started to become more like her former self.
Kikyō was a very wise woman for her age, and quite deceptive. Kikyō devised cunning plans to destroy Naraku, although she went about it in strange ways. For a time, Kikyō seemed to be on Naraku's side since she handed him Kagome's Shikon jewel shards, which gave Naraku the power to create a new body as well as extensions of himself: Kagura and Kanna. She explained her actions as part of a plan to cast Naraku towards death, reasoning that allowing him to gather the Shikon shards would let her bide her time until she could get close enough to purify them and him. As an undead woman, Kikyō has shown more of a sadistic side of her than she was alive as she laughs at Naraku and taunting him, in regards to Naraku's possession of Onigumo's heart, whenever she gets the chance as Naraku spies on her. She was never intimidated by Naraku and was bold whenever she faced him.
After Kikyō's resurrection, she developed a strong attachment to life that she didn't have when she was alive. Refusing to die alone, she decided she would take Inuyasha with her to hell. However, this goal eventually faded as she learned more about the circumstances behind her death. Kikyō's feelings for Inuyasha were complex and strained. At first, Kikyō's pure love for him turned to deep hatred (although deep down, part of her still loved him). As the series progressed, Kikyō's hateful feelings toward Inuyasha disappeared. Although Kikyō and Inuyasha's feelings were mutual, their relationship was awkward and strained because of Kagome, her 20th century reincarnation. Kikyō was well aware of Kagome's love for Inuyasha (as well as his for Kagome), and the situation did not sit well with her. Because of this, Kikyō was jealous of Kagome, believing that she was replacing her, and as a result, was not very fond of her—she attempted to kill Kagome several times, and, when Kagome was under Tsubaki's control, said she could not care less over what happened to her. Despite her feelings, Kikyō came to accept the fact that Kagome was taking her place in this world as she died; in the anime, they protected each other due to not wanting to cause Inuyasha further heartbreak.
- Kikyo shares her Japanese voice actor with Akane Tendo, the main female protagonist of Ranma 1/2, while in the English dub, she shares her voice actor with Akane's sister, Kasumi Tendo.
- Her English voice actress, Willow Johnson, who also voiced Aramina in Barbie and the Three Musketeers, Panchy in Dragon Ball Z Ocean Group Dub, Lily McGuire in Fatal Fury: Legend of the Hungry Wolf, and Ruby Moon in Cardcaptor Sakura.
- Curiously despite Kagome being her reincarnation, the portion of their shared soul Kikyo had didn't return to Kagome upon Kikyo's second death; instead it ascended with the help of Soul Collectors.
- Even if Kikyo hadn't been killed by Naraku, she eventually would have ceased functioning if she lived centuries; by Kagome's era, death wasn't as abundant as it was in the Feudal Era, making souls to fuel her body scarce.