What is a Mokomoko

What is a Mokomoko?

If you are here looking for what that large furry tail-like thing that hangs over InuYasha’s dashing anti-hero of a step-brother Sesshomaru-sama’s right shoulder is, then read on; fans of the popular InuYasha manga and anime series are debating all over the net whether sesshomaru’s giant fluff is perhaps his tail or dog fur manifesting in his human form, much like InuYasha’s dog ears (they are dog demons after all) or just a fancy shmansy adornment to his armor originally designed by the creator to accentuate his character and add to his overall lordly demeanor.

You see, the process in which characters in manga and anime are created and designed is a progressive one. For instance you can start with a stock-character (characters based on social stereotypes or common literary stereotypes and are primarily used as plot devices for the benefit of a particular point in the story), so in this case Sesshomaru-sama debuted in the series as an antagonist and appears as a more perfect being (being a full blooded demon) in contrast to our byronic half-demon hero InuYasha.

Here series creator Rumiko Takahashi made sure that this contrast between the two is stark recognizable the instant you see them together, Sesshomaru was aesthetically designed to look sharp and erudite and regal with his costume and battle armor compared to the scruffier much less adorned InuYasha who has dog ears to signify his dog-demon blood. Wait, hold on no.

Since Sesshomaru has more dog-demon blood in him, shouldn’t he have more dog-demon characteristics in his design? My friends this is where our mokomoko comes in. Tail or not, this boa-like bag of fluff that wraps over his shoulder, bundles around his back and flows freely down to his feet gives our elegant anti-hero his dog-like characteristics in human form. And it fits quite right don’t you think? It is pretty Avant-garde for feudal-japan but he pulls it off quite well.

So now we have the visual character design nailed down, the character is now free to grow and improve and deepen as the author sees fit. In manga and anime it is common for characters to have ridiculous ornamentations such as Sesshomaru’s mokomoko, it looks spurious enough why not make it part of the characters armaments without any logical reasoning behind it, this is after all anime and manga right? As long as it looks cool it’s cool.

And there you go, fans of the series may move into starting flame wars about this petty fact, ever so miniscule and insignificant compared to the whole of the series story it will still be the same, the author herself won’t humor any of you by taking a side and proving her fans wrong and possibly gain unpopularity, live with it. As a writer and illustrator myself, I would have to say it all boils down to making a character design that works and looks good as well as fits the personality and the concept and theme of the story. Ultimately, tail or not; Sesshomaru kicks ass.

Kagome rides Sesshomaru's tail/mokomoko/boa

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