Hello, dear friends. Antoni here. Ever since I have been watching and rewatching Inuyasha episodes 75, 76, 77, 83, 84, 102, and Inuyasha: Swords of an Honourable Ruler, I realised just how amazingly my sentiments on Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha being tied as my number one most favourite male characters and Ayame being my number one most favourite female character in the show managed to hold up so superbly. Adding in Shuran and Shunran of the Panther Devas as well as Hakkaku and Ginta from the Eastern Yoro Tribe as my most favourite characters ranking alongside the legends that were Sesshoumaru, Inuyasha, and Ayame made things even more exciting because of the potential all of them had. It also did not hurt that I was and will always be an avid Inuyasha x Ayame and Ginta x Shunran supporter, thus making the decision to make Sesshoumaru extremely supportive of Inuyasha’s and Ayame’s holy matrimony and Shuran as well as Hakkaku pledge their full-fledged support for Ginta’s and Shunran’s romance. With this character constellation combined, the Splendid Seven was born, and, ever since then, I did what I could to put them in various situations just like the close-knit family they are, and I hope to continue to do so. Anybody would think I am insane for placing Sesshoumaru, Inuyasha, Ayame, Shuran, Hakkaku, Ginta, and Shunran together in a group, but I argue that this seven-person team up I concocted would not only make them stronger as warriors but also as individuals with the seven following reasons.
 
Reason Number One. Inuyasha deserved so much better than what has happened to him in canon. I have always admired Inuyasha’s super strength as a warrior from the first moment I saw him transform into his full yokai form in Episode 43. Ever since then, I incorporated this transformation into my AU headcanon where he uses this a strength and has somebody like Ayame’s grandfather to help him control it. I also felt tremendous sadness for him when he was constantly pursued by demons, shunned by humans, and belittled by his own older brother, only for him to receive the warmth and love of his human mother Izayoi. However, there were moments in the show that made me feel so upset at Kaede, Miroku, Sango, Shippou, and, yes, that vile wench known as Kagome Higurashi. My heart breaks and my stomach churns every time I see Kagome abuse those God-forsaken Beads of Subjugation on Inuyasha even when he was not in the wrong and his reasons for being irritated with Kagome was justified. I even continue to cringe at InuKag because there was barely any genuine romantic chemistry between them, and they left me feeling incredibly uncomfortable, thus making InuKag win the Golden Razzie for being my most loathed NOTP of all time. It also did not help matters that their relationship went one step forward and ten-thousand steps backwards, especially considering that he is still wearing those horrid Beads of Subjugation during the events of Yashahime. I cannot additionally forget about Episode 109 and Inuyasha: Swords of an Honourable Ruler because these show Kagome at her worst and her most manipulative. She sat him over twenty times when she actually told him to protect Kikyou and repaired those horrid beads just for the sake of him not running away from her, despite him doing his best to protect her. That should show anybody that there was no trust between these two. I may enjoy the fan art, but I am never going to stay for this pathetic excuse of a pairing. Kaede, that awfully wrinkled witch, even sided with Kagome instead of listening to Inuyasha, thus making her just as complicit with this whole Beads of Subjugation malarkey. Furthermore, Miroku, Sango, and Shippou were truly fake friends and absolute hypocrites for allowing Kagome to abuse him and deprive him of his pride when they should know that Inuyasha was still traumatised from losing Kikyou. Speaking of Kikyou, I do not hate her, but I even believe that both she also deserved so much better, but not with Inuyasha. She might have been Inuyasha’s first love, but she is never going to be his forever person because, as we all know, people change, and I also perceived Kikyou to be far too mature and far too insightful for Inuyasha. I also cannot deny the fact that she also started the whole Beads of Subjugation malarkey thinking that it would stop Inuyasha from acting on his worse impulses just because he is a dog hanyou. Therefore, she needs a man to not only understand her but also follow the similar wavelength as she is. Inuyasha’s whole love triangle dilemma was also something that deeply frustrated me too because it was clear to see that he needed somebody who could be strong for him and will not be a damsel in distress all the time, let alone reopen those old festering wounds. At least in my Splendid Seven AU headcanon, Kikyou ends up being happily married to Suikotsu with children of their own, and Inuyasha is happily married to Ayame under her grandfather’s and his father’s blessings. Therefore, this whole stupid love triangle never ever happened. And speaking of Ayame. She also needs to be brought up because there is nobody on this planet called Earth who Inuyasha can put his trust in than her.
 
Reason Number Two. Ayame was cheated from the chance of having a real warrior to be her lawfully wedded husband. Trust me, she is not the only wolf yokai to be the casualty of Kouga’s ineptitude as a warrior, I will gladly discuss the other two’s plight under this pathetic excuse of a wolf yokai warrior. Ayame might have appeared in a grand total of four episodes as an anime-only character, but the fact that she was relegated to being Kouga’s love interest is a lame way to make him end up with somebody who is beyond his league, have a happy ending he did not deserve in the slightest, and deprive her of any agency that she could have and should have had as a warrior and, most imperatively, an individual with her own mind and heart, not somebody who has to revolve around somebody as lame, cowardly, and weak as Kouga. This is a shame because Ayame is a strong, capable, and powerful warrior woman who has been garnering my respect ever since I was a teenage boy, and she did not deserve to be hitched with that lowlife loser Kouga. If you remembered Episode 35 of the original series, I am sure you will find yourselves gnashing your teeth in anger when Kouga and his wolves massacred a village full of people as well as kill off an innocent young girl in the form of Rin before she was revived by Sesshoumaru’s Tenseiga. The subsequent episode saw him kidnapping Kagome in the hopes that she should marry him because she can detect the Shikon Jewel shards. What makes Kouga’s whole covetousness of the Shikon Jewel shards worse is that he relies on them to propel his strength and speed instead of relying on his own instincts. Looks like this reliance on such an artefact would have deadly consequences to his reputation, especially when his fellow tribesmen were slaughtered by Naraku and Kagura. He might have boasted that he will avenge his comrades, but Inuyasha: The Final Act’s eighth episode saw Kouga abdicate his duty of avenging his fallen comrades after Naraku stripped him off his precious jewel shards. After that, he just ran off in such an unceremonious manner not wanting to use harness his own strength, skill, and even the Goraishi to avenge his fallen comrades’ death under Naraku’s and Kagura’s sullied hands. If only Ayame knew the type of pathetic loser criminal and failure of a warrior she was marrying, she would have just called off the wedding and stormed off that wretch’s life for good simply because he failed to avenge his fallen comrades and was not present at the final battle against Naraku. Seriously, Inuyasha: The Final Act’s last episode made me feel extremely sorry for Ayame because Kouga ended up having the closure he did not deserve. Even in her earlier appearances, she should have seen the red flags when it came to his stupid bluff of her coming down from the mountains so that they can marry because it was a cheap way to make Kouga slightly more likeable when it was clear to see that he was guilty as sin, got away with murder and kidnapping, and received no comeuppance for his crimes. Worse was that he forgot that he promised her such a thing and chose to continually chase after Kagome. I always exclaimed that Ayame could do a million times better than having Kouga in her life, as there are hidden depths in her that the show should have expanded upon. Ayame’s physical strength compliments how much of a compassionate, kind, and loving soul she is who would never abandon anybody in deep need and would protect the oppressed and the disenfranchised. She would even be sufficiently brave to understand Inuyasha and give him the unconditional love he truly deserved. In return, Inuyasha would give Ayame his unabashed loyalty, allegiance, and respect, thus creating a healthy dynamic between this power couple. Therefore, Inuyasha’s and Ayame’s strength is not only a question of sheer muscle power and super strength but also a question of trust, allegiance, and love.
 
Reason Number Three. Hakkaku and Ginta were clearly robbed of a true friend and proper male role models. I am never going to let that lowlife Kouga off the hook because he not only got away with murder and kidnapping, but he also proved himself to be a horrible friend and one big bully who used co-option to these two wolf yokai warriors serving as his “wingmen” for Kagome and just to try to make him look better. Every single time I see Hakkaku and Ginta on screen, I cannot help but feel terrible for them. They can be surprisingly strong on their own, especially given how well they have managed to tackle one of the demons in Mount Hakurei in Episode 121, but it cannot compensate for how emotionally weak they are portrayed in the show’s canon. What was worse is that in the Inuyasha manga, they did not have their own names. Hakkaku and Ginta may have a point that Inuyasha is a stronger fighter, but Kouga’s thickly bullying head believes he is far more superior than that “mutt”, despite the fact that he is not a better fighter by relying on the Shikon Jewel shards’ power. Speaking of relying on the Shikon Jewel shards, I still have every reason to be salty about Inuyasha: The Final Act Episode 8 because this should have given Hakkaku and Ginta more urgency and agency rather than be Kouga’s pathetic followers. Since they do believe in Inuyasha, I truly believe that he should have been the new best friend Hakkaku and Ginta need, so that they can aspire to be just as strong and mighty as he is. This also ties in nicely to how Kouga is not a good role model to Hakkaku and Ginta because he only fights battles with the Shikon Jewel shards’ help, instead of relying on his own strength. In fact, Inuyasha would not only be a source of inspiration for Hakkaku and Ginta but also make them look up to him as if though he were their older brother and would have the tendency to fight like siblings yet love each other at the same time. Adding in Sesshoumaru would not only make Inuyasha have a decent brotherhood with him, but also challenge Hakkaku’s and Ginta’s every notion about themselves, thus helping them become stronger fighters in their own way.
 
Reason Number Four. Sesshoumaru needs a much better taste of humble pie with friends who can keep his feet on the ground. Aside from Inuyasha’s sheer strength, I have always admired Sesshoumaru and his super strength, steely stealth, and superb stamina, as these were the attributes that made him a truly powerful warrior who was never going to back down without a fight. His determination and unwavering resolve were also worthy of my admiration and respect as well as the latent character development he went through in the entire series, especially when it came to Rin. However, I cannot overlook his pride, ruthless tendencies, stubbornness, inflated ego because they tend to make him reluctant for any type of change to initiate, especially where his brotherly bond with Inuyasha is concerned. Sure, Tenseiga may have aided him in having a shred of a soul within that huge wall of ice, but he always ends up reverting back to his mean aloofness by constantly looking down on Inuyasha and making his situation much worse, instead of pushing him to be a much stronger person, let alone help him cope with his problems. While I can continuously admire Sesshoumaru for his sheer strength and willingness to never back down, he certainly needs friends who can keep his feet on the ground, not just vassals, steeds, servants, and wards who can follow him everywhere. There is no doubt that Kagura and Princess Sara admired him because of his strength, but the former tried to use him to free her from Naraku’s grasp, although she herself was just as guilty of willingly murdering Kouga’s tribe, and the latter thought that stealing Inuyasha’s Tessaiga would earn his admiration, when he moved on from coveting something that rightfully did belong to Inuyasha. I am not going to go too much in to Sesshoumaru’s and Rin’s relationship, but I would rather keep them in a strictly father-daughter relationship and not make them end up as lovers and spouses like in Yashahime. Sorry, SessRin shippers, I was never into this pairing, although I do love the genuine moments he and she had together more than the soap opera antics revolving around Inuyasha in a love triangle with Kikyou and Kagome. However, this is where Ayame would be integrated into Sesshoumaru’s life in my AU headcanon because he would be her first crush and staunchest ally and friend. Sure, she would really love him because of how strong and handsome he is as well as his political influence, but even Sesshoumaru would realise that Ayame is not truly happy with him plus all the rigid rules of his court and would motivate her to be with Inuyasha since he needs her as much as she needs him. Ayame would even call out Sesshoumaru’s and Inuyasha’s bloodlust against each other and make them see that they have only made their interpersonal problems a whole lot worse, thus motivating Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha to stop their senseless bickering and work together as brothers for life. Helping Ayame out would be Hakkaku and Ginta as well as Shuran and Shunran who have also respected Sesshoumaru after returning their powers from The Panther King via his Tenseiga. While there is no doubt that Hakkaku and Ginta could help Sesshoumaru to look at the brighter things in life, Shuran would make for a nice sparring partner and Shunran would do her part in making him amused in her own special way. This would make Sesshoumaru realise that he is never alone, has actual friends who will never give up on him, and see that it is never a weakness to ask for any help.
 
Reason Number Five. Shuran and Shunran are siblings who are products of emotional abuse by their biological father The Panther King. Sure, Shuran and Shunran may have biological siblings in Toran and Karan, and they do have a tight sibling bond. However, that might end up being sacrificed by a despot who only lusted for blood and power. At least Sesshoumaru returned their powers with his Tenseiga and Inuyasha obliterated the Panther King with his Tessaiga. Although Toran, Shuran, Karan, and Shunran are the tightest quartet of siblings, I would argue that Shuran does need to be with guys he can have a warm friendship and warmer brotherhood with and Shunran needs a sister from another mother who can really help her make great use of her physical abilities, rather than constantly relying on trickery to incapacitate her enemies. Their best choices for friends would be Sesshoumaru, Inuyasha, Hakkaku, Ginta, and Ayame. Shuran’s brutishness, rowdiness, and super strength could actually be a perfectly crafted veneer that could belie his fierce loyalty to those he considers his friends and his family, much like how Inuyasha hides his warmth with an air of toughness and rowdiness. Shuran would essentially welcome Sesshoumaru, Inuyasha, Hakkaku, and Ginta with open arms as his brothers and not just friends. Shunran would see in Ayame a valiant, powerful, and beautiful warrior she aspires to be, thus considering her as a sister she can confide in and give her utmost respect and admiration to. She would even be fortunate to have somebody who truly loves her for her in Ginta because of how amazed he is by her powers of illusion and how she genuinely cares for him and his brand of valiance. With Shuran and Shunran feeling truly secure with Sesshoumaru, Inuyasha, Hakkaku, Ginta, and Ayame, they would really feel like a close-knit family who will never leave each others’ sides and grow together.
 
Reason Number Six. The Wolf Elder, Toga the Dog General, InuKimi, and Izayoi would be just as supportive of Sesshoumaru, Shuran, Inuyasha, Hakkaku, Ginta, Ayame, and Shunran joining forces as a formidable team, let alone as a family. What is a fine septet of young yokai warriors with attitude without parental figures to support their every endeavour? Fortunately for the Splendid Seven, they have absolutely wonderful grown ups to give them as much direction as possible but also see the potential for them to keep on growing as warriors, as friends, and as a family. The Wolf Elder may be Ayame’s grandfather, but he is more than happy to consider Inuyasha as his dearest grandson-in-law because he has proven himself to be strong, brave, loyal, and selfless when it came to being by Ayame’s side, is just as accepting to Sesshoumaru, Shuran, Hakkaku, and Ginta as his grandsons-in-law, and is so appreciative of Shunran being akin to Ayame’s younger sister. Toga may be Sesshoumaru’s and Inuyasha’s father, but he is just as blessed to consider Shuran, Hakkaku, and Ginta as his sons and Ayame as well as Shunran as his beautiful daughters-in-law. InuKimi and Izayoi may be both Sesshoumaru’s and Inuyasha’s loving mothers, but they are just as willing to give Shuran, Hakkaku, Ginta, Ayame, and Shunran some much needed motherly love. Together, this wolf grandfather, this dog yokai father, this dog yokai mother, and this human mother can be very blessed to see their progeny grow from headstrong youths to powerful adults.
 
Reason Number Seven. The Splendid Seven can truly be a team of super yokai who can use their powers for good and would always stick by each other not just as warriors but as a family. Comradeship is one attribute that can bring a group together to fight for a common goal. However, it is nothing without any form of genuineness or warmth. With this team-up, Sesshoumaru, Inuyasha, and Ayame are the mightiest and most reliable fighters of the group, given their great combination of strength, stealth, and combat prowess that have made them formidable in every battle they have found themselves in. Shuran is the muscle of the group whose super strength could lead the group to victory. Hakkaku and Ginta are the heart of the group who constantly console their friends whenever situations get terrible. Shunran is the brain of the group who analyses every tactic they have in defeating their enemies and uses her cunning and craftiness to create her signature illusions, thus bringing their enemies down on the outside and on the inside. Outside their duties as warriors, they would also have moments where they can break the ice and just exist as a family who care for each other. Shuran, Hakkaku, Ginta, Ayame, and Shunran would even help Inuyasha to be a whole lot more trusting and Sesshoumaru to not be afraid to open up a little bit more often. The best part is Inuyasha has a lot more agency as his own warrior rather than being treated so degradingly by Miroku, Sango, Kagome, and Shippou, Ayame can prove herself as her own fighter while demonstrating valiance in battle and compassion towards her friends, Hakkaku and Ginta can certainly grow as warriors and be just as active in battle, Sesshoumaru can combine his insurmountable power with his family members’, and Shuran and Shunran can use their elemental powers to bring even more strength to the team while being their own persons with their own dreams, wants, and needs. Together, their character dynamics would be just as versatile, strong, and interesting because they are not just yokai warriors fighting against monsters and coming out triumphant, but they are a family who can stick by each other, see the best and the worst in each other without flinching, and can put their undying trust on each other without any ulterior motives.
 
What started out as my fascination for Inuyasha x Ayame and Ginta x Shunran as my OTPs for life transformed into realising why I not only loved these couples so much but expand it to their respective comrades to form a strong family based on trust, genuineness, and warmth. Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha may be dog yokai; Hakkaku, Ginta, and Ayame may be wolf yokai; and Shuran and Shunran may be panther yokai, but their differences are what make them truly formidable as a group, as a troop, and as a family.
 
I hope you all enjoyed my musing of my reasons and my motivation behind The Splendid Seven, and I will see you in the next submission. Take care, stay safe, and always show your love for The Splendid Seven, everybody.
 
Sesshoumaru, Inuyasha, Ayame, Shuran, Hakkaku, Ginta, and Shunran from Inuyasha belong to Rumiko Takahashi and Sunrise.

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