The SessKag Fandom: A History
For as long as there has been fandom, people have embraced non-canon pairings.
This really isn’t surprising. Whether it be movies, books, a television show, and even at times real-life people, fans everywhere have different opinions about how the relationships they’ve seen should have gone. Or, at the very least, they have curiosities about what different character mashups may look like when it comes to matters of love.
Considering this, it comes as no surprise that Inuyasha is full of its own debates and opinions about how mangaka Rumiko Takahashi should have paired her characters. But what is sometimes surprising is which of these alternative relationships end up fan favorites. And SessKag is certainly a fan favorite.
At the time of writing this history, there are 2,110 works of fanfiction hosted on Archive of Our Own, outranking any other alternative pairing for Inuyasha on the site. This does not even include the countless others found throughout Fanfiction.net and then Dokuga, a SessKag site that formed in April of 2008, which currently hosts over 7800 fanworks dedicated to the pairing. And, outside of these popular fan sites, SessKag works share a rich history with various social media and social networking sites. Many still present in the fandom can also remember when LiveJournal and Yahoo Groups regularly churned out SessKag content. Today, the fandom continues its social media presence through platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, with multiple authors and artists sharing their works there.
All these works span a wide spectrum of genres and tropes, offering author-specific opinions and insights into what makes Sesshoumaru and Kagome click, even if they are not canonically together. But what started this? What was that first fic or who was that first person to sit back and look at Inuyasha and ultimately decide to ignore the title hanyou, instead saying Kagome belonged with his brother?
Well, we don’t really know. But we do have a few benchmark pieces in the fandom known for their historical impact on either converting readers to this pairing or being the first fanwork to grab their attention. And these works are still loved and recommended to this day.
Benchmark Works in the SessKag Community
As stated above, no one really knows who first sat back and decided that fandom should explore why Kagome and Sesshoumaru make a compelling alternate pairing. The first noted fanwork with the pair on AO3 is Western Skies II by Harlow R, published April, 2010. Atonement, a piece by Miss Kagura, predates Harlow R’s work, making its appearance in Dokuga’s archive in April, 2008. But perhaps the earliest piece found in a major fanfiction archive is A Modern Day Fairytale by Blue Jeans, published in May, 2002.
It is very possible that other works predate even the earliest of these noted stories, considering how active platforms, like Live Journal, were prior to these years. But regardless of which came first, there are a few fanworks that stand out as benchmark pieces responsible for turning large numbers of readers devoted to canon content away from the mainstream, sending them spiraling into the world of alternate pairings.
For SessKag fans, the most notable work accomplishing this is probably Tales From the House of the Moon. First published by Resmiranda in December, 2003, what is commonly referred to as HoTM in SessKag circles tells the story of Kagome and Sesshoumaru after Kagome, an archaeology student back in the present day sometime after the well had closed, is exposed to a legend in her class called The Maiden and the Lord of the West. She quickly realizes the truth behind the perceived tale, and it sends her on an adventure that once again has her seeking the past, old acquaintances, and answers to questions she has not yet fully grasped. And at the center of her searching is Sesshoumaru.
The story goes on to show how they grow closer in seeing each other through the trials and tribulations that revolve around Kagome’s present-day glimpses into the past. Readers have talked over the years about how they laughed, cried, experienced frustration, and then found themselves cheering the unlikely pairing on through their reading experiences. But the biggest commonality resulting from it all was that Tales From the House of the Moon made readers everywhere sit back and realize that there was something compelling about Sesshoumaru and Kagome as a romantic pair.
And many never looked back.
Now, HoTM isn’t what brought everyone into this side of the fandom. There are plenty of other stories and authors that pulled readers in, turning them away from traditional pairings. Notable authors include Tally Mark and RosieB, with RosieB’s Beside You in Time considered by many to be another benchmark piece. Like HoTM, Beside You in Time brings the reader into the world “what if” after the jewel is wished upon. Kagome, having been cursed with immortality, lives through major historical events alongside Sesshoumaru, chasing powerful thieves who have nefarious plans that span centuries. It is an intelligent, well-written slow burn that drew readers in when it was first published in 2008, and it brought those same readers—and many more—back after years of hiatus to celebrate and enjoy a long-awaited finish in December, 2020.
Fanficiton, however, isn’t the only fanwork medium to draw people to the SessKag fandom. Raindrops, a beautiful doujinshi by YoukaiYume, is probably the most well-known fanart work dedicated to the SessKag pairing. Created in 2005, it is still being updated today, with original readers still following it after sixteen years. It is also still responsible for inspiring many new faces to join the fandom.
Finding SessKag Content: Fanwork Archives
Narrowing down just how much SessKag content there is can be difficult with internet real estate spanning the globe. But there are some well-known resources for fan content that have historically been used by SessKag fans that are still active today. Fanfiction.net, Dokuga, and Archive of Our Own are probably the most frequented fanfiction archives for SessKag content, with Dokuga being a dedicated space for the alternate pairing.
According to Dokuga.com, the site came about as an offshoot of their Yahoo award group and was created in 2008 as a space for SessKag fans to come together, create, and enjoy fan-created content. Dokuga also hosts the now closed A-Single-Spark archive, which was founded in 2001, and has preserved thousands of fanfiction pieces that readers still enjoy today.
On the matter of fanart, Deviant Art has long been a host for popular art pieces featuring this pairing, though Dokuga also has a dedicated fanart archive. Pixiv is another frequented site where many SessKag works can be found. But some of the most common places anymore to search for fanart today are social media sites. Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and even Facebook pop up with SessKag art pieces, inspiring fans of the pairing everywhere.
In truth, “inspiring” may be too weak a word for the impact that fanartists have had on the fandom. Visual representations of these characters have the power to run fans through the gamut of emotions just as much as fanfiction, and fanfiction writers across the fandom today can speak to how various fanarts have motivated their own writing. As a matter of fact, fanart is even responsible for commonly shared head canons embraced almost collectively across the fandom.
Two words: hip stripes.
Dull moments arguably do not exist in the SessKag fandom. Outside of a strong (and sometimes dominating) presence across major fanwork sites, the fandom boasts an involved community and regular events, tailored to developing new, fresh SessKag content and fostering relationships within the community.
While places like Live Journal served as community hubs in the past, today the SessKag community continues to thrive in Dokuga’s chat forum, platforms like Tumblr, and Discord. Discord in particular has become a central hub for community gathering, the Dokkusou and SessKag Citrus18+ servers being the primary places to gather.
But community gathering sites are just a piece of things. Outside of communal cyber spaces, the SessKag fandom comes together multiple times throughout the year for fanwork events that both inspire imaginations and relationships among fellow creators. The Sesshoumaru/ Kagome Fanlore Wiki lists a series of events, such as collaborative efforts like Big Bangs and week-long creative efforts dedicated to their pairing, that the fandom has to look forward to each year.
Along with the broader Inuyasha fandom, the SessKag community also participates in fandom-wide award events. In the past, fan-based organizations like the Feudal Association and Inuyasha Fan Guild held awards events for fanfiction authors and fanartists across the Inuyasha fandom with the now-closed Dokuga Awards being a SessKag centric awards event, but all of these have since closed. Today, the largest entity responsible for orchestrating Inuyasha fandom awards is the Feudal Connection. Split into quarterly award periods throughout the year, the SessKag authors and artists usually finds themselves represented among the nominations and joins fans from all corners of the fandom to come together and vote for works that have the most meaning to them. Recently, in 2021, a SessKag-focused awards event aptly named The SessKag Awards started up again, the first awards even focused on the pairing since the Dokuga Awards closed in 2013.
Chie: A Pillar of the Community
Of all the fanfiction authors today, Chie (also known as Chierafied) is undoubtedly one of the most well-known and prevalent names out there, and no account of SessKag history would be complete without a discussion about her. As shown here, the SessKag fandom spans many content creators, cyberspaces, readers, art enthusiasts, and events. It is a world of its own in the broader fandom, still maintaining an active and thriving fanbase for nearly twenty years. And for those who have been around for a while, the name Chie is almost synonymous with the fandom. Daresay, she is the glue that has held the fandom together.
Having many well-loved works herself (Life After Loss is a staple SessKag fans should be sure to explore), Chie inherited the SessKag Blog in the summer of 2018 and has been running that along with SessKag Week and the monthly prompts enjoyed by the niche fandom’s creatives ever since. Her, works, influence, and efforts can be found spanning the range of SessKag spaces, actively promoting and encouraging the expansion of the fandom today through the fandom events and monthly prompts to inspire creativity.
But truly, one of the largest and most appreciated projects Chie has taken on is the SessKag Archive. Expanding what existed at the time she stepped in, the archive thrives as a resource for SessKag fans who like to search for fanfiction by trope or theme, recommendation lists of categorically organized fanfics still being generated today. All one needs is to bring up the archive and seek out the list they want, and there is immediately a slew of recommendations at their fingertips. And if the topic desired hasn’t made it onto a list yet? Let Chie know, and it’s sure to pop up soon.
In a fandom that has ebbed and flowed, seen good times and bad, Chie has been a reassuring and uplifting presence, using her own unique skillset to keep things going, and it is safe to say that the SessKag fandom would not be where it is today without her.
Much as history always is, the SessKag fandom is ongoing. More content is being generated now, and as new fans who have never explored the pairing come in, curious as to what they will find, more is sure to come. New relationships are forged daily. And one of the most heartening things about the fandom is that it evolves with the times. As real-world social and political issues develop, SessKag fanworks develop with it, carrying readers through the ever-churning process that the world around them takes. And with no shortage of creativity among SessKag creators, the fandom’s potential to continue existing as a place of support and comfort for fans everywhere is limitless.
Whether it was Tales From the House of the Moon almost two decades ago or a newer work from more recent authors or artists, everyone in the SessKag fandom has their starting point—their origin story—for what brought them into this space many claim as theirs. And as the fandom continues to thrive, many more personal histories are to sure to develop right along with the fandom’s.