[[quoteright:250:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lt/yyh.jpg]]

->''"This boy's name is Yusuke. He's fourteen years old, and is supposed to be the hero of our story... [[DeadToBeginWith but oddly enough, he's dead.]]"''

Originally a manga by YoshihiroTogashi, '''''[=YuYu=] Hakusho''''' tells the story of Yusuke Urameshi, a bitter, beleaguered, junior high punk--and legendary street fighter. One particularly bad day gets worse for Yusuke after he dies saving the life of a small boy from a car accident. He discovers that the forces of the Spirit World were expecting the boy to miraculously survive the accident but did not expect Yusuke to even be a part of it. Because of this [[PetTheDog surprising]] [[SenselessSacrifice (if ultimately useless)]] HeroicSacrifice, they offer Yusuke a chance to return from the dead. With the help of Botan (a perky female ''{{shinigami}}'' "Angel of Death" or essentially "[[TheGrimReaper Grim Reaper]]") and the approval of Koenma (the snarky son of King Enma, the judge of the dead in the Buddhist belief system, and the part-time stand-in for his father) Yusuke returns to the living world.

But Koenma has other plans for Yusuke, as both his fighting ability and new found spirit awareness makes him a prime candidate to be a Spirit Detective, an agent of the spirit world hunting down renegade demons who threaten peace on Earth. With much reluctance, Yusuke takes on the job, and finds himself facing all manner of supernatural baddies. Lucky for him, he has the help of Botan as a liaison and tactical support. Early on in his career they send him to the OldMaster Genkai, a short, crotchety old woman who nevertheless is a highly capable spiritual guru and martial artist.

As his closest teammates he gathered some more-than-capable fighting partners in the form of Kazuma Kuwabara, his old school rival; Kurama, a benevolent reformed fox-spirit trapped in a human body; and Hiei, a [[TokenEvilTeammate not-so-benevolent, not-so-reformed demon]] who reluctantly tags along with Yusuke and his entourage [[RecruitingTheCriminal as part of his sentence]].

During ''[=YuYu=] Hakusho'''s initial run in Japan, it was one of the few shows to compete at all with ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' during the early '90s. It is a classic {{shonen}} anime featuring colorful characters, lots of humor, and ''very'' clever fights. It wasn't as popular in the States as other series, but was one of the first anime to air (mostly uncut) on Creator/AdultSwim, until it migrated to Toonami with an edited weekday version. However, its fans are ''very'' hardcore. It was among {{Funimation}}'s earliest shows to dub alongside ''Dragon Ball Z'', and therefore, starred some of its earliest regular cast members and kickstarted their reputation. Justin Cook, who was the Line Producer and played the lead role, is now the chief producer at the studio. In the Philippines, this animé was titled "[[CompletelyDifferentTitle Ghost Fighter]]", with the characters' names being completely different as well.

Character Sheet is [[Characters/YuYuHakusho here]].

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!!This show provides examples of:

* TheAbridgedSeries: ''WebVideo/YuYuHakushoAbridged'' is one of the more popular and well-known ones.
* AbusiveParents:
** Mukuro's father is a more direct example of downright evil treatment.
** Yusuke's mother Atsuko is not exactly devoted. She's an alcoholic who neglects, beats, and screams at him (no wonder he's become a punk). And on top of that, she leaves her son's dead body surrounded by loads and loads of trash, which nearly gets burned in an arson.
* AccidentalHug: Between Yusuke and Kuwabara in episode nine.
* AdaptationDyeJob:
** Color ''Jump'' pages (while admittedly a limited, sober palette) have Kurama with black hair. The anime...does not.
** Togashi's own color illustrations sometimes also depict Kurama with violet hair instead of black (most notably on the second kanzenban cover), and he vacillates between having Botan as blue-haired or blonde. The anime settled on going with blue hair for Botan.
** Genkai and Koenma are blond in some of the colored artwork for the manga, with Koenma's uniform being green instead of purple.
* AdaptiveAbility: Kuro Momotaro uses Steaming Spheres to gain an immunity to whatever attack was last used against him.
* AddictionPowered: Chu in the Dark Tournament arc in the uncut version. Cartoon Network's Toonami-edited version has Chu as a fighter who seems like a bumbling fool, but is very skilled and dangerous.
* AlasPoorVillain:
** The story takes a moment to focus on Byakko's shock and horror when he is betrayed and executed by Seiryuu for failing to beat his opponent. There's even a hint of a tear on his bodiless head.
** [[spoiler:Sensui's]] life as a Spirit Detective was not an easy one...
** Even [[spoiler:Toguro]] has a sad past that drove him to be the way he is.
* AllJustADream: Some of the Eizou Hakusho shorts.
* AndIMustScream: Kurama's CoolAndUnusualPunishment of [[spoiler: Elder Toguro]]. He [[MoralEventHorizon deserved it too]].
* AndThisIsFor: Invoked by Yusuke in the Dark Tournament Arc, while pummeling the particularly odious Dr. Ichigaki, who has [[spoiler: beaten the snot out of Kuwabara and enslaved innocent martial artists]].
* AnotherDimension: Itsuki traps Kuwabara, Kurama, Hiei, and Kiyoshi Mitarai in a pocket dimension while Yusuke was fighting Sensui.
%%* AntagonistInMourning: Twice.
* AntiHero: Yusuke (PragmaticHero), Kurama (LoveableRogue) and Hiei (NominalHero). Though Hiei could theoretically shift to UnscrupulousHero when Yukina is involved. He also shows more heroic tendencies when dealing with Kurama and Mukuro. Kuwabara would be a normal hero in most other settings, but he's got enough hardscrabble streetfighting background to qualify here.
* ArcNumber: Seven for the Sensui arc. It's declared that the "seven" will dig a grave for humanity, [[spoiler:but it's seven personalities; Itsuki remarks that Sensui saw all of his followers as expendable.]]
* ArmorPiercingSlap: Keiko's usual punishment for Yusuke acting up. You would think Keiko was the most powerful force on earth with how often the guy gets beat on by her.
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: the cruelties of [[TrainingFromHell Genkai's training]] include: four weeks locked in a cave, balancing on spikes, being buried alive in a snake pit, and not being allowed to shower.
* ArtEvolution: The anime starts off with the somewhat 80ish type animation where characters are poorly drawn, but improves greatly by the Dark Tournament arc.
* ArtifactOfDeath: The Forlorn Hope can grant the user a wish, but only at the cost of their life.
* TheArtifact:
** Yusuke's Spirit Detective tools, they get phased out around the time of the Dark Tournament. This bit actually gets lampshaded by Botan when she laments that Yusuke never bothered to use them.
** Hiei's true demon form. In the case of Hiei's true form, he was originally supposed to be a StarterVillain, but then he got SavedByTheFans and promoted to a main character. His true form got phased out as well. There's also the fact that putting something as vulnerable as an eye all over your body would probably work against whatever powerup a full demon form would give.
* AssholeVictim: Gonzou Tarukane and [[SmugSnake Butajiri]], who are both killed by Younger Toguro under Sakyo's orders. [[spoiler: And the rest of the Black Black Club as well, for that matter. They end as victims when Sakyo (himself a member of the [=BBC=]) has Younger Toguro kill the other remaining members when they try to stop him from completing his plan.]]
* AssimilationBackfire: When Sensui Seven member Gourmet eats Elder Toguro to get his powers, Elder Toguro ends up taking over his body later.
* AssKickingEqualsAuthority: Invoked by Yusuke and played straight by the entire demon world during the Demon World Unification Tournament arc.
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: The three leaders of the Demon World are all S+ Class demons.
* AxeCrazy: A great deal of demons, most notably Elder Toguro.
* BackToBackBadasses: Kurama and Hiei in the ShortAnimeMovie.
%%* {{Badass}}: Pretty much almost every fighter in the series.
%%* BadassCrew: The four main characters.
* BadBoss: While nicer than most examples, Koenma's treatment of Ogre is less than benevolent.
* BarehandedBladeBlock:
** Yusuke was able catch Hiei's sword with two fingers when he was testing how strong Yusuke was after his training for the Dark Tournament.
** During the Dark Tournament, Hiei was able to block Bui's [[ImpossiblyCoolWeapon insanely large axe]]. [[IntimidationDemonstration Twice]]. Not to mention melting it.
* BarredFromTheAfterlife: At the beginning, delinquent Yusuke dies saving a child from being hit by a car, which puts the CelestialBureaucracy in a bind: He was scheduled to go to hell, but his HeroicSacrifice partly redeemed him... but not enough to qualify for heaven. He ends up working for them fighting demons.
* BashBrothers: Yusuke and Kuwabara do this most often. [[spoiler: Toguro and Genkai long ago might have been something between this and a BattleCouple.]]
* BatmanGambit:
** This is Kurama's modus operandi of choice.
** Sakyou pulls a pretty big one on Tarukane.
** Sensui sends Game Master, a little boy whose psychic powers bring games to life, to stall the team from rescuing Kuwabara. The game he chooses to play has the villain die when the player wins, meaning [[SecretTestOfCharacter they have to kill the boy to get to Sensui]]. Sensui counts on Koenma using a large chunk of his spirit energy [[spoiler:stored in his pacifier]] to bring the boy back to life, ensuring that the [[DangerousForbiddenTechnique Mafukan seal]] that that energy would otherwise go towards would not be strong enough to hold Sensui, so he could continue to Demon World.
* BattleAura:
** Seen several times in the Dark Tournament arc. Arc Villain Toguro at the higher reaches of his strength produces an aura which dissolves weaker demons. Of special note is Toguro's unwilling subordinate Bui, whose major power is literally and explicitly called Battle Aura; he uses it to fly and shoots pieces of it for attacks. The reason for Bui's insanely heavy armor is that [[spoiler:Bui's raw power is greater than his fine control, and he can't turn the aura off. The armor acts a PowerLimiter to keep his aura restrained until he decides to take his armor off.]]
** Becomes more common as the series goes on. Yusuke starts showing one in the Dark Tournament. The Chapter Black arc BigBad's aura is so strong it physically prevents energy attacks from hitting him. Yusuke, Yomi, Mikuro, and Raizen's old friends each produce massive auras in the Demon World Tournament.
* BattleOfWits:
** The Sensui arc focused on this for the most part, the Kaitou and Gamemaster fights being the best to define this.
** The series as a whole was one of the first to exploit fighting strategically in mid battle rather than pummeling others with the superior powers.
* BeamOWar: Yusuke and Rando's Rei/Spirit Guns colliding with each other, Yusuke's Rei/Spirit Gun colliding with Chu's Suiken yoki orbs twice, Yusuke's full power Rei/Spirit Gun being canceled out by Sensui's smaller yet just as powerful Resshuu Kou Kyu Ha.
* BeamSpam: Yusuke against [[spoiler: Yomi, firing his near infinite amount of Yo/Demon Gun at Yomi's [[DeflectorShields Demon Energy Barrier]] before finally breaking the [[DeflectorShields barrier]] with YinYangBomb shots]].
* BelligerentSexualTension: Yusuke and Keiko. They fight constantly from the very first episode, but they clearly care a lot about each other.
* BerserkButton:
** Hiei is depicted as being extremely cold and not caring about anyone or hwanting any friends, which is why his reaction to people threatening his sister is a bit surprising.
** Kurama, likewise, used to be pretty evil, but after growing up as a human he has developed an attachment to his family. Threatening them will make you pretty dead pretty fast.
* BetterThanNew: Yusuke appears to be [[FinalDeath dead]], however he eventually wakes up BetterThanNew [[spoiler: as his [[SuperpoweredEvilSide demonic half]] awakens]].
* BewareTheNiceOnes:
** It's generally not a good idea to get the soft-spoken and outwardly friendly Kurama mad.
** Kuwabara is probably the friendliest in the group, and he's not to be trifled with, either, if you don't want a Jigen-tou through your chest...
** Sensui's main personality, Shinobu, is also fairly nice, even talking respectfully to Yusuke as if they were having tea and crumpets together. Just make sure you [[http://i52.tinypic.com/5kkgls.jpg shake]] [[http://i55.tinypic.com/34928si.jpg his hand]] [[http://i53.tinypic.com/15wpdt.jpg when]] [[http://i54.tinypic.com/k3rb7r.jpg he asks]] [[http://i54.tinypic.com/2zz6rnp.jpg you to]].
** Yukina, of all people, when she reveals [[spoiler:she was searching for her brother to remind him he promised to exterminate all the Koorime.]]
* BigBadWannabe:
** [[SmugSnake Gonzou Tarukane]]. While he is dangerous thanks to his wealth and his connections (being the founder of the Black Black Club, and hiring various demons and humans to do his dirty work), he overestimates his chances of winning, loses everything when Younger Toguro is defeated, and doesn't compare well to most of the antagonists in the series. [[spoiler:It doesn't help that The Toguro Bros were actually working for the real Big Bad, who had caused him to lose his money, and that they end up killing him after this is revealed]].
** Some of the [[ArcVillain arc villains]] in the Dark Tournament are pretty haughty, but end up getting taken out with relative ease. Most notably are Shishiwakamaru and Suzuki from Team Uraotogi, who are each primed to be intimidating foes, yet [[spoiler:each lose easily to a severely weakened Genkai]].
** Also, Risho of Team Masho, who takes particular glee in the potential of taking victory over Team Urameshi, even though it would mostly be by technicality (the only loss they actually inflicted was on Kurama, whereas Yusuke, Genkai and Hiei were all kept at bay by a bogus call from the Tournament Committee and a trap from outside the ring). Then comes Kuwabara, who - despite suffering from crippling injuries - [[spoiler:[[ThePowerOfLove easily wipes the floor with Risho]] once he realizes Yukina is watching the fight]].
* BigBrotherInstinct: Threatening and later possessing Kurama's little stepbrother was a very, ''very'' stupid move. Threatening Yukina will get you cut up by Hiei pretty quickly.
* BigGood: Koemna throughout the entire series. Genkai as well from Chapter Black onward.
* BiggerBad: In the manga [[spoiler:King Enma is responsible for just about everything, in the name of keeping his public image as powerful as possible—after all, Team Urameshi work for him, so if they take out a criminal, he can take credit for it]].
* Bilingua|Bonus / StealthPun: The dub is ''littered'' with these for people who speak both Japanese and English. To [[SubbingVersusDubbing sub fans]] who are monolingual in English, these lines sound like straight-up {{Bowdleris|e}}ation- the most infamous being "A mulberry (''kuwa'') is a tree, and Kuwabara's a man!"
** As for the original Japanese, is it an accident that Yusuke's "Rei Gun" is, well... a ray gun?
* BishonenLine: Sensui manifesting his Seikoki (Sacred Energy) into a PoweredArmor.
* BlackAndGrayMorality: Chapter Black Arc
* BlandNameProduct: "Megallica" and "Narlboro," at least.
* BlockingStopsAllDamage:
** Subverted when Hiei faces an enemy with a weapon far stronger than his sword. Blocking the thing actually cuts his sword and bracing it with his arm cuts his arm. He only gets a draw by taking a hit to make him drop his guard.
** Also subverted in the final battle between Toguro and Yusuke. Yusuke sends the most powerful attack he could muster against Toguro and he blocks it and eventually stops it after an intense struggle. [[spoiler:Toguro then dies because the strain of blocking it was equal to taking the hit.]]
* BlondesAreEvil: Karasu once his PowerLimiter slips. Plenty of ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' jokes involved too.
* BloodBath: It's revealed in a flashback that the [[spoiler:Black Black Club]] bathed in the blood of the [[DarkIsNotEvil innocent demons]] they had slaughtered, mostly ForTheEvulz.
* BloodlessCarnage: A jarring moment in the Chapter Black arc. Yusuke blows an opponent's arm off with his Spirit Gun and not one drop of blood is shown. Odd because The Dark Tournament showed some fairly graphic dismemberments.
* BloodFromTheMouth: The Dark Tournament is loaded with it. Yomi gets it, too.
%%* BloodbathVillainOrigin: Sensui.
* BloodyMurder: Mitarai's and Gama's powers.
%%* BlowYouAway: Jin is a wind master.
* BoardToDeath: What happens during the Dark Tournament when [[spoiler:Sakyo reveals his plan to open a gateway to the Spirit World to the rest of the Black Black Club, and then has Toguro kill them when they object]].
* BodyToJewel: Yukina's tears, apparently this is part of being an ice demon.
* BoisterousBruiser: Chu and Jin are the best examples, though Kuwabara counts as well.
* BoundAndGagged: Kuwabara when Sensui captures him to use his Jigen-tou. In the anime, though, it's just ropes.
* {{Bowdlerise}}:
** Mukuro's back story went from [[spoiler:being her father's sex slave who disfigured herself to keep herself from being molested by him]] in the manga to [[spoiler: being an already cybernetic slave who couldn't remove the shackles from her arms even after she escaped and had to pay for her freedom with the flesh from half her body]]. Still badass either way.
** When Cartoon Network aired this as part of Toonami (as opposed to Creator/AdultSwim, which had this series more or less uncut), the episode that had Yusuke fighting a female demon who was actually a man had it changed to a [[ManipulativeBastard manipulative bitch]] who faked her injuries so she can weaken any male fighters who [[WouldntHitAGirl have qualms about beating up women]]. Also, Chu (the drunken fighter) was changed to a boisterous Australian who [[CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass acted like a fool to mask the fact that he was a powerful fighter]].
** Similarly, Kurama [[TakingTheBullet Taking The Sword]] in Yusuke's fight against Hiei, deliberately cutting his hand, and throwing his blood in Hiei's eye was toned down to him simply jumping in front of Hiei and backhanding him.
* BreadEggsMilkSquick: At the end of the Dark Tournament Arc in the uncensored anime, [[spoiler:right before Genkai comes back to the group]], Yusuke says, "Back to skipping Detention." Kuwabara says, "Video Games." Kurama says, "My human family." And Hiei finished the series with "Various Crimes."
%%* BreakfastClub: Sensui's Seven.
* BreakingTheFourthWall:
** In the manga, characters verbally refer to previous chapters and their appearance rates.
** Not to mention Yusuke predicting two page spreads in the next chapter.
* BrownNote: Chapter Black.
* BuryYourGays: Played with. [[spoiler:Yes, Sensui (KilledOffForReal) and Itsuki (implied to at the end of the arc) die, but it's more of a RedemptionEqualsDeath scenario. Plus, Itsuki, [[ThePhilosopher being]] [[PsychoSupporter who he is]], tells off Team Urameshi (prompting a moment of NotSoDifferent and/or SympathyForTheDevil) before he takes Sensui's corpse and spirit into his own little dimension to spend eternity with him. Because the antagonists [[BatmanGambit got what they wanted all along]], Yusuke and co. feel as if ''they're'' the ones who have lost.]]
* BusCrash: Murota. He's also a literal MauveShirt, so it's understandable if you have no clue who he is... He gets eaten, dammit. That isn't cool.
* CallingYourAttacks: "Spirit Gun!"
* CameBackStrong: Yusuke's death triggers the awakening of his latent spirit powers. [[spoiler:His second death awakens his demonic atavism.]]
* CantCatchUp: Even Yusuke suffers this after the Dark Tournament.
* CannotSpitItOut: Subverted, of all couples, by [[spoiler:Yusuke and Keiko]]! According to [[spoiler:Keiko's dad, Yusuke's favorite way to make up with Keiko after a fight]] is to propose marriage.
* CastFullOfPrettyBoys: The TrueCompanions' gender ratio is pretty much 50/50—somewhat skewed by Atsuko and George Saotome, though—but the only girls who really get any spotlight and character development are Genkai and Mukuro. The others have their moments, but the guys are pretty much the focus of the show. There aren't many female villains, either.
* CelestialBureaucracy: Koenma and Enma.
* CerebusSyndrome: The manga starts out as an episodic comedy about Yusuke and Botan as ghosts trying to help the living with their problems. After a couple volumes of this, it abruptly shifts into {{shonen}} action mode. This gets far fewer complaints from fans than many CerebusSyndrome victims, however, because most fans know the series from the anime adaption, which skips the comedic stories from the manga and rushes ahead to the action portion.\\\
During the final arc the show suddenly becomes less action-oriented and for the first time focuses on how the events actually affect Yusuke and the gang's everyday lives, suddenly showing several episodes filled with lots of character development and quiet drama as opposed to high-speed punching and explosions.
* ChangedMyMindKid: Hiei leaves the rest of the team during the Chapter Black arc, claiming he has no loyalty to the human world. [[GenreSavvy Yusuke]] assures everyone else that "he'll come and rescue us in the end when we need him the most." He does.
* CharacterMagneticTeam: At the beginning, it was only Yusuke and Botan. By the Dark Tournament arc, four more members join to form the FiveManBand, six more by the end of that arc, three allies by the Sensui arc and finally over a dozen by the final arc. The majority were [[DefeatMeansFriendship former enemies]] in some form or another.
* CharlesAtlasSuperpower: Some of the contestants in Genkai's tournament are just normal humans, but presumably through training managed to get abilities like a Spirit Gun or bulking up his arm for a super strong strike.
* ChekhovsGun: Many.
** The biggest one is when Koenma describes the difference between spirit and life energy to Yusuke in the fifth episode. When drained of spirit energy in the climax of the Four Saint Beasts saga, Yusuke taps into his life energy for a HeroicSacrifice.
** There was also "Goblin City" in the Chapter Black saga, a video game Yusuke plays at the arcade during the time Kuwabara is fighting Seaman. About six episodes later, guess what the team has to play against Game Master?
** The Mafuukan ([[spoiler:Koenmna's pacifier. This also explains why he wouldn't let Ogre remove it during the Dark tournament]]).
** The egg Yusuke throws into the fire to save Keiko early in the series [[spoiler:is Puu!]] It gets lampshaded when Koenma has to remind Yusuke about the egg during the Dark Tournament arc, as he'd completely forgotten about it after he came back to life.
* ChildhoodFriendRomance: Yusuke and Keiko.
* CirclesOfHell: [[spoiler:Younger Toguro goes to the deepest pit of hell out of his own, complex guilt about everything.]]
* ClarkKenting:
** The "mysterious" masked fighter that comes to the Dark Tournament as the gang's fifth member is obviously Genkai, even wearing the same robes as her and having her characteristically short stature. Despite this, nobody notices until [[TheReveal unmasking time]] comes... sort of. Kuwabara flat-out asks Yusuke if Mask is Genkai, and Yusuke pretty much tells him, "That's what I thought, but s/he said no." Kuwabara is pretty firm in thinking this, until the mask gets ripped and young!Genkai is shown beneath it. Genkai's fighting style has the body's cells rejuvenated to the time they were strongest when it's used. It's... really something of a DoubleSubversion.
** Right after Yusuke comes back from the dead he explores the town in sunglasses and messed up hair. And goes unnoticed.
** In that same episode there's also a certain blue-haired fortune teller with a fake sounding accent who knows about Yusuke, so [[SarcasmMode you can understand why]] he couldn't tell it was Botan in disguise.
* ClearMyName: After coming back to school, Yusuke was framed by one of the teachers in hopes of getting him expelled. This was quickly cleared up after Yusuke received his first case.
* ClothingDamage:
** Yusuke pretty much loses his upper clothing in almost all of his major fights. His opponents sometimes do as well. Taken to its logical extreme in his fight against Yomi, where after taking a volley of energy blasts, his shirt ''explodes off his body''. Not a fiery one, mind you, but still. This is flat out pointed out in the actor's commentary for the episode where Justin Cook and co. discuss the characters' tendency to lose their shirts right before the aforementioned shirt explosion. They then wonder what the characters' pants are made of to prevent them from being destroyed as well.
** Hiei's shirt is usually either ripped off or thrown off by the end of most of his battles.
** [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] by Koto (the announcer cat-girl): "Well, they've burned their skin, shortened their breath, and somehow lost their shirts. All in all, I'd call this a successful fight."
* ColdSniper: This role is fulfilled by the character of... [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Sniper]]. Although he's not a sniper as the idea evoke; he doesn't actually use a sniper rifle and he doesn't do a lot of hiding. He can attach his spirit energy to both his target as well as any random objects, resulting in said objects homing in on the target at incredible speeds. From dice, to rocks, to knives and forks, to even ''[[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill gasoline tankers]]''. Later in the fight, however, he opts for a good old fashioned [[MundaneSolution pistol]].
* ComingOfAgeStory:
** The ending to the second-to-last episode and essentially the main point to the whole Three Kings Arc is this, as Jorge/the Narrator so explains. Supposedly, now that Yusuke is done kicking ass in Demon World, his next adventure is to allow himself to "grow up". There are also other sprinklings and hints of the "coming of age" theme throughout the series. Though mainly adhering to Yusuke, this applies to Kuwabara and Keiko as well.
** In-Universe, it's implied that carrying the role of Spirit Detective was this for Kuroko Sanada, as well. She started training for the job while fourteen and rather obese, and through building her skils (and attaining a sudden growth spurt), managed to slim down into something resembling a young, female Sensui, which then led to a pretty successful run on the job. After accomplishing quite a bit during her tenure, she chose to retire so that she could move on and form a family of her own.
* ContainmentField:
** The Kekkai barrier is used to separate the Human World from the Demon World. Unfortunately, this ContainmentField only sort of acts like a net to only filter and keep out A- and S-Class-ranked demons.
** [[SpellMyNameWithAnS L/Ruka]] tries it on Hiei. She somehow manages to live through it.
* {{Cool Old G|uy}}al: Genkai, of course.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: Sakyou and the Black Black Club.
* CounterAttack: Sensui's Reshuuken fight style.
* CruelMercy: Why did Hiei spare the Ice Maidens? Because he realized they were dead inside and exterminating them would have put them out of their misery. He also does the same in the Dark Tournament: when a defeated Bui asks Hiei to finish him, Hiei just tells him to kill himself and go away.
* CurbStompBattle:
** The first time Hiei fights on the good guys' side, he slashes up the guy that pissed him off before his opponent could even start to attack. Most of Hiei's battles are like that: Hiei's first battle in the Dark Tournament takes a few minutes because he doesn't attack, then he incinerates his FIRE USER foe; later in the Dark Tournament, Hiei faces Makintaro and cuts his arm the very moment the referee starts the match, and when Makintaro insists on fighting Hiei finishes him with a blade in the brain; against Bui, the two play a little, then, after Bui apparently wins by throwing his DeathOrGloryAttack back at him, Hiei unveils that such an action only powered him up and defeats Bui with a POKE and a punch; Hiei's "battle" with Sniper consists of Hiei appearing from nowhere and piercing him with his blade; also, Hiei's battle with Sensui, only this time Hiei is on the receiving side. Hiei isn't exactly a FragileSpeedster, but he can't take a punch as well as most of the team, and can easily attack someone's vitals, so the only question is which side of the CurbStompBattle he's on.
** The three members of Team Toguro apart from Younger Toguro, vs. Team Gorenja in the semifinals. Karasu blows one member to pieces before he can do much, Bui instantly dismembers his foe with his axe, and Elder Toguro, taking on the remaining three at once, defeats them all instantly, killing one and weakening the other two so that he can finish them off easily.
** Yusuke curb stomps Bakken in retribution for [[KickThemWhileTheyAreDown his treatment of Kurama]].
** Genkai's matches against both Shishiwakamaru and Suzuka in the Tournament Semi-Finals turn out to be this. Made all the more notable because both had been hyped up as sizable threats before then (each had made quick work of Kuwabara, teleporting him outside of the ring). Even Hiei and Kuwabara seemed to treat them as formidable opponents. However, Genkai (despite being severely weakened after giving much of her energy to Yusuke just before) makes quick work out of each of them, without so much as breaking a sweat.
** [[spoiler:Sensui vs. Yusuke (round one, anyway), then Sensui proceeding to kick the collective asses of Youko Kurama, Hiei AND Kuwabara.]]
** Yusuke, after [[spoiler:awakening his demon half]], kicks the ever loving piss out of Sensui [[spoiler:when it [[SuperpoweredEvilSide takes over]]]].
** Yusuke's fight against [[ColdSniper Sniper]] was so very much this. In all his experience, Yusuke was always used to fighting enemies head on, but never against somebody who methodically kept his distance and chipped away at him. If it wasn't for Hiei's [[BigDamnHeroes big damn heroic moment]], Yusuke would've been dead a second time.
** The battle of Shura vs his father Yomi also counts. Shura even tricks Yomi into getting in close, only to blast him point blank in the face with an energy blast that resembled a nuke. [[NoSell Yomi didn't feel a thing.]] Kid never had a chance, and as Yusuke notices that he's closer to Shura's level than Yomi's, he suspects that neither does he.
** Early in the series, before Yusuke died, he used to hand these out to Kuwabara every time they fought, but Kuwabara keeps coming back for more because he sees Yusuke as his rival.
** Kuwabara versus Elder Toguro. Elder Toguro [[NoSell No Selled]] a few of Kuwabara's sword attacks and chipped away at him, but didn't manage to land any hits that mattered before Kuwabara literally beat him into the ground.
* CustomUniform: Yusuke's school 'uniform' is one of these.
* CuteMonsterGirl: Koto and Juri especially.
* DangerousForbiddenTechnique:
** The Spirit Wave.
** Also, the Dragon of the Darkness Flame.
%%* DarkActionGirl: [[spoiler: Mukuro]].
* DarkestHour: The Chapter Black arc is where the series takes a [[DarkerAndEdgier darker turn]] in general. Near the end of the arc, [[spoiler:Sensui kills Yusuke (and Puu dies as a result). The tunnel to Demon World becomes complete. Yusuke's HeroicSacrifice awakens greater power in his friends, who attempt to avenge his death in a three-on-one battle against Sensui, but fail nonetheless. At the end of the episode "Attempting Revenge", Kuwabara, Kurama and Hiei fall helplessly before Sensui, knowing that even after their friend's sacrifice, they still failed him.]]
* DarkIsNotEvil: [[spoiler: At worst, most demons play pranks on humans.]]) At least in the manga. For most of the series, they do seem extremely bloodthirsty. It's explained away in the manga by [[spoiler: King Yama brainwashing demons in order to set up cases]], but in the anime just has Enki "change the system" and the way demons act once he [[spoiler: becomes King of Demon World]].
* DarkerAndEdgier: Many fans profess that the Chapter Black arc is a ''stark'' contrast with most episodes before it - and usually for the better. Included, but not limited to are some serious moral dilemmas for the characters, ''considerably'' different kinds of adversaries where simple fisticuffs won't win any fights, a deranged and disturbed villain who's not in it for the good fight, but the absolute succession of his agenda, and an overall creepier and more ominous atmosphere. Most fans would cite Chapter Black as the series at its most mature and at its peak.
* DavidVersusGoliath: Every.Single.One. of Hiei's fights and most of Yusuke's fights.
** He is only 4'11.
* DayInTheLimelight: Hiei and Kurama each get 2 episodes in the last arc detailing their backstories in full, and show how they ingratiate themselves to life under their respective Demon Kings (Mukuro for Hiei, Yomi for Kurama).
* DeadSidekick: Played with during the Dark Tournament arc, where [[spoiler: Yusuke's friends exploit the trope by faking Kuwabara's death at the hands of Toguro so that Yusuke's anger and grief will give him the power needed to defeat Toguro]].
* DeadToBeginWith
-->'''Narrator:''' This is our hero, Yusuke Urameshi. There's only one problem: he's dead.
* DeathByIrony: Gouki who eats souls for a living dies by taking a blast of spirit energy into the mouth.
* DeathGlare: Hiei is really good at these along with being a hostile PerpetualFrowner. However, what is truly impressive is that when really pissed off, both Yusuke and Kurama managed to pull {{Death Glare}}s that make any of Hiei's look like fluff in comparison.
* DefeatMeansFriendship: Played straight ''and'' subverted.
* DeflectorShields: Yomi's Demon Energy Barrier.
* DemotedToExtra: After the Chapter Black Saga, Kuwabara only sits around and studies. Atsuko is another example.
* DepravedHomosexual: Subverted, played around with, possibly averted and inverted with [[spoiler: Sensui]].) Played straight with Karasu.
* DeusExMachina: During Yusuke's fight with Yomi in the Demon World Tournament, Yusuke gains the upper hand when he spontaneously generates a new kind of energy. Everyone at first thinks it's sacred energy, but then Hiei exclaims that "No! It's something completely different!"
** Yusuke's revival and subsequent victory over Sensui came totally out of left field when he's randomly revealed to be descended from one of the three S-class kings of the Demon World who can take control of his body at will...
* DisappearedDad: Yusuke and Kuwabara's dads, but [[spoiler: they are both BackForTheFinale]]. Kurama's human father is also dead, although he does later acquire a stepfather when his mother remarries.
* DishingOutDirt: Risho
* DistressedDude: Happens to both Yusuke and Kuwabara. In the latter case... well, see BoundAndGagged.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: Goki's soul-eating tastes (that of little children) is rather close to the edge of pedophilia.
** Also, [[spoiler: Sensui's speech before he dies sounds a ''lot'' like him recalling [[ComingOutStory coming out to himself]], especially [[DubText in the dub]]]].
* DramaticThunder: The anime pretty much uses this whenever they can. But it was used to death during the maze castle arc. Might have been a way of foreshadowing Suzaku's [[ShockAndAwe power]].
* DrunkenMaster: Chu. AND HOW.
** In the uncut version, yes. In Creator/CartoonNetwork's version, Chu is a lot like Monterey Jack from ''WesternAnimation/ChipNDaleRescueRangers'' (minus the cheese addiction)—a boisterous Australian who's a bit of a goofball but is also a {{Badass}}.
* DubNameChange: To name a few, in the Filipino dub:
** Yusuke -> Eugene
** Kazuma -> Alfred
** Kurama / Shuiichi -> Dennis
** Hiei -> Vincent
** Koenma -> Jericho
** Genkai -> Jeremiah
** Keiko -> Jenny
** Botan -> Sharlene
** Yukina -> Mikaela
** A couple minor, "why even bother?" ones in the FUNimation dub, too.
** Suzuki -> Suzuka (changed back in the remastered dub)
** Shuuichi (Kurama's stepbrother) -> Kokoda
** Kirishima (Kuwabara's friend with brown hair) -> Miyamoto
** Sawamura (Kuwabara's friend with the buzz cut) -> Komada
* DubText: Mostly with Itsuki. Some of his lines are completely made up. The bit about stalking Sensui(etc.) was neither in the manga nor in the Japanese version of the anime.
** Also, Toguro and Genkai's relationship 50 years ago got a RelationshipUpgrade from the manga and original Japanese in the dub.
** Elder Toguro has a couple FoeYay lines in the dub that weren't in the Japanese, like when he comments that Kurama's red hair isn't nearly as pretty as the silver hair he has in Youko form.
* DudeLooksLikeALady: In one of the earlier chapters, Yusuke fights a bewitching FemmeFatale who tries to use her femininity to make opponents underestimate her, trying to play on an opponent's WouldntHitAGirl sense of chivalry. After a CrotchGrabSexCheck, Yusuke finds out it's just a regular guy fighter dressing like a girl to trick opponents. Yusuke even berates him for not being a ''real'' transvestite, in one of the series' [[OutOfCharacter odder]] moments of open-mindedness on Yusuke's part. Miyuki accuses Yusuke of violently attacking her because of 'what she is'. He calls her out, saying if s/he hadn't been in the way of the mission, he wouldn't have attacked her at all. Starts about [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTMoSdsxNiQ 6:10]].
** If you watch the uncut version that is. In the EditedForSyndication American dub that aired on Creator/CartoonNetwork, [[ShesAManInJapan all the references to the female fighter actually being a man were changed]] to the fighter being a {{Manipulative B|astard}}itch who fakes her injuries so she can make her male fighters feel guilty about beating up a woman—and uses that moment of weakness to strike back).
** During the final chapters of the manga, the usually calm Kurama is mistaken as a girl (more exactly, everyone thinks he's Kuwabara's girlfriend), which really gets under his skin. Later, Keiko and Yusuke ask him to infiltrate a girls-only school to help them solve a case, and he nearly snaps on them.
* EarnYourHappyEnding: And ''how''.
* EmpathyPet: Puu.
* EsotericMotifs: The Artifacts of Darkness, a Mirror, Sword, and Jewel.
* EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas: Kurama's relationship with his human mother, Shiori, is what turned him into a decent person. He was originally planning to leave her once he regained his powers, but after she was injured protecting him, he decided to stay.
* EvenEvilHasStandards:
** Toguro refuses his elder brother's offer for assistance prior to his match with Yusuke in the Dark Tournament finals, right before smacking the crap out of him. When elder Toguro gets angry and remarks that they sold their souls together, younger Toguro responds, "That may be. [[LampshadeHanging But I never sold my standards]].") The fact that he had basically bad-mouthed his former lover he had killed the last night and disgraced her memory didn't help at all.
** Earlier, he openly condemned Botajiri's attempts to rig the match against Team Masho. He specifically wanted Yusuke to level up and give him a good challenge. He didn't care if Yusuke died before that fight, but he didn't want him out of the tournament based on a technicality.
*** Also, the usually amoral and even sadistic referee Koto seriously objects to two of Team Masho's members' dirty methods of fighting and Botajiri's rigging of the matches.
** Before his MoralityPet little sister Yukina showed up, Hiei played the TokenEvilTeammate role pretty straight. However, he was so disgusted with Seiryuu killing [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness his teammate]] that he [[ItsPersonal chooses to be the one to take him on]], instead of fighting the BigBad on the next floor, leaving them for Yusuke.
* EvenTheGuysWantHim:
** Kurama and Hiei have always been the series' most popular characters.
** Yusuke's pretty much neck-deep in FoeYay with all of his male enemies.
* EverybodyWasKungFuFighting: Though it starts off different, it very quickly becomes about the unusual martial arts the protagonists and antagonists use in battle, especially coming into play during the Demon Tournament arc.
* EvilCounterpart:
** Sensui, who's also a NietzscheWannabe, a FallenHero, and a DarkMessiah... along with being DangerouslyGenreSavvy.
** Less obviously, Toguro, who is what Yusuke would become if he decided to go completely BloodKnight and forget about what he's actually fighting for.
* ExplainingYourPowerToTheEnemy:
** Yusuke is forced to fight someone in complete darkness. His opponent has a helmet-type device that allows him to perceive and alter the flow of energy around and inside him, a) letting him see in the dark (which Yusuke has no way of doing), and b) strengthening parts of his body temporarily. He explains all of this during the fight. The viewer is left screaming at the television for the opponent to just beat the shit out of Yusuke, which he can do with impunity thanks to the Night Vision Helmet.
** {{Subverted|Trope}} in the Chapter Black arc when Yusuke keeps insisting that, had he known of Kido's powers, he could have taken him out easily. Genkai berates him for this, telling him that [[DangerouslyGenreSavvy not all of his enemies will be stupid enough to hand over valuable information like that]].
** For the most part, this is actually an ''averted'' trope. ExplainingYourPowersToTheEnemy, while it makes utterly no sense in-universe, is mainly used so the ''reader/viewer'' can understand the ability being used. In the anime, the ''narrator'' explains the abilities or items characters are using most of the time, and thus this trope stays averted for the most part.
* ExtremityExtremist: The fighting style of the EvilCounterpart listed above.
* FaceDeathWithDignity: [[spoiler: Sakyou.]]
* FaceHeelTurn: [[spoiler:The younger Toguro and Sensui.]]
* FacialMarkings: Sensui's bindi, [[spoiler:Yusuke's tattoos in his demon form (also comes with longer hair)]].
* FailureGambit: The series's villains have a habit of relying on these, usually in conjunction with [[spoiler:SuicideByCop]].
** [[spoiler:Toguro, as Genkai's former teammate, seeks his own death at the hands of Yusuke, her student, for reasons only speculated in the series—perhaps as a form of atonement, or to prove to himself that the decision he made to abandon his humanity was a mistake]].
** The third season BigBad, [[spoiler:Sensui, sought to go to the Demon World simply so that he could intentionally die there [[TheAtoner as penance]] after seeing the world inhabited by the creatures he felt remorse over formerly hunting and killing]]. The fact that Yusuke, [[spoiler:a human-demon hybrid, killed him]] was a bonus.
* FateWorseThanDeath:
** [[spoiler: Elder Toguro, forever bound to the branches of a tree that saps him of his LifeEnergy and tortured with Kurama-related hallucinations. The tree will not let go or stop until the victim's life force is drained, and as Elder Toguro has nearly [[FromASingleCell unlimited regenerative powers]], he will be forever bound, unable to die due to his own healing power.]]
** [[spoiler: Younger Toguro willingly chooses one of these after his death: being sent to purgatory.]]
** The demon who blinded Yomi spent 500 years painfully nailed to a wall of Yomi's palace.
** What Hiei did to Mukuro's father in the manga. Hiei binds a special plant to him, giving him a healing factor not unlike that of Elder Toguro. Hiei gives the putrid shell as a birthday gift to Mukuro to torture for all eternity. Given what the man did to Mukuro, this is a ''very'' [[KarmicDeath karmic]] FateWorseThanDeath.
** Somewhat averted with [[spoiler: Sensui. His fate: having his soul never leave his body even after death and thus being confined to eternal sleep and no afterlife, would seem like a FateWorseThanDeath to most, but apparently Sensui actually finds this preferable to being judged by Spirit World in the afterlife.]]
* FauxPaw: Botan does this when behaving "catty".
* FillerVillain: Yakumo.
* FinalBattle: The final arc is the Three Kings saga, and the last fight the main characters are involved in is Yusuke vs. Yomi in the Demon World Tournament. [[spoiler: Yomi wins but loses the fight after that.]]
* FingerGun: The Spirit Gun is one that actually fires. Several characters do the regular version.
* FirstEpisodeResurrection
* FiveManBand: TheHero is Yusuke, TheLancer is Kuwabara, TheBigGuy is Hiei, TheSmartGuy is Kurama, and TheChick is Botan. This is probably the most iconic group, although TheTeam changes formation later on in the series.
* FlexibleTourneyRules: Boy, are they ''ever''—and intentionally. The Dark Tournament is done as a commercial gig, so teams are allowed to negotiate their own rules and conditions for a match, which adds some variety to the proceedings and makes for a better show.
* {{Flight}}: Sensui's Seikoki (Sacred Energy) allows him to fly as an angel, which is also why he's also called "Black Angel".
** Earlier in the series, there's Jin, who controls and shapes wind to make whirlwinds and other various tricks. Flight is as natural to him as walking.
* FloatingContinent: The Koorime's glacier.
* {{Foreshadowing}}:
** During the final match against Toguro Yusuke's spirit energy takes the form of a giant bird and flies around the stadium before it settles back into him, foreshadowing the form Puu (who is a representation of Yusuke's spirit) will eventually take. (Puu also settles down around Yusuke right after taking that form, just like the energy did.)
** When Koenma tells Yusuke that Sensui's tunnel to the demon world is going to open much sooner than he originally thought, Yusuke [[LeeroyJenkins decides to run to the cave and take on the psychics right now.]] Koenma can be heard screaming [[spoiler:"I don't need another rogue agent"]] in the background before the communication device is shut off.
** From the same episode, Kaito claims that Demon's Door (the cave where the tunnel is being "built") is "where scorned lovers go to die". [[spoiler: This is likely referring to Itsuki's... relationship with Sensui.]]
* TheFourGods: The Four Saint Beasts are based on them.
* FourIsDeath
* FourPhilosophyEnsemble: Yusuke is the Cynic, Kuwabara is the Optimist, Kurama is the Realist and Hiei is the Apathetic.
* FourTemperamentEnsemble: Yusuke (sanguine), Hiei (melancholic/sanguine), Kurama (phlegmatic), and Kuwabara (sanguine/melancholic).
* FriendToAllLivingThings: Yukina, [[spoiler: except in regards to the rest of the Ice Maidens]].
** [[spoiler: A possible {{subver|tedTrope}}sion of the trope, if anything.]]
* FreudianTrio: Yusuke and his two [[EvilCounterpart Evil Counterparts]], Sensui and Toguro.
** TheId: Toguro, who threw away his sense of right and wrong and let the BloodKnight side of his personality take over. The only reason he has anything resembling a moral code is because he hates anything that will interfere with him getting a good fight (such as Team Urameshi being disqualified on a technicality).
** TheSuperego: Sensui, who sees the world in black and white. There is good and there is evil, with no room in between.
** TheEgo: Yusuke, who balances out his BloodKnight persona with a firm sense of right and wrong, and the ability to learn from experience when his personal moral viewpoint may not be correct and needs to be adjusted.
* FriendlyTarget: Averted and taken advantage of.
* FromASingleCell: Elder Toguro.
* GeniusCripple: Yomi, although blind, didn't let that stop him from being the first person in the series to manipulate Kurama, who's known for being the Batman of YYH. And not only that, Yomi gets away with it.
* GentleGiant: Both Kuwabara and Kurama are the tallest members of Team Urameshi but are very compassionate.
** Shinobu Sensui stands at least 6' and it would be hard to believe someone like him would ever consider destroying humanity.
* GhostlyGape: Shishiwakamaru can summon ghosts with this kind of face in addition to his sword getting this kind of face via opening it's hilt to reveal that it contains strange, [[EvilIsVisceral muscular tissue]] with said face.
%%* GlowingEyesOfDoom
* AGodAmI: Yusuke had a moment like this when it turned out that [[spoiler:[[TomatoInTheMirror he's really an]] [[SuperWeight uber-powerful]] {{Youkai}}]], shouting "KNEEL DOWN AND WORSHIP ME, YOU INSECTS!!". Subverted in that he immediately reveals it to be [[ItAmusedMe an immature prank]] and says that they should have seen their faces.
* GoingToGiveItMoreEnergy: In his fight with Byakko, Kuwabara follows this trope to the letter. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite work.
* {{Gonk}}: Gonzo Tarukane. As ''YuYuHakushoAbridged'' puts it, he looks like a walking ballsack.
* GoodHairEvilHair: Kuwabara and Yusuke's pompadours signify their {{delinquent}} anti-hero status; Sensui's slicked-back hair clues us in to his FaceHeelTurn and the fact he's the BigBad of that arc.
* GoodIsNotNice: Yusuke and Hiei can be real jerks sometimes, though they are not without their redeeming qualities. Kurama is the same way, but more outwardly pleasant and more subtle with his snarking. Kuwabara is a nice guy, though.
* GoodScarsEvilScars: Subverted. [[spoiler: Sensui's scars are multiple, as you'd expect of a villain; however, they are entirely covered by his shirt, as you'd expect of a good guy (because he used to be one). Itsuki becomes scarred over his eye from taking Kuwabara's Rei-ken: a simple heroic scar. Mukuro's scars are also "bad guy" scars that cover half of her body; however, seeing how she got them (by pouring acid over herself to prevent her "father" from raping her as a child), as well as her usual hiding of them, makes them "good guy" markings.]])
* GoshDarnitToHeck: The Viz translation is full of hilariously inoffensive language like "holy spit", "dumb cluck", and aloof badass Hiei calling people a bunch of weenies.
* GreenThumb: Kurama's abilities.
* TheGrimReaper: Botan.
* GroinAttack: Episode 3 has Yusuke (in his [[AstralProjection ghost state]]) taking control of an unconscious young teenage schoolgirl's body so that he can protect Kuwabara who is on his way to school. During his fight against the school thugs that had tried to attack Kuwabara, Yusuke (in the body of the schoolgirl) is able to battle and defeat each of them with no problem and in the end, he delievers three groin kicks to the last thug before knocking him out with a hard right punch. Afterwards, Yusuke leaves the body of the young teenage schoolgirl, who is quite shocked to see on what has transpired.
* GrowingMusclesSequence: Toguro undergoes different ones, depending on the percentage of his power he unleashes. Byakko has one every time he absorbs Kuwabara's blows. Chuu gets a small one from drinking a special supernatural alcohol.
* HalfwayPlotSwitch: ''Repeatedly.''
* HandCannon: Yusuke's Spirit/Rei Gun.
* HeadPet: Puu.
* HealingHands: Genkai and Botan, but mostly Yukina.
* HeavySleeper: Yusuke early in the Dark Tournament. This is explained as Genkai's training being so strenuous that he has to sleep a lot to recover his energies—though it can be pretty ridiculous when he spends the entire trip to the island, all the way through the first fight in the Tournament, asleep. The smell of alcohol finally wakes him up, because it reminds him of his home.
* HeelFaceReturn: Hiei gets caught by Yusuke for stealing from his boss, but he returns a couple arcs later as an AntiHero AloofAlly, and stays that way for the rest of the series.
* HeelFaceTurn: Kurama, Hiei, [[spoiler: Chuu, Rinku, Jin, Touya, Suzuki, Shishiwakamaru]], etc.
* HellSeeker: [[spoiler: Younger Toguro]] is one of these, in addition to being a DeathSeeker. [[spoiler:He chooses to be punished in the deepest level of Hell, even though he could have gotten off with a lighter sentence, because he feels that he could never be punished enough for what he let happen to his old martial-arts pupils and the aftermath of such.]]
* HelloNurse: During the Dark Tournament, a "nurse" is brought out to inspect Hiei and the Masked Fighter after the fight with the Dr. Ichigaki Team. Koenma orders Ogre to hit him on the head so that he can go see the nurse.
* HeroicBSOD: During the Dark Tournament final round, where Toguro [[spoiler: pretends to kill Kuwabara in order to bring Yusuke's PowerLevel to his own level, becoming a WorthyOpponent]]. Interesting though at this time, his BattleAura becomes the polar opposite of Toguro's own BattleAura, which killed well over a quarter of the stadium's spectators.
* HeroicResolve: Yusuke tends to get a power-up whenever the people he cares for are about to be killed, allowing him to save them (almost) every time.
* HeroicSacrifice: Subverted and played straight multiple times.
** Best example played straight is Kuwabara in the Dark Tournament, where he sacrifices himself to Toguro to unlock Yusuke's full power.
-->--'''Kuwabara''': Hey Koenma, you risked your life on Urameshi's fight and now I'm gonna do the same. So make a place for me, and make sure my wake is as good as his. [[note]]Of course it turned out Toguro ''didn't'' kill him (and possibly never intended to), but Kuwabara didn't know that going into it. When he realized he wasn't going to die, [[FakingTheDead he played along anyway]].[[/note]]
** [[spoiler:Yusuke]] attempts to invoke this during the Chapter Black arc after realizing that he's horribly outclassed by Shinobu's (Sensui) Divine Energy. His friends fail as well, though [[spoiler:his Demonic Atavism is awakened by his second death, giving him the strength to fight with Shinobu on equal terms]]
* HeroismIncentive: Botan bribes Urameshi with wrestling tickets to go train with Genkai and stop a demon from learning her techniques.
* HomeFieldAdvantage: The first of the 4 Sacred Beasts, Genbu, can use his powers over earth to meld with the stone that composes the castle and move freely through it.
* HomoeroticDream: When Yuusuke is trying to come back from the dead, but needs someone to kiss him in order to transfer a spark of life energy to "jump start" him, Kuwabara gets a dream in which he does just that. It gets better: Yusuke had to provide the dream ''himself'' (as a ghost, he could communicate through the dreams of the living, and Kuwabara is extremely susceptible. Yusuke did this to help him study for a test once). The kiss has to be from one of the three people who care about him the most—who turn out to be his mother, his not-quite-girlfriend Keiko, and Kuwabara, who was a big time AntagonistInMourning. Yusuke was horrified, but he did it anyway. Kuwabara thought it was a hellish nightmare, kissing Yusuke's dead body.
* HonestAdvisor: Yomi recruits Kurama for the purposes of his honest advice. And possibly some revenge, too, but he gives a lot of weight of to Kurama's opinions.
* HopeSpot: Right before [[spoiler:Yusuke's second death.]]
* HostageSituation:
** Roto tries doing this to Kurama by using his human mother as the hostage during their fight in the Dark Tournament. [[spoiler:It doesn't work for long]].
** Multiple villains try pulling these on Kurama throughout the series. It's generally,[[BerserkButton a very good way]] to get him to kill your painfully. [[spoiler:Unless your name is Yomi. Then you just get a PrecisionFStrike.]]
* HowDareYouDieOnMe: Kuwabara, at Yusuke's wake. It is just so unfair Yusuke would die before Kuwabara got to beat him up!
* HugeGuyTinyGirl: Kuwabara and Yukina, [[spoiler: Younger Toguro and Genkai 50 years ago, Enki and Koko]].
* HumansAreTheRealMonsters:
** Sensui is ''very'' hung up over this.
** In a late-series one-shot, Yusuke investigates an apparent case of demonic activity at Keiko's school, but realizes that it's only two of the girls trying to force the third to leave because they don't like her performance or attitude on the team. The narrator concludes that humans are perhaps as bad as demons, and possibly worse, especially when Yusuke sells the uniform he borrowed from Keiko to someone online after she refuses to pay him because Kurama did most of the work. Which then gets subverted when Togashi's editor pointed out that [[spoiler:Yusuke's a demon at that point]].
* TheHunter: The "Spirit Detective" job description.
* HyperAwareness: Yomi has six ears, and they are so sensitive that he can hear every word being spoken within the confines of his kingdom, and can even "see" facial expressions based on a person's heart rate, and can even use this ability to tell what a person is doing!
* IAmYourOpponent: Pretty much how almost every one-on-one fight is set up.
* [[IHaveYourWife I Have Your Mother]]: Kurama is forced to not retaliate against Roto lest Roto order the demon stalking his mother to kill her. Kurama manages to immobilize Roto, steal the trigger to signal the demon, then kill him.
* IKnowMortalKombat: Game Master/Amanuma, in the most literal way possible.
* IWasQuiteALooker: Everyone who sees the masked fighter's face before she's revealed to be a younger form of Genkai agrees that she's beautiful.
%%* AnIcePerson: Seiryu and Toya
* IdiotHero: Yusuke. He's basically a smartass version of [[Manga/DragonBall Goku]].
* ImageSong: Lots of them on the [[NoExportForYou CDs]]. Each of the four main characters has around three or four songs by themselves, at least one song with other characters and most everyone else has at least one song by themselves.
* ImAHumanitarian: After Yusuke [[spoiler:becomes a demon]], he no longer regards the casual eating of innocent human beings as an atrocity, and casually tells [[spoiler:his ancestor]] that if eating humans is what will restore his strength, he'll gladly kidnap a few innocent human beings ("really bad ones" in the English dub) and [[KickTheDog "stuff them down his throat himself"]] if that's what it takes to [[MoralEventHorizon get a good fight out of him.]] He compares it to humans eating hamburgers, saying that a species higher on he food chain preying on one lower is just the natural order, and that humans have simply thought themselves above it.
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice: Happens in the movie as a KarmicDeath.
* IndyPloy: In the DVD of the anime, Yusuke bounces his Rei/Spirit Gun off the Mirror of the Forlorn Hope [[spoiler:to take Hiei in his true form down]]. He guessed that might work.
* IncurableCoughOfDeath: The reason Toguro sold his soul to be a demon.
* InstantArmor: Risho the demon-ninja used his power of rocks like this during the Dark Tournament. Sensui's Holy Light armor also qualifies.
* InterspeciesRomance: Kuwabara/Yukina, [[spoiler:Sensui/Itsuki, Raizen/Lady Doctor]], and, if you really want to stretch it [[spoiler:for a technical half-breed or hybrid, Yusuke/Keiko]].
* InvincibleHero: Averted. Yusuke's victory is almost ''never'' a ForegoneConclusion, and he's always pushed to the limits of his ability. [[spoiler:[[OurHeroIsDead He actually DIES fighting Sensui]], and he also loses early in the Demon World Tournament to Yomi]]. Sniper also easily had him outclassed in every sense of the word. If it wasn't for Hiei, Yusuke would be DeaderThanDead. Again.
* InvokedTrope: Toguro invokes [[spoiler:DeadSidekick]] on Yusuke, and Kuwabara ''appears'' to invoke [[spoiler:HeroicSacrifice]] but really went for [[spoiler:DisneyDeath]]. Subverted later when Yusuke tries to [[spoiler:pull a HeroicSacrifice in order to inspire a HeroicSecondWind out of Kuwabara and the others—which isn't enough to defeat Sensui]].
* IronicEcho: In the Dark Tournament Arc, Kurama gets into a fight with a demonic bomber named Karasu. Early on in the fight, Karasu seems to have the upper hand and as a result mimics putting a pistol to his head and saying, "Bang", indicating to Kurama that he should just simply shoot himself rather than continue fighting Karasu. About ten seconds later, Kurama transforms into his much more powerful true form, and suddenly it's Karasu who's on the ropes. Guess what gesture Kurama decides to make this time.
* {{It Is Pronounced Tro-PAY}}: Couple names in the dub: Urameshi = ''Yu''rameshi, Mitarai ('mee-tah-rye') = Mitari ('mih-tar-ee').
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Kuwabara is introduces as a delinquent and is shown doing nothing but repeatedly trying to beat up Yusuke. Later after Yusuke dies he sees Kuramabara going through humiliating lengths to save a kitten.
* KarmaHoudini: The arsonist that lit Yusuke and Atsuko's apartment on fire, which nearly killed Keiko in the process during her recovery of Yusuke's body, is never mentioned to have been apprehended.
* KickThemWhileTheyAreDown: Though, he wasn't ''technically'' down. Bakken beats the absolute crap out of an unconscious/already badly injured Kurama in the Dark Tournament, claiming that he's still standing and in the ring and therefore must continue fighting.
* KillAllHumans: Sensui—subverted because he ''is'' a human, among other reasons.
* KissOfLife: Or, Kiss Of Transferred Life Energy, to facilitate Yusuke's resurrection.
%%* LargeHam: Kuwabara. Also, "Beautiful" Suzuka before Genkai {{curb stomp|battle}}s him.
* LaserBlade: Kuwabara's Spirit Sword. Although it is technically made out of his ki, it still greatly resembles and even sounds like a real LaserBlade.
* LastDisrespects: While Kuwabara goes on a screaming fit about Yusuke dying at his funeral in the start of the manga, [[SubvertedTrope his outburst is a sign of genuine mourning]]. In contrast, their school principal calls out some teachers who are at the funeral making snide comments about both Yusuke and Kuwabara's behavior.
* LeftTheBackgroundMusicOn: [[spoiler:George the ogre]] turns out to be the narrator.
* LevelGrinding: Hiei personally slaughtered hundreds of A-Class demons in order to get himself to S-Class level.
* LightIsNotGood: [[spoiler:In the manga, it turns out the reports of demon attacks were not only greatly exaggerated, they were set up and the "evil" demons were brainwashed to behave that way, THEN were captured and executed before they could talk. When Yusuke wondered how many innocent demons he may have captured, Kurama advised him to "better not think about that". This plot element was cut out in the anime.]]
* LimitedWardrobe: Played with. Most everyone has their regular attire for the average day, but they can and do change clothes often enough depending on the situation. However, their clothes usually remain assigned by color: Yusuke - green, Kurama - red, Kuwabara - blue, and Hiei - black.
* LiteraryAgentHypothesis: [[spoiler:The entire show is the recordings of Yusuke's career that Koenma had edited as a documentary. His right hand ogre got the job as narrator.]]
* LittleMissBadass: Genkai in her younger days.
* LoadBearingHero: The heroes run into a trap like this in Maze Castle, calibrated so that it takes the combined strength of all four of them to hold it up, and that anyone running out would survive at the cost of their friends' lives.
* LookWhatICanDoNow: Yusuke shows off his new powers after Genkai's training, and Kuwubara does the same a few episodes later.
* LoveRedeems: [[spoiler:Raizen and his love for the lady doctor.]]
* MadeOfIron:
** This being a shounen series, of course, practically every single character absorbs insane amounts of punishment, though usually offenses that produce cutting force seem much more effective at putting people down. Kuwabara, however, takes it UpToEleven: being not as agile or as quick as Yusuke, Kurama and Hiei are, he tends to get hit a ''lot'' in his fights, which does little if anything to shorten them; no matter how many of his bones you break he just takes it and gets back up for more. This is {{justified|trope}} in the Dark Tournament by Rishu, who says that a [[{{Muggle}} normal human's]] body would have died by that point but Kuwabara had been subconsciously using his spirit energy to keep his body alive. He frequently deals out such nasty hits that one foe literally ''ran away'' from him at the prospect of pummeling him over and over again to no effect while attempting to dodge his Reiken (Sporit Sword) for another thirty minutes.
** A more literal example, Gouki almost literally claiming his skin is as hard as steel.
* MagnificentSeven: Subverted and inverted with Sensui's group [[spoiler:and Sensui's own personalities]].
* MaybeEverAfter: [[spoiler:Hiei and Mukuro. It was originally intended to be less vague, but shipper backlash caused it to end the way it did.]]
* MeaningfulFuneral: Yusuke's in the first episode. Seeing how much he truly meant to everybody convinced him to undergo the trials to regain his life.
* MeaningfulName:
** "Urameshi" is what Japanese ghosts who are haunting a house wail; "Kuwabara kuwabara" is a charm against ghosts; "Kurama" and "Hiei" are Japanese mountains said to be sites of demon activity; all of the [[GrimReaper ferry girls]] have names associated with flowers and plants ("Botan" - peony, "Ayame" - iris, "Hinageshi" - poppy). This plant naming even goes for Sensui, whose name is a kanji anagram of "suisen" (daffodil) and Itsuki (flowering tree), perhaps to note the severity of their FaceHeelTurn.
** Mt. Hiei was forbidden to women until recent history; Hiei inverted this by being born on a floating mountain where men are the ones who are forbidden.
* MeddlingParents: Raizen [[spoiler:when he possesses Yusuke during his final fight with Sensui]].
* MenDontCry: Completely and utterly averted. During Yusuke's wake, Kuwabara broke down into a histerical sobbing fit, and his friends had to pick him up and '''''drag''''' him out of the room. Yusuke cries for [[spoiler:Kuwabara's apparent death in the Dark Tounament]].
* Music/MegumiHayashibara: Young Genkai, also sang her ImageSong.
* MindRape: Chapter Black is supposed to be watched along with Chapter White to get a balanced look on humanity's potential for great good and great evil. Watching ''just'' Chapter Black by itself will drive you nigh insane.
* MistakenForQuake: It is announced that the preliminary round of the Dark Tournament will take place on the ferry to the island. When the ship's deck opens to reveal the fighting ring:
-->'''Kuwabara:''' Aaaah! Earthquake!\\
'''Hiei:''' Fool, there can't be earthquakes on the water!
* MonstrosityEqualsWeakness:
** All over the place. Generally, humanoid enemies are real threats, whereas more monstrous ones are just cannon fodder.
** Inverted by Younger Toguro, who is at his "weakest" when he looks completely human.
* MookChivalry: the big groups of monsters don't just all attack at the same time, but for drama's sake they always fight one on one.
* MoralityKitchenSink: Between the main characters and supporting cast alone, we have varying degrees of what would be considered "good". And that's before getting into Chapter Black.
* TheMovie: There are two—a half-hour one and a feature-length one.
* MrExposition: Kurama and Hiei, sometimes Genkai or Koenma.
* {{Muggle}}: Anyone without any or high enough spiritual awareness or sixth sense.
* MultiArmedAndDangerous: Itsuki and his shadow hands.
* MundaneMadeAwesome:
** Remember that Rock Paper Scissor game?
** Also the quiz game between Kaito and Game Master. Sure it's a multiple choice test of general knowledge. But then they go to memorizing the whole question database to recognize a certain question with just the first word and press the buzzer or even memorizing the complex formulaic pattern the questions follow to hit the buzzer before even the first word to answer... correctly every time.
* MusclesAreMeaningless: Played straight and subverted: Kurama and Genkai possess enormous strength but both are fairly thin, whereas each time Toguro powers up his musculature increases and each of his common levels—20%, 30%, 45%, 60%, 80%—give him a relatively identifiable build. What's odd is that when Toguro powers up completely, Kurama even says, "The structure of those muscles... ingenious." And then absolutely no character around or above Toguro's level follows suit.\\\
Unlike a lot of {{shonen}}, the general build of each character does not change as they become stronger. In fact, with the exception of Toguro the size of one's muscles has no bearing on actual strength. Explained by Genkai that the physical body has its limitations, but the augmentation of spirit power to their body is crucial.
* MyDeathIsOnlyTheBeginning: ''Inverted''. As it turned out, Yusuke's ''resurrection'' was only the beginning.
* MyKungFuIsStrongerThanYours
* [[MysteriousParent Mysterious Ancestor]]: Raizen.
* NeverMessWithGranny: Genkai.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Yusuke letting Sensui power up for their battle led directly to [[spoiler:his second death]].
* NiceJobFixingItVillain:
** Of course, Yusuke's [[spoiler:second death]] led to him [[spoiler:being revived as an insanely-powerful demon hybrid that later defeated Sensui]].
** During the [[TournamentArc Dark Tournament]], Elder Toguro could have easily [[CurbStompBattle killed Kuwabara in a single attack]], and he wouldn't have even seen it coming. However, he instead chooses to MindRape him by telling him that [[spoiler: Genkai has been dead for two days and his friends hadn't told him]], and that allows Kuwabara to find the strength to defeat Elder Toguro for Genkai's honor.
* NoBadassToHisValet: Kurama and Hiei. Raizen and the Lady Doctor.
* NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished: The ''one'' good thing the delinquent Yusuke does gets him ''killed''.
%%* NobleDemon: Hiei, Kurama
%%** And probably a good half of the demons in the series, particularly in the Three Kings arc.
* NonNaziSwastika: There was a minor villain with a swastika tattooed on his forehead. This was removed in the English dub. Lampshaded in [[YuYuHakushoAbridged Lanipator's]] AbridgedSeries.
* NormallyIWouldBeDeadNow: Kuwabara's fight against Rishu. He's tapping into his life energy just to be able to stand.
* NotJustATournament: The Dark Tournament arc is already pretty, well, [[DarkerAndEdgier Dark]], but then it is revealed that the ''true'' purpose is for betting and power brokering behind the scenes. The later Demon World Tournament is a complete aversion of this trope, especially considering [ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin where it takes place]].
* NotSoDifferent: A major underlying theme of the series is that humans and demons and really NotSoDifferent. At first it seems that demons are made out to be AlwaysChaoticEvil. But later we find many humans in the series who are actually worse and many demons who truly have a good heart at least deep down. The case is brought even further in Chapter Black. Then at the end of the manga, [[spoiler:it is revealed that in the past, Spirit World residents actually made demons look evil so they could rule, not to mention King Yama brainwashing them. This later became a norm so demons have no obligations of being good and usually turn out evil.]] But whether you are human or demon, you would have just as much potential in good or evil. [[OurDemonsAreDifferent Well, at least in this show.]]
* ObliviousYoungerSibling: Shuuichi, Kurama's little stepbrother, is completely oblivious to his brother's demonic heritage and supernatural activities.
* OddFriendship: Kuwabara and Hiei. Hiei constantly belittles how much of a [[WhatAnIdiot dumbass]] Kuwabara is while Kuwabara keeps up with the [[TheNapoleon short]] jokes. Kurama even jokes about how one day they might even become [[LampshadeHanging in-]][[LoveObstructingParents laws]].
* OddlySmallOrganization: The underworld's cleanup squad for when things go wrong consists of one detective and any friends he might make along the way. [[spoiler:Though this is rendered a bit moot by the manga's ending, where it was revealed that Yusuke might not have been needed as badly as we originally thought.]]
* OffModel: Some scenes in the anime have this. For instance, there's a tendency for Sensui to have a really weird, long neck.
* OfficialCouple:
** Yusuke and Keiko
** Also [[YaoiGuys Itsuki and Sensui]], by WordOfGod.
** In the final volume, Togashi pretty much pairs off ''EVERYBODY''. A rundown:
** [[spoiler:Hiei and Mukuro is implied but still leaves room for speculation. Kuwabara and Yukina is made much more likely. Yusuke's dad comes back into the picture and gets back with his mom. Chu falls for a new character named Natsume, who eventually returns the sentiment. The trio of Juri, Koto and Ruka admit to loving the trio of Jin, Suzuki and Touya. Koenma and [[WomanInBlack a female reaper]] also are implied to get together.]]
* OhCrap:
** Pretty much any time Toguro shows up is an "Oh crap!" for ''someone''.
** Bui gets a literal OhCrap moment during his fight against Hiei.
** Don't forget what happened to Zeru and Ura.
** The Kuwabara vs. Elder Toguro fight is filled with this on both sides. Kuwabara gets it most of the times that Toguro reforms himself, and Toguro feels it whenever Kuwabara organizes a counterattack with his Spirit Sword. Epitomized greatly when Kuwabara finally defeats Toguro with his "Spirit Flyswatter", as it was the first time that someone was actually able to hit his vital organs.
* {{Oireland}}: Jin.
* OldMaster: Genkai.
* OnTheNextEpisodeOfCatchPhrase:
** Yusuke's "The other world's not watching for nothing!", which can only be heard in every Japanese voiced preview with subs. This is also his victory line in many ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'' video games.
** In the Latin American dub this line was replaced by Yusuke saying "Mi existencia ¡No será en vano!" (My existence won't be in vain!).
** In the Brazilian dub it became "Não conheci o outro mundo por querer!" (I never wished to know the other world!)
%%* OneGenderRace: The Koorime reproduce asexually and, with the mysterious exception of Hiei, are all female.
* OneSteveLimit: Averted. Kurama shares the same human name with his little stepbrother, Shuuichi.
* OneWingedAngel:
** Younger Toguro, [[SerialEscalation who gets repeatedly more monstrous as he increases his power to 100%, and then keeps going]].
** Subverted with Sensui, who was also conveniently nicknamed "Black Angel."
* TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou: Kuwabara proclaims this in the very first chapter of the manga and continues to for several arcs.
* OptOut: Kuwabara didn't participate in the final arc, instead deciding to focus on his academics.
* OralFixation: Koenma's pacifier, not so out of place in his infant form but much more noticeable in his older and more {{Bishonen}} guise. Apparently, several centuries of soaking in a junior god's essence also makes it a potent magical object.
* OrificeEvacuation: Jiaki, the first demon Yusuke caught.
%%* OurDemonsAreDifferent
* OurHeroIsDead:
** The very first freaking episode! ({{Lampshade|Hanging}}d during [[spoiler:Yusuke]]'s fight with [[spoiler:Sensui]]. Turns out he's [[spoiler:part demon]].)
** Also during [[spoiler:the fight with Toguro, when Kuwabara [[FakingTheDead "dies"]].]]
* OutGambitted: Roto.
* OvershadowedByAwesome: Kuwabara, although he does develop some techniques that keep him useful despite his lack of power later in the series (his powers made him the pivotal element during Sensui's saga).
* ParentalAbandonment: Yusuke's dad is out of the picture, and Kuwabara is raised by his big sister.
* PassiveAggressiveKombat: Kurama, at least twice; at the end of the Four Saint Beasts arc, Hiei mentions how he always has to have the last word; and more [[IncrediblyLamePun literally]] at the beginning of the Sensui Arc.
* PersonalityPowers: The psychics after the tunnel to Makai (Demon World) is opened.
* PettingZooPeople: Yoko Kurama, the two announcers in the Dark Tournament arc and a few others.
* ThePhilosopher: Itsuki, [[spoiler:Sensui's Minoru personality]].
* PhysicalGod:
** Any S-Class fighter. Sensui himself stated that he can't even use 1/5 of his full power because to do so would put too much stress on the planet. Thankfully the Demon World is much bigger and more durable.
** According to Sensui, A-Class demons have power roughly equivalent to the gods of various religions and myths (in the dub, he states that they are on par with the Titans of Greek mythology).
* PhysicalScarsPsychologicalScars: [[spoiler:Sensui]] is covered in scars to point out how utterly insane he is.
* PintSizedPowerhouse: Hiei and Genkai. Rinku counts, as well. [[spoiler:He actually does beat Kuwabara, albeit by fighting dirty]]
%%* PlayingWithFire: Hiei and Zeru.
* PostGameRetaliation: In Genkai's disciple selection test early on, she has all her applicants get lots of paper. If their paper changed color, they could start her selection trials. If not, they were told to leave. Two [[ArrogantKungFuGuy self-proclaimed experts]] angrily attack Genkai over being rejected. She promptly [[KiAttacks blasts them with spirit energy]] across the courtyard and into her entrance gate. (It turns out that her paper lots were not random; they only changed color if those holding them had a certain amount of spirit energy.)
* PostHistoricalTrauma: The Chapter Black videotape.
* PowerLimiter: Younger Toguro's percentage strength, Karasu's mask, Bui's armor, Hiei's binding bandages on his right arm, Yusuke's Spirit Cuffs, Sensui's personalities, etc.
* ThePowerOfLove: Rather hilariously referenced [[http://www.manga-access.com/manga/Y/Yu_Yu_Hakusho/chapter/76/13 when a half-dead Kuwabara]] went straight from being [[CurbStompBattle owned]] [[http://www.manga-access.com/manga/Y/Yu_Yu_Hakusho/chapter/76/19 to knocking the other guy halfway out of the stadium with one punch]] [[http://www.manga-access.com/manga/Y/Yu_Yu_Hakusho/chapter/77 and then quickly regenerating his injuries]] ''and'' [[http://www.manga-access.com/manga/Y/Yu_Yu_Hakusho/chapter/77/3 refilling his spiritual power.]]
* PowerTattoo: Hiei's Dragon of The Darkness Flame, tattooed on his arm.
* PrecisionFStrike:
** Kurama drops one right before subjecting Elder Toguro to a FateWorseThanDeath.
** [[Awesome/YuYuHakusho "This ends here, you soulless fuck."]]
* PsychicStatic: Yusuke does this to Murota. It might be considered a slight subversion; he concentrates simply on exactly what he intends to do. Unfortunately for poor Murota, a straight jab from Yusuke is enough to put him through the wall even if he sees it coming.
* PsychoForHire: Karasu, among others.
* ThePsychoRangers: Team Yusuke vs. Team Toguro.
** Yusuke - Younger Toguro (Team leader, well balanced)
** Kuwabara - Elder Toguro (Closest to the Leader, versatile abilities)
** Kurama - Karasu (Intelligent and precision fighters)
** Hiei - Bui (Brute force fighters)
* PsychoSupporter: Itsuki. HappinessInSlavery, SubordinateExcuse, and MadLove also apply to him.
* RandomPowerRanking: The classifications for power are (in increasing order) D, C, B, A, S. [[note]]The classification is set up by the Spirit World, so S-class means "anything the Spirit World fighters can't handle", which goes from those just above A-class to true warrior gods whose powers make weak S-class demons look like nothing.[[/note]]
%%* RasputinianDeath: Byakko.
* RealMenWearPink: Kurama doesn't look all that impressive at first glance. After all, he is an [[{{Bishonen}} effeminate-looking red-haired pretty-boy]] that half the time wears a pink school uniform, [[EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas is something of a mama's boy]], [[SomethingAboutARose and has this thing for roses to boot]]. Guess which character is the biggest {{Badass}} in the FiveManBand (to the point that ''Hiei'' is scared of him), rakes up the highest on-screen body count and regularly delivers beat-downs of epic proportions to anyone who pisses him off.
* ReallySevenHundredYearsOld: Koenma, who in fact is ''precisely'' seven hundred years old; also, Kurama in his true form.
* RedHeadedHero: Yusuke's [[FiveManBand little group]] has got two red heads in it: Kuwabara and Kurama. Kuwabara is blondish-red while Kurama has dark crimson hair (most of the time).
%%* RedOniBlueOni: Hiei and Kuwabara.
* RedStringOfFate: Kuwabara claims his and Yukina's Red String of Fate will lead the group to her. It ''works'' (though it's most likely just his high spiritual awareness at work).
* RetiredBadass: Genkai and Kuroko.
* TheRival: Kuwabara, Hiei, and Kurama. Yusuke seems to collect them.
* RockPaperScissors: First appears as one of Genkai's tests and after that happens with Kuwabara throughout the series.
* RunningGag:
** Several times Koenma has [[StealthHiBye appeared]] right behind Yusuke, speaking to and startling him in the process. Botan does this to Yusuke once as well. The entire gag got subverted toward the final matches of the Dark Tournament arc, where Yusuke's spirit energy/reiki level became powerful enough to enable him to detect Koenma's presence as soon as he turned up.
** Also Yukina being Hiei's sister. But Kuwabara doesn't know. The other characters like to poke fun at this.
* SacrificialRevivalSpell: This was Kurama's reason for stealing the Forlorn Hope, a magic mirror that grants any wish, but kills the user to do so. He was going to use it to save his terminally ill mother. [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] in that Yusuke prevents this by joining him in the wish, so the Forlorn Hope takes half of each of their lives to save her.
* SamusIsAGirl: In the Dark Tournament arc, everyone assumes the mysterious masked fighter is a man until the mask is blown off in battle and a young woman is revealed.
--> '''Kuwabara''': He's--!\\
'''Yusuke''': --a "she!"
* SchoolUniformsAreTheNewBlack: Before [[TournamentArc the Dark Tournament]], Yusuke, Kuwabara, and Kurama would go everywhere in their school uniforms. This includes joining a contest to become the pupil of an OldMaster in the mountains, attacking the castle of demons intending to take over the human world, and raiding the mansion of an evil rich guy to rescue a MysteriousWaif. Yusuke is an interesting example in that his "uniform" is not in fact the school uniform since he specifically wears the wrong color as a form of rebellion.
* SecretTestOfCharacter:
** Played perfectly straight when Yusuke is faced with the dilemma of killing his mentor to learn her ultimate technique. He refuses, but not immediately. Good thing, too, because if he had refused without hesitating, he would have failed the test as it would have indicated a lack of desire to get stronger.
** Genkai loves these: the screening process for the role of her apprentice is full of them, though geared towards strength and ability rather than morality. An ordinary lottery that actually gauges power, seemingly normal arcade games that are altered to gauge spiritual attributes, a booby-trapped forest that only ''seems'' like a labyrinth to those who don't have the awareness to travel through it, etc.
** Early in the series when Keiko is caught in a fire, Yusuke is told that he could sacrifice the energy he was collecting in his spirit egg (the means by which he could return to life) in order to lead her to safety. He did so without hesitation, which impressed Koenma so much that he offered Yusuke another chance to return to life. Of course, he also had plans to make Yusuke the next Spirit Detective.
* SempaiKohai: Yusuke was being sarcastic when he called post-FaceHeelTurn Sensui 'sempai', but he's notably more respectful to happily retired Kuroko Sanada than he is to ''anyone, ever''.
* SenselessSacrifice: The absolute worst part of Yusuke's [[spoiler:(first)]] death is that the child he saved ''was supposed to miraculously survive anyway''. Yusuke literally died for nothing. Botan tells him that if Yusuke hadn't shoved the kid out of the way, the little boy would have gotten one less scrape. So Yusuke's sacrifice actually ''made things worse''. Luckily for him, it's the thought that counts.
* SerialEscalation: Many, MANY times. The younger Toguro maxing his power [[spoiler:to 120%]] is a good one to cite.
* ShaggyDogStory: The plot starts with Yusuke's completely useless sacrifice.
* SatelliteLoveInterest: Keiko, whose entire personality seems to be comprised of being angry at Yusuke, being worried about Yusuke, or crying over Yusuke.
* ShipperOnDeck: Kurama for [[spoiler:Hiei and Mukuro]]. Botan for [[spoiler:Koenma and the female reaper]].
* ShirtlessScene: Too many to count, with both protagonists and antagonists. However, Kurama, the most popular {{Bishonen}}, doesn't have ''any'' of these...
* ShockAndAwe: Suzaku. Yusuke pretends to try and use the rubber soles of his shoes to absorb his attacks.
* ShootTheDog: Kurama killing Amanuma.
* ShootTheShaggyDog: [[spoiler:The entire Chapter Black saga is an example of this, partially due to Sensui's BatmanGambit above, and partially because Team Urameshi put so much effort into stopping something that the SDF could have done on their own. And Yusuke died, but got better.]]
%%* {{Shonen}}
* ShoulderTeammate: Quite literal. The elder of the two villainous Toguro brothers is often seen riding around on his much larger (but younger) brother's back. Kuwabara even insults him by calling him a "shoulder monkey" at one point.
* ShoutOut: There are actually quite a few.
** There are three shout outs to ''Franchise/SailorMoon.''[[note]]YoshihiroTogashi is the husband of Sailor Moon creator NaokoTakeuchi.[[/note]]
*** In a manga-exclusive story, Kurama throws a rose in front of two rival gangs a la Tuxedo Mask. (He actually tells them "Just call me Tuxedo Mask.." while throwing it in the Viz dub.)
*** Juri's transformation sequence when she recovers from the Idunn Box is based off of Sailor Moon's transformation sequence.
*** Koenma's disguise in the Demon World Tournament is him wearing the Tuxedo Mask garb.
** During the Dark Tournament, there was a shout out to Franchise/SuperSentai of all things (it's one of the teams ruthlessly offed by the Toguro team; they even use the ''Series/HimitsuSentaiGoranger'' codenames).
** One of the biggest is how Yusuke dies in the beginning. He saves a child who ran out into the street with a soccer ball, only to later be told that the soccer ball would have cushioned the child, saving the boy's life without leaving a scratch on him. This is a situation that would have, without Yusuke's unfortunate intervention, been exactly the same as what happened to Tsubasa in ''CaptainTsubasa''.
** Not to mention when Kuwabara goes to the 'Megallica' concert in episode 75.
** When Yusuke and Kuwabara are arguing after their first arrival at Genkai's house, several ''StreetFighter'' characters can be seen, including Dhalsim, E. Honda, Zangief (with a scar on his chest instead of all the hair), and middle-aged Ryu.
** There is a momentary shout out to TheStarsMyDestination during the Dark Tournament when an audience member is shown with the N♂MAD tattoo.
** In episode 21, there's a glimpse of a poster of OingoBoingo's "Good For Your Soul" album on the wall in Kuwabara's room. No name changes either, as with "Megallica"; the album's cover is mimicked in full, complete with artist and name.
* SingleTargetSexuality: Itsuki → Sensui.
%%* SinisterShades: Younger Toguro wears them.
* SissyVillain: Suzuki starts out like this, but after [[DefeatMeansFriendship having Genkai beat the crap out of him]], he has a HeelFaceTurn.
* SoWhatDoWeDoNow: Kuwabara smacks Yusuke for daring to feel this way after they all nearly died.
* SomethingAboutARose: Kurama, with the addition of using it as a weapon.
* SortingAlgorithmOfEvil: Every new bad guy the heroes go up against is billed as really strong and evil, but after a while, the show makes you ask why Spirit World placed such top priority against nobodies like Kurama and Hiei in the first season. However, it actually works with a bit of Fridge Logic. Because of the barrier, S-Class and A-Class demons can't cross over. So a high B (Toguro) IS the strongest force imaginable, but not someone you would send the new guy after (why Yusuke never heard of him). Sensui was an unknown threat (at least in the dub, Koenma thought he was just some crazy guy who disappeared) and all his forces were strong in different ways (the introduction of territories) and had only activated a few months prior. As for anything beyond Sensui: Those were A- and S-class demons who would never have been a problem because of the barrier. It is sort of like how a cop doesn't have to worry about someone with a nuke (for the most part).\\\
The show is considered to have one of the most broken algorithms in anime because it started to follow the ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' pattern of being ''completely'' outclassed by the next BigBad. The first few major fights Yusuke won by luck (i.e. having moss in his ears and making Rando HoistByHisOwnPetard), but once he TookALevelInBadass there was no reason why each set of villains was more powerful than the last.\\\
It's probably Toguro who really kills it. Up until that point, all of the antagonists were relatively equal, to the point that Hiei completely destroyed the penultimate Saint Beast. Then Toguro shows up and he's completely above and beyond anything they've faced, actually [[spoiler:pretending to lose]]. Then he comes BACK and reveals that he was only at 20% power. While the Dark Tournament competitors were probably on a steep power slope, there's no real indication. Yusuke goes through not one but two sudden power-ups to defeat Toguro, & he keeps those power-ups, so the other bad guys need to get stronger. Oddly enough, Sensui admits to being weaker, just more experienced until [[spoiler:his seventh personality breaks out the sacred energy]]. Even Toguro only being a B demon isn't so bad, until they actually GO to Makai and A-Classes suddenly become red shirt armies while low-to-mid S-Classes can take on hundreds at once & supposedly have planet-exploding power. It gets so bad that new characters have to come out of nowhere to claim the title of strongest.
* SparklingStreamOfTears: When Yukina cries, her tears literally become extremely expensive gems.
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: Keiko/Kayko. The official romanization of her name is Keiko, but for whatever reason {{Funimation}} chose to spell it Kayko.
* SplitPersonality: [[EverythingsBetterWithSamurai Shishiwakamaru]]. When you see him in the Dark Tournament, you see that bird boy is/can get crazy as hell.
* SpiritedCompetitor: The biggest example would have to be Jin, but there are many others: Yusuke, Kuwabara, Chu, Younger Toguro...
* SpiritualSuccessor: Considering the similar themes, and how they share the same anime director, some have stated this show is the unofficial proceeder to ''Manga/{{Bleach}}''.
* SpoilerOpening: Yes, Kurama and Hiei do become good guys.
* SpontaneousWeaponCreation: At one point, Hiei uses his ability to create a sword made out of Dark Fire. He's reluctant to use this more than he can help though, since it reminds him too much of Kuwabara's Spirit Sword.
%%* StalkerWithACrush: Karasu.
* StealthMentor: Hiei and Younger Toguro have aspects of this.
%%* StoryArc
* StoryBreakerPower: As per WordOfGod and in-universe examinations Raizen is acknowledged to have formerly been the most powerful demon in the series. Hundreds of years ago when he was in his prime Raizen had a power level so amazing that he could have easily defeated the other Two Kings of Demon World without batting an eyelid. You'd probably then wonder what is preventing Raizen from [[CurbstompBattle ending the war between the 3 kingdoms by himself]]. Raizen does have the potential to regain his old power level, but since he's a breed of demon who gains his power from eating human flesh Raizen's decision to not eat humans out of respect to Yusuke's female ancestor has led to him starving to death. In his weakened state Raizen can't fight like he used to and has retired to his castle waiting for a successor to assume his throne before he dies, Yusuke being said successor. Notably, despite having about a year left before his starvation kills him he can defeat Yusuke's newly acquired S-Class power level with a wave of his hand—like an adult kicking a child's ass, showing that Yusuke is still a runt in the litter as far as S-Class demons are concerned. Hell, it literally takes Raizen being '''minutes''' away from death for Yusuke to fight on par with Raizen.\\
For additional perspective, Kurama makes it a point that though the S-Class rank is still an awe-inspiring rank for a demon to attain, there are some demons in the ranks of Demon World that transcend the ranking system so profoundly that they might as well be considered gods; in fact the classing system of S-Class usually just translates into Spirit World lingo for "Demons too powerful for us to handle," and Kurama claims that such demons are rather offended by being classed in a ranking system when there is no way to comprehend their power. Raizen clearly was one of those demons who transcended the ranking system as old comrades/rivals speak of him in his prime with awe and reverence, that he was the most powerful demon alive in their era, and is arguably the most powerful demon that has ever lived—if the Two Kings that rival Raizen's kingdom saw Raizen fight in his prime they would "piss their pants," showcasing that only Raizen's self-imposed weakness has kept this cold war going.
* StraightGay: By WordOfGay, and pretty much the only one in anime in existence, [[spoiler:Sensui]].
* StrawmanFallacy: What [[spoiler:the Chapter Black video]] is revealed to be.
* StrongFamilyResemblance: Averted with the Toguro brothers. Younger Toguro is tall, handsome, and muscular. Elder Toguro is small, pale-skinned, and has long scraggly gray hair.
* SubvertedRhymeEveryOccasion: Karasu's "Mad bomb."
--> '''Mad bomb''': Out of luck, now you're... [smirks and growls]
* SummonMagic: Used by Rando, Kurama with plants, and Hiei with the Dragon of the Darkness Flame.
%%* SupernaturalFiction
* SupernaturalGoldEyes: Kurama may look like a red-haired, green-eyed young man in his human form, but as soon as he drops the human disguise and turns into his real [[PettingZooPeople demonic form]], his eyes change to this color. Itsuki also has this type of eyes, and they are a hint that he isn't exactly a human psychic. Elder Toguro has them too.
* SuperpoweredEvilSide:
** Subverted with Sensui's Kazuya personality which is still technically weaker than his main personality.
** [[spoiler:Possessed Mazoku Yusuke]].
* {{Synchronization}}: Between Yusuke and Puu.
%%* TeamShot
* TalkingInYourSleep: Despite sleeping heavily, Yusuke still reacts accordingly to things that happen around him. He can even ''fight'' in his sleep, apparently sleepwalking while dreaming of fighting Genkai; he managed to knock out three opponents who wanted to take advantage of his sleeping state on the ship.
* TenLittleMurderVictims: During the beginning of the Chapter Black arc, in the house of four dimensions.
* TeenPregnancy: Atsuko is 28 when Yusuke dies, meaning she was only ''14'' when he was born.
* TeethFlying: Happens off-screen in an early episode of the dub. Kuwabara is set upon by a group of thugs while he's taken a vow not to fight at all, even in his own defense. As Yusuke and Botan watch helplessly from the sidelines, Botan makes the horrified observation, "Is that a tooth?".
* TheNineties: The manga/anime takes place in the 1990s. Botan bribes Yusuke with a Tokyo Dome events, dated back in 1992. A [[FreezeFrameBonus Spirit World intelligence report on Gonzo Tarukane has the date stamp of 1993.]]
* TheHero: Yusuke, the protagonist. Most of the series is him getting assignments and the other working with him.
* TheLancer: Kuwabara has known Yusuke the longest and they are in constant conflict.
* TheBigGuy: Hiei, despite his size, his Dragon of the Darkness Flame ability has the most blunt force strength in the series.
* TheSmartGuy: Kurama, he is super analytical and frequently shown outsmarting opponents. He is also regarded as a genius in his human life.
* TheChick: Botan, the only girl and usually cheerful and supportive.
* ThirdEye: Hiei dramatically reveals one that allows him to react with inhumane speed. Later it is reveals he has extra eyes all over his body.
* ThisIsForEmphasisBitch: In episode 80 of the English dub:
-->'''Hiei:''' You ready?!\\
'''Yusuke:''' Bring it on, bitch!!
* ToServeMan: Demons (usually) eat humans for food. It doesn't say whether ''all'' species of demon have to eat human flesh to survive, though. This leads, later in the series, to [[spoiler:a [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman what measure is a human]] discussion, as well as Raizen's death via [[LoveRedeems starvation for his medieval Japanese human lover]], from whom Yusuke is descended]]...
* TournamentArc: Three of them: Genkai's Tournament, the Dark Tournament, and the Demon World Tournament.
* TrainingFromHell: Genkai's specialty. Memorably she made Yusuke balance with one finger on top of a spike.
* TranquilFury: Kurama's default angry-mode.
* TransformationSequence: Toguro going to full power [[PowerLevel 100%!!!]]. There is something about someone's skin bulging all over with tendons and convulsing that is [[BodyHorror very creepy]].
* {{Transvestite}}: [[spoiler:Miyuki.]] (see DudeLooksLikeALady)
* TrulySingleParent: [[spoiler:Yomi clones his son Shura from his own genetic material]]; also, most of the ice maidens ([[spoiler:except, of course, Hiei and Yukina]]).
* {{Tsundere}}: Keiko is a Type B; i.e., "more deredere". She's a rather nice GirlNextDoor unless provoked. Usually Yusuke provokes her, but a creepy gangster bullying one of her friends caused her to slug him so hard she knocks teeth out. Keiko can be a little bit of a BadassNormal in the strictly human arena.
* UnknownRival: Kuwabara to Yusuke for some time before the start of the series. Kuwabara is gleeful the first time Yusuke remembers his name.
* UpdatedRerelease: The Blu-Ray version for the Funimation dub. As explained by Yusuke himself [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sG7X7sp_22s here.]]
* UrbanFantasy: Largly set in urban Japan staring teenage delinquents, but demons, magic, and the undead all factor in.
* VitriolicBestBuds: Yusuke and Kuwabara, most prominently.
-->'''Kuwabara:''' ''"Dammit Urameshi, listen to me! I [[FakingTheDead did that]] because you... you're you, you moron! Don't you friggin' lose to that jackass! I'll never let you live it down! [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming You're... my best friend!]]"''
* VillainousGlutton:
** Gonzo Tarukane is fat, ugly, and has a satisfying death scene.
** Also, Gourmet.
* WaveMotionGun: Hiei's Dragon of the Darkness Flame.
* WhamLine: ''[[EldritchAbomination That Toguro]]'' is only a '''B''' class Demon?!?!
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: It's never explained who set Yusuke's house on fire.
* WhatMeasureIsANonHuman: Played straight on multiple occasions, and also somewhat inverted—coupled with CarnivoreConfusion—in the debate over whether ''demons'' have the right to eat ''humans''.
* WhatTheHellHero: The only reason Toguro killed [[spoiler:Kuwabara]] is because Genkai told him that making Yusuke watch him kill one of his friends would unlock his true power.
* WhipItGood:
** Kurama's Rose Whip.
** Miyuki's got one too.
* WolfMan: Koro Momotaro uses one of his Steaming Spheres to transform into his last Beast Armor: the Armor of the Wolf, which resembles a werewolf.
* WhyWontYouDie: It's almost comical how Byakko manages to survive not one but two near-death experiences against Kuwabara, with the latter expressing particular shock that the beast was able to survive ''getting pushed into molten lava''. That said, Seiryu is quick to [[KilledOffForReal kill him off for real]] after deeming him a [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness disgrace to the villains]].
%%* WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds: Sensui.
* WorldOfSnark: The whole main and supporting cast with the exception of Yukina. Even some of the villains can turn out snarky at times.
* WorldOfCardboardSpeech: Yusuke gives one every few sagas as he learns what it means to have a sense of responsibility.
* WorldsStrongestMan:
** [[spoiler:Sensui.]]
** After [[spoiler:Sensui]] dies, Kuwabara is confirmed to be the WorldsStrongestMan. Possessing [[spoiler:A-Class power]] and [[spoiler:a sword that can cut through dimensions]] will do that to you. Unfortunately, Kuwabara is in the same boat as [[Anime/DragonBallZ Krillin]]. Being the WorldsStrongestMan is meaningless when you CantCatchUp.
* WouldntHitAGirl: Kuwabara when trying to beat up Miyuki, [[spoiler:who, ironically, in the manga and uncensored anime, [[ShesAManInJapan wasn't a girl]]]].
* XanatosGambit:
** Sensui [[spoiler:sets up eleven-year-old Amanuma so that the only way the heroes can advance is to kill him. If they let him live, the Makai Tunnel opens without a hitch, and Sensui can die happily. If they kill him (which they do), Sensui knows that Koenma will [[BatmanGambit feel guilty and drain his energy resurrecting the kid, thereby rendering him unable to defeat Sensui]], and the Makai Tunnel ''still'' opens without a hitch and Sensui dies happily]]. Either way he buys himself time.
** It's implied that Mr. Akashi was hoping Kuwabara would hit him for changing his test to give him a failing grade, so that even if his deception came to light, Kuwabara would still have violated his end of the bargain.
* XanatosSpeedChess: Just about all of Kurama's fights. While he usually has a vague {{plan}} going in, he almost always has to rely on a stroke of genius to save the day.
* YaoiGuys: Karasu, Itsuki. Sensui is debatable, since he's not very preoccupied with relationships beyond using people while trying to destroy humankind... but there are [[StraightGay very subtle cues]] in his backstory and in the way he acts.
* YinYangBomb: Toward the end of the series, [[spoiler:Yusuke mixes human energy and demon energy]]. The resulting combination is far more powerful than the two were separately.
* YouGottaHaveBlueHair
--> '''Koto (to Botan):''' Stick to what you're good at, honey, like [[LampshadeHanging dying your hair]] ''[[LampshadeHanging un]]''[[LampshadeHanging natural colors,]] for instance. Gets lampshaded a second time when Botan rushes to Yusuke to inform him of an update on his current case, and he jokes "What's the problem, ran out of your hair dye?" Koenma even comments on Yusuke's remark, "That's Botan's natural hair color, it makes no sense to joke about it Yusuke."
* {{Youkai}}: Nearly 80% of all the antagonists in the series and 3/5 of the [[TrueCompanions Nakama]].
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