Ho Yay / YuYu Hakusho

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"Who was the husband and who was the wife?"

  • The most understated pairing in YYH is Kazuma Kuwabara and Yusuke Urameshi. From the premonition of a kiss, to one or the other going full-blown hysterical whenever the other is hurt—except in the instances when they are hurting one another. They are the quintessential guys who hate each other becoming best friends. The focus is definitely on Yusuke's emotional outbursts increasing his reiki and it's usually Kuwabara who is the one who has to get injured in a big way for him to peak. It's justified in-universe as Yusuke being very protective of Kuwabara.
    • Lampshaded in the anime, when Kuwabara's friend muse they were husband and wife in a past life, and we're subjected to imagine bubbles of Yusuke and Kuwabara alternating between both roles. When Kuwabara is seen as the wife he's shown as a house wife, while Yusuke is shown as a mother of a child pushing the baby in a stroller with Kuwabara by her side. All of this is played out while Yusuke and Kuwabara are fighting in the classroom like an old married couple.
      • An obvious example is the dream kiss between him and Yusuke. Back when Yusuke was still dead and needed someone to transfer their life energy into him through the lips, Koenma tells him that only the people that care about him the most can do this for him. Keiko, his mother, and Kuwabara are the only people he can think of that care that much about him, which in Kuwabara's case says a lot. What makes it even funnier is Yusuke is forced to implant this dream into Kuwabara's head, simply to increase his chances of coming back to life since 2 kisses from either Keiko or Kuwabara is better than just one (Yusuke dismisses his mom outright, because she's a partying drunk that won't be there long enough). Kuwabara for his part reacts to the dream with horror, and he's so disturbed by it that he goes to the arcade to unwind from the stress (hurting Yusuke's chances, but fortunately Keiko does make it in time).
      • A lot of Kuwabara's early behavior seems like he's an old friend of Yusuke's who hates how he became a delinquent and fights him primarily to get his attention. When Yusuke is being pummeled to a pulp by Toguro he regresses into his own mental bubble, and Kuwabara and Keiko are shown as childhood friends of his — with Kuwabara slowly melting away as only Keiko remains by his side. Though there's also a playfulness in Kuwabara's rivalry to Yusuke, like whenever he has his friend to measure against he has a bench mark he can aim for surpassing. And in another sense he wants to be useful to Yusuke, someone who keeps his rival on edge so he remains at his best also. The ease with which he jumps into Yusuke's crazy adventures shortly after learning about the Spirit World would support this character interpretation — that he always wanted to challenge Yusuke to a good, wholesome duel but also stand up for him when he needed help.
      • Yusuke is also extremely protective of Kuwabara and shows a lot of worry whenever he's hurt/about to die. During the fight with Byakko Yusuke repeatedly demands that he be allowed to step in so Kuwabara doesn't die. He gets very upset when Kuwabara lets himself get hurt in order to save Yen, Kai, and Ryo from Dr. Ichigaki's brainwashing and contemplates killing them rather than letting Kuwabara get hurt over what looks like a lost cause. When up against the Ninja team Yusuke would rather risk getting into a war with the entire Dark Tournmanet, then letting the injured Kuwabara fight on their behalf (the Tournament had disqualified Yusuke over a bogus technicality). And then most notably Yusuke has an utter freak out when Toguro suggests that he's going to kill Kuwabara in order to awaken his true potential, and gets the shit beat out of him trying to defend Kuwabara. When Kuwabara apparently dies by Toguro's hand the shock is too great to bear and all of his latent power comes flooding out, with him declaring to Toguro that as much as he hates him he will never forgive himself for letting Kuwabara die (fortunately Toguro was just faking it).
      • Kuwabara is no slacker in the intense emotions department either. During Yusuke's funeral Kuwabara has a melt down, declaring that Yusuke's presence gave him meaning and purpose — unsure of what he's supposed to do without him there. And when Yusuke was prepared to give his life so Kuwabara, Hiei, and Kurama would unlock their latent powers against Sensui, he likewise has a major freak out. Kuwabara declares that Yusuke all along has been his best friend, and that he's defined such a large part of his existence on Yusuke that he can't imagine his life without him — echoing the earlier funeral. He begs Yusuke to please find another way, tears streaming down his face as he realizes what's about to happen. The idea of just letting Yusuke die is so infuriating to him that he unlocks the Dimension Cutting Sword at that moment and destroys Itsuki's dimension beast. Sadly for him he didn't unlock the power in time and Sensui still kills Yusuke, and the breakdown he suffers afterward is heartbreaking. Hiei, himself, and Kurama all charge ahead in pursuit of Sensui, with Kuwabara thinking to himself that he's willing to die in order to avenge Yusuke. Fortunately Yusuke does get better, with Sensui even noting that Yusuke's friends are more empowered by his return than by his death.
  • More acknowledged is Hiei and Kurama. Though both tend to be introverts on the show, Kurama is the only one that Hiei appears to trust completely, even showing up at Kurama's human home more often than not. Also, Kurama thinks to himself when they're fighting Sensui that "This might be the first time Hiei has ever been willing to die for anyone other than himself". This is actually untrue because when Kurama was knocked out after his fight with Touya, Hiei almost released the Dragon of the Darkness Flame whenever Kurama was being thrown around while unconscious even though it meant that he would die at the time since he hadn't mastered it yet. Kurama was unconscious so he never knew he was about to do that. One is rarely seen without the other, and there is promotional art for the series where Kurama is hugging Hiei (the fact that he can do this and live says something right there) and one where he has his arm around him in a very possessive manner. Most of the official art shows Hiei and Kurama together.
    • One thing you will notice is that they hint towards Hiei and Mukuro only in the anime. The whole scene with Hiei falling into Mukuro's arms never happened in the manga. Neither did the scene where Kurama tells Hiei he's not interested in him. It's rumored these were added to ward off suspicions of them being together.
      • Considering the "birthday present" Hiei gives Mukuro in the manga and the fact that he remains with her the above is just speculation.
    • Wait, when did they confirm the two knowing each other in the Makai? The Maya side-story confirmed that Kurama at least knew Hiei's reputation, but it was made pretty clear that they didn't actually know each other. Plus half the story is about Kurama not being able to admit he loves this girl for whatever reason.
      • Well it's not really confirmed that he loved her. The reason he could obviously never be with her (and honestly why would he want to) is because he hadn't planned on staying a human at all. He still really doesn't. When it comes down to it, he's a demon and that's all there is to it. Also I think they've both heard of each other but I don't think they had a past together specifically. I'll take the liberty of removing whoever put that.
        Kurama: (response to Maya's love declaration) "I'm sorry." (thinking) It's too dangerous to tell you... how I really feel.
    • When asked if Kurama and Hiei were an Official Couple, Togashi said that he hadn't intended them to be but in retrospect, he could have easily done it.
  • Yusuke touches Kurama a lot and Kurama never seems to mind. He also has the most obvious, freaked-out reaction during the Dark Tournament in battles whenever Kurama's Batman Gambit fails and his life is at risk. Yes, he was even willing to kill and get his whole team disqualified if one opponent didn't back off torturing an unconscious Kurama.
    • After the fights, Yusuke is the one to help Kurama out of the ring. Including at one point, a bridal carry.
    • At the end of the Sensui Arc after Yusuke has revived with his demon side, he goes to Kurama to get his hair cut back to normal.
    • It's also when Yusuke gets involved in the demon tournament and meets with Yomi that Kurama switches sides. Keep in mind, Kurama has known Yomi for far longer than Yusuke has even been alive, and yet in their short time together Kurama is convinced that Yusuke is a better person to side with than Yomi.
    • There's also the parallels between Yusuke/Kurama and Sensui/Itsuki. Both Sensui and Yusuke end up sparing the respective demon's lives and get everlasting loyalty in return, both Itsuki and Kurama tend to be the schemers to Yusuke/Sensui's sheer power.
    • Going by Japanese folklore on kitsunes, thanks to Yusuke sparing Kurama's life, Kurama now owes him a life debt. Which also can explain a lot of Kurama's loyalty to the other.
    • If you pay attention, Kurama is actually the one Yusuke is nicest toward while being bad tempered with everyone else and even when he does yell at Kurama, he cuts down on the foul mouth. He also seemed a little too worried with how Kurama was feeling after killing Amanuma.
  • Kurama and Kuwabara moments are more subdued but it's apparent that they care about each other. The story places a lot of focus on the two as a mentor-student relationship, with Kurama showing a level of kindness and patience that Kuwabara doesn't receive from the others — namely that Kurama actually listens to Kuwabara's concerns and questions and gives the most honest, frank advice he can so Kuwabara understands. Though Kurama doesn't go easy on Kuwabara, possessing enough pragmatism to push Kuwabara to his limits so he's prepared. Kuwabara for his part shows immense gratitude to Kurama for all the effort the fox demon puts into his training.
    • Whenever there are group meetings Kurama and Kuwabara are usually already seen hanging out together before any of the others arrive. Of particular note they're the first two people to join up for the trip to Genkai's estate in the finale of the Anime, and they spend the whole day talking about their past adventures in very nostalgic tones. If you need any further proof of how much Kurama values Kuwabara's friendship you'll notice that Kuwabara is the only one of Kurama's 3 closest friends that attended his mother's wedding to his step father (mind you Yusuke and Hiei had important matters to attend to in Demon World, but it's still very telling).
      • Kurama's so close to Kuwabara in fact that outside observers mistook him for Kuwabara's girlfriend! In the final chapters of the Manga and the final episode of the Anime some students from Kuwabara's college comment on Kurama's feminine appearance and ask Kuwabara if that's his girlfriend. In the Manga Kurama looks notably irritated, and after they walk off Kurama reads the mind of a pedestrian who ALSO thinks Kurama and Kuwabara look like a lovely couple (poor guy can't get a break). In the Anime he's more nonchalant and laughs it off. While it is a jab at Kurama's appearance, the fact that their first impression was that they were a couple shows how friendly and at ease the two are around each other that they would make that mistake. Also, based on Japanese folklore Kitsune were shape-shifters capable of turning into females and were considered loyal and dependable wives by the men they seduced. Though as Kuwabara said our favorite fox just has delicate features...
      • During the Dark Tournament arc an injured Kuwabara fights the leader of the Ninja Team with his Life Energy, fully intending to die so his team mates could win the match. Before charging into this course of action he faces his team mates and confesses how he feels about them. Hiei gets a begrudging expression of affection, with Yusuke his thoughts are leaning in the direction that they're best friends but he's too embarrassed to articulate it, but when he faces Kurama it comes easily and automatically for him to consider the fox demon a good person and a good friend.
      • When Kurama is worried about Yusuke during his battle with Yomi, he has a flashback to something Kuwabara said and it brings him comfort. He then smiles and stands back content that everything will be alright.
      • Kurama and Kuwabara are also natural partners in crime. They both enjoy jerking Yusuke's chain and a couple of times they gang up on him to do it, such as when they try to convince him Keiko was killed by Suzaku.
      • During the Makai Tournament in the anime, Kurama briefly muses on his three friends. His mental image of Hiei shows them facing each other, but not making eye contact and his mental image of Yusuke is of them smiling at each other while Yusuke helps him out of the ring at the Dark Tournament. His mental image of Kuwabara, for comparison, comes last, and it shows Kuwabara laughing with his arm tight around Kurama's shoulders, while Kurama grins.
      • Not helping matters is the fact that Kuwabara comments on Kurama's fox demon form as "foxy." Kuwabara is clearly thinking in literal terms, since Kurama sports a tail and fox ears in his demon form... but foxy is usually a term reserved for beautiful and highly attractive women. Probably should have chosen a better choice of words.
      • Kuwabara also has no sense of personal space where Kurama is concerned. When he wants to to talk to him, he puts an arm around his shoulders and leans in very close. And Kurama is utterly unfazed by it. Their friendship is just a lot more friendly than the others', they probably tease and aggravate each other the least. (Though it does happen occasionally.)
      • A fairly minor touch, but in the Japanese Anime Kurama addresses Kuwabara with the suffix Kun. In Japanese culture Kun is a very formalized way of addressing affection/respect held for males that you know personally. Not even Hiei is addressed in this manner (mind you, Hiei would probably chew Kurama out for using such a "cute" term around him).
  • Not to mention Yusuke is neck-deep in Foe Yay with all of his male enemies at times.
    • Special mention goes to his fight with Jin in the Dark Tournament; they begin the fight by talking about how much fun they're about to have and how impressed they are by each other. Other characters can't understand why Yusuke is enjoying himself so much and Kuwabara calls Yusuke's passion for fighting strong guys like Jin a perversion. The English dub changes this to a comment about how Jin and Yusuke understand each other in a brotherly way.
  • How about Kurama being Foe Yay with Karasu? Major one there.
    • Even Togashi shipped Karasu and Kurama in his doujinshi Yoshirin de Pon!
  • Kurama and Kuronue in the movie. It's one of the rare cases of him losing his cool.
  • And to an extent, Yomi and Kurama. Yomi is very obsessed with getting Kurama back into his fold and getting his support during the demon tournament. He's also the one to help carry Kurama out after the fox demon's last fight.
    • Let's just settle on "Kurama has a thing with dark-long-haired demons" and leave it at that.
  • How about Koenma and Ogre, "You'd look a little suspicious carrying a teenage stud in your arms." It is fairly abusive, but still. Also whenever Koenma says "Why don't you ever talk to me like that, Ogre?!" during the dark tournament.
  • Ho Yay is Togashi's forte. It's very difficult to look at ANY two males' interactions in YuYu Hakusho OR Hunter Hunter without seeing something there. Yusuke x Kuwabara? Kurama x Hiei? Itsuki x Sensui? Yep. Killua and Gon? Leorio x Kurapika? Even Hisoka x Gon, it's there kids! Tons of Foe Yay in both with the protagonists and some villains? HELLS YEAH.
    • Either Togashi is really oblivious when it comes to making friendship seem like friendship, the couples are real, or they're just a huge shiptease.
  • And of course the whole thing is mocked in The Abridged Series... via Botan writing a Valentine's Day Special Fan Fic. And BOY, do we mean special.
  • Sensui/Itsuki, which moves into the territory of "canon".
  • The Big Bad of the story arc Shinobu Sensui is seen taking the Game Master, Amanuma, to dinner, coming to his house and the next scene is him with black angel wings wrapped around Amanuma who is nuzzling his head into his arms. It's heavily implied that Sensui had spent the night.
    • Amanuma is twelve. At best. This is less HoYay and more HoBrain Bleach.
  • Koenma and Sensui. Koenma was willing to trap them together for all eternity, and Sensui's boyfriend, Itsuki, is quite hostile to him when Sensui dies. It's clear that Koenma cared about Shinobu a lot and had a hard time coming to grips with him being the enemy.
  • Yusuke and Hiei deserve a space here, too. Yusuke likes Hiei for no apparent reason, and Hiei is utterly flabbergasted by it. Hiei tries to stealth mentor Yusuke and only gets involved in the fight against Sensui to save his life. And there's that long, sweaty, shirtless bitchfight they have out of pique. Yusuke, for his part, sees right through Hiei's tough guy act.
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