YMMV: YuYu Hakusho

  • Adaptation Displacement: The anime is much more well-known than the manga. Reasons for this that are cited are Studio Pierrot's practice of Adaptation Distillation and to some extent Pragmatic Adaptation in compressing Early Installment Weirdness of Yusuke's pre-resurrection errands (which lasted for two volumes in the manga, but is only five episodes in the anime), omitting certain details that were considered unnecessary grittiness (for example in the Manga Yusuke, who is a teenager, was established as being a smoker. The anime completely removes this aspect of his character even if only to avoid controversy with public moral censors) and even some degree of Adaptation Expansion in turning minor plot points into mini subplots.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: The anime made Sakyo out to be a character you can almost sympathize with especially when he dies, while the manga makes him out to be a very rich businessman with very sick hobbies.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: After showing off his powers for a bit, Hagiri is suddenly defeated in one panel by Hiei's arrival. Gourmet, or rather Elder Toguro wearing his body is taken out in a similarly quick manner.
    • In the manga it's none other than Yomi. After a brief exchange in the fight, the story jumps to some time later with Yusuke commenting on what happened.
    • For being strong enough to make it to the semi-finals of the Dark Tournament, Shishiwakamaru and Suzuka each go down very quickly against Genkai, despite the latter being in a severely weakened state. Suzuka especially seemed to be set up as a Magnificent Bastard, earning some wariness from Kurama and Hiei.
  • Ass Pull: Yusuke being part demon came right smack out of nowhere.
  • Base Breaker: Shinobu Sensui. Some like him as a suave, Intellectual, Clever Fallen Hero turned Misanthropic Villain, though detractors feel that he is ridiculously over intelligent and powered.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Most famous is the Elder Toguro. In contrast to his honorable Noble Demon younger brother, Toguro freely admits to being a treacherous sadist devoid of honor. In his first appearance, he kills Yukina's only friends, a pair of bluebirds, with great relish. In his first match at the Dark Tournament, he spares two fighters and promises to let one join Team Toguro. When one begs for his life, Toguro kills him...and then kills the other because he just hates keeping his promises. After the death of Genkai, Toguro uses his powers to make a mockery of her in front of everyone, particularly bringing it up to try to break Kuwabara's spirit during their fight, after he had already beaten and impaled Kuwabara repeatedly. His crowning moment of evil was letting the psychic Gourmet devour him... and then he tortuously devoured him from the inside out, delighting in his pain all the while. Later on he would use the Gourmet's powers to eat Yusuke's ally Murota alive. All of these crimes were committed while Elder Toguro was helping in two attempts to open a portal from the demon world into the human world which would lead to the humans being overrun and massacred by the demons.
    • Gonzo Tarukane in the English dub was given more crimes than in the original Japanese. While Tarukane desires wealth above all, he kidnaps the innocent snow maiden Yukina due to her tears producing rare jewels and tortures her physically and emotionally, even having the man who tried to rescue her gunned down. Adding to his crimes, Tarukane puts animals through horrible genetic experiments and founded the sinister Black Black club, making him responsible for the torture and murder of countless innocent demons. Tarukane shows that that humans can be just as vile as even the worst of demons.
    • Mad Scientist demon Dr. Ichigaki makes a kind martial arts master sick so his followers make a Deal with the Devil with Ichigaki to cure the master and save him by joining Ichigaki's experiments. He proceeds to turn said followers into bio-engineered Brainwashed and Crazy killing machines, and doesn't even cure their master. Ichigaki openly admits to not caring about said brainwashed killing machines and only entered into the tournament to get Yusuke's body; once that happened, he'd dispose of the disciples himself. He takes a sick pleasure in watching Yusuke and Kuwabara choose between winning the match (and killing the innocent followers) or trying to save them (and ending up slain).
    • Finally, there's the Makai ruler Mukuro's stepfather. He outfitted her with cybernetics to turn her into his sex-slave at birth, and started raping her as soon as the procedure was complete. This continued throughout her childhood until she disfigured herself with acid so she'd be too unattractive for him to be interested, at which point he simply threw her out. Just to make sure she wouldn't try to kill him later on, he implanted Mukuro with false memories of him having been nice to her before. He had to implant these memories because he'd never shown her any kindness in her life.
  • Counterpart Comparison: Given how prominent this show and DBZ were in the West during the early 2000s, it's no surprise that Hiei gets this with Vegeta. Both were originally slated to be arc villains, but proved to be so popular that they ended up becoming major supporting characters for the rest of the series. Additionally, both are notable for being short, but powerful, anti-heroes with black, spiky hair, and each are shown prioritizing training over social interactions in attempts to overcome the protagonists in strength.
  • Creepy Awesome: The Toguro Brothers, Karasu, & Shinobu Sensui.
  • Cult Classic: Not nearly as popular as Dragon Ball Z, its rival at the time, but it has a fierce following.
  • Die for Our Ship: In spades. Keiko gets her fair share of this, but the biggest victim is actually Mukuro, who has beautifully written moments of warmth with Hiei (that differ in the manga and anime, but both have impact). Naturally, she is written off as a conceited whore that torments Hiei, allowing Kurama to come and rescue him.
    • Yoshihiro Togashi actually intended for Hiei and Mukuro to be a canon pairing, but the fan backlash that came about their Ship Tease was so severe that he canned it!
    • Let's not forget Maya Kitajima from the manga. Almost 90% of the few mentions she gets in the fandom are about how much of a "bitch" and a "slut" she is... merely for having a crush on her senpai Kurama!
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Sakyo gets this in canon in the anime, which gives him a romance with Shizuru and, as a result, an Alas, Poor Villain death. In the manga, he never gets involved with Shizuru at all, and certainly nobody mourns his passing.
    • Sensui in the Japanese fandom. Japanese fangirls have said they want to date and/or marry him. In the United States...not so much.
  • Ending Fatigue: The final arc and epilogue somehow managed to drag on and feel rushed at the same time. The Three Kings arc ends right in the middle of Yusuke and Yomi's fight, with all the outcomes of the tournament simply told to the reader after the fact. And then after that is the multi-chapter epilogue that's basically just a large series of unnecessary one-shots (enough to take up an entire tankobon,) ending with one more conflict that's resolved easily, but once again ends right in the middle. Not to mention that Genkai's second and final death occurs off-panel during this part, and what would've been her very last appearance in the manga is after the cut-off point.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Oddly enough, the second judge during the Dark Tournament saga, Juri, proved to be a decently popular character despite only being in the show for the last quarter of that arc. The other judge, Koto, is also pretty well-liked.
    • Not to mention Chu and Jin, two characters who remain popular despite comparatively little screentime. Of course one of the factors of Chu's darkhorseness is because of his voice being Norio Wakamoto. And then this.note . As well as being a Wild Card Badass turning the trope of the usual Training from Hell results into a balanced and unpredictable fight.
    • And of course there's Hiei, who according to Word of God was just supposed to be a Starter Villain (clear with his more psychotic personality and "true demon form" showing), but whose popularity launched him to the status of one of the four main characters.
  • Evil Is Cool: Younger Toguro. Sakyou also deserves props for managing to still be a compelling Non-Action Big Bad in a World of Badass, especially with Younger Toguro as his Dragon-in-Chief.
  • Foe Yay: Yusuke and every single main villain. Plus, Karasu spends the last parts of the Dark Tournament coming on to Kurama; "Human bodies are so frail... I know you fear what my touch could do to you... yet maybe you also want to know it." All this while stroking his hair from behind. Elder Toguro has a couple Foe Yay 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.
  • God-Mode Sue: Sensui. Deconstructed via With Great Power Comes Great Insanity.
  • Growing the Beard: For the series, the Four Saint Beasts arc. The dub version was Growing the Beard for FUNimation, who worried some fans because of the massive changes seen in Dragon Ball Z. Using experienced voice actors is the best way of appealing to an audience.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The Spirit World Sect Terrorist who appeared in the next to last chapter are eerily similar to modern day Religiously motivated Terror groups, most notably Aum Shinrikyo who committed the 1995 Tokyo subway sarin Attack only months later. In retrospect, omitting that chapter was wise on Studio Pierrot's part.
  • Ho Yay: Tons. Yu Yu is the granddaddy of shonen series using this trope to grab at the female demographic, and that's not even mentioning the canon gay couple. Not to mention Yusuke is neck-deep in Foe Yay at times. And let's not even start with Hiei and Kurama...
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: An annoying, control freak weirdo with a high pitched voice shrieking "UNACCEPTABLE"? Surely you're talking about the teacher.
    • Zeru of the Jolly Devil Six has an uncannily similar resemblance to Edward Cullen.
    • In mixture of this and Heartwarming in Hindsight, in a manga-exclusive story at the end of the fifth volume, when Kurama saves Yusuke and Kuwabara from a gang of riled street thugs, who have mistaken them for a duo of half breed demon look-alikes, by throwing a rose, he quips that they can call him Tuxedo Mask. Years later Yoshihiro Togashi and Sailor Moon creator Naoko Takeuchi would marry.
    • Puu, in his initial appearance, looks like a Furby, which came out four years after Yu Yu Hakusho ended.
  • Jerk Ass Woobie: Hiei. It's not revealed until the third and final arc though.
    • Learning Hiei's backstory doesn't resurrect all the people he's killed, but it gives his actions meaning, and really turns him into a tragic hero.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Several of the villains, particularly Sakyou and Sensui, and Kurama, despite technically being a good guy, occasionally show aspects of this.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Even with his Freudian Excuse, some fans still can't forgive Toguro for his brutal murder of Genkai, massacring half the tournament stadium, and even his false-killing of Kuwabara.
    • Elder Toguro. Three words: Genkai puppet show.
    • Arguably taking over Makihara's body and torturing/killing him from the inside. And enjoying it thoroughly.
    • And then as Gourmet, he ate the mind reader, Murota, who had helped Yusuke and company out earlier.
    • What Ichigaki did to his "test subjects" will make you want to reach through the screen and strangle him. That, and his Annoying Laugh.
    • Despite being fairly minor in comparison to later episodes Mr. Akashi certainly crossed this in episode three when he nearly takes away a member of Kuwabara's gang's job which his family needs to survive for attacking a group of thugs harassing Keiko, only relenting when Kuwabara promises not to fight for a week. After Kuwabara stays true to his word and takes beating after beating, he adds the condition that all the members must pass their biology test with full knowledge that they're Book Dumb. And when they all pass thanks to Yusuke helping Kuwabara study from beyond the grave, he erases one of Kuwabara's answers bringing him down to failing, then proceeding to rub it in his face when that he failed his friends. This backfires as the principal was there when he edited the answer sheet, resulting in him being fired and forced to bump his grade back up.
  • Narm: Even though YuYu Hakusho is usually good at avoiding this, it's really noticeable when it shows up. One such scene is with Sensui's sacred energy armor. Not only does it look funny but he just had to add to the narm by saying "I'm a living breathing sentient tank!"
    • The Viz manga translation is packed to the brim with hilariously inoffensive cussing.
    • Funimation's dub had Yusuke's near-constant use of calling something "Stupid X" (ex: "I'm here to kick your stupid ass!") in the earlier episodes. This was gradually phased out around the time of the Dark Tournament arc.
  • Narm Charm: The Beautiful. Suzuka. Just watch Episode 50. Watching an old lady royally kick a gay clown's ass all over the place with nothing but her bare hands is pretty damn hilarious. Suzuka's antics along with Genkai's responses to them are really what makes it work.
  • The Scrappy: Sensui can get this, mostly in the West. Some (mostly male fans) say he's too powerful. Others (mostly female fans) say he's "not bishie enough to be gay."
  • Seasonal Rot: The Three Kings arc suffers from this. Common criticism involves Kuwabara being demoted to extra, the heroes not being heroic and an attempt to replicate the Dark Tournament arc but made most of the fights anti-climatic. The manga has it even worse at it showed about five battles that were very short.
  • Strawman Has a Point: He's completely ridiculous in every other respect, but Suzuka is right that people tend to aggrandize things that are shrouded in mystery, this being the reason he gives for keeping his "beautiful" face hidden under clown makeup.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Some reactions when the show was ported to Toonami from [adult swim] as the shift to weekday afternoons meant it had to be edited losing some of the luster of the fights that come off as awkward without the uncut content. Even worse was that the show only reached the Saint Beasts Arc when it was on Adult Swim, denying fans of seeing the Dark Tournament and Chapter Black arc uncut on TV.
  • Too Cool to Live: Raizen, who was the strongest demon, even on his deathbed. He was still able to trounce the Big Bad in Yusuke's body and then did the same to his descendant even minutes from death.
    • Younger Toguro and Karasu are villainous examples, is a demon with extreme brute strength and overwhelming presence and the latter is one of the few people that outsmarts Kurama as well as managing his overwhelming power with elegant grace.
    • Sensui despite his hate, is both this and Too Powerful to Live.
  • Uncanny Valley: When Sensui first returns to his true self, in both the anime and the manga, his overall expression looks like a normal person and even polite but the overall atmosphere and his too humanlike facial expressions tells you how wrong that is.
  • The Untwist: In-universe. There is no one who is surprised by who the "mysterious masked fighter" is in the Dark Tournament saga.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Touya is a very pretty boy, which would be fine. But he's also an ice demon, and the best known race of ice demons has been established to be entirely female. He is established to be a different species but it's still enough that some fans swear he's female.
    • Kurama is infamous for this, to the point that one of the DUB STUDIOS thought he was female!
  • What an Idiot: Kuwabara during his fight with Onji. While the fight is never depicted in the manga outside of the results, the anime actually shows Kuwabara almost immediately running into Onji's attack and not even trying to avoid it. There's also Hiei trying to mock Kaito by almost immediately saying "hot" and getting his soul taken as a result. You can't really blame the others for teasing him over it after that happens.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Badass?: Keiko gets this from "feminist" fangirls for being one of the few characters who doesn't have any powers, as well as getting emotional in distressing situations. Some of her detractors would go far as ignoring and outright denying anything good she's ever done in the series.
  • The Woobie: Kiyoshi Mitarai, a.k.a. Seaman, suffered a great deal from bullying before joining Sensui. Also, Yukina in her introductory arc; she secretes jewels when she cries, and Tarukane will naturally go to great lengths to get them.
  • Woolseyism: "I know as much about games as I do hugs and puppies, and care for them even less. Wake me for the end of the world." The English dub is pure gold!
    • The implied romance between Younger Toguro and Genkai is much more accentuated in the dub, making their scenes far more heart-wrenching.
    • The supposed 100% strength of Toguro that was later surpassed by 100% over 100% was changed to "more like 85%" and TRUE 100% to make a bit more sense.
    • During the flashback of Itsuki meeting Sensui, Sensui asks if Itsuki has any regrets, and Itsuki names a TV show and a (at the time) celebrity who would be performing on it, which surprised Sensui because he watched the show too, and realized how... human Youkai were. They obviously couldn't name the TV show or celebrity in the dub because people wouldn't know who it is; but they still get the point across by having Itsuki say, "My favorite TV show will be airing its final episode tomorrow, and I want to see how it ends".
    • Both the English dub and the translation of the manga do an excellent job of translating Kurama's challenge to Kaito, in which if they say any of the forbidden letters—one is added from the back of the alphabet each minute.
    • Watching the dub while having more literally translated English subtitles enabled, it is apparent that the dub script is often more colorful and, in the case of Botan and Koenma's explanation of plot points early on, better at getting certain aspects of the plot (specifically, just how the show's depiction of the afterlife and revival process works) across.