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Nightmare Fuel / YuYu Hakusho

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Kurama reminding everyone to Beware the Nice Ones.

As much as YuYu Hakusho is a shounen series, Yoshihiro Togashi was inspired by H. R. Giger (the artist who designed the titular Xenomorph Aliens), and the '90s was a grand time for Darker and Edgier anime. The series' debut came out at a time when lighting helped give '90s anime a gloomy and airy effect for atmospheres, and considering Togashi's aforenentioned inspiration and Yu Yu Hakusho's themes of the supernatural, eldritch, and infernal, the series does not skimp out on the Nightmare Fuel.

  • Near the beginning of the series, Botan tells Yusuke that his death to save a child was not only completely unnecessary, but also made things worse. This is Nightmare Fuel due to how it essentially went From Bad to Worse.
  • Chapter Black. The fact that all of mankind's worst moments, from genocide, slavery, rape, death, hatred, and all of the evils committed during war as well as suffering of all sorts, unadulterated and uncut, were put on tape, and you could watch real-life cruelties and evils committed from all throughout time. As Yusuke says, there's horrible stuff on the news every day. Can anyone even imagine a compilation of the worst of the worst? And remain sane after watching it?
  • Reading into Sensui's Mind. Murota goes insane over the fact that Sensui chants nothing but how much he would like to see piles of bodies, from adults, to children, to the elderly, piled in graves, and butchered in any feasible and possible manner, and gets more and more ecstatic about killing EVERY human.
  • The Anime was darker and less discreet about showing us what on earth could happen should Yusuke and the crew die or fail on their mission, and what on earth they had at stake. And they did NOT skimp out on the details.
    • The Makai Insect infestation. Hundreds of large demonic mosquito-like bugs that possess anyone they attach to by moving under their skin and turning them into mindless aggressive zombies devoid of any inhibitions. Add to the fact they're controlled by a psychopathic demon who wants them to attack Yusuke's friends for pissing him off.
    • The result of the opening of the entrance to the Demon World. GOOD FUCKING LORDS.
    • Mr. Iwamoto possessed by a Makai Insect, is now free of all inhibitions and microscopic shreds of whatever passes as "morals" he had and the worst part is that he still has some degree of sentience. RUN, KEIKO, RUN!
  • Younger Toguro literally kicking off the Dark Tournament Arc by decapitating Gonzou Tarukane. He kicks Tarukane's head so hard through the glass that it flies off-panel in the manga. Again the anime is less discreet about it as Koenma, George, and Botan have the distinct "pleasure" of seeing the head fly into the surveillance camera.
  • The Sinning Tree, and Elder Toguro's ultimate fate. He doesn't die. He never will. An eternal life under a nightmare and your worst fears to haunt you forever. Give that a thought.
    • Quite fitting in that pretty much everything about Elder Toguro is Nightmare Fuel actually, up to and including his "death". His Lovecraftian Superpower, creepy head in a fish tank, killing Gourmet from the inside, he probably also ate Murota as Gourmet, even his personality could be considered Nightmare Fuel. Not to mention killing Yukina's birds For the Evulz and wanting to rape Genkai when she was younger.
    • Kurama in this scene also deserves special mention. After being forced into having to kill a child, Kurama is quiet, yet visibly angry, and makes that apparent when he talks to the revealed Elder Toguro. As his opponent happily reminds him that he can't be killed, Kurama is unfazed and covers the area in smoke. When we see Elder Toguro finding and impaling Kurama after reading his thoughts, it can be a surprise shock to some, but then he smiles while bleeding from the mouth, and even more so as Elder Toguro keeps slashing at him. Not that any of this was happening, since it was all a hallucination from the Sinning Tree.
  • Younger Toguro going 100%, it starts off with a gaunt body, compressing the power, it bursts into purple energy that later shrouds the arena in darkness. After which, Toguro greatly enlarges his body (which sounds very painful) through bursting muscles to unnatural extremes, we see a close-up of his new muscle skin as well as which appears to be breathing just before the transformation completes. The transformation is so horrifying that the normally unflappable Sakyo is scared shitless and visibly sweating after witnessing it for the first time.
    • During his No-Holds-Barred Beatdown at the hands of Toguro, he tries to escape into his dreams where he sees himself and Keiko as children. Toguro appears as an enlarged version of himself to grab her, saying its too early to escape into his dreams.
    • Younger Toguro's incredibly creepy Slasher Smile whenever he gets a decent fight is considerably unnerving coupled with his Sinister Shades. To see a man who's mostly The Stoic, suddenly smiling like a maniac and growing his muscles to disgusting and unstoppable extremes to pound you into pulp is the stuff of nightmares. Notable in during his first fight with Genkai, his first move was to try and rip out her heart.
    • Later, Yusuke is shocked at learning that, as powerful as Younger Toguro is, he's considered just a B-Class fighter. Compared with the S-Class demons like Raizen, Younger Toguro's just an amoeba.
  • The Black Black Club and the Feast of Human Vices. Just . . . all of it. The concept of the most wealthy people in the world operating a black market to capture, enslave, torture and sell lower-class demons at enormous prices, what little we're shown of it . . . demons may be horrible, but the Feast proves that humans can be way worse. And witnessing this is Sensui's Start of Darkness.
    • There's a small difference between the manga and anime's version of this scene that actually serves to make the latter creepier. In the manga, the BBC actually notice Sensui when he barges in and are taken off guard by his presence. But in the anime, they appear to be so caught up in their hedonistic and sadism filled bliss that they don't even seem to realize that he's there. The creepy and ironically demonic sounding laughter coming from them during all of this doesn't help either.
  • During the Sensui fight, there's one pretty unsettling Mood Whiplash Sensui shoots Yusuke, and soon takes a completely different persona. That being a sadistic gunman called Kazuya who gives Yusuke a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown by gunning him down and grinding his wounds, This wouldn't be so bad, if we didn't learn that he was an admitted baby killer and loves the sound of screaming way too much. Thankfully, Koenma shows up before Kazuya decided to blast through Yusuke's skull. Quite a twist from a suave manipulator.
  • Yukina saying that she's searching for her brother to have him commit a genocide, especially with it coming from such a nice girl.
    • Hiei's reply, and his reason (that he didn't tell her): to do it herself, and he wouldn't do it himself because as far as he was concerned it was crueler to let them live.
  • Hiei's idea of a nice birthday gift for Mukuro. Actually, this is almost funny in a sick, sick, sick way, seeing as that's the guy who used her as a sex slave, but still...
  • Mukuro was "fitted" to be used as a sex slave when she was just a NEWBORN BABY. In other words, she was raped since age 0. Brrrr.
  • While Kurama has a fancy rose whip, he's capable of summoning man-eating plants with acidic saliva, bloodsucking plants that literally either burst from the victim's body or drain them dry, and here's the kicker, a plant that constantly drains your life while giving you hallucinations of your worst fears, potentially a living hell for any impossible-to-kill psychopaths. Yes, he is one of the good guys. Perhaps, the nicest of the main cast.
    • The Rose Whip is shown to slice and dice like a blade. But a quick search on medieval torture would tell you that is not how a spiked whip actually works.
    • His personality when he gets serious can be nightmare fuel itself. He drops every ounce of friendliness he has and becomes cold and calculating; the longer you take to kill him, the more ways he comes up with to kill you in a usually brutal fashion. This gets worse if you manage to anger him, as Roto and Elder Toguro can attest to. There's a big difference between Hiei and Kurama. Hiei has an honor code while Kurama, formerly being an infamously sociopathic and cruel thief even by demon standards, has none. A rare heroic Soft-Spoken Sadist.
    • The one and only warning we got of that was Hiei telling Yusuke that Kurama, when pushed, was far crueler than he could ever be, and that he included him in the theft of the Three Treasures because he was scared of having him as an enemy. This coming early in Hiei's career as a hero, shortly after he had been a Card-Carrying Villain, should have scared the readers, but Kurama didn't fight that way in the Four Saint Beasts arc, so it was quickly forgotten... Then, at the Dark Tournament, Roto angered him and it was finally shown that Hiei's warning was spot on.
  • Karasu may be the most nightmarish villain, despite limited screentime, even with someone like Elder Toguro, who was incredibly repulsive and cruel. He is notably the only antagonist that has ever truly frightened Kurama; not Yomi, not Sensui, and not the Toguro brothers, ever managed to unnerve Kurama the way Karasu did, and its not hard to see why:
    • Karasu establishes himself by nonchalantly exploding his foe's arms by effortlessly touching him; laying a bomb inside him, and threatens to blow his victim's legs or head off. When the disarmed and helpless opponent tries to escape, having no method at all to fight back, Karasu coldly murders him.
    • His encounter with Kurama further shows how much he "loves" Kurama, as he snuck up behind him, and caressed his hair, he comes off as a depraved and predatory serial killer. Afterwords, Kurama tries to figure out how to defeat him, but comes to the conclusion that he absolutely had no chance, with an imagine spot of Karasu sneaking behind him, and detonates him; Kurama is enveloped by the explosion and a truly anguished death scream.
    • Then Karasu shows that he didn't need to touch Kurama in order to blast him, really plays mind games with Kurama, telling him that although his power can't be seen, it is everywhere, even in the air he breathes.
    • Even when Yoko Kurama emerges, Karasu only had to lose his mask, and immediately turned things around, as Kurama was forced to revert back to his human form.
    • Most strikingly is how absolutely calm and nonchalant Karasu is during all this, while almost effortlessly breaking down Kurama with his mind games and powers. But he does show more open expressions and emotions as he gets excited, usually when he comes very close to killing Kurama multiple times.
    • At one point, Karasu expresses the opinion that there's no greater thrill than killing someone you care for.
  • When Yomi shows Kurama the demon that blinded him 1000 years ago, the (moth?) demon is in a severely brutalized state. His hands have been nailed to the wall, his eyes have been ripped out, one of his horns has been snapped off, he has scars all over his body, his torso is so thoroughly stripped away that his spine is exposed and the only thing keeping his lower body connected with his upper body is a thin strip of muscle tissue. The former assassin is in so much unbelievable pain that he can barely speak, and when he does speak all he can do is beg for death — this is Yomi's idea of punishment for losing his vision. The scariest part? After who knows how many countless years of torture, not once did the assassin ever admit to Yomi that Kurama was the one who ordered his assassination. The reason for this being that the assassin was more terrified of what Kurama could do to him compared to Yomi. This says a lot more about how brutal Kurama was in those days than it does about Yomi's savagery.
  • Raizen. After centuries of willing starvation, he's still the strongest of all demons, and the only reason Yomi and Mukuro are in his league is that his defenses are now subpar. In his prime, it's said he could have crushed both of them at the same time, and the beatings he unleashed on-screen seem to confirm it. What was the only thing his digestive system could handle? Humans.
  • At the very end it's revealed that an unspecified amount of the lower-class demons who attacked humans were in fact demons who'd been captured by a secret project of King Enma's. They tortured and gaslit until they were reasonably confident that they would cause a scene and endanger human lives, at which point they were released into Human World. The ultimate fate of most of these poor souls was to be captured and ultimately executed by Spirit World. It's plainly stated this was a ploy to inflate the need of Spirit World to "protect" humans from demons because the Earth has some resource Enma wants that we have yet to discover ourselves.
    • For added fridge horror think about the one-dimensional demons from earlier chapters.
    • Or worse, think of Sensui; how many of those demons he killed were Enma's pawns? How much less deadly and violent could his childhood have been if this program had never existed? We will never know.
  • Yusuke absorbing the Spirit Wave Orb. Watching him scream in total agony, blood spurting out of him as he writhes around, his body trying to not explode from the energy, is just chilling.
  • Everything about the human members of the Dr. Ichigaki team and what they've been put through is simultaneously this and a Tear Jerker. Imagine if you will: your martial arts master, someone who has trained and raised you like his own child, has succumbed to a deadly illness you cannot afford to have treated. In comes Dr. Ichigaki, this vicious little troll who cons the trio into becoming human Guinea pigs in exchange for curing their master (unawares that Ichigaki himself poisoned him in the first place). The trio are implanted with the Buruka, a demonic heart that not only enhances and brings out their strength to demonic levels, but alters their physiology and mental states so that they only obey Ichigaki, all while still being fully aware but being unable to control themselves.