Yu Yu Hakusho is a perfect example of an older anime that still holds up well even today. Not only is it one of the few shounen anime to stand out in its genre in terms of story and character development, it also shows development in the fighting itself. A classic shounen anime is able to grasp and hold the viewer’s attention despite starting off with fights on a smaller scale. It also continues to progress into larger and larger fights held at higher stakes as the main characters grow stronger to fight even tougher and tougher opponents. Yu Yu Hakusho not only fully delivers on these concepts, it also reveals a wide variety of fights in terms of the abilities used, how the fights are fought, and the different tones used, which range from serious and tense to humorous and disbelief depending on the context of who is fighting and their reasons. With many different fantastic fights throughout the series to choose from, here are the rankings for the Top 10 Yu Yu Hakusho Fights.
10. Kurama vs Karasu
The first matchup that takes place in the finals of the Dark Tournament, Kurama’s fight with Karasu certainly delivers. Being the calm and collected tactician that he is, it’s rare to see Kurama rattled when going up against an opponent. Yet Kurama is shaken knowing that his only chance of overcoming Karasu’s speed and his explosive attacks is to transform into his original demon form and use his deadliest plants. Not only do we actually get to see Yoko Kurama fight and dominate for the 2nd time in the series, the fight ends in a way that all but guarantees Yusuke’s matchup with Younger Toguro. Definitely one of Kurama’s best fights in the series.
9. Genkai vs Younger Toguro
This fight is relatively short compared to most due to the massive gap in power after Genkai gives the Spirit Orb to Yusuke. Genkai’s fight with Younger Toguro is more symbolic than anything else. The audience learns through their fight the past Genkai and Younger Toguro share together, and Genkai’s sacrifice is yet another method to help push Yusuke to the point he needs to be in order to beat Younger Toguro. Genkai actually uses the 3 Spirit Gun attacks she’s limited to pretty effectively, as they would have succeeded against most. Had this type of fight taken place in their prime, it would certainly be considered one of the best in the series.
8. Kurama vs Touya
Another amazing fight of Kurama’s in the Dark Tournament, this fight ranks among his best due to the cleverness of his opponent. Unlike Gama, Kurama’s previous opponent, Touya isn’t foolish enough to underestimate Kurama despite him being heavily weighed down by Gama’s last attack and having his spirit energy sealed. Touya nearly defeats him with his ranged and close combat ice techniques; had any of them hit Kurama’s vital points as intended Touya would have instantly won. However, Kurama not only evades these attacks despite his extreme limitations, he sacrifices his body in order to use a technique Touya never would have expected in order to get the win. Kurama ends up falling unconscious right after being declared the winner, indicating just how close the match really was.
7. Hiei vs Bui
One of Hiei’s best fights in the entire series, Hiei goes up against Bui in the 2nd match of the finals of the Dark Tournament. This fight is classic in terms of being a similar matchup in terms of both ability and demeanor as well as simply seeing who’s the stronger of the 2. Both Hiei and Bui had previously demonstrated how incredibly fast they were with their weapon of choice, resulting in their speed being the first to be tested as Bui tries to cleave Hiei in half with his axe. As the match progresses, we see Hiei resort to his defining technique, the Dragon of the Darkness Flame, in an effort to go up against Bui’s raw unrestrained power. In the end, Hiei is the one who is able to come out on top after using his best moves, and ends up going into a hibernation state due to draining all of his spirit energy. Truly an epic fight.
6. Yusuke vs Jin
This fight is terrific not only because we get to see Yusuke truly tested for the 2nd time after Genkai’s massive training regimen for the Dark Tournament, but also because of its tone. Most of the fights in the Dark Tournament for Team Urameshi tend to be either very serious or stressed, and this fight serves as a rare one that is humorous and good-spirited. Jin ends up being a unique opponent for Yusuke due to his control of flight as well as his Tornado Fists, resulting in making it difficult for Yusuke to stay in the ring as well as knock Jin out of it. However, Yusuke ends up revealing his Spirit Wave technique as well as a desire to do whatever it would take to win, which ends up being the deciding factor. Jin was certainly a worthy opponent to go up against Yusuke, leading into a great fight for the both of them.
5. Kuwabara vs Risho
One of the best come from behind matches in the series, Kuwabara’s match with Risho in the final matchup of the 3rd round of the Dark Tournament is one of Kuwabara’s finest moments. Having been severely injured by Team Ichigaki, Kuwabara is in absolutely no shape to fight. However, due to Hiei and the masked fighter being restrained by the Dark Tournament’s “nurse”, Kurama being in no shape to fight, and Yusuke being ruled “unfit” to compete anymore, Kuwabara is the last remaining hope for Team Urameshi to go up against Risho. Risho reveals his earth powers and completely dominates Kuwabara not only offensively but defensively as well; the few attacks Kuwabara gets off are no match for Risho’s armor. It is only due to the arrival of an unexpected guest that Kuwabara taps into an incredible amount of power that is able to overwhelm Risho completely, resulting in Team Urameshi moving on to the next round. How Kuwabara does this is best summed by him: there’s a reason why he’s the team anchor.
4. Yusuke vs Yomi
Yusuke’s final fight in the series against the last primary antagonist shows just how far Yusuke has come from being a delinquent kid getting into regular street fights. Being one of the very few that can go up against Yomi, the fate of ruling Demon World lies in Yusuke’s hands as he goes up against arguably the strongest character of the series. Even in the middle of displaying incredible strength and using very powerful versions of his classic attacks, Yusuke somehow loses his passion for fighting as the match progresses, infuriating Yomi to no end. It is only through Yusuke rediscovering the power he has when protecting/avenging his friends that he is able to trade blows with Yomi to end the match. Even though Yomi is declared the victor, he was weakened well enough to the point where he would not be strong enough to win the tournament. A fitting ending fight that touches on the important themes of the series.
3. Hiei vs Yusuke (1st encounter)
The first legitimate fight as a Spirit Detective that Yusuke gets into is with Hiei, 1 of the 3 demons to steal treasures belonging to Koenma’s father. This fight stands out as Yusuke’s usual street fight tactics, while successful in this fight, mark a turning point as he begins to rely more and more on the Spirit Gun and other spiritual techniques. It also stands out as how Yusuke will resort to using whatever’s around him as a strategy as well as stay one step ahead of his opponent. Combined with Hiei underestimating Yusuke and his extreme cockiness as he toys with him, one can see how Yusuke was able to overcome Hiei’s power, resulting in Hiei’s desire to even the score throughout the series.
2. Yusuke vs Sensui
The current Spirit Detective going up against the former Spirit Detective, this fight is built up throughout the Chapter Black Saga and more than delivers. As talented as Yusuke is, he ends up meeting his match when he finally gets to fight Sensui, whose unique fighting style and incredible power as well as Yusuke’s diminished stamina give him an edge. Yusuke actually ends up dying as a result of their fight only to come back as a half-demon in order to start Round 2. From there, it is only because of Raizen taking over and giving Yusuke the necessary strength required that Yusuke defeats Sensui, leaving one to wonder what would have happened had Raizen not interfered. A very impressive fight if not for the fact that we get to see Yusuke at his peak go up against arguably the strongest human in the series.
1. Yusuke vs Younger Toguro
The defining fight of the Dark Tournament Saga and one of the biggest anticipated fights of the series, Yusuke’s fight with Younger Toguro lives up to the hype. With Yusuke starting things off with an incredible attack only for Younger Toguro to appear unfazed, one wonders where this battle will go. The answer is higher and higher, as both Yusuke and Younger Toguro both power up to their maximum power in different ways as they trade blows with one another. With Younger Toguro having the edge, drastic measures are taken for Yusuke to finally lose control and defeat him once and for all, marking Yusuke a legitimate opponent. Arguably the best fight of the series.
There are many more fights in Yu Yu Hakusho very similar to the final ones chosen. What are your guys’ opinions? Should there have been more fights chosen from the end of the series, such as Hiei vs Mukuro? Should there have been other fights chosen from the Dark Tournament, like Yusuke vs Chu and Kuwabara vs Elder Toguro? Should there have been more fights selected from the beginning of the series, such as Yusuke vs Rando and Yusuke vs Suzaku? Let us know your favorite fight in the comments!