This year, Yu Yu Hakusho (YYH) will be airing an anime special and even releasing more merchandise in Japan. (Perhaps creator Yoshihiro Togashi was inspired by his wife Naoko Takeuchi’s Sailor Moon reboot.)
Yu Yu Hakusho was the '90s anime that could rival even the Dragon Ball series (#fightme) when it came to battle scenes. The YYH Dark Tournament arc remains the favorite storyline thanks to all that glorious cartoon violence. They didn’t shy away from busted-up faces and injuries, either. The show also had its share of interesting enemies that gave our heroes a crap time. If it weren’t for these guys, we wouldn’t have a popcorn-worthy brawl. Now let’s look back at a colorful mix of villains who were either evil for the lulz or were sympathetic due to their tragic backstories and well-intentioned motivations.
P.S. When we say villains, we meant characters that have posed harm to civilians outside of the competition. So, combatants that were there purely for sport were not included. (Sorry, no Chu the drunken guy in this list!)
14) Gourmet (Sadao Makihara)
Gourmet has the unique ability of absorbing powers by eating (not in that way) the other person. We remember him best for fucking up his one job of eating people. After consuming Elder Toguro, the latter takes total control over his body.
13) Doctor (Minoru Kamiya)
Dr. Kamiya is one of the campier villains, letting out a maniacal laugh every so often. He can create diseases and wields a special scalpel that cuts through anything. Even without the psychic abilities, he could probably make for an effective serial killer thanks to his surgical skills.
You might recognize this class C- demon as the giant creature chasing down Keiko and Botan—or Jenny and Charlene in the Tagalog dub—during the opening credits. Byakko can summon minions using his own hair strands and absorb energy. But somehow, freaking Kuwabara (Alfred) was able to defeat him—TWICE. #weaksauce
Not to be confused with another '90s anime, Fushigi Yuugi. The leader of the Saint Beasts can replicate himself into seven copies with equal abilities. Hell, at one point he’s just sitting on his throne while his clones are electrocuting and beating the shit out of Yusuke.
The demon warrior wears bulky armor in order to control his spiritual energy. Bui already looks intimidating enough just standing there, staring at his opponents. But once the armor comes off, he turns into a lightning-fast fighter whose battle aura is so strong that it lifts him off the ground. Anyone who can survive battling Hiei (Vincent) is already a worthy opponent in our books.
9) GameMaster (Tsukihito Amanuma)
GameMaster’s challenge is one of the more entertaining scenes during the bleak Chapter Black arc. Where else in the series would you see Kurama (Dennis) and Genkai (Master Jeremiah) geek out over video games? GameMaster ends up being a tragic villain since he didn’t know that the video game is rigged to kill him if he ever lost a match.
A demon with copy-cat abilities who was able to perform Yusuke’s (Eugene) Spirit Gun just by looking at it once. Rando is notable for appearing in two arcs and breaking Kuwabara’s limbs. Rando can steal any power, but he has to perform a long chant that can be blocked by using earplugs.
7) Elder Toguro
Best known as the annoyingly chatty dude who’s always hanging on Younger Toguro’s shoulder and acts as his hype man. He can morph his body into any shape and has regenerative abilities which make him difficult to attack. Elder Toguro is such a pest that he was even able to take over the body of another villain, Gourmet.
The Toguro Team’s owner doesn’t have any special powers other than being filthy rich. He grew up dissecting animals and humans for fun and hopes to create portal to the demon world. For a regular rich guy, he certainly commands a lot of respect even from Toguro. Aside from his sick hobbies, he’s got a charismatic personality when interacting with the heroes. A bored rich dude—a common sight in the real world.
5) Sniper (Kaname Hagiri)
Sniper exudes '90s cool with his leather jacket and motorbike. Plus, he’s a dead-ringer for classic anime icon Kaneda from the movie Akira. Any object (even a piece of eraser) he throws will accurately hit its target while dealing devastating damage. Sniper could have easily defeated Yusuke...if not for Hiei swooping in just in time.
4) Gatekeeper (Itsuki)
Itsuki wields powerful defensive abilities such as creating barriers, interdimensional portals (2D and 3D) where he can teleport, and telekinesis. When combined with Sensui’s offensive spiritual attack, making them an unstoppable pair. He’s able to successfully trap Team Urameshi in a pocket dimension so that they won’t be able to interfere in Yusuke and Sensui’s battle.
This S-class demon isn’t evil per se, more like he’s got the makings of a dictator. Yomi plans on uniting the human and demon world and who’s gonna rule them all? Him, of course! Yomi also happens to be one of the lucky few who was able to defeat Yusuke in the series.
2) Younger Toguro
The most memetic character in the series thanks to a certain Tagalog-dubbed parody video. Toguro is known for increasing his strength by doubling up his muscles as if he’s injecting steroids every time. He’s the guy you love to hate who can rock the modern fuccboi undercut. By the time he reaches “isang daang porsyentong lakas” we are already cheering “tapusin, tapusin” alongside the demon audience. Toguro wasn’t always a bad guy as he only chose to become a demon so he wouldn’t lose his strength. How badass is this dude? He chose to chill at the pits of hell after being defeated.
1) Black Angel (Shinobu Sensui)
In the YYH world, the stronger the villain, the more depth they have as a character. As a former Spirit Detective who went insane, Sensui acts as Yusuke’s evil counterpart in the Chapter Black arc. He snapped and split into seven personalities because he witnessed the Black Black Club torturing demons and other unspeakable acts. He’s one of the most powerful characters in the series considering he’s dying from a terminal illness when the events take place. Sensui plans to wipe humanity to punish them and make amends for all the demons he’s killed. Can we really blame the guy? Even in this day and age, humans continue to do shitty things. He was such a challenging opponent that Yusuke’s demon ancestor Raizen had to take over his body to finish the job. Sensui is a more interesting foil to Yusuke, as the latter is just one bad job away from becoming this guy.