Name: Yusuke Urameshi
Alias(es): Numbskull, Dimwit, Slacker (generally by Genkai)
Race: human with some demon blood
Weight: 120 lbs
Family: Mother, Atsuko
Status: Spirit Detective, 2nd year Junior High student (at start)
Quote: I'm gonna kick your ***
Anime: Yu Yu Hakusho
Voice: (English) Justin Cook, Rik Nagel (movie only) (Japanese) Nozumu Sasaki
History and Personality: Yusuke, who is 14 at the start of the manga, is the toughest pupil in his school, Sarayashiki Junior High School, and is the rival, of Kazuma Kuwabara, the second toughest pupil. He is known to be a stereotypical bad seed; having a spotty attendance record, doing poorly in class, and picking fights with many other students. Additionally, in the manga, he smokes, drinks, and gambles.
While skipping school and being berated by his mother, Yusuke loafs around the town. Yusuke entertains a child by making silly faces, but when the kid wanders into the street in front of an oncoming car, Yusuke shoves him out of the way. He is struck by the car, and killed. As a ghost, Yusuke is greeted by an atypical version of the Grim Reaper; a bubbly, cheerful young woman named Botan. She remarks that they weren't expecting Yusuke to selflessly save the kid's life, and thus, have no place for him in the afterlife. She remarks that Yusuke can return to life, but he initially declines.
Yusuke's mind changes after he attends his wake, where people he knows pay their condolences to his mother. Atsuko is extremely distraught, and sobs uncontrollably. Kuwabara shows up, angry and upset that Yusuke died before they could finish their battles. When two of Yusuke's teachers belittle him at the wake, Mr. Takenaka, another teacher, berates them for insulting him at his wake. He pays his respects to Atsuko and sobs at Yusuke's passing. Understanding that he meant more to others then he let on, he decides to come back.
Yusuke is given an egg to take care of, and is told that it will hatch a Spirit Beast, which will help him get back to life. However, he must be a genuinely good person. If he is evil, the beast will devour him. However, Yusuke sacrifices the beast to save Keiko Yukimura, a schoolmate and Yusuke's closest friend. Keiko had received dreams and messages from Yusuke's ghost that he would be returning to life, and she needed to take care of his body so that he would be able to return to it. However, a house fire starts in Yusuke's home and his body runs the risk of being incinerated. Keiko runs into the fire to protect it, but nearly passes out from the strain, even when Kuwabara tries to help her. In a desperate move, Yusuke sacrifices the egg to save her. Impressed at this selflessness, Koenma allows Yusuke to return to his body without the beast, provided someone who wants him back gives him some life energy through a kiss. Keiko manages to do this, and Yusuke is returned.
After returning, Yusuke is surprised to notice a demon inhabiting the body of a street punk. Botan shows up and tells Yusuke that his experience with death allowed him to do these things. He is to become Earth's Spirit Detective, and protect the human race from demons.
Yusuke engages in many difficult trials in his first assignments as Detective. The first is to recover three stolen artifacts from Spirit World. Koenma trains him by teaching him how to fire his spirit energy, energy possessed by humans and spirits, as a weapon. This is Yusuke's signature attack, the Spirit Gun. Yusuke attempts to combat these three thieves: Hiei, who stole the Sword of Shadows; Kurama, who stole a mirror called the Forlorn Hope; and Gouki, who stole a soul-stealing article called the Orb of Baast. Yusuke was able to defeat Gouki with the aid of Botan and his Spirit Gun. Kurama willingly turns over the Forlorn Hope, as he only wanted to use it's power to save his mother's life. Kurama intended to sacrifice his life for the mirror to save hers, but Yusuke selflessly asked the mirror to take his so Kurama can enjoy his mother's life. The mirror granted Kurama's wish and spared both of their lives, and Yusuke took the mirror. Yusuke and Botan then went to fight Hiei, who kidnapped Keiko and tried to turn her into a demon. While Botan staved off the transformation, Yusuke fought the extremely fast demon, and managed to defeat him by reflecting his Spirit Gun off of the Forlorn Hope, intentionally missing Hiei to strike it and causing the arrogant demon to believe Yusuke missed.
Yusuke then was sent to the compound of Master Genkai, an aged fighter who was looking for a successor to her powerful Spirit Wave technique. Botan warned that a demon, Rando, would probably try to inherit her technique. Yusuke fought through her tournament and defeated Rando in the end, becoming her successor.
Yusuke was then sent to Maze Castle to defeat the four Saint Beasts and stop them from taking over the human race with demon parasites. Kuwabara decided to go with Yusuke, and Koenma sent Kurama and Hiei, who were on probation in the human world, to assist. Yusuke fought his way to Suzaku, the leader of the group, and managed to defeat him, but at the cost of his own life energy. Only Kuwabara, the only human of the group, could save him.
Yusuke then goes with Kuwabara and Botan to rescue a beautiful ice apparition named Yukina, of whom Kuwabara becomes smitten. However, Yukina is actually Hiei's twin sister, a fact that Kuwabara is unaware of. Yusuke fights all the way to the Touguro brothers. Yusuke and Kuwabara defeat them with teamwork and rescue the maiden, but it turns out that the Toguros threw the fight on purpose. The younger Toguro brothers coerces Yusuke to join the Dark Tournament and defeat him there.
Yusuke must face powerful youkai and make rash decisions, but with his friends Kurama, Hiei and Kuwabara on his side, he succeeds. He becomes the apprentice to the aged fighter Genkai, and soon after is invited to the Dark Tournament (Ankoku Botsukai or Black Martial Arts Tournament in the original Japanese) by Younger Toguro, a powerful youkai of the Toguro Brothers that he fought against previously in his fourth mission. Towards the end of the tournament, Genkai gives him most of her Reiki so Yusuke can stand a chance against Younger Toguro. It is revealed that Toguro was Genkai's partner from a previous tournament. After suffering a mortal wound, Genkai, with the last of her strength, explains that when they won the tournament fifty years ago, Toguro, who was once human, had his body become a youkai's in order to preserve his strength and youth. Before dying, Genkai warns Yusuke not to become like Toguro. Yusuke becomes furious with Toguro over his master's death and vows to defeat him. Yusuke wages the final battle with Toguro and emerges victorious.
In the Chapter Black Saga, Yusuke awakens his youkai blood after he is killed (again), this time by Shinobu Sensui. It is revealed that he is a Mazoku, or a descendant of a youkai Clan (the Amazaku demons in the English anime), his ancestor Raizen having conceived a child with a human woman. Raizen made it so that when the stars reach a certain alignment, and his descendant is worthy of awakening, they would become a youkai. It was Yusuke's first death that awoke his potential, and awoke his hidden reiki powers. It was his subsequent missions afterwards, especially his fight against the younger Toguro, that helped begin to awaken his dormant youkai blood. However, in the end, it was his death at the hands of Sensui that pushed his change over the edge and completely changed him, allowing demonic kinship symbols to emerge all over his body. He is then possessed by his ancestor Raizen to help control his new-found power and as a result Raizen through Yusuke's body kills Sensui.
In the Three Kings saga, Yusuke is removed from his position as Spirit Detective because he is considered too dangerous for the Human Realm. The Great Emperor Enma (King Yama in the English anime) wants Yusuke dead so that he does not become as dangerous as Sensui. Even going to the home of former Spirit Detective Kuroko Sutou does not help much, since she partly agrees with Enma's judgment after Hokushin, Raizen's second-in-command shows up demanding that Yusuke come to the Demon Realm to help Raizen because Raizen is dying. Yusuke agrees to do so since Raizen interrupted his match against Sensui. He has everyone meet at Genkai's temple for a farewell and promises Keiko that he will return in three years time. After meeting Raizen, he learns that Raizen is dying because he needs to eat humans to survive, which he gave up after he met female doctor and Yusuke's ancestor. Yusuke fights him, but loses to him quite easily; then learns that Mukuro and Yomi are just as strong as the current, and weak, Raizen.
After a year of training Yusuke, Raizen dies, but reveals to Yusuke that if he had eaten humans he would have already been the strongest youkai. Yusuke chooses to hold a tournament, since he knows he is incapable of ruling Raizen's territory. During his match against Yomi, Yusuke realizes he has been fighting all this time for someone to defeat him, after fighting and defeating powerful men such as Toguro and Sensui, whom previously were also looking for someone to defeat them as well. Yusuke is narrowly defeated by Yomi, because Shura cheers his father on. Afterwards Yusuke disappears for the next few years and reunites with his old friends and Keiko at Genkai's temple. The primary reason for Yusuke's return was that he promised Keiko that he would come back. His relationship with Keiko is very strong, and most likely that they have loved each other for a very long time. After all, Yusuke is coming back just for Keiko, and Keiko is willing to wait for him, "forever."
Relationships: Yusuke's strongest relationship (and arguable his only real relationship before becoming Spirit Detective) is with Keiko Yukimura - the top student in his school. The two have been close since they were very young, and Keiko seems to be one of the few people who see the good heart behind Yusuke's rough exterior. She's also the only person who can keep him in line. While it is never explicitly stated in the show it is fairly obvious that the feelings they share run far deeper than friendship. In fact, Yusuke returns from Demon World for Keiko and they even get to share a touching closing scene. While Yusuke respects Keiko he isn't opposed to lying to her to protect her. Though he is motivated strongly by danger to any of his friends he is especially sensitive when it comes to Keiko - a fact which is used against him several times in the series, but most often ends up working in his favor.
The only other person at his school Yusuke seems to interact with is Kuwabara, another delinquent. Kuwabara considers Yusuke and himself to be rivals, but Yusuke sees him merely as a minor diversion. He enjoys fighting with Kuwabara, but doesn't consider him much of a challenge. After his return to life Yusuke and Kuwabara become friendlier with one another, and when they get thrown together on Yusuke's first case (completely by accident) they settle into a rather abusive, but loyal, friendship. Kuwabara always insists on joining Yusuke on his cases because Yusuke has no sensitivity to the spirit world, whereas Kuwabara does. They grow to respect one another's abilities and trust each other very much... and they don't try to beat one another to a pulp anymore either, which is a plus in any friendship, though Yusuke does still make fun of Kuwabara (but, to be fair, he's so stupid he's practically begging for it...)
Botan is the 'grim reaper', or ferry girl, assigned to Yusuke in the first episode, and later she becomes his primary contact with Spirit World when he is the Spirit Detective. Botan offers advice and sometimes gives Yusuke cool items to help him with his tasks. She doesn't have much power, but she's spunky and good with her fists - better with a baseball bat. Primarily she serves as the go between for Koenma and Yusuke, giving him the information he needs for his cases. The two are very close, though the exact nature of their relationship is difficult to describe.
Kurama and Hiei are two demons stuck in the human world who are "sentenced" to assist Yusuke after he captured them for theft from Spirit World. Yusuke earns their respect quickly, albeit Hiei's is given grudgingly, and they remain a part of his tem even after their sentence is up. Yusuke may not always understand where they are coming from, but he trusts them with his life and values their assistance.
Genkai is the old woman who trains Yusuke to use his spirit powers. The two have a rocky relationship at best, but when push comes to shove it is obvious that there is a deep care hidden beneath all the yelling and insults. Genkai considers Yusuke an idiot, and Yusuke considers her a nagging hag, but they would do anything to protect one another.
Koenma is the prince of Spirit World, but he looks like a toddler, so you can imagine how Yusuke feels about being his subordinate. Yusuke is downright rude, and he never stops being that way, though he does learn to listen to most of what Koenma has to say.
Yusuke and his mother, Atsuko, have never had the best relationship. In fact, when he dies, Yusuke is fairly certain that his mom will see it as a relief since she spends most of her time drinking and smoking with her freaky friends. But Atsuko does love her son, and when he sees this he realizes that he can't leave her all alone in the world.
Techniques: Yusuke's hand to hand is more gut instinct street fighting than trained marital arts, but Genkai manages to refine his style a bit. However, his true power lies in his newfound spirit abilities.
Yusuke tends to give English names to his attacks, so Rei Gan becomes Raygun . This is Yusuke's most common attack. He concentrates his Spirit Energy into his right index finger and releases it as a projectile. It can be from a small shot to a full-sized cannon blast. Its only weakness is that Yusuke can only use it a certain number of times per day in the beginning. At first he can only use it once per day, but by the beginning of the Dark Tournament (Ankoku Botsukai), after much training under Genkai, Yusuke can use it four times per day. After he is reborn as a half demon, Yusuke's spirit energy is combined with demon energy, and as such, his Spirit Gun becomes the You Gan (Demon Gun in the English version). His "demon gun" can be fired as long as Yusuke has demon energy to use, unlike the spirit gun.
The technique is taught to him by Genkai. Yusuke gathers spirit energy into his fist to from a large blast of spirit energy from it shot out in less powerful but many blasts. While the technique is not as powerful as the spirit gun, a few advantages it has is that the shots are wide spread, which makes it highly effective against quick or invisible opponents or large numbers of weak enemies.
Yusuke learns to shoot all the blasts of his rei gun rapidly. This technique was only used in against Chu in the finals of the first round of the Dark Tournament by using both of Yusukes remaining rei gun shots together
Genkai's trade mark move, it has many abilities. Yusuke uses it to turn his entire body into a spirit gun. Instead of his index finger being channeled into, his entire body is. This makes for extremely powerful close range attacks.
During his fight against Yomi, Yusuke, remembering all of his friends supporting him, is able to mix his body's Youki (demon energy) and Reiki (spirit energy) together to be able to generate his own version of Seikouki, different from the version that was previously used by Sensui. It is just as powerful but hard to maintain for more than a few hours, more than enough time for Yusuke's battle with Yomi in the final arc of the anime.
Yusuke channels his shotgun attack into both of his fists, and releases his energy out both at the same time. This creates twice the spread. This attack is only used in the first movie.
Why we love him: There's something about a jerk who's hiding a heart of gold. Like Inuyasha, Yusuke is lovable simply because he tries so hard to pretend he's tough, when really he'd do anything to save someone else.
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