Netflix’s Yu Yu Hakusho Ending, Explained: Does Yusuke Defeat Toguro?

Netflix’s Japanese anime-adapted live-action fantasy show, ‘Yu Yu Hakusho,’ brings a hero’s journey helmed by bold, captivating characters and a riveting central storyline. Yusuke Urameshi, a young delinquent with a devil-may-care attitude, sacrifices his life to save a kid from a car accident. However, a peculiar reality awaits him after death. Koenma, the deity presiding over the afterlife, and his grim reaper helper, Baton, reveal that the teen’s unanticipated death has earned him a chance to return to his life as a Spirit Detective.

Consequently, Yusuke’s new powers and demon-hunting responsibilities turn his life upside down. As the boy’s story progresses, he finds new allies in humans and demons, better known as Yokai, alike. On the flip side, new threats arrive, particularly Sakyo, who likes to gamble with life. Thus, amateur Yusuke and his friends face down this bloodthirsty enemy and his team of powerful individuals. SPOILERS AHEAD!

Yu Yu Hakusho Season 1 Recap

Yusuke Urameshi, a known troublemaker around high school, is incredibly compassionate and always stands up for the weaker guys. Nevertheless, he doesn’t care enough to set the records straight when the same lands him in fights at school, leading everyone to believe he’s trouble. Given his reputation, when the boy dies after saving a kid, Masaru, from a berserk incoming truck, even the afterlife couldn’t have anticipated it. As a result, his afterlife guide, Botan, takes the boy to King Enma “Koenma” Jr. to decide his fate.

Koenma ends up offering Yusuke a unique deal. Although the Spirit World closed the rift between the human world and the demon world years ago, some demon activity continues to prevail in the other realm. Therefore, Koenma asks Yusuke to become the Spirit Detective and catch these Yokais in exchange for a return to his human life. However, the teenager declines, claiming no one would miss him much anyway.

As such, Botan convinces him to attend his own funeral, where his single mother and closest friend, Keiko, are beyond devastated. Furthermore, others like Kazuma Kuwabara, his longtime rival, and Kirino, a kid Yusuke defended at school, also express their grief. Still, trouble arises when the school bullies beat Kirino up near Yusuke’s house. As a result, Kirino becomes the perfect host for a Roundworm Yokai, which enters his body and wreaks havoc.

Thus, when Keiko’s life comes in peril after she runs into a burning house to save Yusuke’s body, the boy agrees to Koenma’s deal, returning to life as the Spirit Detective. Immediately afterward, he faces off against Kirino and manages to save the kid using Spirit Energy, a notoriously difficult skill to acquire. Yet when Yusuke attempts to train later and hone his Spirit Energy skills, Koenma realizes the kid needs much more training before he can take on real threats.

The threats in question are three Yokai, Goki, Kurama, and Hiei, who have each stolen a powerful relic with distinctive powers. While Yusuke manages to defeat Goki and strikes up a tentative camaraderie with Kurama after realizing his good-hearted motives, Kurama remains an impossible adversary. During this time, Kuwabara, who continues beating himself up for not being strong enough to protect his friends, starts paying attention to Yusuke’s activities and discovers the truth about Yokai. For the same reason, he tags along with the other boy when Koenma sends him to an old master to train.

The Master, Genkai, turns out to be a strict woman who takes a liking to Kuwabara for his conviction. As a result, he trains both boys using different methods. Although Yusuke’s training leaves much to be desired, he finds motivation in his competition with Kuwabara, who manages to tap into the Spirit Energy and conjure a Spirit Sword. Eventually, the boys’ training concludes once Genkai senses a looming danger. Thus, the woman sends them away and hands her powerful Spirit Wave Orb to Yusuke.

However, once Yusuke returns home, he spots Hiei kidnapping Keiko and storms the Yokai’s lair to save his best friend. Although he’s better matched for Hiei’s skill, the confrontation ends up being for naught when Kurama arrives and reveals someone tricked Yusuke into believing Hiei took Keiko. Instead, Keiko was taken hostage by Sakyo, the same man who has Yukina, the Karime Hiei is looking for. As a businessman who provides bloody entertainment for his fellow wealthy individuals, Sakyo wants Yusuke and his friends to battle his strongest soldier, Toguro, in exchange for Keiko’s life.

Yu Yu Hakusho Season 1 Ending: Do Yusuke and Hiei Rescue Keiko and Yukina?

Despite Yusuke and Hiei’s contentious start, the two agree to work together when their goals align. Yusuke’s friendship with Keiko has always been one of the most important things for the kid, as showcased by his willingness to work for Koenma once the latter’s life is put in danger. Similarly, since his introduction, Hiei has showcased a one-track mind in his quest to rescue Yukina, his sister. In fact, the only reason he stole the magical knife was to unlock enough power to track Yukina down.

As a result, the trio decide to face Sakyo together, with Kuwabara accompanying them even though they know they’re walking into a trap. At the docks, Sakyo’s men collect the boys, boarding them on a ship before taking them to Kubikukuri Island. Halfway through their trek to Sakyo’s lair, Hiei parts ways with the group, insisting he’s a lone wolf. Therefore, Kurama decides to stay behind and fight the first Yaiko, who shows up in their path. Meanwhile, Sakyo and other wealthy men, including Tarukane, Yukina’s captor, watch the fight unfold through camera footage as they bet billions on the outcome.

Simultaneously, Hiei also faces off against his match. Two epic battles unfold, pushing Hiei and Kurama to their limits, each emerging victorious, if at great cost. During this time, Kuwabara runs into Keiko and Yukina, who free themselves from their cell all on their own. Yet, as this trio tries to escape, they run into troublesome demons. As for Yusuke, he arrives at the main arena that the private spectator box overlooks, where he’s introduced to his match, Toguro, one of the strongest Yaiko ever.

As their battle progresses, it causes enough chaos to endanger Tarukane and others’ lives, sending them fleeing. Yet, Sakyo stays behind, watching the fight commence as he puts his life on the line at the outcome. Eventually, the others arrive at the arena due to Sakyo’s design. Yusuke, Kuwabara, Hiei, and Karuma fight Torugo as a team but still fall short of the demon’s power. Although the news of Genkai’s death at Torugo’s death gives Yusuke some conviction to overpower the other man, Torugo raises the stakes by unlocking his true form.

As it would turn out, Torugo used to be a martial arts master alongside Genkai. However, after a demon attacked their school and killed all of Torugo’s students, the man decided to sell his soul for immense power. As such, now he’s seeking out fights with strong individuals to give his life meaning. Consequently, he tries to goad Yusuke into giving their battle his all by threatening Keiko and Yukina’s lives.

Still, Kuwabara sacrifices himself for Keiko and Yukina’s safety. Thus, the tragic scene pushes Yusuke to realize Genkai’s true lesson. In the end, Yusuke unleashes the entirety of Spirit Wave Orb’s energy into a final blow against Torugo and burns him to a crisp. The demon dies, thanking the boy for finally allowing him to use all the strength he had acquired by selling his sole.

Afterward, in the afterlife, Torugo runs into Genkai on his way to the underworld. Ever since the man sold his soul, he has been attempting to atone for them by fighting increasingly powerful individuals in duels to death. In fact, Sakyo’s tournaments were his personal idea of punishment. Therefore, now he descends into an eternity of punishment, leaving with only a warning against reeling in Yusuke’s power and ambition lest he fall victim to the same path as Torugo.

Does Kuwabara Die?

Although Kuwabara’s initial introduction may lead viewers to believe he will go on to occupy an antagonistic role in the narrative as Yusuke’s rival, his story takes a much different turn. Kuwabara has always been competitive toward Yusuke and seeks out fights with the other boy. However, the former only does so in an effort to match his rival’s fighting skills so that he can be a better protector. Even on the night of Yusuke’s funeral, Kuwabara stands against the demon. The altercation may have ended in his defeat, but it showcases his brave conviction.

Genkai notes the same thirst for greatness in Kuwabara and allows him to train under her, which helps him unlock his true potential as a warrior befit of the Spirit Sword. Nonetheless, the boy, with only 20 days of training under his belt, is no match for Toguro, who easily defeats him. Worse yet, he only uses Kuwabara as bait to encourage Yusuke to fight better.

While the same ends up working out for Yusuke, who manages to call upon enough energy to destroy Toguro, Kuwabara’s fatal predicament looms in the air. Yet, his friends, especially Yunika, the Kamire Yokai, a healing demon, don’t give up on the boy. Using her powers, Yunika saves Kuwabara’s life. Even though the girl has faced torture at the hands of humans for their own benefit, Kuwabara showed Yunika the goodness of humanity. Therefore, in the end, she saves his life. Ultimately, Yusuke and his friends all sail away from the Kubikukuri Islands.

Does Sakyo Die? What Happens to His Machine?

Sakyo remains an intriguing character throughout the show, as he indulges his wealth and power over competitions that pit powerful Yaiko against others like them. At the season’s start, the man buys a sinkhole in the city center, which he hopes to turn into an entertainment center. However, unbeknownst to the public, the man’s plans surpass his normal idea of hedonistic thrills, such as casinos. Instead, he’s working on a machine to merge the Demon and the Human Worlds again.

Sakyo’s motivations seem to be a simple search for a solution to his perpetual boredom. After having all the money and power in the world, only one thing amuses Sakyo’s death. For the same reason, he hosts routine tournaments for wealthy men where they gamble on others’ lives and plans a grand fight between Yusuke and Torugo. However, halfway through the fight, the plans change when all the wealthy men flee from the island.

Still, Sakyo manages to find an alternate source of entertainment when Koenma arrives at his spectator box. While Yusuke and his friends face off against Toguro, Sakyo’s scientists manage to open a portal into the Demon world, unleashing Yaiko into the Human world. Even though Koenma contains them through a magic barrier, his powers won’t hold for long. As such, he visits Sakyo to put a stop to his plan.

In turn, Sakyo offers Koenma a gamble: if his fighter wins, the machine stays on. Likewise, if Yusuke and his friends win, he’ll turn the machine off. The man even takes it a step further and agrees to kill himself if he loses so that no one else can use the machine again. The same remains in character for Sakyo, who seems to have a thing for betting on his life, given his affinity for Russian Roulette. As a result, in the end, after Toguro loses, Sakyo brings a gun to his head.

Nevertheless, even though a shot is heard going off, the show never showcases visual proof of Sakyo’s suicide in any form. Therefore, although the man is dead as far as season one is concerned, there’s always a chance the show may bring him back should the need arise in future seasons. Yet, given Sakyo’s obsession with the game of winning and losing, it seems unlikely that he would have neglected to follow the rules and spared his own life.

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