The Toguro brothers as shown during the Dark Tournament Saga of Yu Yu Hakusho.

Yu Yu Hakusho Episodes 49 – 56 Analysis

Okay, so these episodes of Yu Yu Hakusho were certainly eventful. Let’s kick off by discussing the most obvious talking point…

Talkin’ About Toguro

These episodes mark the point where the lid is finally lifted on the mysterious figure that is Toguro, his motives, and the link that he has to Genkai.

Toguro is pretty much the personification of the phrase ‘power corrupts’. He certainly doesn’t care about the finer things in life, as he threw away everything he had, including his humanity, to maintain his absurd strength and become even more powerful.

We find out that Toguro was once human, but chose to become a demon 50 years previously after Team Toguro won their first Dark Tournament as the guest team. In case you have forgotten, a guest team comprised of humans are invited to each iteration of the tournament, with Team Urameshi having that distinction this time around.

He states that the other members of Team Toguro were dead against the decision that he made. Did this include his brother too? Genkai was one of his teammates, and we see via flashbacks that the two of them had a close relationship. This may have even been a romantic one, as some of the dialogue appears to suggest.

Back then, Toguro’s existential crisis about one day losing all the strength he had gained and worked for as a martial artist due to ageing does make sense, and is pretty understandable. However, instead of taking a deep breath and coming to terms with that fact of life, it consumed him and led him down a dark and twisted path.

Genkai and Toguro at the Dark Tournament 50 years previously, as shown in Yu Yu Hakusho.
Genkai and Toguro after winning a previous Dark Tournament together.

Toguro ultimately succeeds in his ambition to kill Genkai. This desire was definitely born out of the festering anger all because she had disagreed with him all those years ago, and to prove his own point that power was above all else.

Strangely, despite his old fear of one day being surpassed, Toguro shows delight in possibly having to unleash 100% of his power to fight Yusuke. This moment shows that the decisions Toguro has made were ultimately pointless. If he eventually wanted a challenge, then what was the point of becoming a demon? Couldn’t he have just aged, maintaining his friendships and humanity, and waited for a challenger instead?

It’s possible that Toguro in fact regrets his decision, and that inside he has been trying to fool himself for years. From what we see, it looks as if he and his brother just became bullies of the Demon Realm, picking many fights, killing others and making enemies as they went, to find some sort of challenge.

With us now knowing more about Toguro and his motivations, I have to say that I really like this character as an antagonist. While still being a megalomaniac, I like that he is still a very flawed, foolish, and quite pathetic person, carrying a much more personal vendetta. And of course, extremely dangerous and powerful.

Genkai’s Demise

On Genkai’s death, it looked as though she was more than ready to die, but in the end she tried her best to survive, but ultimately in vain.

Yusuke, witnessing what took place gets a talking to by Koenma afterwards, instructing him to basically put his grief to one side and to focus on gaining victory against her killer in the final. Despite dealing damage to Toguro, the demon swatted him away with ease, so even with added motivation it’s a little unclear still how he would achieve this.

One thing that I have been mulling over since watching these episodes is Genkai’s morality. We were shown in the last bunch of episodes during Yusuke’s training that she holds a rather neutral viewpoint, not believing in pure good or evil.

Back during her tournament arc, she also stated she would be willing to take on the evil Rando as her student if he somehow did manage to win. Also, in these episodes, against Shishiwakamaru, she proclaims herself not to be a heroine.

The reason why I am pondering this is that it’s strange that she was associated with a horrible guy like Toguro. I mean, I know he probably wasn’t evil back then, but I can imagine he wasn’t such a great person at that time either.

Genkai as shown during her younger years in Yu Yu Hakusho.
It’s a little odd that Genkai associated herself with a guy like Toguro.

The Enemy of the Enemy…

Before all this went down, Genkai was able to easily defeat the rest of Team Uraotogi, beating Shishiwakamaru and old man Onji who was in fact a demon named Suzuki in disguise.

Suzuki, the leader of Team Uraotogi, had a run-in with the Toguros at some point previously, and like Yusuke, wished to defeat the two powerful demons at the tournament.

His fights against Kuwabara and Genkai were interesting, as while his techniques are extremely powerful, his physical strength was shown to be highly lacking. Despite his initial disguise, he states he has a hatred of the elderly, which foreshadows what we later learn about Toguro and Genkai’s relationship.

The items that he provided to Kurama and Kuwabara seem to be very beneficial, as Kurama was able to defeat Karasu in the first match-up of the final with its use. Kuwabara will also need a power boost to be able to stand any chance at all after his two previous defeats, one to Suzuki himself.

We also see the return of some of Team Urameshi’s previous foes, in the form of Rinku, Chu, Jin and Toya who step in to protect Keiko and the unconscious Yusuke from other demons. I didn’t think too much of these characters when they initially appeared, but it is nice to see them return.

There is also the revelation that the other members of Team Toguro, Karasu and Bui, are not in fact friends of the Toguro’s at all. As the elder Toguro kills off Team Gorenja, he reveals that Karasu and Bui were also made to beg for their lives in the same manner. They were recruited into Toguro’s team, but only as they themselves hope to get stronger to hopefully one day defeat the two brothers.

At this point, Karasu has already been defeated by Kurama, but I think there’s a possibility that Bui could potentially see that Team Urameshi have what it takes to defeat the Toguros. As a consequence, I feel he may try and betray them and fight against them instead.

Sakyo’s Plan

As well as finding out more about Toguro, we also find out here about his master Sakyo’s ambitions. Sakyo reveals to other members of the Black Black Club that he desires to open up a larger portal to the Demon Realm, allowing more powerful beings to cross into Earth’s reality. He states he wants to do this merely to make things more interesting, but there has to be more to it than that.

This talk raises some interesting questions. Toguro is going along with Sakyo as he wishes to return to the Demon Realm. So, how was Toguro able to cross the void before? Was he considerably weaker the last time he crossed over?

Also, does this mean that the demons competing at the tournament, although appearing strong, are not in fact the fiercest around seeing as how they were able to cross over to compete? How much more powerful could other demons be?

Sakyo as shown during the Dark Tournament Saga of Yu Yu Hakusho.
What exactly is Sakyo’s true motive?

An Explosive Battle

As the final gets underway, Kurama takes on Kurasu. Kurama of course believed that he didn’t have what it took to defeat his opponent, but the item received from Suzuki allowing him to access his Yoko Kurama form made him very confident.

It was a tight and brutal match, with Kurama only barely being able to win after being very close to defeat, battered and bloodied. The item having a positive side effect in that it makes Kurama able to access the power of Yoko Kurama even in human form is a real bonus.

This battle is the prime example of the brutality this set of episodes displays. We mentioned what happened to Kurama above, and there’s also how he claims victory against Karasu with the blood-sucking plant, which takes blood from his heart to form a giant rose.

Other gory moments included Genkai in a pool of blood after her fight with Toguro, and Team Gorenja’s demise; especially when the fighter Kirenjya is graphically cleaved in half by Bui’s axe. Not to mention Toguro’s destruction of the other members of the Black Black Club.

Other Details

It’s interesting that Koenma and Sakyo had to be called up as emergency fifth members of both teams, and it seems likely as this has happened that they will be called into action at some point.

Also, what’s going on with Koenma and Botan? We find out that as beings of the Spirit Realm with high-profile jobs, they in fact already knew that Genkai was going to die. From Botan’s actions and feelings before the final, it looks as though she already knows that someone else is also going to perish in the battle. But who could it be?

We also have Hiei who has to fight against Bui next. We saw during these episodes that he has once again been farting around trying to perfect the Dragon of Darkness Flame, possibly damaging his arm again. That said, he seems somewhat confident.

Hiei prepares to fight Bui in the Dark Tournament Saga of Yu Yu Hakusho.
Will Hiei’s training pay off?

Episode Conclusions

These episodes were quite the ride, and definitely built on the last bunch of episodes where the series seemed to click into gear. These episodes help take the series to another level higher, and now we are starting to see why this series is so revered.

Despite it now looking like a straightforward battle between the two teams, there are still quite a few episodes of this arc to go, so we can expect more twists and turns yet.

How do you feel about Toguro as a character and as a villain? What are you expecting for the final battle? Leave your thoughts down below.

Check out the video version of this article here.

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