Anime, Manga, Opinion

The Bad Rap: Yu Yu Hakusho’s Kuwabara

Today I decided to do something a little different! Have you ever watched an anime or read a manga with a character who just had a bad rap? Yeah, me too. Whether it be in the anime itself or even how the character is perceived by the audience, there are countless great characters out there who seem to be misunderstood. So, in the *spirit* of something different, I decided the first of these characters I’d like to discuss would be Kazuma Kuwabara from Togashi Yoshihiro’s Yu Yu Hakusho.

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Kuwabara laying down those sweet moves to impress the girl of his dreams… even if said girl is an ice apparition – and the twin sister of his rival.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that one of my first favorite anime was Yu Yu Hakusho. It of course has a lot of nostalgia factor, but aside from that, it is the perfect mix of 1990s punk fighting shonen with humor that is still relevant to even today’s audience. I have always been entranced by the supernatural aspect of this anime, and I loved Yusuke’s bad boy attitude.

As I’ve grown up, I have found that one character in particular is given some serious unfair judgment, and that is our boy Kuwabara. Why is this? Well, I believe a lot of it has to do with the way he is represented in the manga and anime. His appearance, for instance, resembles that of a traditional greaser type, with slicked hair into a pompadour style and a brawling fighting style to match. He is also not represented as very attractive – sharp features, tall stature, and some pretty goofy faces throughout the series. It doesn’t help that he’s been in some rough fights and that has most likely impacted those facial features, but you know how the magic of animation can be!

Another thing that I’ve noticed fans of the show insist is that he is the weakest link of the group, often described as an idiot who isn’t strong when compared to the rest of the fighters. Um, excuse me? Let’s think this through for a minute. Kuwabara is the ONLY fully human member of the gang. He can be silly and dumb throughout the series (the life as the comic relief can be a sad reality sometimes…) but he is easily the most loyal, often referring to his honor code when faced with some moral dilemma. He never takes the easy way out and will push himself to the brink of death for his friends.

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Kuwabara lending his bestie Yusuke some spirit energy to revive him after a rough battle. Yeah, what a weak characteristic – said NOBODY. 🙃

His mastery of his psychic gifts also makes him a vital member of the team long before he discovers his Spirit Sword. For a human, he also possesses raw physical strength that can even be considered superhuman. At the end of the day, Kuwabara is the glue of the Spirit Detectives, and while he certainly has his flaws, you can’t tell me that this character is not just as important as Yusuke, Hiei, and Kurama.

Tell us what you think! Do you have anything to add when it comes to this character? Is there another character from Yu Yu Hakusho that also deserves some recognition? Comment below to join the discussion! ✌

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