Yu Yu Hakusho’s Dark Tournament Change Broke The Live-Action’s Power Levels (& Ruined Toguro)

WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Netflix’s Yu Yu Hakusho.


  • Yu Yu Hakusho’s live-action adaptation on Netflix makes creative decisions that hurt Younger Toguro’s character.
  • The death of Younger Toguro happens too early in the series compared to the manga’s timeline, removing the impact of his role.
  • Skipping the Dark Tournament arc and revealing Younger Toguro’s backstory right away removes a lot from what made the character so special in the anime.

Netflix’s Yu Yu Hakusho ignores the Dark Tournament and hurts Younger Toguro’s character in the process. While the Yu Yu Hakusho live-action cast greatly brought the anime characters to life, some of the creative decisions regarding Yusuke’s friends and foes did not work. Additionally, by merging two sagas into one story told in just five episodes, Yu Yu Hakusho made it impossible to accurately match the source material.

There are many differences between the Yu Yu Hakusho anime and the live-action. While some of them were necessary and helped translate the story to a different media, others risked failing some of the show’s most important characters. Younger Toguro, one of the most iconic Yu Yu Hakusho antagonists, was the most affected by those changes.


Why Netflix’s Yu Yu Hakusho Is Only Five Episodes Long

Netflix’s live-action Yu Yu Hakusho series is only five episodes long but covers a significant portion of the anime, which ran for 112 episodes.

Yusuke Defeats & Kill Younger Toguro In Yu Yu Hakusho Episode 5

While Toguro is indeed defeated at the end of the Yukina rescue arc in the original story, his death only happens in the final match of the Demon World tournament. Younger Toguro should be the strongest, toughest adversary Yusuke and his friends had ever fought, and having Urameshi kill the villain in their very first battle removes that aspect of the character. In the anime, it is not even Yusuke who gives the final blow against Toguro – it is Kuwabara, using the Spirit Sword. The villain is only defeated due to teamwork, with Yusuke using the Spirit Gun to “shoot” Kuwabara toward Toguro.

While there is a sense of teamwork in Yu Yu Hakusho’s ending fight, with all four main characters fighting Toguro at the same time, it is Yusuke’s technique that ends the battle and saves the day. Toguro’s death in the live-action happens exactly like in the anime, except that it occurs an entire saga earlier. Yusuke is not supposed to be powerful enough to kill Younger Toguro at this point of this story, having just recently concluded his first formal training with Genkai. Yusuke defeating Toguro is supposed to be a cathartic moment, and having it happening so earlier compared to the anime plays against the show’s power levels.

How Skipping The Dark Tournament Arc Ruined Younger Toguro

Toguro enters Genkai's dojo in Yu Yu Hakusho episode 3

Regardless of the Yu Yu Hakusho power scale, skipping the Dark Tournament and killing Toguro so quickly removes a lot from what makes the character special. The youngest Toguro brother is introduced as a generic villain working as a henchman whose only trait is that he is incredibly strong and is looking for a challenge. Toguro’s role in the Spirit Detective saga is mainly as muscle for other villains, and it is only in the next saga that he is revealed as an actual complex, layered character with a fascinating backstory. The live-action merges these two aspects of Toguro’s character and reveals most of his backstory right after his introduction.

There is no time for audiences to connect with Toguro as a villain before his redeeming qualities and tragic past are shown. As a result, Toguro’s death, which is followed by him meeting Genkai in a different plane of existence, is much more emotional in the anime compared to the live-action. Even though Toguro is defeated in the Spirit Detective saga, the anime makes it clear that he is not using all of his strength. In Netflix’s Yu Yu Hakusho, however, Toguro goes 100% after having just met Yusuke, which fails to capture what made their Dark Tournament fight so special in the first place.

Yu Yu Hakusho netflix poster

Yu Yu Hakusho (2023)

Release Date
December 14, 2023

Takumi Kitamura , Shuhei Uesugi , Jun Shison , Kanata Hongô


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