Toguro In Netflix’s ‘Yu Yu Hakushu,’ Explained: Did Toguro Kill Genkai?

The live-action adaptation of Yu Yu Hakusho blasted onto Netflix with a huge reception, and with it, Netflix maintained its streak of not ruining live-action adaptations of manga and comics. For the uninitiated, the series follows the story of Yusuke Urameshi, who became a spirit detective after sacrificing himself to save a boy’s life. As a spirit detective, his duties included finding and stopping demons who disrupted the peace of the human world. However, as the show progressed, we came across two contrasting characters who once shared a special connection. Yes, we’re talking about Genkai and Toguro. One of them entrusted her power to the next generation, while the other sacrificed everything to become powerful.


Spoilers Ahead

Why Did Genkai Say Yusuke Won’t Amount To Anything?

If you’ve watched Yu Yu Hakusho, you would know that Genkai was the mentor Yusuke was sent to when he was beaten by Hiei. Genkai was a powerful mentor, and Koenma and Botan figured she would do her best to help Yusuke reach his full potential. Kuwabara heard Botan and Yusuke talking about training and joined them at Genkai’s dojo. As soon as they reached the mountain, Genkai began the harsh training. Yusuke wanted to defeat Hiei; however, his technique was a bit off and lacked control. Moreover, she stated that Yusuke’s impatience and futile attempts to fight like his opponent were his biggest flaws.


However, Yusuke thought Genkai was just an old lady running her mouth, but he had no option but listen to her when she defeated him without effort. Genkai made Yusuke lift himself in the air by focusing his spirit on his finger. Yusuke thought this was an unnecessary exercise, but little did he know Genkai was preparing him so he could utilize his spirit energy effectively. Genkai even told Botan that with his impatience and weak resolve, Yusuke wouldn’t amount to anything. Genkai changed her stance when she saw Yusuke mastering her exercise. She credited Yusuke’s competitive streak for it.

Why Did Genkai Give Yusuke The Spirit Wave Orb?

Thanks to Genkai, Yusuke was able to use a much more devastating spirit gun. This was the same attack we see him using to defeat Younger Toguro. Yusuke’s desire to grow stronger reminded her of her old friend, Toguro. In episode 3 of Yu Yu Hakusho, she realized that soon her student would face Toguro and trusted Yusuke with her secret. She gave Yusuke the Spirit Wave Orb and told him that with his age, he would grow stronger and one day would face a difficult story. She was referring to the time when he would have to choose between his humanity and the power in front of him. To make her argument sound stronger, Genkai communicated that sacrificing what you value to become powerful shows the weakness of the heart. In this context, she was talking about Toguro, who sold his morality to become stronger. Toguro arrived at Genkai’s dojo to steal her power but killed her after learning that she had passed it down to her student, Yusuke.


What Does Toguro Want?

In every anime or manga, there’s always a character with the goal of becoming the most powerful and finding someone challenging enough to fight. Younger Toguro was just that, but unlike others, he had a tragic past and didn’t become a villain just for the sake of a murderous instinct. If you didn’t know, Genkai and Toguro used to train under the same master and were good friends until a tragedy created a rift between them. One unfortunate day, the students under Toguro’s care were murdered and eaten up by a monstrous Yokai. Toguro did his very best, but he couldn’t do anything except watch his students get eaten alive right in front of his eyes. This broke him, and he blamed himself for all their deaths. This robbed him of his peace, and every time he thought about it, there was just one thing on his mind: if he had been more powerful, he could’ve saved his students. Because of this, he turned away from his morality and became a Yokai. Toguro’s transformation gave him unimaginable power, and he found and killed the monster that murdered his students.

However, even after getting his revenge, Toguro didn’t stop. He continued to search for a rival who could make him fight to his true potential. Throughout the series, we see Toguro fighting different Yokai in his human form because none of the Yokai he fought were strong and worthy to fight his original Yokai form. Toguro’s final form was so powerful that he could reduce a massive building into rubble with the snap of his fingers. However, things changed when Toguro met Yusuke. When he fought Yusuke, Toguro realized that he wasn’t using his full potential, and in order for him to reach his true mark, Toguro threatened to hurt his friends and family. Following a lengthy battle, Yusuke defeated Toguro and earned both his respect and thanks.


Why Did Toguro See Himself In Yusuke?

When Yusuke and Toguro were exchanging blows, the latter compared himself to the former. Toguro was referring to the choices he had to make and the choices that one day Yusuke would face. Toguro hinted that one day Yusuke would become extremely powerful, but to achieve more, he would have to sacrifice the very thing he held onto: his humanity. However, Yusuke assured him that that time would never come and that he would never betray his principles and morals. But the thing about these choices is that they weren’t made for selfish reasons. Toguro was an honest man who had to make such a choice, so the deaths of his students didn’t go in vain.

Yes, he did lose himself down the road and housed a new urge to become powerful. But this was Toguro’s way of punishing himself. Even after his death, Toguro willingly chose the most dangerous hell so he could continue to pay for his mistakes. Genkai, his old friend, was there to stop him because she knew that even in death, Toguro would find ways to punish himself. Genkai did her best, but Toguro was hell-bent on taking the path. However, before he continued his journey, he made Genkai promise to help Yusuke control his powers and emotions so he wouldn’t end up making the same mistake as him. Thus, even at the very end, he was thinking about Yusuke, not himself.

Rishabh Shandilya
Rishabh Shandilya
Rishabh considers himself a superhero who is always at work trying to save the world from boredom. In his leisure time, he loves to watch more movies and play video games and tries to write about them to entertain his readers further. Rishabh likes to call himself a dedicated fan of Haruki Murakami, whose books are an escape from his real being.

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