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Character Profile: Yoko Kurama

Fields
USA Info
Japanese Info
Image
Name
Yoko Kurama Youko Kurama(蔵馬) Yoko Kurama (Yu Yu Hakusho)
Alias
Shuichi Minamino Shuuichi Minamino
Race
Spirit Fox(with demon powers) Kitsune youkai("fox demon")
Gender
Male Male
Age
About 3000 years old(appears 15 years old)(see below) About 3000 years old(appears 15 years old)(see below)
Hair
Silver Silver
Eyes
Hazel/gold Hazel/gold
Height
About 7' About 213 cm
Weight
   
Status
Part of Yusuke's crew Part of Yusuke's crew
Quote
"We shouldn't have to die in this sensless act!"  
Voice
John Burgmeier(TV) Shiguru Nakahara
· · ·
David Hayter(aka Sean Barker)(movie 1)  
· · ·
Hideo Seaver(movie 2)  
Debut
   
Anime
Yu Yu Hakusho Yuu Yuu Hakusho

Character Description: Yoko Kurama

A lifetime ago, Kurama was the leader of a group of thieves. His second in command was Yomi, who would later become one of the three most powerful demons [youkai] in Demon World [Makai]. But Yomi was a ruthless and brainless fighter who didn't want to listen to the much smarter Kurama. When Yomi ran his own group of thieves and let many loyal followers die by acting on instinct instead of thoughts, Kurama sent an assassin to kill him. This assassin failed, however, and only ended up blinding him. The assassin would wind up regretting this, as the powerful Yomi tortured him until the day he died.

But then, when he was chased by a Spirit World [Rei-kai] bounty hunter and got injured, Kurama (in his fox form) fled to the Living World [Ningenkai] and his spirit combined with that of the unborn baby of Shiori Minamino. He was later born as Shuichi Minamino. His human mother loved him with all her heart and taught the once so cold hearted Kurama what human love is. Kurama, who actually wanted to return to Demon World [Makai] as soon as he regained his powers, learned how to love and to care and found himself unable to leave his mother. So he stayed to take care of her (he continues to live with his human family today).

Kurama and Hiei met each other when they were in junior high. You may not believe it, but Kurama had short hair! Although Hiei probably will never admit it, they are close friends, know a lot about each other, and even understand each other. When Kurama's mother got sick and could not be treated, he decided to join Hiei and Gouki to steal the three Spirit World [Rei-kai] artifacts to save her life. The item Kurama got was a mirror called the Forlorn Hope, meaning that if the person wanted their wish granted, they would have to give up their lives to accomplish this wish, hence the forlorn part of it.

And so he met Yusuke, who saved his life when he wanted to sacrifice his own life to save his mother's. In the end, the mirror granted Kurama's wish and saved his mother's life. He then surrenders to the Spirit World but is later released to join Yusuke's crew (along with Hiei) during the invasion of the Spirit Beasts, maintaining his human form but going by his real name.

Kurama's power is the ability to control plants, especially Makai plants, and his techniques have a uniquely beautiful but deadly quality to them. He always carries a rose in his hair, his means of creating the deadly Rose Whip. With it, he can invoke attacks like the Rose Whiplash or the Thorn Wheel. He's also known to use a Death Plant that can kill an enemy by growing inside them.

Kurama is a very nice person who smiles a lot, but nobody can tell who and what is behind this smiling face. He is an extremely intelligent person, thinks a few steps ahead of normal people, and will never let others know what's on his mind. Even in the most difficult situations, he manages to stay calm and think about the best solution. However, his time as a human has softened what would otherwise have been a very ruthless demon [youkai]...with a reputation feared even today by the demons [youkai] in Hell.

Kurama occasionally returns to his real form, but is basically trapped in his human body and can only come out with special items like the Idunn Box or with the Fruit of Past Lives. In his real form, Kurama's power of plants increases significantly, and the white clothes of his real form are created of demon substance and they have defensive powers like those of Sensui. Also, he regains his cold bloodedness from before his life in the human world.

In his past, Kurama's closest friend and companion was Kuronue, who died during one of their robberies in Demon World [Makai]. Kurama is still quite upset about his best friend's death, the feeling which the enemies of the second Yu Yu Hakusho movie took advantage of.

Kurama's Age

In the US version of the anime, the narrator mentions in episode 47 that Kurama is a 300 year old demon. This is not mentioned in the Japanese version. However, in episode 101 - Reunion of the Bandits (Japanese: Demon Realm thieves-- A Thousand year Reunion), at one point when Kurama talks to Yomi, Yomi says they haven't seen each other in over 1,000 years. Additionally, in episode 108 on the English dub, the judge states that Kurama must of planted the plants he uses to win the fight with the swordsman over 1,000 years ago... so I guess the narrator's mentioning of 300 years was incorrect.

But wait, some seemingly hardcore fan has come up with a possible explanation. Since it was referring to him after being de-aged by the Idunn Box, he may have been in his 300 age form. There may be credit to this because of his reputation in the demon world, even after being "dead" for 15 years. So his 300 year old form would obviously be less powerful than his 1,000+ year old form. At the peak of his power I would think that Yoko would have ripped Karasu, and even have been able to rip Toguro apart. Since Yusuke needed to get so much more powerful, and Kurama didn't seem to have to train at all to compete because of the power he was leeching from Yoko. As a matter of fact, it doesn't really seem like Kurama ever trains in the series.

Okay, so there's no way that was the intention of the dubbers, but it's a nice explanation to cover the mistake. In reality, though, Kurama may actually be about 3,000 years old. There are legends regarding the number of tails reflecting age, some which state that they gain a tail every 100 years, though I'm told there are other legends where gaining tails is based only on power and not age. If we assume the 1 tail per every 100 year myth, then when Kurama is introduced, there is a brief sequence that shows him in his fox form-- sporting 4 tails, which could lead dubbers to believe that he was 300 years old (having been born with one and gaining another at every 100 year mark (prompting the narration of the Dark Tournament Arc to reflect this conclusion).

Later, in the Three Kings Arc (which had not been translated yet at the time that the Dark Tournament Arc was being dubbed) it is stated that Yomi rose to power about 500 years ago-- AFTER Kurama had hired an assassin to kill/blind him. This didn't fit with the plot as set by the dubbers, since Kurama couldn't be taking hits out on people 100 years before he was born. In actually, Togashi (author of the series) was using the lesser known version of the tale: a kitsune gaining another tail every 1,000-- not 100-- years. So with 4 tails (and being born with 1), Kurama would around 3,000 years old.