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Overview

Yoko Kurama 
also known as Shuichi Minamino is a main character in the anime series YuYu Hakusho. The word Yoko, despite being portrayed as a name in the dub, actually literally translates to "demon fox" in Japanese. Voiced by Megumi Ogata (Shūichi) and Shigeru Nakahara (Yoko) in the original Japanese and John Burgmeier in the FUNimation English dub. He is called Dennis in the Filipino dub of the anime.    

Appearance

In his human form, Kurama has bright green eyes, as well as long vibrant red hair, with two long forelocks on either shoulder and the rest on his back. While in this form, he is occasionally mistaken for a female.

He often wears his school uniform- matching pink slacks and a jacket with gold trim. Towards the end of a sash tied around his waist. He stopped wearing it midway through the second season (presumably because it was ruined in his fights against the first two members of Team Masho). For the remainder of the series, he often wears a light-colored Chinese-style battle outfit.

While in his demon-fox (yoko) form, he has golden eyes, prominent silver fox-ears, as well as a silver tail and long flowing silver hair. He wears a white sleeveless yukata (that resembles a toga), along with matching martial arts pants and shoes.

Personality

Kurama is the most calculating, cunning, and analytical member of the main characters and perhaps in the series. He is able to carefully look past his feelings and see the real situation at hand, demonstrated on more than one occasion. In battle, while his preference is to concoct strategies based on deduction of his opponents' abilities and fighting style, his natural battle instincts are also highly tuned. He is capable of slashing another person's head off in just an instant, relying only on impulse. However, his care for his friends and his love for his family are the backbone of his fighting drive, as he will sacrifice just about anything to protect them.

In the face of adversity, Kurama has the uncommon ability to shun all emotions and shine a blank slate, thinking three to four steps ahead to clutch the pinch and seize control of the situation. Coupled with his vast intelligence, his detached emotional state is perhaps his greatest asset.

Despite his physical appearance, Kurama has very high durability, shown in almost all of his matches. Because of his analyzation lenience, he is always the most injured in his fights, but manages to pull a trick out of his hat to decide the match. 

 Yoko Kurama in the Makai World.

As Yoko Kurama, he is much more cruel, vindictive, and merciless, retaining all of his intellectual capabilities. 

He enjoys toying with his enemies, as shown in the semi-final rounds of the Dark Tournament, and in his fight against Karasu. After Yusuke's defeat at the hands of Sensui, Kurama seems to take on his Yoko form, though he states it is just a change in physical appearance, due to his exposure to substantial amounts of demon energy, a product of the tunnel's completion. Later on in the series, he is able to access this form of himself and its powers without the age regression technique of Uraurashima (through Suzuka) and adopt his personality traits to a higher degree.

In the anime, it is portrayed that he and his Yoko form have different personalities. This is due to the fact that while in his demon form, his ruthless, along with the change in voice makes Yoko seem like an entirely different person. However this misconception is cleared as Kurama states that his demonic spirit over time, merged with the human spirit of Minamino Shuuichi. So rather than being a demon inhabiting a human body, he "is both the demon Kurama as well as the human Minamino Shuuichi." Kurama is on good terms with Yusuke, Kuwabara, and Hiei. He is more closely related with Yusuke and Hiei, because the former saved his life and his human mother's by willing offering his own, and the latter because they were once, and still are "partners in crime". He also has a tendency to plan for all possible futures, one that may or may not be, because he believes that nothing is ever certain and that you must be prepared.

History

Kurama was once a powerful fox-demon, Yoko, who was classified as an A-class demon and a master thief. He was renowned as the "Legendary Bandit." At some point, he and his former partner in crime and second-in-command, Yomi decided to gain power through theft of very valuable items from secure facilities in Makai, even gaining a group of like-minded individuals. However, too many of his lieutenant's impulsive and rash decision of acting on his own, had cost Yoko several of his men, and had to save Yomi several times in the past. Eventually, Yoko sent a hitman to punish Yomi, using false information of a well guarded treasure as bait; the assailant would blind him and Yoko left him for dead. Sometime afterward, he met Kuronue, a fellow thief,who shared similar values to him, becoming good friends who would steal various important artifacts together. Eventually, after successfully obtaining some rare antiquity, they fell into a trap of shooting bamboos, that would mortally wound Kuronue. After hearing his friend's pleading to leave him behind, Yoko reluctantly left to once again be alone to thieve by himself.

Kurama and Hiei. 

About 15 years ago, he was mortally wounded by one of the Spirit World's Elite Soldiers (known as Hunters by demons) after a failed theft, and was forced to retreat to the human world. He implanted his soul into Shiori Minamino's unborn child. He only planned on staying in the human world long enough to regain his energy, but he hadn't planned on loving his human mother. He stayed, so as not to hurt her, and because he truly cared for her. As he grew up, his mother grew ill, forcing him to join forces with Hiei and another demon, to steal from Spirit World to receive an artifact capable of saving his mother's life. His life was spared, in the process of sacrificing it, by Yusuke's willigness to sacrifice himself to save Kurama and his mother. Afterward, he was on a spiral into a debt with Urameshi.

Trivia

  • As with Hiei, Kurama's name simply "popped into [Togashi's] head" when developing the characters.
  • Kitayama finds Kurama to be the easiest of the main characters to design due to his well-proportioned features.
  • In Hyper Police Kurama made a cameo appearence in the episode 4 when Natsuki is in the house of Sakura.
  • Kurama's original manga color scheme was black hair and a blue uniform; the animators chose a red and pink version instead.
  • Kurama made a cameo appearance in Yoshihiro Togashi's second, hit manga series Hunter x Hunter. In Volume 8, Chapter 69, as a action figure along side Yusuke and Hiei, inside the room of Miruki Zoldyck.    
  • Kurama is the only fighter on team Urameshi to lose in the finals against team Toguro.
  • Kurama hides seeds in his hair.
  • He had a girl named Maya who became really attached to him when he was 14. (Manga)
  • Kurama also met Hiei when he was 14 years old.
  • He seems partial to taking wounds in the stomach.
  • He has an incredible sense of smell and can read lips.
  • Kurama planned to leave Human world to return to Demon world after regaining his strength, it would take an estimated 10 years. In the end he never left because of the love he has for his human mother.
  • It was noted by Yoshihiro Togashi in an insert segment of Weekly Shōnen Jump that in the first drafts of the series, Hiei and Kurama were to be in a relationship. However, due to the set-backs such content caused his previous works, he ultimately decided against making them a couple in favor of having them be close friends.
  • Some sources (mainly fansites), points out his birthdate being on June 22. If this is confirmed to be official, he is the one of the few characters out of Sensui Seven to have his birthdate revealed (Sensui was born June 6, Hagiri was born December 3, Kamiya was born August 20, Mitarai was born February 10, and Amanuma was born July 7). The other one is Keiko (born January 31)
  • During the Three Kings Saga, Kurama's Yōki is stated to be 1,902 (In the Manga) and 8,902 (In the anime). When transforming into Yoko Kurama his Yōki is 152,000.
  • His seiyu, Megumi Ogata, also voiced Sailor Uranus from Sailor Moon, ironically, Yu Yu Hakusho's mangaka, Yoshihiro Togashi, is married to Naoko Takeuchi, the mangaka for Sailor Moon.
  • In the Korean dub he is named "Cho-Hong" (초홍), which unlike Hiei's Korean name is not a hanja translation of his Japanese name. In the Korean sub, he is called "Gurama", but is still called Kurama in the manga translation.
  • It has been stated in latest releases that Kurama's Birthday falls on December 29.
  • The Filipino dub initially called him Denise, because the dubbers thought he was a woman. When they learned the truth, they changed his name to Dennis and explained that he was disguising himself as a woman named Denise.    
  • Yoko Kurama bears little resemblance to Inuyasha.
  • Like Hiei, Kurama's name comes from the Kurama Mountain, in Kyoto, Japan. It is the location of a famous Buddhist temple. Mt. Hiei stands right beside it.
  • Kurama's human name translates in two parts: the given (Shuichi) means "excellence first", while the surname (Minamino) means "Southern Field" and is also the name of a famous Japanese warrior. To this day, the surname is only allowed to families of nobility or higher social standing.
  • Kurama is the name of a rural town in the northern mountains of Kyoto City, less than one hour from the city center. Kurama town is best known for its temple Kurama-dera and its hot spring, one of the most easily accessible hot springs from Kyoto.    

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