"Never give up, even when your heart is tested by sorrow."Hello and welcome to Afterimage, a one page tribute to Hiei of Togashi Yoshihiro's animanga series Yu Yu Hakusho. Hiei is one of the series's four main characters, and one that I've loved since I was nine years old. This website features unmarked spoilers and a lot of personal speculation. It may also feature content of the slash/shounen ai variety, but nothing explicit. This page was created as a part of Amassment's One Page, One Month: Encore Marathon that ran until the end of September 2015. Feel free to wander around and enjoy! :)
9-liters-of-art@dA, reecito@dA, and subtlepatterns. There is no navigation, but all of the content is readily viewed by scrolling.
Yu Yu Hakusho is an anime and manga series created by Togashi Yoshihiro. It ran in Weekly Shounen Jump from December 1990 until the series conclusion in July 1994. The story follows the main character Urameshi Yusuke, a juvenile delinquent who ends up getting killed when he jumps into traffic in an attempt to save the life of a child. He reawakens as a spirit and learns that it wasn't actually his time to die, so he must go through several trials in order to revive himself again into his living body. Upon his successful revival, he is then appointed a detective for the Reikai (Spirit World) and serves to protect the Ningenkai (Human Realm) from malicious demons. As a spirit detective, he encounters many different demons and spirits and participates in martial arts tournaments as he attempts to protect his fellow humankind. Yu Yu Hakusho was one of the top-selling series of it's time and helped to set the bar for many more anime and manga series to come, particularly in the shounen genre.
Power Level: C-Class (S-Class by series end.)
Height: 4'10" (hair not included.)
Power Level: C-Class (S-Class by series end.)
Height: 4'10" (hair not included.)
Teams: Urameshi, Mukuro
Family: Yukina, Hina
Manga Debut: Chapter 20
Anime Debut: Episode 6
Japanese Voice Actor: Hiyama Nobuyuki
English Voice Actor: Chuck Huber
Family: Yukina, Hina
Manga Debut: Chapter 20
Anime Debut: Episode 6
Japanese Voice Actor: Hiyama Nobuyuki
English Voice Actor: Chuck Huber
Though he keeps himself at a distance from others, he is able to recognize when it is beneficial to create some form of alliance. Once he gives his word, he will not go back on it, likely due to his own experiences with betrayal. He makes good on both his promises and his threats. He is not an easy person to befriend, but he is fiercely loyal to those who do manage to get close to him. He is not afraid to throw his life away for them if he has to. He has a deep respect for his teammates, though he doesn't often express it. It is almost hypocritical, as he often looks down on humans for the importance they place on relationships and life in general.
There are few people who can see through his mask, and it is always interesting to see how they handle him. He doesn't take to teasing well, as he will react with hostility. Contrarily, he often goes out of his way to belittle his teammate Kuwabara, but generally just ignores his reactions and attempts to fight. If someone attempts to talk with him about something he'd rather not discuss, he'll simply ignore them and/or physically leave the conversation. The only one he is known to be surprisingly warm to is his twin sister, Yukina. To everyone else, he is an enigma beneath an icy stare. He is either hot or cold, with few variations in between.
His ridiculously superhuman speed is one of the traits attributed to Hiei. He is the fastest character in the entire series, out of an enormous cast of terrifying and horrendously intimidating humans and demons. He moves so quickly that it can't be seen with the naked eye, so he is sometimes believed to be employing the use of teleportation, though this does not actually seem to be the case. Because he is able to move so quickly, he often leaves behind afterimages of himself (hence the name of this site) which can sometimes fool his opponents into thinking that they have defeated or injured him. By the time the image fades, he has likely already defeated his opponent and moved on to the next obstacle in his path.
Many of Hiei's early opponents are dispatched using a simple combination of his swordsmanship and speed, however he has many other skills that he can put to use against the stronger of his opponents. One of these more powerful tools of destruction is his Jagan, or Evil Eye, which is a third eye in the middle of his forehead that is usually covered with a white bandana. It allows him to utilize powerful psychic powers, which includes the ability to see across great distances, telepathy, telekinesis, and memory alteration. The Jagan also allows him to use mind control on weaker demons and humans. When utilizing the eye, Hiei can take the form of Jaganshi, or Evil Eye Expert, which alters his appearance as well as his abilities. His skin turns green in the anime, his body becomes covered in several additional eyeballs (wouldn't it be inconvenient with all of those?), and his already gravity-defying hair seems to stand up even higher. This form allows for a boost to his already insane speed and physical strength, as well as the power to use a binding curse and the capacity to summon several dragons. All of this, at the cost of his good looks. That must be the reason why he doesn't seem to use this form very often - and not at all because he has better weapons in his aresenal.
I stated before that Hiei is a fire demon - it is exactly what it sounds like. He has control over the element of fire, and can choose to channel it in multiple ways. One way he can use it is by funneling fire from the mortal realm into his fists, so that his punches hurt even more and allows him to disintegrate objects through mere touch. This technique is known as Jaou Ensatsu Rengoku Shou, or Wicked King Immolation Purgatory Scorch. Hiei can also use these flames as a flamethrower, which is pretty awesome. Another fire-based attack of Hiei's is known as Jaou Ensatsu Ken, or Wicked King Immolation Sword, and allows him to utilize his flames in the shape of a sword. He rarely uses it though, because it is similar in appearance to Kuwabara's weapon, and Hiei is just not having that.
On top of all of that, though, Hiei has one more trick up his sleeve... literally. Underneath the bandages on his right arm is a lovely dragon tattoo that wraps around his arm. This tattoo is not for looks though, as it contains the power of his Jaou Ensatsu Kokuryuuha, or Wicked King Immolation Black Dragon Wave. This is his most badass technique, where he shoots flames of the demon realm from his arm in the general direction of his enemy, and they are just completely obliterated (with very few exceptions) along with anything else nearby. This technique is insanely powerful, and Hiei is the only person to have mastered it instead of being destroyed by it. It doesn't come without it's drawbacks though, as Hiei just kind of passes out after each use, whether he wants to or not. When he first used the dragon, it damaged his right arm to the point that Kurama thought it might never function as it used to, until Hiei realized that the best way to control it and minimize damage to his person was to absorb the dragon and contain it within his own body. When he calls the dragon forth and turns it on himself, he can utilize it's power to massively boost his own and make him that much more formidable. He can be pretty scary sometimes - at least until he's done using the dragon and falls asleep mid-sentence.
Of course, since we meet Hiei before we learn all of this, their presumption was most definitely incorrect. Before he even left his mother's womb, he was already aware of his surroundings. Every word they spoke, he understood. His mother's best friend Rui was the one who threw him from the edge, as she was being scolded for being sentimental. Before she released him, she tucked within his wraps a single hiruiseki, or tear gem, which had formed from the tear his mother cried upon his birth. (Also, can we just take a moment to acknowledge that Hiei is a terrifying-looking baby? Seriously, no wonder you scared them. That face.) Rui had faith that he would survive and return, and requested before he was dropped from the edge that when he did so, he would kill her first.
He understood, and killing her and all of the Koorime women was his singular goal as he grew up in a harsh and unforgiving world. He was found in a forest by a group of bandits, and was raised by them from that point on. By the time he reached the age of five years old, he was already an A-Class demon, one class away from being something Reikai wouldn't be able to handle. He was an expert killing machine and loved doing it, wearing his hiruiseki around his neck to taunt others into trying to steal it from him just so he could have more people to kill. He was never shown anything remotely resembling love in the entirety of his life, and had nothing but rage and hatred to fuel him onward. The only time he ever felt some kind of calm, some form of peace, was when he sat back and looked at his hiruiseki. After a while, he grew bored of mindlessly slaughtering everyone nearby and set out in an attempt to find the floating island of the Koorime and the woman who had given birth to him.
As he traveled, he encountered enemies who were much stronger than he had anticipated, and the cord upon which his hiruiseki hung was cut in a battle, his one and only treasure plummeting from a cliff top into the rapids below. After this, he realized that he now had two goals, to find his homeland and to retrieve the treasure that had been lost. To do this, he decided he needed "better eyes" and found his way to a demon surgeon named Shigure, who listened to his story and offered to perform an operation on him that would grant him the Jagan. Obtaining this eye would come at great cost, as Hiei would have to start all over with the power level equivalent to a D-Class demon. It would come with another cost, one to be requested at a later date. Hiei agreed to the terms, thinking that he deserved the loss of power as punishment for being foolish enough to lose his only treasure.
As he was recovering from the surgery, Shigure taught him swordplay to increase his chances of survival when he set out on his journey. With the telepathic powers of his Jagan, it became much easier to find his homeland. When he finally reached it, he discovered the grave of his mother Hina, who had passed away shortly after childbirth. As he looked around, he saw that the Koorime were living depressing and miserable lives, and decided that his revenge had already been enacted upon them. He meets Rui, who tells him about the child Hina had given birth to, and how he had been cast aside. She recognizes him as that child, and requests that he kill her, but he simply turns to leave. Rui tells him one more thing, and it comes as a surprise to him - he was a part of a set of twins, and his sister had left her homeland in search of him. His goal of finding the floating island of Koorime had been fulfilled, but it had been replaced by a new goal - to find his twin sister. Upon returning to Shigure and telling him of this news, the surgeon finally asks for his payment - that Hiei is never allowed to tell his sister that he is her brother. He agrees, saying that he hadn't intended on telling her the truth anyway. It is only then, after all of this occurs, that he travels to Ningenkai in his search for his sister, becomes involved in a robbery plot, and meets Urameshi Yusuke.
Hiei knows that Yusuke will be coming for him, so ahead of their encounter, he kidnaps Yusuke's childhood friend Keiko and attempts to use her as leverage throughout the fight. He seems surprised when putting her in danger only strengthens Yusuke's resolve and his abilities, as if he has never cared for someone else in the entirety of his life. He looks down on him for having such a relationship and considers it a weakness, and he also belittles Kurama for becoming human and getting attached to his human mother. He's basically a huge snob and needs a bit of an ass-kicking, which Yusuke is much obliged to deliver. He is a difficult opponent though, as Kurama has to blind his Jagan in order for Yusuke to finally take him down. They're just lucky he didn't have his Kokuryuuha at that point, otherwise I'm not sure they would have won.
We are reintroduced to Hiei later on, as an unwilling companion for Yusuke's next mission in the Sacred Beast arc. He is put on a sort of parole by Reikai, and has to act as a spirit detective himself in order to be free. He likely agrees to these terms so that he can continue searching for his sister and his hiruiseki. He is instantly at odds with Kuwabara, but Yusuke doesn't seem to mind that he's hanging around, despite the fact that he used Keiko in one of his plots. Is he forgiving or just simple-minded? I'd say both. Either way, Hiei gives his word that he is on their side for whatever reason, and Yusuke chooses to believe him. This faith is tested very quickly when the group is caught at the Gate of Betrayal beneath a ceiling designed to crush them all, and Yusuke asks Hiei to use his speed to run out and pull the lever to free them. As a former foe, Kuwabara doesn't trust him one bit, but they don't have much of a choice in this situation. After worrying the audience for a minute, Hiei chooses to pull the lever, keeping to his word. This is how we discover his first redeeming factor - that he keeps his promises.
At this point, he becomes something of an antihero rather than a protagonist, because he is only helping the team out for his own selfish purposes, but he is helping them out all the same. Fans will start to notice the changes in his character very early on once he joins Yusuke's team. The bloodlust and desire to hurt others for fun has already faded, and even his level of arrogance has been taken down a notch, though it's definitely still there. He goes very quickly from possibly insane villain to begrudging team member. Even when he was a villain, however, he did seem genuinely upset when Kurama attempted to leave their little band of thieves. He felt betrayed, and has always known the sting of betrayal, so I don't think he would ever be able to do that to someone else. Even if he isn't a part of their team willingly, he is still a part of it and will fight for them. It's an odd trait to see on a character that is still so fresh in your mind from when he was plotting to turn hundreds of humans into demons and gloating over using Keiko as a weapon against Yusuke.
When Hiei's turn to fight comes up, he is pitted against Seiryu, who mercilessly slaughters Byakko, who had managed to survive his fight with Kuwabara. Hiei is visibly upset by this and covers Byakko's severed head with his cloak. Kurama says that this is the first time he has seen Hiei like this, admitting that Hiei used to act in exactly the same cruel manner, but now he is enraged by Sieryu's actions. These feelings of anger are surprising to Hiei himself as well as the rest of them. His rage has him finish off Seiryu in one single move, sixteen cuts in the blink of an eye. Yusuke then approaches him and states that he might really be killed by Hiei if they fought again, and is surprised when he doesn't receive some kind of arrogant remark in response. As Hiei walks away, Kurama explains that Yusuke is the one who is causing him to change.
After Yusuke's battle with Suzaku, he is completely depleted of any reiki, or spirit energy, and Kurama and Hiei watch as Kuwabara attempts to transfer what little reiki he has to Yusuke, but then he simply falls unconscious as well. Hiei remarks that he just doesn't understand why people would sacrifice themselves in order to save others, and that he certainly wouldn't fight for others like that. This statement is one that I always like to compare to who he becomes in the future, but we'll get to that soon. After they complete the mission, Yusuke and Kuwabara are completely depleted of any energy and are helpless as they recover. In stark contrast to everything we know about Hiei, he is seen watching over Yusuke from afar. Kurama discovers his presence, reminding him that if Yusuke is defeated by the simple half-demons who are targeting him, then it would tarnish Hiei's reputation since he lost to him. This seems to be enough to get Hiei to defend Yusuke when the half-demons attempt to ambush him in his weakened state, though I think he would have done it regardless and come up with some excuse. Hiei tells Yusuke to recover quickly so he doesn't have to worry about his reputation in the future, but Yusuke sees through it and says that he might need Hiei's help in the future, and that he'll be relying on him, which visibly surprises Hiei. He probably doesn't know what to say, so he simply hands him a VHS (oh, the 90s) with his next mission on it and leaves.
Of course, this next mission just happens to be the rescuing of a specific Koorime maiden - Hiei's sister Yukina. Kuwabara and Yusuke accept the mission without including Kurama and Hiei, and fight their way through Tarukane's mansion in order to find her. They almost make it too, but Hiei ends up arriving just in time to stop Tarukane from running away with her after all of his guards are defeated. In the anime, it's kind of a race to get there before him because they're afraid he's going to kill Tarukane, and killing humans kind of nulls his contract with Reikai. In the manga though, it seems that Hiei entrusted the task to Yusuke (or at least, entrusted him with distracting everyone while he found Yukina directly) and he never intended on killing him because he didn't want Yukina to witness it. He did punch him in his nasty little face though, which was pretty satisfying.
In addition, he introduces himself as a "friend" of "those guys" (ie, Kuwabara and Yusuke) which is surprising in itself. I don't think he would have used such a word to describe them if he hadn't been caught of guard, but it's interesting to see that he thinks of them that way. This particular mission shows how much he has calmed down from Yusuke's influence - the Hiei of the past would have made Tarukane suffer slowly and laughed about it.
Then comes time for the Ankoku Bujutsukai, or Makai Tournament, that our favorite boys are
Furthermore, in their match against the Mahoutsukai team, when Kurama is unconscious and his opponent is kicking him around, Hiei was preparing the Kokuryuuha to tear the place apart. He didn't care about the rules, or about how if he did, everyone would be trying to kill them. He was going to make sure that Kurama was going to survive. Luckily, for everyone around them, the other team's leader put a stop to the beating. Later on, after Yusuke wins his next couple of battles, the tournament founders decide that his previous match was a draw. With the tournament so blatantly fixed to make sure they lose, Hiei and Yusuke decide they're just going to go totally apeshit and destroy everything. "Fuck the rules," Hiei says. I like that idea. It doesn't end up happening, but it would have been awesome if it had. These instances show just how much Hiei has changed in the time he's been working with Yusuke, to the point that they will risk everything to make sure that their companions survive. They've become pretty like-minded, and Hiei has been instilled with a certain characteristic of Yusuke's, though he'd never admit it. He is starting to really care about the people around him.
This is further proven in the same tournament when Toguro decides the best way to draw out Yusuke's strength in their battle is by killing one of his friends. He chooses Kuwabara, and as he makes his way over to the group, Hiei and Kurama make plans to defend him in any way possible, despite their own lack of strength due to their previous fights. Hiei claims to not care about Kuwabara, but when push comes to shove he won't let him die without trying to stop it. I think this goes further than just a simple sense of duty to his temporary team. On top of his newfound sense of companionship, he wouldn't want to see Yukina cry. And when Kuwabara willingly sacrifices himself, Hiei rushes over to him to try to help. And just to prove that he's still a snarky little snot, he participates in the lie that Kuwabara is dead and then proceeds to rub salt in the wound by telling Yusuke that he wouldn't have had to lie if Yusuke had just used his full power in the first place.
Hiei is mostly absent in the Sensui Arc, claiming that there is nothing to benefit him in helping the team out. It is revealed that he kept his eye on them from a distance, however, when he jumps in to save Yusuke's life from Sniper. Not only that, but afterward, he pretends that he's going to kill him just to let Yusuke blow off some steam by fighting him. It's sort of his way of giving the guy a pep talk, and even Yusuke is surprised by the gesture, almost instantly causing Hiei to regret it. Our main protagonist then asks Hiei to join them again, only this time sweetens the deal with a certain out-of-print tape that was stolen from Reikai. It's just the excuse Hiei needs to tag along, though I'm sure he would've kept watching from a distance if Yusuke hadn't said the magic words.
When Sensui is fighting Yusuke and the others are trapped in Itsuki's alternate dimension, Hiei is shown to worry over Yusuke increasingly. Finally, he demands to be let out, stating that "If I'm going to die, I want to die fighting. With him." Shortly after, when Sensui kills Yusuke during the match before the rest are released, Hiei is the first to react. He immediately attacks with Kokuryuuha, intending to kill the man out of revenge. It isn't effective, but he sends it after him again, fully intending to die and take Sensui down with him. This is the moment when I feel he really becomes a protagonist. It's out of rage, yes, but it shows a tremendous sense of loyalty and friendship that he never had before.
It directly contradicts what he said so long ago in the Sacred Beast Arc, about how he could never understand how someone would sacrifice themselves for another, and shows exactly how much he has changed and how important his companions have become to him. He spent his entire life alone, and now that he isn't alone any longer, he can't imagine returning to a life where he is again. All of this is speculation, of course, because I don't think Hiei himself even understands exactly why he reacted that way. And when Yusuke crashes the party, thanks to his demonic atavism, Hiei is so happy (oh yes, I said it) to see him that he just bursts into laughter, which might be even scarier than sending his Kokuryuuha at someone. After entrusting the rest of the fight to Yusuke, he passes the fuck out because using Kokuryuuha twice should have killed him. He is later shown to have returned to his old, arrogant self when he awakens and his friends kindly don't mention the fact that they know he cares.
In the last Arc of the series, Hiei is recruited by Mukuro to fight for her during an inevitable war. He acts cocky, but he shows the secret message from her to Kurama, likely so that he knows where he stands. When he meets up with her, she tests him by sending a relentless onslaught of warriors against him for a six-month period, slaying all of them as they come. When she sends Shigure, the man who implanted his Jagan, to fight him, he realizes that he doesn't have anything left to live for, and fights recklessly in order to win. He even questions himself as to when he changed. I think that this too, in a twisted sort of way, shows a certain amount of trust in his companions as he would be entrusting Yukina to them. Yet, even as he is supposedly dying, he still shows that attitude he is known for, telling Mukuro to keep the hiruiseki because it reeks like her.
Knowing his past and with his soul laid bare, Mukuro reveals that she is the one who came into possession of his hiruiseki and does everything she can to save his life. She feels a certain kind of kinship with Hiei as he is held in some sort of healing pod and bares her own soul in return for seeing his. She describes his past, and even tells the audience her own observations of his character - that he feels alone and empty, and has been searching for a reason to live since the moment he was born. She implores him to keep living, telling him that he isn't yet strong enough to be seeking death. We aren't sure at this point if Hiei is even aware of her presence, and the next time we see him is much later, when he is using his Jagan in service to Mukuro in order to spy on a meeting between Yusuke and Yomi.
There is a snippet of conversation between Hiei and Mukuro at this point that illustrates how he has changed and how confused he is at this point. She asks him what side he is on, and he says his own. If it came down to it, if Yusuke and Mukuro were to fight, he would let them and then fight the winner. Mukuro demonstrates that she understands his own feeling and actions more than he does by sensing a lie in his words, whether he knows he is lying or not. She knows that he would side with Yusuke in a heartbeat, maybe only stepping back if the two of them were evenly matched. He doesn't deny it, which in it's own way shows that she is right. He either knows it's true or he's unsure and considering it. At this point, I believe he had mixed feelings and he's not even sure how he would react. The only way to know would be to put him in the situation and find out. Luckily, it doesn't come to that.
Towards the very end of the series, we see that Hiei is working as a sort of "border patrol" for the boundaries between Makai and Ningenkai. He finds humans who have stumbled through into the Makai and erases their memories of the event. He doesn't really seem to care about this particular job, since he doesn't exactly drop them where they orignally were, which makes them come up with all kinds of conspracy theories once they awake. One human even underwent some kind of hypnosis in order to try to recall her memories, and in the end they see a poorly drawn image of Hiei and assume he is some kind of alien. All this on a television show that Kuwabara just happens to be watching, and he recognizes the image immediately. It's kind of hilarious.
The manga and anime differ greatly with the last Arc of the series, but I'm just going to talk about the manga here. It seems that while Hiei was healing and Mukuro told him about her past, he was aware of everything. One day, he is seen speaking with her other subordinates, and they mention that there is one day a year when Mukuro is at her most dangerous. Hiei tries to talk to her about it in his condescending way, and gets launched hundreds of feet away because of it. He pops in through Kurama's window for a surprise visit and requests a certain item. Later on, he delivers a certain present to Mukuro - the man who had abused her for the beginning of her life until she disfigured herself to get away from hih, her father. He used a particular parasitic plant to trap the man that slowly kills it's host while immobilizing them and healing any injury that befalls them. He tells her to torture him any way she sees fit, for as long as she likes, and if she ever tires of it to simply kill him. They exchange small smiles and he tells her "happy birthday." I love this scene, because it shows so many aspects of Hiei in one moment. He is concerned for Mukuro, goes out of his way to make sure his new companion isn't suffering, yet still manages to have questionable morals by reveling in the idea of torture. I would say he becomes an antihero again here, but this guy totally deserves everything he's going to get and I'm on their side in this. I guess I also have questionable morals. Is it sick that I love how he put a bow on the pot?
In the second to last chapter, there is one final mission the group has to go on. Whether or not a laser fires and destroys Yusuke's hometown, does nothing, or self-destructs is left entirely up to chance, with Yusuke having to decide which of three buttons to press within a short time period. He sends everyone else away to evacuate his friends and family while simultaneously getting them out of the blast zone, and prepares to make his choice. In the final moments of the countdown, we see that Hiei has elected to stay behind, concealing himself nearby in an invisible show of support for his friend. He likely stayed in order to try to save Yusuke if the wrong button is pressed. I don't know if Yusuke ever finds out that he stayed behind, but it is just like Hiei to keep watch over him from afar and never mention it. In the end, everything works out and the next and last time we see Hiei, he is asleep on a tree branch in the Makai. Snide right up until the very end, of course.
Kurama (Minamino Shuichi) and Hiei, as you have read already, were part of a group that stole three rare treasures from Reikai. This is how Yusuke was introduced to them, but they have their own short history together. As shown in the extra chapter Two Shots, Hiei and Kurama met one year prior to the main storyline. There is an occurrence where some of Kurama's classmates go missing, and while he is investigating it, he is attacked by Hiei. As they are fighting, they each learn that the other is not actually the subordinate of the demon causing the disappearances. Hiei states that he may have acted too quickly (and this is the closest he'll ever get to an actual apology) but he was wounded during the fight and falls unconscious. Kurama brings him to his house and uses Makai medicinal herbs to heal his wound. When Hiei awakes, Kurama attempts to pry into his closely guarded personal space and he just hops out the window in pursuit of the actual demon in charge, Yatsude. Kurama then learns that his classmate Maya has been taken as well, and joins Hiei in his pursuit. When confronting Yatsude, Hiei asks what the name of the ice maiden he had eaten was. We know this is because he is looking for Yukina, but Kurama doesn't. They find out after they defeat him that Maya is safe and Yatsude never consumed an ice maiden.
This history as temporary partners and Kurama's combat abilities are the reasons Hiei approaches him to join the team that Yusuke meets. Hiei has a lot of respect for Kurama's combat prowess and strategic planning, even going so far as to admit that he wouldn't want Kurama as an enemy. When they are forced into helping Yusuke with the Scared Beasts, he gauges the difficulty of their task based on how much damage Genbu was able to do to Kurama. He is seen multiple times showing concern for the red-haired hybrid during his battles in the Ankoku Bujutsukai, willing to go as far as destroying the entire venue with his Kokuryuuha in order to stop Bakken from killing him while he is unconscious. I believe that Kurama is what would be considered Hiei's first friendand is quite possibly the first person he has ever trusted, and that in itself is a treasure he will protect. Kurama is the one person in the group that has the most insight into Hiei's personality and his motivations. He knows him the best, and often uses that knowledge to tease him, as only friends do. He will notice Hiei's smallest reactions and be able to read them. Their relationship is one of my favorites in the entirety of the series.
There has always been a bit of a fan war as to whether or not the two are in a romantic relationship. There is mention of an article where Togashi says that he intended the two of them to be together, but was told not to do it by his editors. Conversely, there is also mention of an article where he says he never thought of it but laughs and says maybe he should have. Either way, I have never seen any actual proof that either of these articles are true, so I'm going to assume that their relationship was simply left up to the imagination of the fans. I am an enormous fan of their entire relationship in general, whichever way it may go. I see them as best friends and battle buddies for their entire lives, and I can also see them possibly growing into something more. Since it is never explicitly stated which path they may walk, I am content to imagine.
Urameshi Yusuke is first introduced as an enemy to Hiei and eventually defeats him, as stated in the section above this one. Despite their rocky start and Hiei's antagonistic nature, Yusuke immediately trusts him to have his back, and this trust is seen as surprising to Hiei on multiple occasions. Yusuke immediately trusts him to stop the Gate of Betrayal from crushing them all, and Hiei proves that this trust is not misplaced. Throughout the entirety of that Arc, we see how his defeat by Yusuke and subsequent partnering with him has already begun to change him. Even Yusuke, oblivious as he is, notices the changes. Yusuke is always very vocal about how impressed he is by Hiei's battle prowess and how thankful he is when Hiei helps out, which initially catches Hiei off guard on multiple ocassions. Yusuke is quick to try to befriend him, and in Hiei's confusion on how to handle him, it ends up working. Slowly, Hiei is able to place his own trust and confidence in Yusuke as well. I love when they both agree to just blow the Anokuku Bujutsukai arena to bits because they are pissed off - this agreement shows exactly how much trust one has placed in the other. I especially love when Hiei tells Itsuki that if he's going to die, he wants to go down fighting by Yusuke's side.
While Kurama can be considered Hiei's best friend, Yusuke comes close too. I think it is safe to say that despite not being as close to Hiei as Kurama is, Yusuke is more of an influence on him. The human possesses a sincerity and set of morals that Hiei has never seen before, at least not on his side. Because of his violent and lonely past, Hiei could be considered naive in the ways of friendship and loyalty, and I think this makes it easier for him to change when he is confronted by it. Hiei is usually seen mocking these aspects of Yusuke's personality, but in the end they are the very things that he values the most in him, whether he knows it or not. Yusuke has the ability to see through Hiei's snark and bad attitude to the person he covers up, though he doesn't usually tease him about it, unlike Kurama. Instead he teases him about other things, like how it must be embarassing to have to fight while standing on a box.
The relationship between Hiei and Yusuke is another one of my favorites in the series. Initially, I believe that Hiei is simply perplexed by Yusuke, but it is clear that their relationship evolves into a strong bond of brotherhood and friendship. The small things that Hiei does, such as keeping an eye on Yusuke from afar when he is weakened or during the duration of the Sensui Arc, proves that Yusuke is far more important to him than he will ever admit out loud. They make the larger moments have more impact as well, such as when Hiei goes into a murderous and suicidal frenzy when he believes Yusuke is dead. There are a good number of fans that support these two in a romantic relationship as well, and I won't lie and tell you that I couldn't see it happening depending on very specific factors in their future. But I also won't sit here and ignore Keiko, because I love her character and I love her canon relationship with Yusuke. She is an amazingly strong person who loves Yusuke despite his many faults, and I think the two are perfect for each other in their unique and strange way.
Kuwabara Kazuma is another one of Hiei's companions. Hiei isn't exactly known for leaving good first impressions, and their relationship is a prime example of how long those impressions can last. Upon their first meeting, they are almost immediately at odds with the other. Hiei is always insulting Kuwabara's intelligence and weakness, and Kuwabara constantly retorts with remarks about his bad personality and rather short stature. The only time they ever have anything good to say about the other is when Kuwabara is impressed (or terrified) by Hiei's combat abilities, and Hiei mentions Kuwabara's luck when it comes to his own battles. Note that these things are never directly said to the other.
Despite all of their bickering and disagreements, I think Kuwabara grew on Hiei. I don't think he actually hates him, which is especially proven when it comes to the human's relationship with his sister. Kuwabara fell in love with Yukina at first sight and he is the only one of the main four that is not aware of the fact that she is Hiei's sister. However, despite his very obvious infatuation, Hiei has absolutely nothing to say on the matter. This in itself is very indicative of how he feels about the situation. He doesn't have much confidence in Kuwabara's fighting skills, but I think he knows that the human would die before letting any harm come to the woman he loves. And I think Hiei knows, despite Kuwabara's idiotic personality, that he is a good man who would never treat her poorly. Hiei's silence often speaks louder than his words, and I believe that it shows some level of support for the two.
Yukina is Hiei's younger twin sister, born atop the floating island of the hidden Koorime race. Unlike himself, she appears to be a pureblood Koorime, and was permitted to live amongst them in their isolation. However, she chooses to leave her home in order to search for her long-lost brother, the only family she has left after the death of her mother. Because she spent her life isolated from the rest of the world (or worlds) she can be somewhat naive. Despite that, she is strong and composed, even while being tortured by Tarukane in order to produce her priceless hiruiseki. She places enormous value on even the smallest of lives, crying only when the toguro brothers kill the birds that come to visit her in her cage. She is perhaps the only person to have a good first impression of Hiei, as he is much softer when it comes to handling her than anyone else. This allows her to see through his arrogance and off-putting personality to the loyal and lonely man within. He is incredibly protective of her, though always from afar, only getting close when he absolutely has to. He never intended on telling her who he is, and I think it's probably because he feels she deserves a better person as her brother.
Though Hiei never tells her of his identity, Yukina isn't stupid. I, at least, personally believe that she has known the entire time and is waiting for him to be ready to tell her. He is always the first to help her, even before Kuwabara, and he is the one she always turns to with her requests to find her brother. She mentions many times that she imagines her brother would be a lot like Hiei, even when he is somewhat harsh with her. I think that the reason she mentions her brother around him so much is simply to try to let him know that she is ready to hear him out whenever he is ready to talk. And when she gives him her hiruiseki when he is leaving for the Makai for an unknown period of time, I don't think it's for the reason she says it is - that she would like him to search for her brother. I think that because she knows that he will be gone for a long time, and wanted to give him a piece of herself to remind him that she will always be waiting. All of this is speculation, because it is never specifically stated throughout the series, but I just have ahardtime believing that she would trust a stranger with her most deeply hidden wishes and secrets, or with her greatest treasure.
Mukuro is a powerful demon who is introduced very late in the series, which is kind of a shame since I love her character so much. Togashi himself has stated that he wished he was able to explore her character further. She is an undoubtedly strong person in terms of both physical and mental strength, having endured nothing but torture since the moment of her birth. To free herself from her fate, she poured acid over herself in order to make herself less attractive and to prompt her abusive and terrible father to abandon her. Her plan worked, and she remembers the exact moment when she realized that she was finally free. She states that her mutilated right half is her pride and joy, and she would never even dream of fixing it. It is a reminder that she is strong and can overcome anything, and I find that absolutely amazing. She sees in Hiei a kindred spirit, with the both of them facing overwhelming odds from the second they were born, only to overcome those odds with their own strength. She recognizes that having him around would be beneficial to her goals of ruling Makai, but would also be beneficial to her mental health and his.
Some fans dislike her because she sort of forced her way into Hiei's life, examining his past without his permission and making him live when he just wanted to die. At first, I believed how she approached it was wrong too, but in a way the only way to be in Hiei's life is to force yourself into it. Yusuke did this too, though he did it with a smile and a bulldozer personality. Kurama did this as well, when he decided to accompany Hiei to defeat Yatsude without asking if he could come along. As long as Hiei himself doesn't mind how they entered his life, I won't either. And he places a lot of value on his relationship with Mukuro. The anime explored this a little further than the manga, but it is still obvious based on the lengths he goes to free her of the last shackle to her father. Even if he didn't want it, she gave him a reason to live when he lost sight of it. Because of this, he will always be loyal to her, though he never says it himself. When he presents her with her birthday present, it is only for the reason that he wants her to be happy. He doesn't even have a weak excuse for it, which is worlds away from how he acts with our main protagonists, who always need to mention some way something will benefit him in order to get him on their side.
I'll say it again, but I greatly enjoy and appreciate Mukuro's character. She is an amazing example of a strong female character who doesn't need special considerations. She is pure badass, and I love every second of it. She opens herself up to Hiei while simultaneously being able to wipe the floor with him in a fight. Though Hiei is never a part of any canon romantic relationship in the series, many fans believe that he loves Mukuro. I believe he could as well, because though neither are particularly open to love, I think it could surprise them. I don't think their romantic relationship, should it ever exist, would be even remotely similar to anything we would consider traditional, but that kind of makes it more fun to imagine. Whether or not they "get together," I believe they are beneficial to each other because they have similar backgrounds and similar issues that are more likely to be overcome together and over time. Friends or lovers, I'm still a fan.
Afterimage was originally going to be called Immolation due to Hiei's Jaou Ensatsu abilities (ensatsu translating to immolation) but about halfway through constructing this website,I decided to rename it. I chose Afterimage based on Hiei's super speed and how it leaves an image of him behind. I also thought it would be appropriate because of how, after so many years, his character still means so much to me. He isn't just my favorite character in the series - he is my favorite character ever. This layout was designed to keep a sense of a multi-page tribute while still containing everything on one page. I hadn't intended it to be so... verbose, but eh. It was created using resources from 9-liters-of-art@dA, reecito@dA, and subtlepatterns. All manga images are from MangaFreak. I wanted something kind of brutal and grungy (you know, like Hiei) and these red paint splatters fit the job perfectly.
- Smile Bomb (Yu Yu Hakusho series tribute)
- Jin the Wind Tamer (Jin tribute)
- Spirit Wars (the fanlisting for Yu Yu Hakusho)
- Thorn & Ash (the fanlisting for Hiei and Kurama)
- Thornful Roses (the fanlisting for Kurama)
- Jaganshi (the fanlisting for Hiei)
- Faith (the fanlisting for Keiko)
- Crowned Prince (the fanlisting for Koenma)
- Ferry Girl (the fanlisting for Botan)
- Hiruiseki (the fanlisting for Yukina)
- Mukuro (the fanlisting for Mukuro)
- Dark Angel (the fanlisting for Karasu)
- Icy Cold (the fanlisting for Touya)
- Black Angel (the fanlisting for Sensui)
- Faithful (the fanlisting for Itsuki)
- Dead Aim (the fanlisting for Sniper/Hagiri Kaname)
- Demon King (the fanlisting for Yomi)
- Larcenist (the fanlisting for Kuronue)
Here you can find a variety of linkback buttons for this website. I don't know why you would ever want to link back here, but please feel free if you want to! :) If you have a Yu Yu Hakusho related site and would like to affiliate with Afterimage, please feel free to send me an e-mail. Thanks for stopping by!