As one of the world's most revered anime series, the intricacies of Yu Yu Hakusho's combat have gone on to influence shows like Dragon Ball Z, Seven Deadly Sins, and Hunter x Hunter, featuring characters with signature techniques and abilities that not only grant them well-needed advantages on the battlefield but also create just as much of a spectacle for the characters themselves as they do for viewers.
Below are 10 of the most powerful techniques used throughout the series, ranked not only by the sheer devastation that they caused upon being used but also by how difficult they were for characters to pull off. If you ever find yourself on the receiving end of one of these techniques, pray that Spirit World has a place for you.
At the start of Yu Yu Hakusho, fans never questioned why Koenma walked around with a pacifier in his mouth. Though centuries old, he was parodied as a baby, which made sense for all of Spirit World's quirks.
The real confusion came when he altered his appearance during the Dark Tournament to that of a teenager, and still sucked on his pacifier, which was revealed to have actually been storing his Spirit Energy over the span of centuries for the moment he would inevitably use his Mafuuken, the strongest defensive spell in Spirit World, capable of trapping S-class demons. Even Sensui proved that this technique can be nullified as long as the victim isn't a demon, although he did struggle quite a bit, despite Koenma already using some of his energy to revive Amanuma.
9 Okunenju Roots
After the demon surgeon Shigure backed Kurama into a corner, Kurama was forced to animate the roots of the Okunenju Tree, having planted the seeds on that same battleground centuries ago. Apparently, the Okunenju Tree takes thousands of years to grow, and Kurama used the last of his energy to control its roots. In an instant, the arena was completely transformed, trapping Shigure in an aerial labyrinth of roots.
The clear downfall to this truly catastrophic technique is that the user has to not only plant the seeds in the first place, but survive long enough to activate them once the roots have grown, and most importantly, happen to be fighting their opponent on those very same grounds. With so much probability involved, we wonder if we should just add "plot armor" to this list as well.
8 Fist of Cleansing
Genkai used her Fist of Cleansing technique (also known as the Spirit Wave) cornered by the three brainwashed warriors of Team Ichigaki during the Dark Tournament. Using this technique, Genkai is able to purify those who are otherwise pure of heart, while destroying those who are evil in an instant.
Not only is this technique a foolproof way to vanquish evil opponents, but once the long chant is complete, it even manages to hold them in place in order to ensure an accurate physical strike required to seal the technique. Though extremely powerful, it takes a massive amount of Spirit Energy to pull off. Against faster opponents, or even in a one-on-one fight, the chant for the move would surely be interrupted.
7 Idun Box
Ura Urashima has all the makings of a perfect filler character, from his appearance, to the quirkiness of his fishing rod weapon. It is the Idun Box alone that makes him dangerous. If anyone inhales the smoke that comes from the box, they regress into a baby. The benefit of such a technique is obvious: if the opponent turns into a child, they'll be defenseless.
The technique does have its flaws. Ura used this technique only after generating a force field around the arena, implying that the Idun Box has a very avoidable range. If someone is able to hold their breath for an extended amount of time, the technique won't work, since the opponent has to actually inhale the smog, and the fact that Kurama did not remain as Yoko Kurama for long signifies that the effects of the Idun Box are only temporary, a definite relief for its victims.
6 Spirit Gun/Demon Gun
The Spirit Gun is Yusuke's preferred finisher, improving in both power and the number of times it can be used with training. This technique can be charged mid-movement, and Yusuke has fired it from a variety of positions, even upside-down at one point, making it a great technique for quick surprise attacks. During his fight against both Toguro and Sensui, the Spirit Gun was strong enough to carry both men through solid objects across great distances while inflicting heavy burn damages.
While there are many techniques that mimic the Spirit Gun, like Sensui's own Fissure Kick Crimson Ball Wave, Yusuke has shown that the Spirit Gun's simplicity is the trick to its power and practicality. During his fight with Yomi, he was able to utilize the move almost as a feint, firing weak Demon Gun bullets that Yomi was able to block before unleashing a Spirit Gun blast so powerful that the detonation created a mushroom cloud.
5 Shapeshifting Combat
Without this technique aiding him, the eldest Toguro brother wouldn't be worth a spot on Toguro's team. Through shape-shifting, he can turn his body into a deadly weapon, even claiming to be able to turn into a machine gun if he desired. With the ability to shift his internal organs around in his body, it becomes near impossible to lethally wound him.
Later on, it was shown that he could also possess other bodies after contorting himself into a shape that can easily fit into another person. Unfortunately, we can't get that image of Toguro coming out of Gourmet's lower jaw out of our minds either.
4 Dragon of the Darkness Flame/Black Dragon Wave
When Hiei demonstrated this technique during the Dark Tournament, he made otherwise fearsome opponents like Zeru and Bui look like weaklings. Hiei learned to channel the Dragon of the Darkness Flame around his sword and even throughout his own body, turning himself into an unstoppable force.
S-class opponents like Sensui and Mukuro were shown to be able to withstand the attack, but this doesn't take away from how devastating this technique can be. During his fight against Yakumo in the movie Poltergeist Report, Hiei learned how to launch multiple Dragons at once, toppling a skyscraper with ease!
3 Sacred Energy Armor
After donning a suit of armor made out of his own Sacred Energy, Sensui described himself as a "living, breathing, sentient tank."
He can cloak himself in one of two outfits that either increase his defense or offense, and became strong enough to withstand blows from A-class demons while surviving an S-class beatdown from Yusuke in his Mazoku Demon Form. Sure, this technique might be strong at all, but we wouldn't be caught dead dressed like a banana just for the extra defense.
2 Dimension Sword
Kuwabara first unlocked the Dimension Sword in order to free himself, Kurama, and Hiei from an alternate dimension in a vain attempt to save Yusuke. He then used his Dimension Sword to break the barrier between the Human World and the Demon World, which was so strong, that even demons as strong as Hiei and Yoko Kurama were unable to penetrate it.
Simply put, if the Dimension Sword can cut through space itself, along with barriers that even A-class demons couldn't break, there aren't many other things that it can't cut through. It should be noted that while Sensui's Sacred Armor was able to protect him from attacks by Hiei and Kurama, he always evaded the Dimension Sword, most likely because it could've sliced right through that ugly yellow hat like butter.
1 Power Sphere Fusion Attack
After Yusuke managed to convert the energy from the power sphere into Spirit Energy, he worked together with his teammates to create a joint attack. Yusuke's Spirit Gun tracks its opponent, mirroring the movements of Kurama's Rose Whip, before taking the shape of Kuwabara's Spirit Sword and finally intertwining with Hiei's Dragon of the Darkness Flame to give the attack an extra kick.
Though Yakumo had the advantage of his Meikai God Form that enabled him to endure the attack, he'd been weakened to the point where Yusuke alone was enough to deal with him. There's a reason why Yusuke and his friends never teamed up on a single opponent as they did in this case. It's practically a cheat code.