That Yoshihiro Togashi is probably one of the most brilliant manga artists is a well-known truth in the anime consuming world. Having bagged multiple prestigious awards including the Tezuka Award and the Shogakukan Manga Award, it’s quite apparent that Togashi is no ordinary mangaka.
He has created a giant legacy with popular works such as Yu Yu Hakusho and Hunter x Hunter– so much so that the protagonists’ names Yusuke Urameshi and Gon Freecss have become deeply ingrained in the minds of the average anime consumer. Both these works are undeniable masterpieces. Yu Yu Hakusho ran from 1990 till 1994, and rose to major popularity, followed five years later by Hunter x Hunter.
Similarities in the Themes of the Plots
Their themes are quite similar as well, just the style of execution differs. One of the most interesting debates in the anime community is regarding the constant comparisons drawn between Yusuke and Gon. It’s rather inevitable, considering both characters were birthed by Togashi.
Yusuke is this no-good delinquent student who one day gets into a road accident, after which he meets Botan, a Grim Reaper of sorts of the spirit world. He then goes on various adventures with a band of teammates he gradually starts to bond with as they fight off demons from the spirit world. This theme of adventure and friendship that develops along the way that we see in Yu Yu Hakusho is executed much more deeply in Hunter x Hunter.
We follow Gon as he goes on this journey of becoming a Hunter and finding his father, while also befriending the likes of Leorio, Kurapika, and Killua. Quite interesting and emotionally grabbing is the unshakeable friendship between Gon and Killua, which brings me to one main difference between Gon and Yusuke as well.
Analysis of the Characters
Purely from a character’s likeability standpoint, Yusuke feels more fleshed out and developed. Much of Gon‘s protagonist potential seems to rely much on the dynamic with Killua. This sentiment seems to be shared by many watchers of both the series.
However, it all boils down to subjectivity in the end. And remember that this has to do with Togashi shifting the focus on to a better emphasis on the theme of friendship and emotional authenticity.
This drastically reduces the focal point from the protagonist and gives room for fleshing out other characters in a much more nuanced way. And this is what Togashi had to offer in Hunter x Hunter.
Whereas, in Yu Yu Hakusho, you got a delinquent protagonist who is gradually revealed to have a heart of gold. He is expressive about his morals and wears his emotions on his sleeves. He has impeccable comic timing as well and never fails to entertain the audience even when the series content gets darker.
The comparison boils down to relatability too. For most young boys back in the 90s, Yusuke as a protagonist couldn’t be any cooler, battling spirit demons, while also never losing his spunk and fighting spirit.