Kazuma Kuwabara is one of the main characters from the Yu Yu Hakusho anime and manga.
Kazuma is the younger brother of Shizuru Kuwabara. He also seeks to become Yukina's lover.
In the AWA fics, Kazuma is a student at the AWA Academy and is part of Class 3.
Kuwabara has a defined muscular build with broad shoulders. He is the tallest member of the team, standing at about six feet - making him very tall by Japanese standards, as this is considered well above average. He has thick reddish-orange hair that is combed up into a 1950's 'punk' pompadour style. He has an angular face with narrow gray eyes (Revealed in "The Cape of No Return", Episode 48), high cheekbones and a slender pointed nose.
His overall appearance, as well as his dress sense, are likely a homage to the classic Japanese 'bad boy' mythology from the 1950's. While in school, he wears a light blue jumpsuit, in contrast with Yusuke's green one and the dark blue ones worn by rest of the male students.
In the anime, he wears his school uniform most of the time for the first few major parts of the story (in fact, for all of the first season and half of the second). In the manga, he wore street clothes during Genkai's Tournament- including a baseball jersey inscribed with things like Motor Head and Iron Fist written on it.
In several episodes, it can be seen that he preemptively binds his abs with bandages, much like a classic brawler. He also occasionally dons headbands, such as his "Fighting Headband of Love" when he set out to rescue Yukina.
In later parts of the story, for particularly significant battles (such as the finals in the Dark Tournament), he dresses up as a Bōsōzoku, an old-fashioned stereotypical Japanese biker thug. This outfit includes a full length white military overcoat, with his family name emblazoned on the back in kanji, white pants tucked into black jackboots, and bandages wrapped around his abs. His use of his spirit sword in this costume is likely a homage to the fact that Bōsōzoku were rumored to have wielded wooden Kendo swords as weapons.
During Chapter Black Saga where he was captured by Sensui, he only wears a blue gray short sleeve loose shirt, navy blue denim pants and black sneakers. His outfit is similar to Yusuke's outfit but in different colors.
Kuwabara is consistently described as being stupid and ugly. However, he is extremely loyal to his friends and has a very strict code of honor. He would do anything for his friends and for love. He can be clumsy, reckless, rude and is also stubborn, persistent, and also has a great sense of humor. He doesn't give up a fight, even if he's injured. He has a temper, but not as bad as Yusuke's. He has a kind heart (being considered the kindest of the four main characters) and an honest nature. Also, he dislikes fighting girls.
He is deeply in love with the ice apparition Yukina, whom he fell in love with at first sight. However, Kuwabara's romantic gestures and phrasing goes over her head due to Yukina not understanding what love is. Despite this, there is a strong bond between them as he was able to telepathically converse with her and is healed more efficiently by her healing powers.
- High Spirit Awareness (Reikan, literally translated as Spirit Intuition): As described by Genkai during the Chapter Black saga, Kuwabara's Spirit Awareness is unparalleled. His sister Shizuru, who has shown to possess similar talent in this area as well, may have more talent in this area if she ever bothered to refine it. It has yet to be said which sibling possesses greater talent in this area, but both have been shown to be extraordinarily talented in it. Though it was never confirmed if Shizuru is able to see ghosts like Kuwabara, it is believed that she can, as she was able to view an encrypted tape that Koenma sent to Yusuke, which detailed his mission to rescue Hiei's sister, Yukina (in the manga, this is confirmed, as she could see Yusuke's ghost as well sense his intentions). During the early part of the series, Kuwabara is stated as being able to hear and feel the presence of ghosts, but are only able to see them when asleep. As the series progresses, the usage and amount of his spiritual abilities and energy becomes stronger, enabling him to form increasingly powerful spiritual "swords" to fight his enemies. It seems to be that Kuwabara's energy only emerges at full power whenever he is close to death, in a very dangerous situation, or both; in the battle with Risho, Kuwabara was nearly beaten to death by his opponent because of his spiritual energy not working, but upon seeing Yukina his energy activated again and he was able to defeat Risho.
- Telepathy: The ability to mentally read and project thoughts. Kuwabara was shown to be able communicate via this method twice in episode 24, "The Deadly Triad", to notify Yukina of his presence, and in the Dark Tournament Saga to say farewell to his friends when he tried to attempt a last-resort suicidal attack on Risho.
- Precognition: Later on in the series, it is shown that Kuwabara is able to see visions of future events and of events surrounding circumstances; the first example was being able to see the events surrounding the human fighters who were competing on the Dr. Ichigaki Team, during the Dark Tournament Saga.
- Superhuman Physical Strength & Endurance: Kuwabara possesses raw physical strength to a superhuman degree, as seen in the Poltergeist Report movie where he defeated the demon god Majari with a single punch after tricking the apparition into exhausting his Demon Energy. This was also seen during his fight with Risho in the Dark Tournament, where he took the shinobi demon's strongest blows with very little Spirit Energy left in his body, and was able to keep getting up. Many times throughout the series he is shown to take the most brutal beatings out of all the main characters, yet continues to get up and fight on many occasions, such as with his fights with Byakko in the Demon World or his Dark Tournament battle with Rinku, where he left his opponent literally frightened at the sight of him standing. Kuwabara was able to withstand a kick from Rinku, which according to the latter was strong enough to break a person's neck.
- Spirit Kick: Along with Yusuke, he is seen surrounding his foot with energy to strengthen his kicks to knock out the Third Ogre. In the manga it is just a regular kick, and Gokumonki was just weak. This was carried off into the GBA game as his counterpart to Yusuke's Spirit Punch.
- Spirit Transfusion: Kuwabara is skilled at manipulating his spirit energy. After Yusuke defeats Suzaku at the end of the Four Saint Beasts arc, Kuwabara transfers some of his spirit energy into his badly beaten friend's body so that he doesn't die, being able to transfer such a large amount that Kuwabara was knocked out as well. He also exhibits the ability to reabsorb small amounts of spirit energy released in maintaining his Spirit Sword after his battle with Byakko.
- Brawler (with influences from Martial Arts)/Adaptable Weapons: Though Kuwabara is more of a brawler-type fighter who rushes in clumsily, he initially considers the greatest defense to be a good offense. In later battles he often wins (or at least counters) by using the versatility of his spirit blades, finding a unique application to it that would be most appropriate to the situation (i.e. bat to Rando, whip-sword to Rinku, swatter to Toguro). His high sixth sense rarely plays a role in his battles, though he has used it to avoid foes and sense danger. As the moral core of the team, he is more prone than Yusuke to become stronger when his friends and innocents are present or in danger, as those he cared about played a role in his victory over Risho.
Known Techniques and Moves
- Spirit Sword (Rei Ken, Aura Sword in the Viz translation): This is Kuwabara's signature attack, where he creates a sword comprised only of his Spirit Energy. Its strength depends on how much energy Kuwabara focuses into it, and it has been known to break if Kuwabara holds back too much (such as during the anime-only battle against Gokumonki, where he was afraid he'd hit Botan who was being held hostage if he used too much power). It is first used in the Genkai Tournament when Kuwabara uses a piece of a special spiritually-powerful wooden sword used by Musashi, his first opponent. Without his even being aware of it, the broken piece allowed Kuwabara to channel his energy into it, causing the spirit sword to emerge for the first time. After the tournament is over, Kuwabara does some training and learns how to manifest it at will, no longer needing the broken swordpiece's focusing power as a medium. Since Kuwabara is not trained as a swordsman, he lacks the grace of Hiei's sword strikes, and swings rather clumsily.
- Energy Deflection: He can use the sword to repel energy-based techniques by swinging it like a baseball bat. The most notable instance where this occurs is during Kuwabara's semi-final fight against Shorin, who has his own technique, Circles of Inferno, deflected back at him. In some video games, it can even reflect the Dragon of the Darkness Flame, so that Hiei can absorb it.
- Spirit Sword Javelin (Nobiro, Rei Ken, translates as Spirit Sword, Extend!; Aura Sword Extend in the Viz translation): After learning to control his Spirit Sword, at first Kuwabara is only capable of just lengthening his sword. After training with Kurama in preparation for the Dark Tournament, Kuwabara is now able to both bend and lengthen his sword at will (making it similar to a whip-sword or johyo). This attack enables him to attack his opponent from a distance (as seen in his fight with Rinku), and also act as a javelin or a pole vault in order to both leap great distances or survive falls from great heights (as seen in his fight with Byakko). In the English dub, Kuwabara activates this ability by saying, "Sword, get longer".
- Spirit Sword Monster Beast Donut: This attack is derived from Kuwabara's spirit sword javelin. In his battle with Byakko's beasts, Kuwabara lures the chained beasts into a circular formation on an upper platform of Maze castle. He then proceeds to "twist and seal" the two ends of his extended spirit sword together essentially creating a donut-shaped sword which effectively immobilizes the beasts, forcing Byakko to destroy them in his rage.
- Double Spirit Sword (Rei Ken Nitōryū, translates as Spirit Sword Two Blade Style; Double Aura Sword in the Viz translation): During his training before the Dark Tournament under Kurama and Hiei, Kuwabara develops the ability to materialize two swords at once, one for each hand. In the anime it is used only once, when he was fighting Rinku. In the manga, it was used twice, the first time being the battle against the demons on the boat to the Dark Tournament. This occurrence suggests the technique was developed by Kuwabara to augment his ability to defend against simultaneous attacks from multiple directions as well as to increase his offensive capability.
- Spiritual Strike: Kuwabara extends his Spirit Sword and uses his advanced Spirit Awareness to manipulate the weapon's flexibility so that it exhibits a type of tracking feature in order to hit its target. He first uses this attack on Rinku during the Dark Tournament.
- Spirit Sword Shards (Rei Shuriken, translates as Spirit Throwing Knives): This is a technique where Kuwabara produces small bolts of energy from his hands, similar to shuriken, and shoots the smaller spirit blades at the opponent. This can be considered Kuwabara's analogue of the Spirit Shotgun, since it is a multiple projectile attack, and weaker than the Spirit Sword.
- During the Poltergeist Movie, Kuwabara uses an attack in which he summons all his reiki to form a giant sword resembling a large column of spirit energy which he then strikes his opponent with. This is similar to Yusuke's Spirit Gun Mega as it is all of his remaining spirit energy focused into one final attack, and leaves him drained of spirit energy, causing him to resort to his fists after using it.
- Energy Blade Storm is used in Yu Yu Hakusho: Tournament Tactics. It is a long ranged attack where Kuwabara fires multiple orange spirit blasts at his enemy. It may be another name for his Spirit Sword Shards or is based off of it.
- The Trial Sword (Tameshi No Ken, translates as Sword of Trials; The Trial Sword in the English Dub): While preparing for the finals of the Dark Tournament, Suzuka gives him the sword handle that Shishiwakamaru used; though, Suzuka explains, it will absorb Kuwabara's energy and turn into a form unique to him. With some practice, he is able to create a massive prismatic blade, of pure Spirit Energy, which also generates a unique, almost-electrical, aura that crackles around his entire body and improve both his offense and defense.
- Kuwabara is also able to make the blade change shape as well, turning it into what he calls the Spirit Flyswatter (Kyodai Reikibō, translated as Giant Spirit Energy Staff), which he used to pummel and defeat Elder Toguro, who could not be killed because he could shift his vital organs around his body, in the final round of the Dark Tournament. Unnamed in the Viz Manga.
- Dimension Sword (Jigen Tō, translates as Dimension Blade; Dimensional Sword in the Viz translation): An enhanced version of Kuwabara's Spirit Sword that enables him to literally cut through dimensional barriers and psychic territory. An immense energy is concentrated into his spirit sword, improving its strength tremendously. This sword's visual shape is completely streamlined (perhaps to emphasize its perfection level), unlike the jagged appearances sported by the previous forms. During the Chapter Black Saga, a period of time in which his spiritual awareness and abilities retreated and did not respond to him, his awareness had sensed the threat of Makai opening to Ningenkai and had refined themselves in order to manifest itself in this form. Initially, he had trouble summoning it and it would only appear in dire situations, but he eventually could summon it at will. This is a very rare ability that Sensui was looking for during the Chapter Black saga. Kuwabara first acquired this ability during his battle with Seaman, but wasn't able to manifest it at will until his final battle against Sensui. The Dimension Sword is also hinted at being the ultimate offensive power; as it can cleave space, it can theoretically cut through anything. This is supported by the fact that, while Sensui had no problems receiving any of Hiei's or Kurama's attacks, he actively had to avoid any attacks from Kuwabara's Dimension Sword.
- In the manga, Kuwabara is seen using the Dimension Sword to halve distances, effectively making a shortcut in order to stop a terrorist attack on the Spirit World, suggesting an ability to generate a space-time tear as a type of wormhole. It also appears to be able to seal itself up afterwards, suggesting that this technique does not scar reality.
- His family name, Kuwabara, means "mulberry field". According to Chinese legend, mulberry trees cannot be struck by lightning. Saying "kuwabara" twice is supposed to ward off lightning bolts. It is also sometimes spoken as a means of warding off ghosts in Japan.
- He is popularly known as Alfred in the Filipino dub.
- In both the Japanese and English dub versions of the anime, Kuwabara's Spirit Sword, when activated, has a similar sound effect to the lightsaber weapon of the Star Wars franchise.
- Togashi came up with the character's name by combining the names of two professional baseball players. Coincidentally, a few baseball references were used in the series as well for Kuwabara. The manga version of the Genkai Tournament had Kuwabara wear street clothes, with a baseball jersey, as opposed to the anime where he wore his school uniform. Also Kuwabara had used his sword as a baseball bat on two occasions.
- Kuwabara, like his teammates, shares some similarities to one of the four main characters of the Hunter x Hunter series. As such Kuwabara is akin to the character Leorio Paradinight:
- Both are the tallest members of their respective teams;
- Both use bladed weapons in combat with Kuwabara using his Spirit Sword and Leorio using a knife;
- Kuwabara strives to get into the best school possible and become more intelligent while Leorio strives to become a doctor;
- Although they won't admit it, both are the weakest members of their teams;
- Both also get into humorous conflicts with the shortest members of their teams; Leorio with Killua and Kuwabara with Hiei;
- Both lost focus in later seasons.
- Knuckle Bine, yet another character from Togashi's Hunter X Hunter series, also shares distict traits with Kuwabara:
- Both dress in Japanese Yankee fashion, with Knuckle's outfit consisting of a white military style jacket and matching parachute pants and a pompadour hair style. Although Knuckle's pompadour is closer to Yu Kaito's hair;
- Both characters share the same habit of removing their upper body clothes during major fights;
- Both characters outwardly behave in a belligerent and oafish manner, but in truth they are very sensitive and soft-hearted. Subsequently, Knuckle shares Kuwabara's love of animals, mostly towards dogs;
- Kuwabara has referenced baseball on some ocasions (see sections above) while Knuckle is named after the knuckleball pitch.
- The main divergence between the two characters is that while Kuwabara mainly fights using a brawler style, Knuckle only acts the part and is actually very tactical. In the later part Knuckle more closely resembles Kuwabara's friend Yusuke.
- Kuwabara is also very similar to Slam Dunk series character Hanamichi Sakuragi:
- They are both leaders of their respective gangs consisting of themselves plus at least three other friends (four in Hanamichi Sakuragi's case);
- They are both tall and red-haired (though Sakuragi later shaves his head);
- They are both comedic and somewhat brash by nature;
- They have rivalries with their respective teammates, Hiei and Kaede Rukawa respectively. Ironically, both characters are the only main characters of their respective series who never smile;
- In the Filipino dub of both anime series, Kuwabara and Hanamichi are voiced by the same voice actor, Neil Yu.
- Kuwabara is the only member of Team Urameshi to participate in every round of the Dark Tournament.
- Mari Kitayama, a lead character designer for the anime adaptation, has stated that she considers Kuwabara to be the most difficult character to design.
- In the Korean dub he was named "Ma Chul-ban". In the subbed anime he was called Guwabara, but retains his name in the manga translation.
- Kuwabara's birthday is sometime around February 27.
- In the commentary, Christopher Sabat makes fun of Kuwabara's absence in the majority of last season by claiming Kuwabara left due to the growing insanity around him saying (in the Kuwabara voice) "This is weird, I'm taking off" and "When life gets tough, don't be in the last saga!"
- A lookalike of Kuwabara makes a cameo appearance in Dragon Ball GT.
- In one episode of Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-Chan, a guy just like Kuwabara is in a bathroom while Dokuro-Chan was trying to find Sakura-Kun.
- Kuwabara is the only one of the four main characters of Team Urameshi that never killed a demon that was named.
- Kuwabara has yellow reiki.
- Most of Kuwabara's opponents who fought against him survived their fights.
- He is the only member of the four main protagonists to be entirely human.
- Okuyasu Nijimura from Jojo's Bizarre Adventure bears resemblance to Kuwabara, along with sharing some character traits.