Botan (ぼたん?) is a guide to the Spirit World and close friend to Yusuke Urameshi. She is a spirit charged with ferrying souls of the deceased to the Spirit World to face their final judgment. As opposed to the idea of there only being a single one, she is one of many grim reapers. Botan is called Charlene in the Filipino dub of the anime. She is voiced by Lia Sargent in Yu Yu Hakusho: The Golden Seal and Veronica Taylor in Yu Yu Hakusho: Poltergeist Report. In the FUNimation dub, she is voiced by Cynthia Cranz. In the Filipino Dub of the anime, she was voiced by Dada Carlos, and in the Brazilian dub, she was voiced by Miriam Ficher.
Although she is a Grim Reaper she looks nothing like what people thought of her as, and is quite attractive. Botan has long blue hair pulled up into a ponytail and purple eyes. Her physical appearance generally doesn't change, but at the end of the series her ponytail and bangs have grown a bit longer. She is usually clad in a light-pink kimono with a white obi sash when on duty, but she has been known to wear human clothes. When she's masquerading as the Urameshi team's trainer during the Dark tournament, she dresses formally with a long-sleeve yellow shirt with an orange-yellow camisole underneith, brown slacks, and matching shoes. Early in the series, she disguises herself in the uniform for Sarayashiki Jr. High girls, a blue blouse with a yellow scarf with a blue skirt, usually with white socks or knee socks and dark-colored dress shoes.
Botan is genuinely helpful and well-meaning, while also somewhat clumsy and short-sighted. She's also bubbly and cautiously optimistic, but can be a bit of a scaredy-cat. She sometimes tends to be a motormouth. She used to view Yusuke as an interesting subject to study until she develops a bond with him, and becomes a valuable ally and close friend. Later, as Yusuke teamed up with Kuwabara, Hiei, and Kurama, Botan helps the whole team as well.
Spirit Detective Saga
She is the one assigned to guide Yusuke in his test so his soul can come back again to his body, thereby resurrecting him. At first, she is somewhat skeptical of Yusuke but finally came to realize that Yusuke really has a good heart. When Keiko grew worried when her mother fell ill and decided to stay with her the whole night and thereby jeopardized the last requirement Yusuke needs to be revived, Botan possessed Keiko's mother's body and tells her that Yusuke needs her more at the moment. This prompted Keiko to rush back to Yusuke's house to kiss his body just in time.
After Yusuke's Revival, Yusuke is surprised to notice a demon inhabiting the body of a street punk he just beat. Botan shows up and tells Yusuke that his experience with death and with his special ability, he is able to see them. Yusuke is now thus chosen as a spirit detective of the Spirit World. She acts as Yusuke's assistant and trainer as he starts out his tenure as underworld detective. She takes a form of a human being in order to do this. She is one who usually gives Yusuke his missions as a spirit detective. She teaches him how to use various detective tools, communicates messages from Koenma, and often guides him to different destinations pertaining to his cases. She gave him the Psychic Spyglass, the Demon Compass, the Concentration Ring, and the Communication Mirror.
When Keiko was slashed by Hiei by the Shadow Sword in order to turn her to a demon, Botan suppressed Keiko's demonification process for a while. Keiko was ultimately saved when Yusuke defeated Hiei and administering to her the antidote stored in the hilt of the Shadow Sword.
She accompanies to give moral support for Yusuke and Kuwabara during the match-up at Genkai 's Tournament. Kuwabara at first was infatuated with Botan but this was replaced when he saw Yukina in a later mission.
Botan is the one to brief Yusuke regarding the Makai insects which can infect human beings, thereby producing insect-possessed humans . To eliminate them, Yusuke must destroy the Makai Whistle controlled by the Four Saint Beasts and leads Yusuke and Kuwabara to a hidden portal to the Maze Castle. Botan remained in the Human World meanwhile to destroy some Makai insects by the use of a repellant made in the Spirit World and by knocking down some already infected human beings. They used the Communication Mirror with Yusuke so they could still talk with one another even though they are apart.
Botan then protects Keiko from the insect-possessed humans and with her tries to escape from the pursuers. At first, Keiko is jealous towards Botan for she has seen her several times with Yusuke, but Botan clarifies to Keiko that Yusuke is all hers and that their relationship with Yusuke is not romantic. Botan was later injured by one of the insect-possessed humans and fell unconscious in the arms of Keiko. They were ultimately cornered by the humans possessed by Makai Insects of Suzaku, but they were saved when Yusuke finally defeats Suzaku and destroys the Makai whistle. Later, she regained consciousness and tricked Yusuke into believing that she and Keiko were killed by the insect-possessed humans.
Botan is again present when Yusuke, along with Kuwabara, are briefed by Koenma in a video tape referring them to their next mission of saving Yukina from Tarukane. She joins Yusuke and Kuwabara in saving Yukina from the Apparition Gang and their elite Triad. In the manga, however, Botan only briefed Yusuke and Kuwabara regarding the mission; she did not accompany them in the mission itself.
Dark Tournament Saga
At first, Botan tried to hide the fact that Yusuke is a spirit detective from Keiko and says to her that Yusuke is an
apprentice trying to become a normal detective. But when Yusuke and Kuwabara were gone for long due to their participation in the Dark Tournament, she finally tells the truth to Keiko and Shizuru and brings them along to the tournament for them to be able to see Yusuke and Kuwabara. In the manga, Botan is not confronted by Keiko and Shizuru and she also brought Yusuke's mother Atsuko Urameshi to the tournament as well.
Chapter Black Saga
In the beginning of the Chapter Black Saga, Botan is assigned to explain to Yusuke the new threat the world faces and this time not by demons but by humans. Before she was fully able to explain to Yusuke this new threat, Yusuke was kidnapped by Kido, Yanagisawa, and Kaito. She then teamed up with Kuwabara and Kurama to rescue Yusuke. She assisted Kuwabara and Kurama first in trying to track Hiei. When Hiei later appears, she struck a deal with Hiei to limit his probation by the Spirit World, to which Hiei agrees. Her soul was captured from her body when she accidentally said the taboo word ("hot") inside Kaito's territory, but her, Hiei's, and Kuwabara's souls were saved by when Kurama defeated Kaito in forcing him to say a taboo word. She joined Kurama, Kuwabara, and Hiei again after they defeated Kaito until they rescued Yusuke, only to find out that the kidnapping was masterminded by Genkai to test them.
Botan is present in the meetings of Yusuke and the team. She saves an injured and recovering Seaman (saved by Kuwabara after he is hit by the Dimensional Sword) from a falling bookshelf when they were attacked by Sniper, which increases Seaman's trust for humans to do good. She fell unconscious due to the injury but was healed by Genkai.
Later, Botan is given the grim task by Koenma to report to his father, King Enma, if a grave situation happens to him when he faces Sensui in trying to trap him in a barrier. When Botan returned to the Human World after reporting to King Enma, she saw Keiko and Shizuru and said that Yusuke is still alive after hearing from them that Pu evolved. When Yusuke and the team emerged from the cave after defeating Sensui, Botan is one of the people present waiting for their return.
Three Kings Saga
In the Three Kings Saga, Botan accompanies Koenma
in watching the Demon World Tournament which will determine who will reign as the supreme leader of the Demon World. She is present in the final episode of the anime and is with Kuwabara, Kurama, Keiko, Yukina, and Shizuru on Genkai's Temple and on the beach, where Yusuke finally shows up again and reunites with Keiko after he was gone for almost a year and a half.
Manga and Anime Differences
In the manga, Botan did not help out Yusuke as often as she did in the anime, such as when she helped Yusuke against Gouki, and accompanied Yusuke and Kuwabara during the battle against the Apparition Gang in the anime, but not the manga.
Also, she and Koenma did not travel to Demon World during the tournament to observe it in disguise like she did in the anime.
In the final mission of the manga (chapter 174 - second to the last chapter of the manga), Botan, Koenma, and several other spirits were kidnapped and held hostage by a radical religious sect of the Spirit World. These cultists wanted to "purify" the Human World of demonkind, and threatened to kill all of the hostages (including Botan) and also fire an interdimensional laser at the Human world to destroy it.
Abilities and Powers
- Flight: As a navigator of the River Styx, she manifests an oar for quick travel through flight, as well as transportation between Human World and Spirit World.
- Spiritual Power: Botan has mild healing abilities, which include slowing down the rate of demonification, but not enough to completely stop or reverse it.
- Physical Power: She is seen using a baseball bat, a mop, and bug spray as weapons during the Maze Castle incident.
- Mind Reading: She has displayed the ability to read minds early on in the series.
- Spirit Gun: One of the earlier chapter covers in the manga implies that she can use the Spirit Gun as she is making the gesture and noise is coming out of the end of the finger, though she never demonstrates this ability. However, she may still be able to use a weaker version of it due to her saying during the Chapter Black Saga that she could blast down walls with the Concentration Ring in order to look for Hiei. This could also imply that anyone who uses spirit energy could use the Concentration Ring to form the Spirit Gun.
- Power Sphere: Botan holds in her body an artifact known as the Power Sphere, which is the key to the Netherworld's power. It also allows warriors to fuse their powers into one.
- Her name means "peony".
- In the manga, it is said that Botan's favorite holiday is Christmas.
- A running gag is she often makes a cat face when being sly.
- Botan’s birthdate is unknown according to the manga.
- Botan's ability to stay in the physical realm is changed ever so slightly in the anime, when compared to the manga. In the anime, she mentions she has a "human body", implying it's a container which allows her soul to interact, yet when called back to the Spirit Realm, she simply changes her clothes and flies back. In the manga, however, the container body is left behind, immobile while her spirit flies back, only reanimating once she comes back.
- It's possible that in the anime, Botan has the ability to make herself tangible to interact with the human world; when she needs to go back to the Spirit World, she becomes ghostly again.
- Because those of the Reikai age slowly, and as evidenced by her comment during the meeting between the group -minus Hiei- and Koenma, about Sensui, Botan is a new and young grim reaper. She was just starting out a few years before the show began, during Yusuke's early childhood.
- Botan is the first person from Spirit World to accompany a spirit detective:
- Kuroko Sanada went on cases solo.
- Shinobu Sensui was accompanied by Itsuki, sometime after he was given the title by Koenma. Koenma was also aware of the partnership.
- Botan was ranked as the seventh most popular female anime character in 1993 Animage Anime Grand Prix, the eighth in 1994, and the eleventh in 1995.
- Bingo seems to be Botan's catchphrase in the English Dub.
- Botan is also based on Charon the Ferryman of the River Styx from Greek Mythology.
- According to the English preview for Episode 82, she has the high score on "Ms. Pac Man".
- Her name is Charlene in the filipino dub version of the anime.
- "Too bad Hiei's not here. We could use his Jagan eye to find himself.” - Episode 67 (Silly Sauce)
- "Oh my, a perfect ending for a perfect day!" - Episode 112