Kurama is a demon thief who, after being fatally wounded, fuses his soul with the unborn child of Shiori Minamino, effectively taking over. He is born as Shuichi Minamino a human with red hair and green eyes, though he retains his demon powers at a much lower level.
He meets Yusuke Urameshi in the first season as a part of a trio of demons who steal three dangerous artifacts from Spirit World.
However, he uses the "Forlorn Hope" (known as the "Ankoku‐Kyō" in the Japanese version), a mirror capable of granting the user's desire at the cost of the user's life, to cure his mother of a deadly illness. Yusuke saves Kurama's life by offering up his own life to the mirror, and thereby canceling the sacrifice out of his kindness (though in the English manga and Japanese versions they both sacrifice half of their own lifeforce to fulfill the wish without either of them dying). This act bonds Yusuke and Kurama as friends and allies.