Seb has been an anime fan since the late 90s and is particularly fond of anything post-apocalyptic, amusing, catgirly, ecchi or containing exquisite aerial battles. Living in Leeds with his cats and living up the bachelor life, Seb enjoys whiling the nights away deep in a book, game or a damn good series.
Yu Yu Hakusho Vol. 1-2
Price £12 - £14 on Play.com
Date 17 May 2005
Cheesy but fun, a simple statement that I feel sums this series up nicely. Yu Yu Hakusho is a nice little frolic in a universe where there is always a way out of every situation. Funimation have grabbed themselves another long but well made series here, which will no doubt end up on Toonami before long.
The series begins, quite abruptly, with the “hero” dying. Car, young child, football, splat. A nice end to what at first looks like to be a pointless existence, as Yuuske is a bit of a bully, or at least he comes off as such. In reality, he is fight happy, determined, and pretty much exactly what you want from a “hero who shouldn’t be a hero”. Yuuske dies, and is offered the chance to be reincarnated if he completes a quest.
This little story arc nicely introduces the series, the characters and adds more life to Yuuske as well as the Spirit world, which he quickly becomes the earthbound saviour of. A romantic relationship (which is repeatedly denied throughout the series) quickly becomes apparent with his childhood friend Kazuma. She cares for Yuuske’s corpse whilst he's dead, awaiting his reincarnation whilst he's off fighting Demons.
Its with said Demon fighting where the series piles on the cheese and the predictability. It quickly becomes a “monster of the week” style anime, and while each fight is quite unique, it soon becomes apparent that Yuuske is simply “powering up” and becoming stronger, which kind of ruins the surprise for me. The similarity between this anime and another of Funimation’s major series, Dragonball Z (DBZ) jumps out at me here. Same style of writing, same type of dialogue, same fighting styles (minus the OMGYOURLASERBEAMISBIGGERTHANMINE). Yuuske essentially outsmarts his opponents even when they are stronger than he is. What this does for me is ruin the suspense but, oddly enough, not the excitement.
I am enjoying this series. There I said it. I liked DBZ the same way. It was fun, it kept me watching and enjoying the series and, unlike DBZ, the characters in Yu Yu Hakusho have more depth and more feelingto them. You can empathise with the cast, even through the cheesy moments.
The dub quality is excellent. This is somewhere I feel Funimation do excel. The voice artists did very well portraying the emotions of the characters and overall it sounded like they had fun playing the characters. Some of the dialogue is just hilarious and had me in stitches with either comical or mocking laughter (I'm not sure which!) An example of this classic dialogue is quoted below:
“I’m fine, only a minor hole in my stomach…” Korama, episode 8.
I cried when he said this - here poor Korama is, stabbed with a huge sword, saving Yuuske in a nice turn of events, and this was uttered. I cried. Lame I know, but I did.
The dvds are to be released in the UK by MVM. The review copies of DVD volume 1 and 2 both contain 4 episodes each, approximately 100 minutes, which is enough to keep me going on a long train ride from Manchester to Cambridge, but for the price MVM will be charging, they could easily afford to include more on each DVD - with the 2.0 soundtracks, 6 episodes should be easily attainable in theory. It is worth noting that this series is extremely long and is over 100+ episodes long.
YYH progresses at a comfortable pace - the story arcs are quick, well thought out and fun, suiting the target audience completely. The series is not dragged out with pointless filler episodes and long “powering up” sequences. I wholeheartedly recommend this series to DBZ fans everywhere as Yu Yu Hakusho will suit you right down to the ground. For everyone else, give it a go, you might just enjoy it. I know I have.
Not for everyone, but overall, a fun and cheesy kid’s anime which leaves you entertained.