Yu Yu Hakusho (Shounen) – Written by Yoshihiro Togashi, Directed by Akiyuki Arafusa (Anime) – Rating 8.5/10
Reviewer: Dr. §trangelove
Synopsis: Yu Yu Hakusho is the epic tale of loudmouth teenage delinquent, Yusuke Urameshi, who in a move of pure badassery…gets hit by a car. That’s right, the main character dies in the very first episode while uncharacteristically saving a child from becoming roadkill. Does that stop him? Nope.
Yusuke is greeted in the afterlife by Botan, a cute blue haired girl wearing a kimono and riding on a large wooden paddle, who introduces herself as the grim reaper and gives him a chance to regain his mortal life since even the king of spirit world was caught surprised by his altruistic act. In doing so he assumes the mantle of “Spirit Detective” of earth and is tasked with saving its denizens from the demony claws of…well….demony demons.
He is forced to learn to use his spirit powers very quickly since the other option would be of a more fatal and permanent kind. In his struggle to survive and defeat the evil that threatens the world, he discovers that many things are not exactly as they seem. With his ragtag group of companions (again) of both human and demon origin he fights to gain the only thing the demons respect. Power.
Only fear and strength is respected by most of the demon populace so Yusuke must prove himself alongside the fellow members of team Urameshi in a series of tournaments and battles that force him to question the purpose of what he fights for.
Artwork: The art style is a bit archaic since the manga and show are both quite old. Yet this classic has very smooth and enjoyable fight sequences and the simple, clean art styles highlight the very personality of the characters themselves. The artist also tends to use vibrant, violent brush strokes for intense action scenes which gives a very good impression of speed and force, beneficial in a series that has fights that rivals those in DBZ.
Soundtrack: The soundtrack for the anime receives a special mention because the opening and ending songs are among my favorites for any series. The English dub of the series is great, and I actually prefer that to the sub since the voices match the personalities of the characters uncannily well. Tick Tock Tick.
Tone: Starts out as a basic beat em up series (DBZ, One piece etc) and evolves a bit further into having a more philosophical and political view. However, the quick witted banter and slapstick is prevalent throughout the entire series and is actually very entertaining. The relationship between Kuwabara and Hiei exists for solely that reason I think.
Consensus: This series is a great read, simply because it ascends beyond it’s fairly standard shounen roots and develops into a more emotional and fairly psychological story. The questions of perspective, morality and justice are often raised and even the hero himself begins to question the outright damnation of all demons when he realizes that half is team is comprised of reconciled demons that are fighting increasingly human opponents. It isn’t just a story about fighting and flashy moves, it’s a story about a boy growing into a man and understanding that the world is much wider and much more cruel than it seems.
Age Rating: 13+
Status: Completed at 175 chapters (19 Volumes) or 112 episodes.
Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Martial Arts, Romance, Supernatural.
The entire series is on youtube, but I won’t post links for legal reasons. Funimation don’t play, son.
Purchase Yu Yu Hakusho Volumes: VIZ Media Online Store.
Purchase Yu Yu Hakusho Anime: Amazon