Alright, I'll start off by saying that I'm no longer a big fan of fighting-based anime. However, I do still enjoy the ones which are well done, as well as some of the classics. That said, if you really don't like fighting anime of any sort, even if its one which has a decent or really good story, then don't bother reading this review, because I can already tell you that this anime is most likely not for you.
Anyways, for those of you who do like a well constructed fighting/action anime, Yu Yu Hakusho is an outstanding show in this category, overall. Yes, it is
a shounen, and yes, it does have a few of those typical shounen clichés. However, it also manages to come up with a lot of very unique and inventive ideas, and its dialogue, above average story, with much more depth to it than what you would expect from a shounen, and actual good sense of humor (when compared to most other action anime), make this title stand out from the crowd.
I find the characters to be the real award winners here. They each have something unique and interesting about them. Upon first glance they may look like they each have those 1-dimensional cliché roles of an action series, but upon further viewing you will see that there is more than what meets the eye with Yu Yu Hakusho characters. I can guarantee that throughout the course of this show anyone watching it would at least find 1 character which they can truly appreciate. Also, this show doesn't just focus on the main character getting stronger and always being the big hero. There is some very interesting character development for many of the characters, and the way in which they interact with one another, as well the diversity and similarities that they show, make for a very balanced chemistry between this cast.
The animation and artwork isn't top notch, even for its time, but its adequate and gets the job done. The action isn't amazing, but believe it or not, unlike most action/shounen anime this anime often tends to focus more on developing its story and characters, rather than producing lots of mindless action. And at that, even if it doesn't look all that great it is great to see actual strategy and emotion playing big parts in many of the fights, rather than simply just having a bunch of punches, kicks, throws, explosions, etc., taking up multiple episodes.
Now, as for the music, its really all opinion. Some people won't find it to be anything special. I personally fell in love with the entire soundtrack of the series, and believe it or not, it has some of the best BGM that I have heard in any shounen anime. Its doesn't quite give you the same diversity and overall satisfaction that the soundtracks of Cowboy Bebop and a few other anime with great musical scores give you, but once again, its far above average when compared to most other shounen and action anime, or at least I feel that way about its music, personally.
And then finally, there is the voice acting. Oh, and how wonderful it is. Well, if you're watching the sub then chances are the voices will stand out to you as adequate, yet nothing amazing, but as long as you're watching a decent and reliable fansub or the DVDs, you will love the dialogue, which is brilliant in its use of sarcasm/jokes and also in delivering many of the serious and plot-oriented lines. However, if you're an English speaker, even if you typically can't stand dubs, the English dub is the way that this series should be watched. The English voice acting is absolutely fantastic. The voices all fit their respective characters almost perfectly. Sure, the dialogue may not be 100% accurate in correspondence to the original lines from the sub with its added humor and sarcasm (which is well worth going a little off track from the original script for, though), but the messages that each character gets across with their lines are delivered solidly and would be interpreted and understood in the same way, whether you were watching the sub or the dub. So, overall, the dub is loyal to the original text despite the fact that it makes a few very noticeable changes and states some lines in different ways.
Overall, Yu Yu Hakusho is a very fun and enjoyable series. This anime is not something that everybody is going to like, but most people should at least find something about it that keeps them interested. Its not a DBZ clone, and its not just a mindless excuse for intense action scenes. The show is fairly long, but its one of the few series that go over 100 episodes and still manage to stay fresh the whole way through. Therefore, I highly recommend this series. I personally find it to be one of the best series that anime has to offer, action or otherwise, and I know that many people would disagree with me (although, I'm really not a big anime buff), but I have watched my fair share of anime and I almost never give out 10's as scores since no series is perfect (and this anime is no exception), but when I feel that a series deserves it then I give it that score, and Yu Yu Hakusho is one of the few. If you haven't seen it yet then go out and give it a try. I can almost guarantee that you won't be sorry.
I was pleasantly surprised when I first watched this show, as I was expecting another typical DBZ clone that was heavy on action but light on the plot and character development. Amazingly what I discovered was the first shounen action anime that was ever able to hold my attention for over 100 episodes. Despite the length of the series and the now-familiar superpowered junior high school student cliché, Yu Yu Hakusho manages to deliver original material for each episode.
What really set this show apart from other shounen action shows for me was the relatively intelligent use of dialogue by the main characters. I originally watched
the uncut Funimation dub, which is definitely the translation I’d recommend (even if its probably not as true to the original dialog as some of the fansubs.) The humor in the show is less slapstick than most anime, and situational comedy plays a large part in the show, with some parts practically satirizing the action genre itself.
The story revolves around a junior high delinquent named Yusuke Urameshi becoming something called a “spirit detective” (although I’d really call him more of a fighter than a detective.) It is his job to take care of demons that escape into the living world and stop them from causing trouble. Yusuke takes his orders from a ancient mystical being named Koenma who also happens to look like a toddler and in addition to knowing the secrets of the universe is also “quite potty trained.”
Each character is portrayed uniquely, and contributes to the storyline. Yusuke manages to overcome many of the usual tough-guy stereotypes present in anime of this kind, coming across as witty and sarcastic as well as being a strongly independent fighter. Meanwhile, Kuwabara on the other hand actually embraces these same stereotypes to such a degree as to be hilarious as his “dumb punk” behavior is juxtaposed against such things as his love for kittens, or his “romantic” attempts toward Yukina.
The animation is really nothing special, even when compared to other anime released around the same time period. There are a lot of still and scrolling shots and characters are drawn relatively simply. The action scenes are somewhat lacking in visual effects as well, however what they lack in animation quality they more than make up in style. Each fight is characterized by the combatants unique personalities and fighting methods.
The soundtrack is nothing to write home about either, being somewhat repetitive and lacking in originality. Then again, clever musical arrangement is not something I have come to expect from shounen programming anyway. So I’ll admit that as far as audio and visual effects go, Yu Yu Hakusho is pretty mediocre. If you require stunning realism and breathtaking artwork, I would definitely not recommend this show for you. Since I tend to place more emphasis on story and characterization, these obvious shortcomings did not bother me as much.
So I’d say this show was definitely enjoyable, even to someone like me who tends to lack appreciation for less serious anime. While light in tone and not exactly intellectually stimulating, Yu Yu Hakusho manages to deliver an engaging story with a large dosage of clever humor as well. Certainly a decent show, especially if you enjoy classic early 90’s style anime action.
Probably one of the greatest Anime's ever made in my personal opinion. It is a timeless classic that really stands out. This was the second anime I ever watched back in the day thanks to Toonami. Here is my thoughts and opinions on Yu Yu Hakusho.
Story/Plot: Yu Yu Hakusho’s setting is in Japan. It tells the story of Yusuke Urameshi who was hit by a car while trying to save a child’s life. Now Yusuke has to survive ordeals and investigate cases concerning apparitions and demons all while trying to get his life back. Yusuke gets new found powers and has to defend spirit
world and human world from the demons. There are 4 arcs in total for the series.
To note: In my opinion I do feel like the Demon stuff has been overdone a lot, but the Demons in Yu Yu Hakusho were interesting for me due to Togashi's portrayal of some of them being nightmare fuel creatures to creatures similar to human beings. Also to note that even though Yu Yu Hakusho is Shonen, there are actually a lot of elements that would be Dubbed as Seinen (some stuff in the manga that was not allowed to be shown for the anime)
Characters: There are a lot of characters in Yu Yu Hakusho but let's cover the main four.
Yusuke Urameshi – Yusuke has the most growth and character development in the whole anime. He is a delinquent/tough guy attitude in the beginning but actuality he’s a jokester who is kind at heart. Yusuke is also very protective of his friends and is very self-aware of things around him.
Kazuma Kuwabara – Kuwabara may seem clumsy and short tempered at times but he is the most loyal and nicest character in the show. Kuwabara has a strict code of honor and he’s very honest. He is one of the best characters in my opinion next to Yusuke.
Kurama – Kurama is one of the most intelligent and cunning of the main four. He is the type of character that plans ahead while also analyzing and thinking deeply into things or a situation. He is usually very nice even while having a detached emotional state. The other side of himself is shown to be very merciless and cruel.
Hiei – Hiei is the most distant and cold of the main four. Hiei is very cynical and usually mocks or talks down to humans. He also has misanthropic views of the world and people. Hiei in actuality is very protective and actually cares deeply for the people in his group, notably Yusuke. He is a character that is having an internal struggle but projects himself as being cold on the outside.
Even the minor characters in Yu Yu Hakusho are interesting.
The 2 most important main antagonist characters of the story are probably my favorite antagonists in all of anime in terms of personality and design and even their fighting methods. They are not the stereotypical "evil" bad guys, but antagonists you can actually agree with or relate to and feel sympathy for them.
Animation & Art: Even for it's time the animation still impresses me both for nostalgic reasons but also because of the huge process they must of went through for all of the hand drawn animation. The only minor complaint I have is when they zoom in on the same shot 3 times or when some animation is repeated and reused; though I heard they were on some budget constraints at times so it is understandable. When actual big fights happen, the animation gets really good though and even fluent. The Artwork is very 90's of course and you can distinguish it too from Togashi's style of doing a half-anime style and semi realistic style at times.
Sound & Music: The sound effects for the fighting sequences are chosen very well and they match up perfectly with what’s going on. It's also a little on the nostalgia side for me because of the 90's anime sound effects; you don’t really hear them anymore. The music is absolutely amazing in my opinion. Part of it is 90's ambient with funky elements and dark electronic tones. The one thing that bothers me is that there’s a lot of unreleased music from the show. At least thirty plus music tracks are missing on the osts. None the less the music really fits and is very intense.
Voice Acting (English Dub & Japanese Dub): This is one of the rare animes where i actually prefer the English dub compared to the Japanese voice acting with subtitles. All of the character voices fit perfectly especially Justin Cook as Yusuke. This is one of the English dubs you can't forget especially if you watched it back in the day; it stays with you like the dragon ball z dub. I have listened to some of the Japanese dub though, and I have to say it’s also very good too.
Final Verdict: I would highly recommended Yu Yu Hakusho to anyone. It has everything right going for it and is a good example of an anime done right. The best part about Yu Yu Hakusho is that it has no filler and gets straight to the point even with 112 episodes. Yu Yu Hakusho is very actiony, supernatural, comedic, and serious/dark when needed. You don't really see anime like this anymore.
I decided to make some sort of review of this since there didn't seem to be many negative ones previously. The first thing I want to say here is that Hunter x Hunter, the other popular work from the same author, is one of my favorite anime series for half a decade. I therefore had very high expectations for Yu Yu Hakusho. Hell, I'd even have been able to say I liked it even if it was a Dragonball clone. But it was something much worse...
The story is quite trivial most of the time; it gets somewhat good during the last 25 or so eps,
but it's not worth watching all those battles before it which don't relate to it any way. The few individual story arcs before that are extremely simplistic, if not nonexistent. Mainly you get the feelling that the author came up with them in 5 seconds in order to give some cause for the action.
It's a series from the early 90's, so the art isn't very cool. You'd think that when the series is just pointless action, they'd at least make the action look good? Well, you're wrong. They've not used even those flash and sketcy-line techniques they used on Dragonball at roughly the same time period.
There's no musical scores you'd remember afterwards. Unlike some people, I find several anime series to have music you want to listen discretely from watching the series. But YYH is definitely not one of those, so it's music is well below average.
The main characters are, besides Kurama, unsympathetic slow-witted tough guys. The bad guys mostly lack any personality, their motive to attack the main cast is mainly just because they're bad, and you forget them immediately after they get slaughtered - the shaggy story arcs mostly don't intersect in any way, so you never hear anything about them from any character (and if you ask me, that's one of the defining marks of a bad series). Some of the characters develop at the end - but again, it's nothing exceptional, and just goddamn not worth watching those never-ending mindless bloodbath battles!
So, the battles are long and dull, with exceptionally random power-ups or mutations. There's no adventuring, just tournaments or premised quests to go to some place to beat up some guys. There's little drama, and most characters remain one-dimensional. Unlike in Hunter x Hunter, the superpowers are pure raw power without any strategical element to them. There are only few fighting female characters, most are just cheergals. To me, there wasn't simply anything enjoyable or inspiring in anything.
Overall, it's not the worst series out there (to me the worst are those that try to be something but fail epicly), it just doesn't have anything to say. It's the most generic, mediocre shounen action series probably ever made, and you could watch it if you have absolutely nothing else to do, but don't expect anything.
If you want to watch a fighting series, watch Dragonball - there's some meaning to the fights, there's some plot in between them, and the action is mostly cool.
If you want to watch a quality shounen series which revolves around sympathetic and unforgettable characters, which is mainly adventure and not tournament, which has a good plot and only short battles right on the hot spots of the plot, or want to have a glimpse of that genius of Yoshihiro Togashi they talk out there, watch Hunter x Hunter.
Fighting Shounen like to correspond to a particular formula and list of tropes, one of the most consistent and predictable genres of anime in existence. That being said, it’s also the most popular genre out there, pandering to the mentally challenged section of the anime community. Bleach is an unholy tragedy that follows the, "This isn't even my final form!" trend that seems to last forever and Naruto has the biggest fan base of fat losers I've ever had the displeasure to see or know.
But way back before the dinosaurs became extinct, good Shounen existed. Something had to
set the stones that the next generation would step on (Or just copy the shows that came before it; same difference). Dragon Ball, by far the most famous of any fighting show. Without it, we wouldn't have the horrible shows we have today. For however much shit you want to give Dragon Ball and its sequel Z, it came in a time where these types of shows were received with an open heart and, well, excuse my French, but when Shounen wasn't completely fucking shit. I'm not saying Shounen couldn't be bad (Ex: Inuyasha) but it wasn't nearly as bad as today.
Then there's Yu Yu Hakusho.
Yu Yu Hakusho is literally the greatest fighting anime ever made. This isn't an exaggeration or hyperbole. I'm being dead serious. It's imaginary and creative, holding a profound meaning that is more than what the eye can see or comprehend. It's a journey of life, constantly bringing depth to its world and characters, never ceasing to be gripping and fantastic. The amount of work and detail put into its script is shocking; every second is used wisely. There is no filler. There are no episodes and episodes of powering up. There are no pretentious philosophical rants that take away enjoyment and realism. There is only show. It is a masterpiece by no other name.
Extremely influential to boot, there's a number of reasons why it beat DBZ in its air time. Bleach didn't only copy their entire premise from Yu Yu Hakusho; they also copied a section of episodes straight from the Chapter Black arc for their first shitty filler saga. While Kubo can't write his way out of a paper bag, he had good taste to look at Yoshihiro Togashi for inspiration.
Yusuke Urameshi is angry. He really doesn't know why he's angry, and that makes him even angrier. Other people don't understand him either, which just makes him even angrier. He even gets angry at people who try to help him, and he gets angry at getting angry at people. He's a normal 14 year old boy, angst and anger included. Without ever finding a meaning to his life, nor accomplishing anything, he dies.
Ironically, in dying, he finds his answer.
Yusuke is given the job of his dreams. To take all his anger out on the creatures that helped make life so miserable, by kicking demon ass. As the Spirit Detective of the afterlife he's able to finally make something of himself. Never send a man to do a boy's job.
Yu Yu Hakusho doesn't barrage you with a cast of characters. Instead it opts to keep a set cast and develop them along the stories direction. Watching these characters grow is one of the most satisfying aspects of the show. Whether it be Yusuke finding his place in the universe, Kuwabara keeping his morals and ideals in a dark world or Keiko chasing after Yusuke, these developments are as interesting as they are real. Characters aren't black and white cutouts. Villains can prove to be good guys with their own reasons to fight that aren't cliché like "world domination", and the heroes can have dark pasts too.
The anime for Yu Yu Hakusho is so well made; it surpasses even the manga in almost every aspect, which is unexpected and rare for a fighting series. There isn't a speck of filler in its 112 episodes, which are considerably not that many episodes if you compare it to some shows. Cut into 4 sections, or seasons, that each hold their own story line that flows smoothly into the next section but still have a definite conclusion and solution.
The English dub is a gift from the gods. Unnecessary lines from the original dub were cut, and localization that didn't make the show awkward was added. English actors bring the characters to life in ways that the Japanese could never do, the dub is an absolute must watch for any English speaker. All the opening and ending themes were changed to English and sung by talented professionals (produced by Carl Finch), making all the songs sound much better comparatively. Unlike some show's that have the nerve to change their theme songs every 10 episodes, "Smile Bomb" is the opening for the whole run time, and it's so good you never get tired of it. "Sayonara Bye-Bye" and “Homework Never Ends" are fantastic songs that you'll never skip, along with the other ending themes to make a completely satisfying OST.
Yu Yu Hakusho has managed to leave an imprint for a reason, if not several. It's a classic, a must watch for any fighting fan. It pulls out all the punches and leaves you with a taste in your mouth wanting more after every episode. 112 episodes go by fast with Yusuke and the gang, and at the end of it all, you'll have mixed feelings of satisfaction and craving more.
Life isn't an easy ride, it's constantly challenging, and those who rise to meet those challenges will gain the most out of what they do. You have to face the sun and shout, never giving in to yourself. Believing in your own strength, and most importantly, the strength of others to the end no matter what the conclusion.
You aren't alone. That's the detail that people forget very easily, but retains more meaning than you believe. Several fists pack more of a punch than one.
And I think we can sum all this up in one word. C'mon, all together now. Let's take it from the top.
Note: For the most part a copy-paste of my review of the manga, with a few anime changes warranting a little separate discussion.
Yu Yu Hakusho is a series that has garnered a reputation as a great classic amongst many members of the anime/manga community. Much like the opinion of any arc of DBZ after the Saiyan Arc being good, however, most of the praise YYH gains as a great work is purely fuelled by one of the major banes of critical thinking; nostalgia.
Note that this review will be more of a spoiler-filled analysis of each arc of the series to fully analyse the story's quality,
particularly for a fair lengthed Shonen in which delving into detail is fairly necessary.
===Part 1: Spirit Detective Arc===
The Spirit Detective Arc, whilst having an interesting beginning, quickly turns into about 5 episodes of episodic, boring missions. Even after Yusuke's revival, we only have a repetitive formula of a new big bad demon trying to conquer the world with about as much personality as a piece of paper until the Toguro brothers show up. Two of these, Hiei and Kurama, are given more personality by becoming permanent members of the main cast, but the former is poorly handled. Despite his nefarious introduction, Yusuke seems to have no qualms with working with him during the Four Beasts segment despite the common trope of misgivings and conflict amongst the main cast being appropriate here. Instead, the only character with any animosity towards Hiei was Kuwabara, someone who wasn't even there to see Hiei in his evil phase and has conflict with him just because Hiei called him an idiot. Overall, the Spirit Detective Arc is an overly formulaic arc that has some problems in it's character writing and is fairly mediocre overall. 5/10
===Part 2: Dark Tournament Arc===
This is what is often considered the peak of the series as we're offered the idea of a death tournament with the fate of the world in the balance...only to get a very by the books tournament arc with nothing new to offer to the over-saturated formula. Hardly any of the tournament matches outside the finals had much lasting impact with the plot or character progression, with the only opponent to offer anything meaningful to the plot after their defeat being Suzuki and the only one to offer much food for thought being the triple battle against Team Ichigaki. That said, you could cut out or change 90% of the tournament and the overall plot and character development wouldn't change at all. It also doesn't help that Toguro was constantly pushed as the endgame for Team Urameshi from the start with how far above the rest of the competition he was to the point it makes all the other teams and the backing of rich council members acting as though they stood a chance meaningless.
Saying that, why not change it to a tower-style team ranking in a style similar to Heaven's Arena in Togashi's current work? Doing so would not only be more engaging than a run of the mill tournament, but make the factor of Team Toguro being the only endgame far more justified.
I will say Toguro's character writing was good with his guilt and his sympathetic qualities being well foreshadowed. However, this is little saving grace when the majority of this is infodumped after his death and what repercussions he brought to the main cast through the deaths of Genkai and Kuwabara are made completely hollow when the former was revived and the latter was never actually killed. On the subject of Genkai's revival, this brings out a lot of questions about the series' afterlife, as if the likes of Genkai can be revived by Koenma, why is death treat as something truly permanent in this series? At least something such as DBZ had consistency in how the dead can interact and venture to the living world and the ruler of it's afterlife wasn't part of the main cast for maximum plot convenience.
Overall, the Dark Tournment had potential, but ended up being a typical Shonen tournament with all the poor plot devices the demograph is guilty of. 5/10
===Part 3: Chapter Black Arc===
Now, I will offer some fair praise to this arc, with it's first half easily being the peak of the series. The idea of having skill vs power akin to in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure and Togashi's current work Hunter X Hunter, as well as much focus on the idea of humanity's savage nature being very engaging. However, everything quickly goes downhill once the battle with Sensui starts. Not only does the revelation that Sensui was immeasurably above the main cast all this time come out of nowhere, but the other major revelation of Yusuke's ancestry have no foreshadowing whatsoever and act as a highly contrived power up. Along with these and Yusuke's friends getting rage boosted to A-Class instantly, this completely betrays the arc's premise of strength not being everything, especially when the 3 humans who ushered in this interesting aspect of the arc are completely removed from the climax.
Perhaps character writing could have saved this arc, but not quite. Most of the Sensui Seven didn't have much depth to their character and whilst Sensui was interesting, the plot twist involving him was poor and his seven personalities was unnecessary for doing anything but prolonging the arc when there was little conflict between them in their overall goal and if comparing it to other similar characters, Gemini Saga from Saint Seiya pulled off the multiple personality gimmick far better. On the subject of comparison, the ideas of humanity he represents have been explored with far more coherent writing through the Hunter X Hunter character of Meruem and many more in the Chimera Ant Arc, to the point Sensui and this arc seem fairly dated overall. What could have been the shining jewel in this series was forced by cheap conveniences to be an average at best one. 4.5/10
===Part 4: Three Kings Arc===
Whilst I gave the three previous arcs flak, I at least found them to be average or so. The Three Kings Arc, however, is absolutely terrible. Let's start with the power ups being a further betrayal of the previous arc's premise with how bad the power creep became. Not only did the 6 returning side characters from the Dark Tournament return to far surpass Sensui after Genkai's training, but Kurama far surpassed them by doing...absolutely nothing from what we're shown. Now, the idea of the Makai being divided in three could have been an amazing premise harkening back to the historical epic Romance of the Three Kingdoms and if mimicking it's drawing points could have been the best arc in the series...except nothing of the sort occurs because after Raizen's death, the conflict just becomes another boring tournament to settle everything. Going back to the 6 demons and Kurama, their training and reaching of new plateaus amounted to nothing as their performance in the tournament were so irrelevant most of their performances boil down to getting stomped by Raizen's friends. Kurama at least gained some development, as did Hiei. However, the former shouldn't really have had much of an internal struggle when he was Kurama from the start so Yoko Kurama being portrayed as an alternate personality made little sense, whilst with Hiei his backstory was underwhelming. It also doesn't help that their contribution from the start was fairly pointless, as whilst it's nice the anime gave them more focus than the manga, it was overall unnecessary when it was made abundently clear early on that the only competitors who mattered were Yusuke, Yomi, Mukuro and Raizen's friends, and Raizen's friends were just a bunch of one-note personalities not worth being invested in at all.
Unlike the manga, we actually get some level of climax with Yusuke and Yomi's fight. However, none of that really matters when the point of view on the tournament is erased after Yusuke's defeat in order to skip the boring battles to get to the conclusion of a character nobody cared about becoming the King. After that, the last episode is just everyone waiting for Yusuke to come back. Quite a boring finale. 1.5/10
===Part 5 - Characters, art and final thoughts===
Moving on to quickly go over characters, there's little to say, whilst they are more consistent than most Shonen characters, the cast is still a bunch of fairly typical archetypes beyond the two villains already discussed, despite the anime doing a decent job developing them a lot better than the manga and the majority of such characters have a far better equivalent in the series' spiritual successor of Hunter X Hunter to the point discussing any more of them in depth would be rather meaningless.
Onto the superficial aspect of art, this is a good and consistent aspect unlike the manga, with it containing a distinct nature and much of the 90s charm. The sound is also good with good voice acting and a great soundtrack. However, such superficial aspects mean little compared to plot and characters and thus, will not factor much into the overall rating.
In conclusion, Yu Yu Hakusho is quite a dated work now that it's creator has polished his craft far more long after it, with it being more interesting as a case study of his improvement, and with people not being so limited to what they can watch nowadays, it ought to be evident that most of the elements praised by the masses had already been done better elsewhere. The anime may be better than the mediocre manga, but not by much. If wanting a series not so focused on fights being settled purely by power, there's JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. If wanting a series focused on giving it's 4-5 main cast members a good deal of spotlight, there's Saint Seiya. If wanting a series that offers far more creativity and depth than the average Shonen, there's Togashi's other big hit Hunter X Hunter. For any of those categories, however, I can't recommend Yu Yu Hakusho.
Yu Yu Hakusho remains one of the most cherished animes I have watched in my entire life. From beginning to end, I always find it hard to stop watching Yu Yu Hakusho, from the intense battles to the great character development. There are 112 episodes and I have managed to actually watch this series 3 entire times and I own all 4 seasons on DVD. This is one of my favorite shows and I hope this review can convince you to watch Yu Yu Hakusho if you haven't already.
I'm going to review the story not as a whole, but instead by giving my
impression of each season.
First Season: The transformation of the main character, Yusuke Urameshi, from an immature delinquent into adulthood, begins with his death and rebirth into Spirit detective. From there, Yusuke meets the demons/apparitions Hiei and Kurama (who is a demon fox trapped in a human's body). Along with Yusuke's delinquent friend, Kuwabara, the four create an impenetrable bond of friendship throughout the series as they grow up, while facing many hardships. With a unique beginning, the first season of Yu Yu Hakusho extremely memorable and sets the right tone for the rest of the series, even though it is much more campy and light compared to the rest of the show. It's very hard to find a way to draw in people to watch a series that will take hours out of their days, but Yu Yu Hakusho succeeds in this aspect.
Second Season: Yusuke Urameshi and his friends face off against other teams of demons throughout the Dark Tournament. This is where the series becomes more grim and serious, despite abundant amount of humor, which Yu Yu Hakusho does a perfect job at balances the two. The ending to the tournament is epic, with the unforgettable battle Yusuke wages against Togoro's seemingly invincible team.
Third Season: After the Dark Tournament, it seems that Yusuke's group has defeated the strongest enemy imaginable, until a man named Shinobu Sensui and his band of psychics pose an eminent threat to the entire human race. The season ends in what I feel to be the greatest and most epic fight scene in the entire series, and one of the best I have seen in any anime.
Fourth Season: Yusuke, Hiei, and Kuroma return to demon world, where they each take an opposing sides of each demon king. This season introduces many new characters in such a short amount of time, yet each one is well done and developed, especially the three demon kings. Every good show has to end, and Yu Yu Hakusho has a perfect ending to a great series.
The art in Yu Yu Hakusho is obviously dated compared to today's standards since its broadcast was in 1992. Yet there is a certain charm to the artwork.
The opening theme is classic, as well as all the ending theme songs. Like any other good television show or movie, the soundtracks set the right mood for the entire series. From establishing sense of tension in battle to desperation in a final move to win a battle to the more relaxed time during this experience, Yu Yu Hakusho nails in the music department. The voices as well as the dialogue is spot on, especially in the English dubs. Sorry that I haven't watched the Japanese version yet, but I might later on.
From the main character to the villains, and even the side characters, all are given great emotion and purpose to the show. All are well developed and grow throughout the series, even the villains and most of the side characters!
Yusuke Urameshi starts out a tough guy delinquent who is still trying to find purpose in life, that is until he becomes a spirit detective. All I have to say is that Yusuke is one of the best main characters in an anime show and is completely unforgettable. At first Yusuke's chiseled friend Kuwabara seems to be there for only comedic purposes, which he excels at. Kuwabara, though, is a character with a lot of heart. Hiei, the proud and ruthless antihero of the show, is in a lot of ways like Vegita from Dragonball Z. Last, but not least is Kurama, the calculating bishounen pretty boy. All four characters have great chemistry together and make an unforgettable team.
I can't say how much I recommend this anime series because it transcends the enjoyment of the average anime show into something else. It was truly an unforgettable experience!!!
NOTE: I apologize ahead of time for a rather lengthy and what’ll seem dragged on review, this is a show that holds a special place in my heart -gets teary- So I wouldn't feel right leaving anything that I feel is important out of this review. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
“Don’t judge a book by the cover.” This is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about the show that is Yu Yu Hakusho, given it’s not actually a book but an anime adaptation of a manga, baka, of course I know this much. It appears
to be another one of those scream-as-loud-as-you-can-to-power-up-and-protect-your-friends, kind of show, which seemed to be riddled throughout the anime industry in the early and late 90s. Sure the show has it’s cliché moments but I would argue they are ingeniously portrayed in an enjoyable manner that is for the most part unpredictable and interesting. The mangaka of Yu Yu Hakusho is Yoshihiro Togashi who you might know as the creator of the hit series Hunter x Hunter (Fun fact: Togashi is married to Naoko Takeuchi, the author of Sailor Moon.) - Togashi is exceptional at creating characters with depth, and putting these characters in various psychological struggles both internally and externally to strengthen their growth and development. This is what makes Yu Yu Hakusho stand out so much, it’s characterization. Now, with the introduction out of the way let’s power up and start! “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH”
The show tells the story of Yusuke Urameshi a 14 year-old delinquent that is always itching for a fight, he refuses to attend classes regularly and enjoys fighting fellow delinquents in his city, not the most charming guy, right? Well he’s our protagonist, and pseudo-spoiler-alert he dies in the first, wait for it… 25 seconds of the show. He amazingly enough jumps in front of a car to save a child who was chasing after a ball. No one could have guessed Yusuke, of all people would sacrifice his life for another. Hell, even the head honchos at Spirit World wouldn’t of imagined he would perform such a selfless act, thus his adventure begins with his death.
Yusuke’s death was an unpredicted one and well he has no place to go. There’s no place for him in the afterlife, they at Spirit World, did not know he would die on that day by saving someone’s life at the cost of his own. Therefore, Koenma, the son of King Yama, decides to put Yusuke to a test, an ordeal to see if he deserves to come back to life. So with this Yusuke’s first unofficial mission begins, the mission of resurrecting himself, little does he know on completion of this mission he will become Spirit Detective of earth; and must now protect all of humanity from aberrations with the help of his assistant Botan, the blue haired grim reaper, Kuwabara, Yusuke’s classmate and arch rival, Kurama the intelligent former demon fox, and lastly Hiei the demon swordsman with a bitter attitude. Together they are earths ragtag team of defenders.
The premise of this show is an interesting one, it grabs your attention with the very unique cases *jobs* Yusuke is given as a Spirit Detective. The story at times can be rather dark, and does a very good job at pointing out the underbelly of society and meshes it with the story in a way you wouldn't feel preachy, it’s very crafty with this. Overtime we see the story progresses from the simpler cases to more life threatening and consequential ones that affect things on a larger scale which brings the intensity up!
First off, the Yu Yu Hakusho anime adaption was done by Studio Pierrot, who is also responsible for the anime adaptations: Naruto, Bleach and GTO (Great Teacher Onizuka) So it’s blatantly obvious this studio is more than credible with their animation skills. Yu Yu Hakusho aired in 1992 (Fun fact: The user Cloud_Silvers as also born in 1992) and at the time the animation was very fitting and very well done as was the fluidity in the action sequences, given at times the colors can be a bit crude. I believe the show’s visual can hold up today pretty well seeing how it originally aired 22 years ago, I bet you feel old... As we progress with the story and things become gradually more serious we see the art style losing some of it’s softness and in turn becomes a lot more detailed and mature which can be interrupted as a tool to symbolize the story and characters growths over time.
I tend not to be overly critical with animation especially anime from the 90s but for the time this was done it was done very well. The protagonists all have a unique enough styles that they’re very memorable and same goes with the antagonist, you won’t see an actual character in this show that doesn’t have a creative design, one that will burn into your brain, like a tattoo.(Fun fact: I have no tattoos.)
Now the soundtrack. Oh boy, does this show have one, a good one at that. The show’s soundtrack is a very memorable one because it does an amazing job at setting the mood for the show. The pieces are very 90s and kick-ass the perfect mixture for a fighting shounen. You can really tell a lot of care was put in the soundtrack because you being to feel the emotions when a certain track comes on and makes the experience all the more enjoyable.
Listening to the soundtrack you can feel a sense of urgency, emotions both sad and happy, you can feel the pain and anger all this is done with the genius music. Overall beautiful pieces composed by Yusuke Honma (Wow his name seems familiar, I swear I've seen it somewhere -whistles-) The soundtrack is beautiful, appropriate and is truly a labor of love.
Yu Yu Hakusho’s characters are very diverse and complex. Watching the show we get to experience this adventure with them as they grow, mature, learn new perspectives and change their outlooks on life itself. The best part of the characters is that they are so human and relatable. You gradually come to understand every character, and their ideals, mindsets and feelings. You get emotionally attached to each character and even the villains you come to sympathize with as you found out their backstories. I rarely watch a show where I literally shed tears for a villain's demise. These villains all have their various reasons and they may be wrong but they're just trying to achieve their own respected goals and the show does a good job at making this apparent. They are not villains for the sake of being villains.
Lastly the enjoyment factor… I love this show wholeheartedly, it’s one of my first anime I ever watched when I was younger. It was not until I was older and re-watched it could I truly appreciate this anime for what it was. A battle shounen with an amazing cast of characters, interesting storylines, and fantastic villains. This show is special to me not because of nostalgia reasons but because I’ve watched it over 6 times and still find myself not getting bored. There’s a lot to it, more than you would really think. I would say it’s arguably one of the most enjoyable long-shounens.
Yu Yu Hakusho does a superb job of creating these totally human characters both good and bad. We get to see them in a state we can understand and this makes it all the more enjoyable when seeing them mature or learning about their back-stories. Again, this show will at times make you sincerely feel sorry for the antagonists because of the complexity and human nature they put into them. Out of them all Yusuke our protagonist is the one who we see “grow up” the most, from a quick-to-throw-a-punch-cocky teenager to a dependable man who can both protect and cherish his friends and loved ones which is the opposite of how he started off. I fell in love with the characters and I truly cared for them, I cried with them and I smiled with them, I was on this adventure with them and for that I thank you Yu Yu Hakusho. This show is great for both young adults and more mature audiences.
This anime is outstanding because it is based on a great story where Spirit Detective Yusuke Urameshi has to team up with Kazuma Kuwabara,Yoko Kurama ( Minamoto Suichi ) and Hiei Jaganshi and save the Human World from demons.
I like the action, storyline, graphics ( Needs improvement though, but still outstanding !!!) and the Cool Super Powers that each one of those character has,its just outstanding.
I also like how they put the Saga's together,they're only 4 Saga's,which is good.Unlike Dragonball ( Z,GT etc...),which has alot of Saga's,the makers of Yuu Yuu Hakusho knew that if they put in too
many Saga's,the whole anime would be messed up.
I do wish they add another Saga and more episodes though,i think about 6 Saga's would be enough and 201 Episodes would be enough although i think i watched 201 already so i think someone got the number wrong (112).
This Review refers to my feelings towards the anime Yuu Yuu Hakusho, it truly does not help anyone in anyway possible.........haha...
Honestly i was a little skeptical about this anime series since it was old. Usually old anime series aren't that great because of the bad audio and artwork, where'as you compare it to like Parasyte maxim another amazing anime series the artwork really differentiates. But this anime series was so fricken good i love the characters, artwork and sound effects/music used. Its the best damn show ive seen so far, the story is very well put together i loved the character development of Yusuke and company. I would recommend this to all of my friends, since this show was absolutely awesome 10/10
Yu Yu Hakusho is another one of my favorites and its definitely my favorite long running anime. (over 100 eps) It does seem to drag on at parts but eventually brings the viewers attention back with the plots twists and turns. The original version of it is so much better once it was brought to afternoon television the censor absolutely butchered it to pieces so if you didn\'t appreciate the one that aired on Toonami I suggest finding a version that isn\'t chewed up by the proverbial censor and spit out as a peice of crap.
Never have I given anything a perfect ten really, and I mean that. However Yu Yu Hakusho I believe deserves that rating. I had been a fan watching DBZ for the longest time, however I threw that show out the window with this one. For all of you wanting to get into the shounen aspect of anime here it is. It's short than most action shows (112 episodes), and shows a considerable amount of characterization. As we meet each person, especially our main cast we may have mixed feelings. Yusuke is a punk, but he has a big heart regardless, Kuwabara may come off stupid
but he really isn't, Hiei may seem unbelievably cold, and Kurama too nice. As the series goes on their personalities grow with it. That is what I found to be so nice, was the gradual and obvious change in character. Even the 'villains ' some of them aren't too villainous. Take for instance two of the guys from Team Mashou, Jin and Touya. Sure Yusuke and Kurama had to fight them but, they're more like friends.
The dub for the english is actually extremely well done. Kuwabara's voice may take some a while to get used to. However everyone else sounds close, or better to their Japanese counterparts. The animation quality goes up as the series goes on as well. So for all of you looking for a shorter action show with good characters, animation, and plot pick up Yu Yu Hakusho. Now that the boxsets are all but released this should be easy.
"You can't end a good party without somebody on the floor."
Nostalgia is powerful. Whether it's snuggling up in a warm, fleece blanket watching Christmas movies with family or taking a casual stroll through a vibrant Autumn color scheme. It reminds us of a very secure and comfortable time in our life. There are certain things in our lives, artifacts from that time period that act as memory vessels, transporting our minds back to that time. For me and presumably most of us here on MAL, the nostalgia-inducing medium is most likely anime or video games. The euphoric feeing that this nostalgia instills in our
minds is something special, irreplaceable and unreplicated.
I remember running home from the bus stop as fast as humanly possible to catch the newest episode of Dragonball Z or Yu Yu Hakusho on Toonami, often trudging through the thick Ohio snow. I was enthralled by the sanctity of Japanese animation. It made me feel comfortable. These types of shows were starkly different from Westernized cartoons, with their flamboyant animation style and detailed fight scenes. Characters I could relate to put in extraordinary situations transported me to the driver's seat, letting me live experience vicariously through them.
I will attempt to keep this as spoiler free as possible.
I decided to take a retrospective look at one of my personal favorites from that time period, Yu Yu Hakusho. This is an anime with so much to offer from a character development and shounen side, but often gets forgotten about due to its age. It's a story of maturity, morality and mortality. It works tirelessly to involve the viewer and teach them about the beauty of mortality, failure and the importance of friendship. Writer Yoshihiro Togashi takes four relative delinquents on the path for corruption or evil and places them in precarious situations that test their willpower and moral conscience. It's the writing of these characters and their relationships that truly sets Yu Yu Hakusho apart from other works in the genre. Sure, most shounen have extravagant combat scenes and bombastic characters, but few tell a story behind the scenes to the level of brilliance Togashi has achieved here.
14 year old Yusuke Urameshi is a very unappreciated protagonist. He starts the series as a hard-headed derelict without a drive for school or making friends, focusing his energy almost entirely on picking fights with others around him. Once his life was changed by dying at the hands of a speeding car, his previously undiscovered purpose in the world surfaced with gusto. Botan, a grim reaper of sorts, offers to spare his mortality in return for chasing spirits and other ghosts around as a "Spirit Detective". However, it ends up being less detective oriented and more like busy work, but it proves vital to introduce the remaining main characters and develop some characterization for Yusuke himself. Essentially, it's the necessary evil for a lengthy shounen, allowing the bond to be formed with the main cast. The fights are often short and underwhelming, with Yusuke often claiming victory by way of some outside force or accidental fluke. In a way, he had a great deal in common with the demons he fought, often blindly rushing in without any feasible strategy. This understandable flaw is a true testament to his character, and how invincible he felt was a testament to his immaturity as a teenager. His ignorance left him oblivious to the threat of his opponents.
Unfortunately, this "detective arc" is the weakest of the four main arcs within Hakusho's story. This causes some viewers to be turned off from the series due to its implied gimmicky tone. The narrative (Yusuke growing stronger and wanting to help save his friends and the rest of the world) is disguised under a layer of cheap fights and episodic missions. The bond Yusuke begins to form with fellow student body member, Kuwabara (once a sworn enemy) and spirits Kurama and Hiei are still weak and presumably exist only to propel the story forward. Though it was initially weak, the one commonality the four of them shared is what kept me engaged and committed to seeing the series through.... the wanton feeling of redemption. They wanted that second chance at life, and began to cherish their own mortality after they were awarded with it.
The second or "Dark Tournament" arc is when I began taking the show seriously. Yusuke first meets Toguro, arguably the show's most threatening villain, and his perception of power and demons in general gets flipped upside down. Seeing Toguro's strength firsthand slaps him in the face with some figurative smelling salts, and we see Yusuke willingly training with his master Genkai to channel his true potential. The refreshing part of this training is that it doesn't finish quickly, or without some inexplicable pain on Yusuke's end. The same could be said for Toguro who, without going into too much detail, learns a humbling lesson that strength isn't everything, and selfish greed only leads to loneliness and eventual defeat.
I'd be blatantly doing the anime world a disservice if I didn't take the time to mention the tournament structure represented in this arc. For a teenager looking for face-exploding action, I found solace in Yu Yu Hakusho's dark tournament. The fight scenes in this arc were the most nostalgic to me and laid the groundwork for other series adapting this concept later on through the years. I challenge you to try and make it through this arc without binging it at least a little bit. Yusuke displays perhaps his first example of growth during the tournament's "fight to the death" structure by befriending most of his opponents during battle in lieu of vanquishing them as the rules state. In return, this causes unrest from the already rambunctious crowd but draws a healthy amount of respect from his adversaries.
Another fine point of writing from Togashi here is the sudden relevance of Kuwabara. Normally belligerent and useless, Kuwabara exhibits the fruits of his hard work by actually holding his own in combat. For once, other people are relying on him to further a just cause... not to mention the fact he's trying to impress a certain ice demon he has the hots for. This new found love gives him an even greater call to arms, surprising even his friends at the tournament. Hiei and Kurama further their bond with the group throughout the rest of the tournament, not taking for granted their second chance and freedom.
The Sensui or "Chapter Black" arc for me is one of the most pondering and dynamic arcs I've ever come across in an anime. To further develop Yusuke as a main protagonist, Togashi pens his antithesis, a former spirit detective who questioned morality and demon/human relations perhaps a bit too much. The result is a spiritually gifted human with a very different outlook on life than Yusuke himself. Up until this point, the series was very focused on efforts to become stronger and defeat opposition in a very regimented manner. When Yusuke is faced with a carbon copy of himself, a yin to his yang, his is conflicted with how to handle the situation. Now he has plenty to fight for, and his selflessness is shown on full display within these episodes. The envelope is pushed to the limits for what would be the normal quota for a shounen between the sinister tone and edgy subject matter. In ways, this arc is strikingly similar to the Chimera Ant arc in HxH.
During the 4th and final arc, Yusuke finally discovers who he truly is. Again, we are reintroduced with a tournament setting, only this time Yusuke has a much different reason for fighting. It was a nicely tied bow on top of this already successful series. Not to mention IT HAS A GOOD ENDING. Some would be quick to knock the series for ending so soon, but with criticism of Togashi's lazy artistry during the final issues of the manga it's only fitting that the anime would drop off quickly afterward. Unfortunately, with most attention diverted to revealing character backstories, the arc is rather dull compared to the rest of the series. Happy tears did stream down my face prior to the final credits rolling, thankful that I was able to experience such a masterpiece in the shounen genre.
One of the areas Hakusho succeeds the most is in the quality of its English script. Justin Cook, Yusuke's unique voice actor took the reigns for translating this Eastern success into a Western gem. Many times anime are either directly or sloppily translated, often leading to confusing dialogue or moments of awkward one liners. Cook's ability to take the source material and transform it into something so digestible for the general American youth was remarkable, with some scenes holding almost entirely different meanings after this transformation. Despite the differences in some translations, Togashi's original narrative of growing stronger and fighting to save those you love stays mostly constant throughout the series.
The dialogue in the anime is another fine point. Although released in the early 90's, much of the humor and wisecracks the characters make at each other are still valid in today's culture. Sure there are still corny one-liners from placeholding antagonists and the occasional missed cultural reference, but Cook did a fine job crafting lines like the one opening this review.
Comradery is a very important concept within Yu Yu Hakusho. Four generally independent characters are tied together in a twist of fate and are forced to work with one another in order to redeem themselves and protect the world. It's the "anime second chance program", so to speak. Initially, the cooperation is awkward at best. Hiei is the most notorious violator of synergy within the group, still vying to handle matters solo whenever he gets the chance. Despite all the resistance and bickering, an odd couple for the ages is formed. Though Kurama is generally the most selfless demon, Hiei comes around and makes sacrifices of his own starting in the Dark Tournament arc. As described earlier, the development of these four characters is refreshing and extraordinary. At the end of the series you truly feel like you know these individuals through and through. As a result, the rest of the supporting cast takes a backseat for the most part (sans Genkai and Toguro), and can be slightly off putting if you don't care for the main cast.
As a teenage boy, nothing interested me more about tv shows than flashy fight scenes... and it just so happens Hakusho has plenty of those. In fact, even though the anime is older than half the users on this website, the scenes still hold up quite well. Most of the battles are action packed and toward the middle of the series become quite cerebral, with many moments of internal monologue and dialogue between opponents. It was hardly ever obvious who would win a fight when it started, making the suspense all the more satisfying. I'd say it's more on the violent side than most shounen of the present, making it especially appealing to the older, more mature crowds as well.
The rest of the animation and direction could use some work. Granted there were more limitations back in this early period of anime, which lead to many lazily animated static scenes and reused background images. Anime as we know it has changed dramatically over the years, especially on the animation side, so scenes in Yu Yu Hakusho are less eccentric and vibrant than those today. If you can look past this blemish, watching the series should be no problem for you.
When it comes to the soundtrack, Hakusho shows it's age again. Many of the tracks are thrown in simply to silence the dead air, and are often recycled even if the scene doesn't necessarily call for it. I do like the OP, perhaps more from a nostalgia standpoint than an actual critical one. It's the period of anime where more attention was given to the script and less to the pretty package it came in. The English dub is fantastic though. So much so that it is really the superior way to watch the anime, just don't even waste your time with the original subbed version. Cook's portrayal of Yusuke is one of the strongest voice acting performances I've ever heard. It was rumored he once bled from his throats and had the postpone recording after belting one of Yusuke's iconic screams. Pretty serious stuff! Chris Sabat (Picollo, Zoro from OP) is unique and talented as Kuwabara and Chuck Huber nails the role of Hiei. I'd say it's on par for one of the best dubs I've ever seen.
There's no doubt from this long-winded review that I enjoy Yu Yu Hakusho. It's one of my favorite anime and it played an important role in my childhood. Rewatching it as an adult reaffirmed my love for the series, and it's one that I highly recommend. Some people may be hesitant due to its age, but I urge you to look past the surface and experience the anime for all that it is. The emergence of Hakusho director Togashi's later work (HunterXHunter) has begun to overshadow his original masterpiece, but true anime fans viewing Hakusho with an open mind will see HxH's true inspiration come to light. It has flaws of its own, but gripping characters, a suspenseful story and fantastic fight scenes make this a shounen for the ages.
"Maybe there have been times when I've been pissed and hated things, but it wasn't from this work. My dad's a no-show, my mom's a lush, and school sucks. But this job is the one damn thing I've ever been good at. And if all the crap in my life hasn't screwed me up yet, then neither will this. And neither will you."
Yuyu Hakusho is one of the few Toonami titles I never had a chance to see too often during the block's peak of popularity in the early to mid 2000s. It is a shounen battle anime following in the vein of titles like Dragon Ball Z and Saint Seiya that were popular during the time period where you have superpowered heroes fighting evil forces, training to increase their power, participating in battle tournaments and characters often bragging about their powers and abilities. Yuyu Hakusho follows a number of the cliches typical of these titles, but does have some elements to it that stick out compared
to DBZ and Saint Seiya.
The main group of heroes portrayed in the series aren't your typical pure-hearted bunch as they consist of delinquents and demons who aren't entirely pure in their motives in combating evil threats. Despite their questionable upbringings though, the members of the group do get fleshing out of their characters and backgrounds to show that their upbringings are rather complicated and that their current personalities are the result of whatever complicated pasts they had. This fleshing out also extends to many of the villains that Yusuke and his group encounter in later episodes of the series, an element that would be adopted in later popular shounen battle titles like Naruto and Inuyasha. The only flaw to the depth approach with villains here is that the series usually does this when the villain is close to death or about to be defeated without any kind of proper buildup, an issue that is also carried over to more recent shounen battle titles. However, the series does provide reasonable depth and buildup to Sensui's disillusioned and manipulative character in YYH's Chapter Black saga, which made his character one of the more complex ones in the series and what contributed to Chapter Black being the best saga in the series for me.
A number of the battles in the series also involved strategy and intellect, aspects that were lacking in popular battle anime of the period as they involved more showing off over-the-top powers and techniques. Kurama and a number of other characters in YYH are known to use their intellect and strategy often to dispatch their foes, usually contending with foes that relied more on power or who are just as equal as them in cunning and intellect. Those not as notable with their brains are also shown to occasionally rely on strategy when the situation calls for it. While Yuyu Hakusho does usually resort to showing off crazy powers and abilities, it isn't the dominating focus in many of its battles.
Praises aside though, there are a good number of issues that keep me from wanting to rate Yuyu Hakusho as highly as Rurouni Kenshin. As discussed above, the series still dabbles fairly heavily in the cliches of shounen battle anime having its fair share of plot conveniences, heavy focus on battle scenes, cliched villains (Rando and the Saint Beasts are nowhere as fun to see compared to Younger Toguro and Sensui) and wasted plot potential.
The fourth element is worth mention because there are a couple major elements to the series that had potential to offer some nice developments, yet are wasted. Keiko is seen as Yusuke's love interest throughout much of the series, yet Yuyu Hakusho never provides enough time with the two to have one convinced that they are a couple worth rooting for. The Three Kings saga offered up the opportunity to see a side of the demon world that was never explored at all in earlier episodes of the series. While YYH explores what connections Yusuke, Hiei and Kurama had to each of the three powerful demons that dominated the realm, the saga isn't as well-paced as the three earlier sagas as the series rushes through its developments and makes a pretty stupid excuse to set up another battle tournament when it seemed like conflict was going to arise between the forces of the three mentioned demons. Even with the battle tournament setup, it only runs for 5 episodes and lacks the suspense of the Dark Tournament saga when Yusuke and his team had the odds stacked against them in many of their fights.
In terms of presentation, the visuals and music for YYH are nothing too notable. Artwork quality is pretty standard for an early to mid 1990s title sporting drab color, washed-out details for scenery and the typical drawing style of character designs being the big-eyed variety with details varying from simple to decent. Animation shortcuts are a regular occurrence in the series as it makes use of techniques like still shots, reused animation frames, and speed stripes. The soundtrack to YYH consists of suspenseful and energetic tracks that do their part in enhancing battle, serious and comical moments; though nothing of particular note greatly stuck out for me with the show's music.
Overall, Yuyu Hakusho has some major story and character elements that allowed it to stick out from shounen battle anime of its time period and are now a convention with modern shounen battle titles. It still sticks fairly strongly to the cliches of the genre and doesn't really do much else to break the mold of it. But if you are an action anime fan that wants to at least have a little something extra added to your titles besides crazy powers and action, then Yuyu Hakusho is a decent fix for your enjoyment.
One of my first and favorite Animes, just want to share my thoughts.
Story: A common misconception about this series is that it's just another Dragonball Z. It is not. While both contain energy blasts and fighting, the plots here are more deep and complex especially during the third arc. It really made me think about the way the world works. Otherwise, every other arc is a tournament but viewers are compensated with well written characters and great development. The other surprise is that there were no stupid filler episodes. In fact, the Manga had more chapters that can be considered "filler" material. For an Anime
with so many episodes, this was a big surprise. The show has its comedic moments. They are genuinely funny and the show doesn't try too hard to be funny. You should get a good laugh once in a while from watching it. The beginning of the series is probably my least favorite but that doesn't take away from how good the show is. It gets incredibly amazing as the episodes roll by.
Art: Sometimes pretty good for its time, sometimes pretty odd-looking. Sadly, Yu Yu Hakusho was slightly poor in terms of animation when compared to some of the other Anime at the time. There were so many episodes where you can tell a completely different team worked on it and I wonder if they even tried to make it consistent with the animation viewers are used to. Granted, the Manga won't be winning art awards but some of these scenes are just bad and odd to look at. Would've liked to see better animation for such a great series but I guess due to the length of the series, it would be costly to keep the animation clean and consistently good.
Sound: Really good. I enjoyed the opening and all the endings. The soundtrack was great, a lot of solid songs worth getting the osts for. One disappointment is that a very common song in the series played during sad moments was excluded from the osts and it was a personal favorite. Fans should know which one I'm talking about.
In terms of the voice acting, I watched the dub for the entire series. I tried the Japanese later but I just could not get over what a great job Funimation did. They had excellent dialogue for the cast who gave outstanding performances which really brought the characters to life. Only problem was Kurama's voice at the beginning, it sounded pretty bad before they changed it during the Dark Tournament. Considering this was Funimation's second series, you can't really blame them. It still turned out great.
Character: This is where I feel the Anime really shines. Many of the characters did not seem cliche or just carbon copies brought in from other Anime. Each one was very unique and viewers can truly respect them due to the excellent writing that gave birth to these characters. Never a dull moment with the mains of this show. Each character is thoroughly explained and given a great amount of development. The interactions between them are great to watch and when the show ended, you wanted more. It was sad to know that I wouldn't be able to see these characters experience new adventures.
Enjoyment: A definite 10. Despite the 112 episode length, a lot of the fights were more than amazing. I still re-watch some of my favorites today because for me this Anime will always be a classic and bring up some nostalgia whenever I pick up a dvd.
Overall: With a great story, good music and more than awesome characters, Yu Yu Hakusho definitely gets a great rating from me. I only wish that it was at least in the top 100 here because it truly deserves it. Compared to the Anime of today, there is no debate that Yu Yu Hakusho should stand near the top. Many Anime from the last decade are overlooked and are insanely better than most Anime of today which get so much undeserved praise and are overrated beyond belief. I definitely recommend this to almost any Anime fan, there should be something for everyone here.
Thank you for reading my review. Feedback would be greatly appreciated. Hope this helped.
I know to most this was a classic but to me it was so cliche. Maybe because I watched all the new anime before going back to the 90s.
This show started off good. Everything was not what it seemed. Yet as the show progressed it became repetitive and a bore.
The same old thing with hero who was weak gets stronger. I usually root for the underdog, but not this one.
Although not totally faithful to the manga, this is one of those shows where the problem is that it maybe didn't take enough liberties, and the pacing kinda got lost in translation between the two mediums. It has a certain charm to it, but once the action starts getting emphasized, it turns into one of the slowest, least fluid shows I've ever seen. You know the saying "show, don't tell"? A character will use some move, and then they spend twice the time explaining what just happened.
"Ha ha! I've turned some of my hairs into demon monster things!"
"Oh no! I can see that
you did that! Now what will I do?"
"Ha ha! My demon monster things will eat you! Ha ha!"
"I better run!"
"Try to run! My demon monster things will get you and..." etc.
They spent way too much energy on thinking how to put as little into an episode as possible.
There are 4 seasons, or sagas, to YYH; the first saga lasts 25 episodes and the protagonists fight Rando and complete the Maze Castle and fight the Toguro brothers. A lot happens in those 25 episodes. While that doesn't improve the animation quality, poor music, or a weird translation (I watched the dub only, but the translation into English felt much more rocky than any other anime that I've watched), the story and enjoyment boost my rating of the first saga to a 6.
Then the second saga begins. The entire saga revolves around one tournament, The Dark Tournament, in
which Toguro challenges Yusuke to fight him one final time. This tournament lasts 40 episodes. 40 episodes without a change of scenery. 40 episodes filled with meaningless fights, meaningless enemies. Some opponents have interesting characters, Jin and Chu are great and I wish they were in more episodes, they were both bursting with character when so many opponents felt like cookie cutter molds of fighting opponents. Sure Toguro had an interesting story, it just took 30 or so episodes before we learned what it was. Oh and the Dark Tournament Saga also includes my least favorite thing about YYH, meaningless deaths. Not characters that die in vain, but main characters who the audience gets told have died become resurrected a few episodes later as if nothing ever happened. You know what was great about Gurren Lagann? People's lives meant something. You know what was great about Cowboy Bebop? People's lives meant something. This doesn't seem to be the case in YYH; bad guys die, good guys don't, there's a little bit of a gray area. I was counting down to the end of the Dark Tournament Saga, I would give it a 3 or 4 out of 10.
And so the third season begins. Weighing in at 27 episodes this saga feels closer to the first than the second season. There's an almost meaningless start, with Genkai testing her pupils from the shadows. Before Genkai is revealed as the mastermind it felt more genuine, but the instant it turns out to be a test it becomes flawed to me, Genkai can just return lost souls (more meaningless "deaths"!) and the gang was never in any trouble to begin with. Other than that the thing that stood out most to me was Kurama's fight, I really enjoyed the wordplay/word battles, I was, however, disappointed in how he won, it felt anticlimactic and out of character. Seaman is cool, one of the few characters who are kind of gray, though his time in the gray is unfortunately short before he's just one of the good guys. Gamemaster's short saga was kind of fun to watch, another character who isn't truly black or white. However there are two more "deaths" that don't mean anything, the bad guy (who like Toguro is admittedly somewhat compelling, but ultimately a villain who went from good to bad with little time in a moral gray area) is defeated and everyone lives. The Chapter Black Saga is a 4 or 5 in my mind.
And after these 94 episodes (nearly half of which drag on in season 2) the final 17 (plus the goodbye yay friends, look at all these characters who are good people and did nothing that I'm not attached to in any way episode) are easily the most compelling. The Three Kings Saga is what Yu Yu Hakusho should have been the whole way. We spend adequate time learning about 2 of the 3 kings (the third is fleshed out near the end in a somewhat endearing, mostly corny and cliche love story thing), characters who I wanted to see more of return, Kurama gets to do neat political type things that are entertaining to watch play out, the bad guys aren't quite bad (in fact I'm upset they weren't more villainous actually, they were mostly just good-guys-who-aren't-quite-on-our-side-until-the-end-when-they-basically-are), and the second fighting tournament wraps itself up in merely 7 or 8 episodes. I want to see more of the political wars of the realms of the three kinds of demon world. I enjoy watching characters that actually matter instead of: "love interest for the sake of having a love interest", "comic relief character", (though Kuwabara is the only reason I made it through the Dark Tournament Saga), "comic relief's love interest for the sake of there being another love interest", "witch who flies on a paddle and is British for some reason", "older sister character", and "those guys who were given powers for like 20 episodes but then had them taken away because holy shit that's a lot of main characters to deal with we should probably dial it back a little bit". Overall this season is easily the strongest and I would rate it a 6 or 7. If Yu Yu Hakusho was more of The Three Kings saga, and half as long, I would have really enjoyed it. Instead there's a ton of fluff that doesn't add anything and almost got me to give up on the show before I got to the best season. By the end of the first 94 episodes getting me to watch was like pulling teeth, I really didn't want to but I was so close to the end that I had to finish. In the end I am glad that I finished, I was more engaged in the middle of those last 17 (plus one I guess) episodes than I was at any other point in the show.
Despite the many things that I disliked about this show (including just some weird stuff like, why could Yusuke fire a sprit shotgun but still only use the spirit gun a limited number of times a day? Also why didn't he use his shotgun power more often? That shit looked really powerful) the final saga did a lot right. Yu Yu Hakusho Episodes 1-94/112 gets a 4/10. It's not bad, it's just a run on sentence that doesn't go anywhere worthwhile. Yu Yu Hakusho Episodes 95-111 gets a 7/10. I can't bring myself to giving the entire show a 6 or 7 because I liked one saga and so it stays at a 5 because overall Yu Yu Hakusho was a very average show.
Yu Yu Hakusho is a classic early 90s shonen that was popular throughout the world. Lets take a look at what made this shonen different from its peers and what it did well to achieve its beloved status.
The series is about a juvenile delinquent that is brought back to life after being killed by a car. In exchange for his new life, he must work as a paranormal investigator working for Heaven itself to hunt renegade demons. The plot starts out quite unique and interesting, but then Yasuhiro Togashi's laziness becomes apparent and there is a tournament every 2 arcs like clockwork. The 3
kings arc is also very lackluster and seems to lose a lot of what made Yu Yu Hakusho so enjoyable in the beginning. It basically became more and more of a DBZ clone the longer it went on. Despite the all to frequent tournaments and decrease in quality towards the end, the story is still very solid and well deserving of at least a 7/10.
The characters is honestly where Yu Yu Hakusho does the best. Yusuke broke the trend of shonen heroes at the time and was actually somewhat of an asshole. He was more than capable of being selfish, mean spirited, and a bit of perv. He didn't want to help anyone unless his hand was absolutely forced and he even once questioned if demons should have the right to eat humans, since they are higher life forms. He develops as a character of course, but it is refreshing to see a character that isn't Goku, Natsu, Naruto, Luffy, and all the other shonen heroes. Kuwabara was an excellent comic relief character that always tried to be honorable, but often found himself in over his head. His random love for all chicks with blue hair was also quite amusing. He even hit on Death herself! Kurama is the team's cold, calculating strategist. He is one of few characters so badass that he can make killing people with flowers cool! Yes, you read that last sentence correctly. Hiei is my favorite character of all. This vertically challenged demon swordsman has his own code of honor, but is a loyal ally to those he deems worthy. His snarkyness is also off the charts! His hobby seems to be tormenting Kuwabara, which makes it quite funny when Kuwabara gets a crush on Hiei's little sister, much to Hiei's dismay. There are other secondary characters, but if you want to learn more than you can watch the series.
The art looks VERY dated and the animation is honestly pretty bad. Stock footage is reused with reckless abandon and in one scene Yusuke is getting chased by guided shurikans that change in number at complete random. You can overlook the art for the things the series does well though. Also, at least it looks a LOT better than the manga. Togashi is honestly one of worst artists working in manga. I love the man to death, but I have to be honest.
The soundtrack has epic action themes, tense music for serious times, and a kickass opening theme that is oddly enough sung by Kurama's voice actress! You know a soundtrack is going to be good when the opening is sung by a band called Atomic Smile Bomb!
I enjoy this series so much that when I went on vacation to China and saw that a marathon was on, I watched it in Chinese with no subtitles!
Yu Yu Hakusho is far from a perfect series, but it does many things very well. It had a level of moral ambiguity and greyness that stood in sharp contrast to the purely good and evil storytelling that pervaded shonen in the early 1990s. Yu Yu Hakusho abandoned the cheesy, Manichean slump that was effecting manga and drifted away from 1950s Captain America and more towards Allen Moore's comics. It did rely FAR too heavily on tournaments and had a number of cliche's but its characters were great, the soundtrack was great, and it was really enjoyable to watch. If you want to watch a shonen that is a little different, but not too different, I would highly suggest giving Hakusho a watch!
I think most of the high reviews here are just based on nostalgia. I recently watched this anime and found it absolutely boring and unenjoyable.
The characters are actually pretty decent. They dont receive that much development but they are fine. Yusuke in particular seems better then Luffy, Naruto and Ichigo. But thats the only good thing I can say.
Most of this series consists of fights. Which would be great if it werent for every fight following the same formula. Good guys fight against overhyped superevil demon and get their ass handed to them. But they never kill them. Then you have 2 options. The good
guy does an all in attack where he uses his own life force (whatever the fuck this means, since nobody dies anyway) and instakills the bad guy. OR the character gets a random powerup via new technique or power of friendship and once again instakills the bad guy.
The villains are non-threatening and the series is full of anime cliches. After a few fights you know whats gonna happen till the end, and since there is little plot its not worth watching 112 episodes for mediocre fight scenes. I truly think the first 10 episodes were the best. With the focus on the characters and the town.