Millennia ago, a war was fought between the Netherworld and the Spirit World. Ultimately, the Netherworld was destroyed and Lord Yakumo, the King of the Netherworld, was banished to the depths of space. Now, five defenders from the Spirit World must team-up against Yakumo's Demon-Gods for possession of five, mystical sites. But Lord Yakumo is dangerously close to reclaiming the Power Sphere—the source of the Netherworld's energy—and once it is again in his possession, our world will become the new Netherworld.
It's been at least three years since I finished watching Yu Yu Hakusho and I was more than happy to once again pick up a title from one of my most beloved series.
Story: When transferring a television series into a movie one expects series with a very short run time (ATHF for example) to be especially problematic in this area as the writers/characters are not used to a prolonged storyline. Ironically, this can also be the case with series that deal with huge story arcs trying to condense what would at least be a 20-some episode arc into about ninety minutes. The story wasn't
lacking in this movie, rather it felt extremely rushed. If prolonged throughout a season of the series then it would have done rather well.
Art: Never lacking in Yu Yu Hakusho, old-school anime style with it's own sense of personality about it. It's animation style is very versatile, able to transfer between lighter and more melancholy scenes with ease.
Sound: Because it's been a few years since I've watched the television series I didn't realize that the voice actors weren't the same until I looked it up just now. The dub for this movie, with the exception of Yusuke, was just poorly done. Hardly any emotion put into the acting and I considered a few times switching over to the Japanese track. I was wondering what was off about the voices because I didn't remember the series being this badly dubbed, but now it all makes sense. Why they chose a different cast for the movie escapes me, but it was the wrong decision.
Character: Another unfortunate aspect of this script being turned into a movie rather than a series arc is that there were many chances at character development, and even movie-exclusive characters weren't fully exploited or handled briefly before being thrown to the wayside. I would have liked to see and know more about the antagonists in this movie as they could have made for some interesting characters, but nearly all of them were given five minutes of screen time before sudden, unbelievable defeat.
This was where the movie failed, while these were the characters I know and love it was utterly unbelievable that they were able to emerge from this scenario alive. Yusuke went from being nearly helpless against the King of the Netherworld to suddenly being powerful enough to change the energy-format of the Power Sphere, something King Enma couldn't do. If he really had that much energy, I would expect that we would have seen it before the critical moment. Godlike characters bug me as they are completely unbelievable, one of the reasons I never got into series such as Dragonball is because of this. In the series Yusuke develops at a reasonable, believable pace after much training, blood, sweat, and tears. In the movie the leap was sudden and inexplicable, a plot "device" that can ruin any good movie for me.
Enjoyment: Despite the previous statement this was a joy to watch, mostly because I was happy enough simply seeing one of my favorite cast of characters again. I've decided that I need to watch the series again, it's been too long my friends...
A few years back I had watched the first Yu Yu Hakusho movie. During which time I was rather new to the series, but even so I deemed that movie unfit in the line of YYH media. I wrote it off as crap and went about my life. Some time later the second one pops up. Curious I nabbed it and brought it home hoping it would be better than the first....and I was right! Meikai Shitou Hen is a very good movie, with a sense of action gripping you from the start. Yakumo the evil lord of Meikai (Netherworld) has come to take Reikai
(Spirit World) and Ningenkai (Human World). So as always Yusuke and the gang have to stop this baddie. I wil wager to say this movie might take place after the Dark Tournament.
As far as the art and animation goes it's tops! The characters look their best at all times, as do the backgrounds. Everything is very fluid and scenes vibrant when need be. The english dubbing is passable, however for those of us used to the Funimation dub it's a hit or miss. However the Japanese voice cast as always has the original voices we love. So if you're new to the YYH verse than pick up this movie. You do not need to know precisely who everyone is or their back story. It's always a good movie for you action junkies.
<b> Misc </b>
This movie also leads way to an interesting character development. A close friend of Youko Kurama! His name is Kuronue and you'll see him in the movie much, don't worry.
Shonen action movies have never really changed since the Dragonball Z movies of the early 1990s and late 1980s. The formula is that a new villain shows up out of nowhere, the heroes beat him, and this is NEVER mentioned again. These stories are almost always non-canon to the actual story. American comics have a phrase to describe these kinds of stories: "elseworlds". What is important is that the action is good and we the audience are entertained. Yu Yu Hakusho the movie delivers some decent action scenes, but also has an unfortunate amount of shoddy exposition on a story that we don't care about.
The action scenes in this movie when they FINALLY happen are pretty good. Hiei, Kurama, and Yusuke have predictably awesome fights, while even Kuwabara has a pretty amusing fight. However, this movie could have had a lot more action and less talking. Dialogue is great when the series is well written, but when you have a poorly written piece of crap like this movie that doesn't even make sense in the context of its own world, then you really don't want to have tons of dialogue. All it does is make the plot holes even more obvious and bore the viewer to death.
The art is decent. It seems the animators went with slightly darker colors than the main series, but you get used to it. I have no major complaints in this department, but it surely isn't a visual masterpiece either.
Fun: 4/10 if you are watching the sub. 7/10 if you are watching the English Dub!
This is one anime where everyone should watch the English Dub. It is absolutely hilarious how bad it is. I know I'm being un-original since almost every review of this movie mentions this fact, but a lot of the voice actors in this film were also in Garzey's Wing. Older otaku consider Garzey's Wing to be the single worst English dub in the history of anime, and THESE are the voice actors they chose for this movie! This only makes sense because this movie was dubbed in English years before YuYu Hakusho was brought over to the US by Funimation. When this film was dubbed, no one in America had any clue what Yu Yu Hakusho even was, so not many people rented this film at Blockbuster or Hollywood Video.
If you are a big fan of Yuyu Hakusho or a big fan of HORRIBLE voice acting, this movie won't disappoint. It isn't a good film by any stretch, but it will give you some amusement at least.
One of the classics again! Well, one of MY classics, at least... I always have fun whenever I revisit the Spirit World with Yusuke and the gang...
Main Characters: Yusuke Urameshi, Kuwabara Kazuma, Kurama, Hiei
Story: 7/10 - not much of a plot since once you've seen 1 arc of YYH, you've practically seen them all... this time Yusuke and the gang needs to defend against a Demon King named Yakumo... what I usually look forward to are the action scenes and it did not disappoint... though it was kinda anti-climactic since the villain kept on talking/taunting and i was like - shut up & get your
a** kicked already! *tee-hee*
Art: 7/10 - sharp and somewhat hastily drawn, that's how I would describe the art in the movie... not bad for a 90s anime and i still like it...
Sound: 7/10 - BG music can be non-existent with all the action and explosions going on... ED theme reminded me of the series' "Hohoemi no Bakudan" so i guess it's okay...
Character: 8/10 - bias? definitely! loving Yusuke's no-gel-look (as always) and his persistent/stubborn ways... we get to see Kurama's former partner, Kuronue... a green Hiei with eyes all over his body gave me the creeps but was cool... Kuwabara is still his lovable, stupid self...
Enjoyment/Overall: 7/10 - one of the best fight scenes i've seen in YYH... i believe that this is the only time we will see how it looks like when all their powers are combined... and it's awesome, if i can say so myself...
I would recommend this to people who want to know what Yu Yu Hakusho is like but do not have the time to finish the whole series...
If you get hooked on the action scenes here then be prepared for the Toguro and Sensui Arcs... :)