Yusuke Urameshi was a tough teen delinquent until one selfless act changed his life...by ending it. When he died saving a little kid from a speeding car, the afterlife didn't know what to do with him, so it gave him a second chance at life. Now, Yusuke is a ghost with a mission, performing good deeds at the behest of Botan, the ferrywoman of the River Styx, and Koenma, the pacifier-sucking judge of the dead.
Yuu☆Yuu☆Hakusho was awarded the 39th Shogakukan Manga Award for best shounen manga in 1993.
The series was published in English as Yu Yu Hakusho by VIZ Media under the Shonen Jump imprint from August 18, 2003 to March 2, 2010; in Spanish by Glénat; and in Brazilian Portuguese by Jbc from November 2002 to November 2004—and again in a special edition from October 2014 to April 2016.
The opening volumes, where they try and put Yusuke’s personality on track, was what started to pull me in. He reminds me a lot of Onizuka, another character I loved, in that he’s so wonderfully flawed. You don’t see Goku having some sudden epiphany and becoming a better person because he’s already sitting in the Lawful Good alignment to start with; there’s not a whole lot of room there for progression. By contrast, the delinquent is a great character to make the protagonist because he can’t be perfect and he has to grow at some point. Starting the series off dead
and in need of redemption really gives that development a kick in the pants too. Of course, Yusuke never makes it marginally close to being paragon of justice. He is generally good, has a sense of justice, and cares about his friends mind you, but ultimately he just wants a good brawl, and saving the world in the process is gravy.
This leads into the other characters. Kuwabara is another delinquent who is determined to become more powerful that Yusuke some day. Since he’s not the main character, you can guess how well this is going to work out. He grows in a much different direction though, motivated by a few events in the story (one seemingly minor) and his blinding determination to never give up. Kurama is a formerly powerful demon that has been stuck inside of a human’s body. Forced to see life through humanity’s eyes, he reforms his ways and becomes a protector of the race. Finally, Hiei is an enigma for the majority of the series, you don’t even find out much of his motivations until the final arc. Even he develops a minor form of justice and a grudging respect for Yusuke. Overall, I loved these characters and their interactions throughout the story. Their personality clashes allow for a decent bit of levity to lighten up the fighting backdrop.
If you’re looking for a story, well, it’s a good thing there’s strong characters, because this is a Shonen series. You should check your story at the door. But, a plot still exists, and there are definite motivations to the characters’ actions. A few of the villains can even be painted as a bit unfortunate in their path to evil (or are they really evil?). The ending theme and eventual moral to this whole story is the same as that which Nippon Ichi has taken and ran with for the past few years. Light is not good and dark is not bad. Judging people based on stereotypes and what you’ve always been taught to believe is never the way to go; each being deserves to be looked at based on their own merits and shortcomings. Given that’s the conclusion, it’s natural that Yusuke ends up being a mostly neutral aligned character. Beyond that, like every shonen, there’s going to be those ludicrous points (such as the entire final arc), but just sit back and let it pay off on sheer enjoyment factor, because it will.
Manga pretty well rests on the art style, and this series doesn’t disappoint. I don’t know how many times I looked at a fight scene… then went back again… and again. They’re drawn well, lots of action and explosions and all that greatness. As a warning though, the further you get in the series, the more gore you’re going to see. Backgrounds are well drawn when they’re the focal point of the panel, and take a natural backseat in quality and appearance when they’d end up detracting from the main attraction. The same process applies to the character designs, and they’re generally in that decent to good range that you get in this genre. I do have to say that I liked a lot of the enemy characters, for appearing for such a short time there’s some original design put into them. In particular, I really liked Younger Toguro’s design.
Bottom line, this is a shonen series; you know roughly what to expect in this territory. If you like the genre then I’m going to wonder why you haven’t read this yet. If you’re not much of a fan, this series might not convert you, but it’ll still be a pretty good ride throughout.
Today we look at a comic with some serious flaws, but I love it anyways. Many people remember seeing Yu Yu Hakusho on Cartoon Network both on Adult Swim and a butchered kid friendly edit for Toonami. It never gained the popularity of DBZ, but older Otaku still remember the series fondly. That is why it is interesting that so few people outside Japan have read the original manga. Of course when you open the manga and look at it, you will figure out why that is. This brings me to the first flaw in Hakusho.
The first minor blemish on this otherwise good title
is that the art in this manga is quite bad and I mean BAD! The anime looks so much more polished that it is almost difficult to read the manga after seeing the anime.
Another thing that might put off readers is that Hakusho starts surprisingly slow for a shonen comic. Usually the anime is the adaptation with all the painful filler, but in Hakusho it is the manga if anything that has more padding. As a ghost, Yusuke already saves Kuwabara's cat in both versions. Did we really need that chapter with the little kid and ghost dog? It WAS heart warming, but an unusual choice for starting out an action series. However, I don't really mind this slow start because of the next Hakusho flaw that I will discuss. As the manga goes on it relies more and more on fighting tournaments and becomes a complete dragonball ripoff. It ran in the early 90s at the same time as Dragonball and clearly wanted to copy Toriyama to boost its sales. I find myself wishing towards the end to go back to stuff like the ghost dog chapter in volume 1! At least it wasn't shamelessly stealing from DBZ back when it first started! Finally, after the 3 Kings arc it ends really awkwardly with an unfinished arc in which the Spirit World are the bad guys. This was a cool concept, but it really wasn't drawn out and lasted literally about 5 chapters before just stopping. It really looked like Togashi planned on a grand, final arc that was never made either due to low sales or Togashi himself just got tired of drawing Hakusho. Despite having the aforementioned flaws, it still has badass characters like Hiei and Kurama, as well as some of the best comic book fights of the 90s decade. Hakusho does an excellent job creating its own world and mythos. Besides having memorable and often complex characters, Hakusho was more ambitious than its early 90s shonen peers in trying to show moral ambiguity and complexity. If Dragonball was Harry Potter, Hakusho would be more like Golden Compass in that regard.
Story and characters: 9/10
Hakusho is easily one of the better shonen action comics of the 1990s and is well worth your time. If you are a younger fan and love the new Hunter X Hunter, this is the same author. Hakusho was Togashi's breakout work and many would say his magnum opus. If you are an older fan who simply missed Hakusho, I would go back and give it a try. There are plenty of sites where it is free to read, so it won't cost you anything. I would recommend this series to everyone that loves action, great fights, and conflict that isn't just black and white/ good vs. evil.
The story is about a 14 year old boy named Yusuke Urameshi. He dies in a car accident after trying to save a little boy. He ends up being a Spirit Detective (someone who hunts down demons in the human world and solves cases). So we get to see him solve some cases and kick some ass. The story gets more interesting in the Dark Tournament Arc where you see some of the nicest moves the show has to offer (Dragon of the Darkness Flame anyone?). The third arc is Chapter Black Arc, which talks about some psycho trying to
rid of humanity, but of course he gets his ass kicked too.
Unfortunately, the author fell sick sometime during the third arc so the quality of the artwork was reduced (so I had to give it an 8 :/) However it was still excellently drawn. The Three Kings Arc is the most intense and you'll have to see for yourself how awesome it is.
If you have watched the anime then you should read this!
Yu-Yu Hakusho. The once great, but forgoten series.
The story isn't anything ground breaking. The main character, Yusuke, dies, comes back to life, and becomes a spirit detective with special powers. With these special powers Yusuke fights demons, monsters, and other guys with special powers. I only have beef with one of the special powers used, and thats Yusuke's. He shoots a ball of blue energy out of his finger which looks exactly like a mini kamehameha from DBZ. It kind of pissed me off, but most of the other powers are pretty cool.
So the story was broken down into three arcs. The first arc
is defenitly the best. It's a tournament, and all the characters fight the bad guys one on one each showing off their own unique powers. The third arc had so much potential, and looked like it was going to be the best, but then the mangaka was forced to end the manga right when it was getting freaking awesome so there were around 5 chapters of absolute CRAP to end the series. Yu-Yu Hakusho has got to have one of the worst endings in manga history. That brings the 'story' score down a lot.
Theres not much to say about the art. It started off pretty good. It didn't make your jaw drop, but it was decent. It got the job done. Then, near the end, it just got worse and worse. The last few chapters of CRAP had maybe the worst art i've ever seen in a manga. I would have given a 7 or 8 if it wasn't for the ending of the series...seriously its really, really bad.
Not really unique. You had the tough guy main character who never gave up, the goofy friend, the super strong sensei, the emo guy, the girl who loves the main character, etc. If you're a shounen nut who loves everything shounen, then these characters will be your best friends.
I didn't enjoy the characters when they were just standing around talking to each other. But most of the time they were fighting demons, and shooting energy balls at stuff. Watching the characters fight was very enjoyable. I just straight up had fun reading through the fight scenes. It's too bad the ending is like watching your cat die.
It would be wrong to say this manga did a lot of things right, but it also didn't do a lot of things wrong (except for the ending. That was very, very wrong). I'm sort of torn on this. The one good thing it did was the fighting. The two bad things it did were the characters and the ending. The art started good, but then went bad. This manga screams AVERAGE.
So it gets a 6. I know you're thinking "wait! That's one better then average!". Good observation you genious review reader. That's because all the manga that i read who have anime counterparts that I watched when i was a kid get 1 extra bonus piont. The 6 still stands.
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