Yu Yu Hakusho was a good anime. I’ve also reviewed Hunter x Hunter, which had the same author and was great. Today, we’re talking about Yu Yu Hakusho the movie. They call it that, but it’s only the length of an episode so… that’s a thing. But I’ve reviewed shorter anime that were classified as films and the length, in this situation, doesn’t mater so much as the quality of the content. So, let’s look at it and see how it holds up.
We open with Botan fetching Yuusuke & Kuwabara while they’re engaged in a brawl. She tells them Koenma was kidnapped and the culprit is demanding the golden seal, which is King Enma’s proof of office, in exchange for him. Naturally, Yuusuke borrows the seal, saying it won’t be a problem if he brings it back. He and Kuwabara run for the area where the exchange is meant to take place, not knowing their hosts have arranged for a welcoming party of monstrous menaces to munch their jugular veins.
The big issue with it is just that there’s not a lot of development behind anything that happens. Koashura’s motivations are weak which, to be fair, they lampshade and use for a bit of humour. But even that’s better than what we get for our big bad of the episode, I mean movie. Let’s call him super generic shounen villain five. A lot of the content also comes down to a running battle as they progress towards their goal and just tear into expendable henchmen on their way. Which doesn’t make for the most compelling content in the world. Nor does it ever do anything that’s unexpected and attention grabbing.
On the positive side, I did like the confrontation that Yuusuke eventually has with generic shounen villain five. It has some strong moments. I will also credit the work with giving Koashura some sympathetic traits in his cutaway scenes. And, speaking as someone who liked the series, it is nice to see more of this world and its characters.
We have the same major cast as the series. Hiei and Kurama appear rather briefly and get a bit of banter. The focus is on Yuusuke, Kuwabara and Botan. They’re the same as they are in the series proper. None of them have undergone any life changing epiphanies. The main antagonist, old Five, is just bland.
The artwork is kind of good. I know, one of my issues with the series proper was the abundance of very noticeable art errors but this is a bit more polished. I noticed one sequence that was a bit awkward, but that was pretty much it for animation issues. The designs continue to be a bit odd but excusably so since it deals with supernatural beings.
The acting continues to be a strong point. With Ogata Megumi, Miyuki Sanae, Sasaki Nozomu, Hiyama Nobuyuki & Chiba Shigeru all reprise their roles just as strongly as they performed them in the main series. Our new characters are voiced by Aono Takeshi and Matsumoto Rica, both of whom do perfectly well. The music is the same as it is in the series proper, right down to the same theme tunes. And the series has good music.
You don’t really get any here. Our characters who were a bit homo-erotic in the main series have a couple minutes of banter but nothing that really conveys that aspect of their relationship.
The Golden Seal is basically like a stand alone episode of the series and not like one of the better episodes. It’s decent enough and if you really liked Yu Yu Hakusho you’ll probably enjoy it as a little bit more. For myself, I give it a 6/10. Next week I’ll look at another franchise I’ve discussed before with a look at Galaxy Angel 2.