Tag Archives: Yu Yu Hakusho

Yu Yu Hakusho the movie: Not the best episode

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.

Golden seal1.png

Story:

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.

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.

Art:

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.

Golden seal.png

Sound:

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.

Ho-yay:

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.

Final Thoughts:

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.

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Reviews of Yesteryear: Yu Yu Hakusho

Yu Yu Hakusho is one of those anime that you’ve probably either seen or heard a lot about. Leading to the obvious question, is it really that good? The answer, not really. It isn’t a bad anime, I would even call it good, but it certainly isn’t good enough to merit the wide spread recognition it enjoys.

Like most shounen anime it has a very simple story. A young man named Yusuke dies and comes back to life as a spirit detective where he’s tasked with fighting demons who threaten the human realm. It isn’t anything special, but it certainly isn’t a terrible idea. The good thing, storywise, is that they don’t do the usual shounen anime cliche of the main protagonist always coming in to save his allies at the last minute. They use that cliche once. Compare that to DBZ where they use it in almost every story arc. One major problem with the writing in this anime is that it gets lazy at the end. They basically recycle the fighting tournament plot from earlier, but only show a few fights in it, leading to a very anti-climatic ending.

Yu Yu Hakusho is carried primarily by the characters. Fortunately, they keep a core group of four major characters so they get a lot of development. Even the supporting characters and antagonists are pretty well developed. The main problem with the characters is that they develop almost everybody but Yusuke. I don’t know why this happens so often in shounen anime, but if you’re going to have character development you should try giving some to your main protagonist since that’s probably the character we’ll see the most but, for whatever reason, a lot of these anime have the main character stay the same all the way through and just have him gain more power. This is not character development.

The artwork is pretty bad, even for 1992. You get a lot of bizarre facial expressions and twisted proportions, especially during fighting scenes. The character design isn’t bad for shounen anime. You get some ridiculous hair and some characters who just look bizarre, but at least they have the excuse of having characters who are mostly not human. It’s not like Shaman King where they have a bunch of humans who just look really bizarre.

The voice acting is pretty good. Ogata Megumi does a great job as Kurama. (Why does she so frequently voice characters with lots of homoerotic subtext anyway?) Hiyama Nobuyuki and Ebara Masashi also do really well in their roles as Hiei and Yomi.

Yu Yu Hakusho has a yuri factor of 3/10. There’s some room to interpret it between some of the female characters, but you don’t really see those characters often enough for it to go anywhere. If I was reviewing this under the modern format, I’d point out that Hiei and Kurama are pretty homo-erotic. 

My final rating for Yu Yu Hakusho is a 7/10. It may be highly over-rated but it’s a good anime and certainly worth watching through once.

This is actually one of my most whined about reviews. I got quite a bit of complaining because I “only gave it a 7” as though a 7 is a negative rating. I even had someone tell me I was “doing it wrong” because I didn’t review the English dubbed version. Which is strange to me since the voice acting was one aspect I really liked and I can guarantee that would not have been the case had I watched the English dub. Remember, a big part of the reason I don’t review anime dubs is that I know the people who would want to see a long paragraph of me discussing how much I hated the acting are in the minority.