Story: This and HxH rank among my favorite shounen shows. Simply put, the reason for this is that emphasis is not only placed on brute strength, but a fragile battle of the human heart. That's not to say that this is a super emotional series, but that the disicipline to control your power is more important than the power itself (just one of the themes present here that I enjoy).
The story centers around Yusuke Urameshi, a high school delinquent who feels everyone is out to get him. One of the great combinations of this show is the rib crushing action with well-timed comedy by the main character (sometimes at the same time!).
The plot is split into four arcs, each one leading directly into the next. The overall themes range from action, adventure, comedy, slice of life, and romance; each one typically helping to move the story forward or to provide further characterization to any non-trivial character. While I wouldn't say the story itself is amazing (some arcs aren't as well developed) or the most unique, the direction and execution is pulled off decently enough with well rounded characters to be quite entertaining to fans of the shounen genre (I've watched it several times).
One interesting theme presented in each arc, is that typically more attention is diverted to either the humans or the demons, which leads to the primary themes portrayed in each arc as well as what our main characters are fighting for.
Animation: Yu Yu Hakusho is quite dated by now, having been created in the mid-nintees. Hand drawn animation, characters are designed in a way that presents their inner being (fans of HxH will also notice this). Colors typically match the tone of the atmosphere (blues and whites during slice of life arcs, blacks, reds, and purples for battle sequences).
It's one of the least impressive aspects of the show, but it fits the bill for presenting the series and fights in a decent fashion. Fight scenes are presented well, usually with a lot of things getting blown up or smashed.
Sound: I've read a few reviews saying the music of Yu Yu Hakusho was nothing special, but I'll have to disagree with that (I have all five original soundtracks myself). There is one OP theme for the entire series and while it grows on you, I do feel having four opening themes and four closing themes would've been a lot better (given there are four different arcs telling the story of YYH). That being said, there are four different Ed themes of Yu Yu Hakusho. The themes are J-Popish and fit with the scenes pretty.
During battles, you will hear tense and atmospheric battle themes to spice your blood up before the battle actually goes down. Op/Ed themes as well as battle themes are on the soundtracks, along with quite a few tunes that aren't present in the series. I'm an avid lover of good music and I can safely say that the YYH osts are worth owning IF you enjoyed the music from the show.
Characters: For me, this is the real selling point of the series and marks whether someone will actually enjoy it or not. The plot of YYH is OK, but I do find some arcs lacking depth and "just being there to move things forward," which tends to make you not really care for the direction of the story (this is more so with the later arcs). Every character has their motivations and throughout the arcs, you'll get the history of a character if they mean enough to move the plot forward. The main characters feel for each other because they are all honorable (though some are more cut throat than others), yet there are some interesting differences that cause some hilarious fights within the group of heroes to keep things interesting.
Yusuke is a smart ass who pops off one-liners nearly every episode, but it's just his way of enjoying life and I do find it very uplifting throughout the series. Kuwabara on the other hand has a very kind heart and loves kittens, but always digs deep when he needs to. Hiei's cut throat-ness rivals only Yusuke's cockiness, while Kurama is a tactical genius who is both kind and cut throat.
Each character is a contrast to the next, yet they all blend to form an interesting and well-supporting team. Sure, there is the shounen cliche of "saving the world" here, but at the least, I find myself being entertained.
Overall: The characters, their motivations, and music are the great points of this show for me. If you're a fan of the shounen genre with an appetite for interesting battles with breaks inbetween for slife of life/romance, give this show a try.
I decided to take my month of October and finally run through ALL the episodes of Yu Yu Hakusho and WOW did I enjoy the trip! I expected to be bored by all the episodes I had seen before, but no, I enjoyed them just as much! Going through the ride of Yusuke growing up, Hiei finding what was worth living for, Kurama choosing, and Kuwabara becoming something no one really expected was great. I can't wait until I choose to watch through it all again and EVERY single episode of that 112 was worth it. I think it ended well, although there were some loose ends I would have perfered to be wrapped up. I'm not going to mention them because it has a few spoilers.. but I can imagine myself I guess. Still a bit dissapointed. Season 4 seemed a little rushed to me, ok, very rushed. Still good, but so rushed. Introducing new characters at that point seemed a bad idea to me, but it still managed to be done. I dearly loved how they wrapped up Hiei's story. All in all I recommend this to a crowd of 10 year old's and up to 324329. This isn't really what you want to show your really little ones. Some heads litterally roll. It has a great story to it... I'm sad that it's over. It seemed like they were going to leave it open for a second half to the story, but decided not to.
Just some of the things sat unwell with me, so I'm going to address them below. Stop now if you don't want spoilers.
I hated how they didn't fully take care of Yukina/ Hiei.
I hated wondering what's going to become of Yomi's son.
I hated wondering how Yusuke was going to go back and become demon king with... Kieko? Seriously?
Random: I always heard Kieko's name as Cake-o. I got the impression of a talking cake.
Oh hey, its nostalgia time for my 20th community anime review here at Anime-Planet. This series I religiously watched when it was on television here every single day. Strangely enough, I only recently picked up the DVD sets (and plan to pick up the blu-ray sets) and re-watched the entire thing. Why not do a review on, eh? As usual, no spoilers or cursing. You should know the drill by now if you read all my reviews. Please comment or review this review in the comment section below. Thanks for reading, check out my other reviews and on with the show.
Story; In the larger picture, it is pretty much your average shounen action show. That is really all it is. There is nothing particularly special or unique about the story. I would assume that it did help give inspiration to other modern day generic shounen action anime series. It is broken down in four arcs - Spirit Detective, Dark Tournament, Sensui Seven and Three Kings. By far the best arc is the Sensui Seven, followed by Dark Tournament, then Three Kings and Spirit Detective tied for last. I felt the last arc was especially weak.
Animation; It's pretty old animation that could definitely use a beating with a pretty stick touch-up, it is pretty sloppy but it is late 90s animation, so to expect a masterpiece would be wrong and inaccurate of me. Character designs, both humans, demons and others, are all very creative looking and in some instances (such as Botan and Keiko) are cute. Demons look creepy, as they should look and some did give me shivers down my spine. It's not bad, but it's not particularly good either.
Sound; The opening song is a catchy tune and the endings are even more so. The series uses the opening "Smile Bomb" for the entire run of the series. They have various ending songs and I must say that they were very catchy and unique. They aren't really worth skipping like I do 90% of other ending songs. I grew up listening to the English language track and I simply do not see myself exploring the Japanese track in my lifetime. I have to give a blind recommendation on that front for you.
Characters; There is not anything new offered here either that you probably have not seen already. The characters are pretty generic in their personalities, so I cannot go into real detail about that. Instead however, I will give you who I think was the most entertaining or best in general. My favorites go from Koenma, to Yusuke and followed by Genkai in third. That is just my top three because I could go on and on ranking these characters.
Overall; Yu Yu Hakusho is nothing particularly special. It has a pretty generic story. Sometimes unique characters but still generic and boring animation. The music really is not anything to write home about. Perhaps my nostalgia is clouding my grading here, perhaps it is not. It comes down to this: Yu Yu Hakusho is fun and a truly great nostalgic ride.
The story is quite contrived, written to ensure there are plenty of fights.
Outdated, but still good
The voices match the characters well. The music is cheesy, but then so is everything else so it cant really be faulted for that
The characters are all very enjoyable. Everyone is fighting for their own reason, even the antagonists which makes every character more enjoyable
Good fun, cheesy but definitely worth a watch
Synopsis: An ordinary middle school punk, named Yusuke Urameshi, is a 14-year-old teenager that becomes involved in a fatal car accident due to his efforts of saving a young child. His heroic actions cause him to have a second chance at life when he meets Boton, a Spirit Guide. She then introduces him to Koenma, the Prince of Spirit World. After his resurrection, he becomes a Spirit Detective. His job as a Spirit Detective is to hunt down monsters, stop them, and complete the tasks that Koenma gives him. Yusuke’s journey pits him against demons he later befriends, while having to battle the villains that have plans to dominate the Human World. But hardships are ahead for Yusuke as he entangles himself in a series of epic bouts that test his courage, spirit, and heart. Each combative situation pushes him to his limit, resulting in him having to fight both his combatant and himself. His compassion for his friends drives him forward in achieving more power, giving him the strength he needs to topple his opponents. Within every saga, however, there is a challenger who is far greater than the last.
Story (7.5) A shonen fighting show with engaging dramatic battles and characters that makes the audience care. I found this show to be entertaining through the growth of the characters and the exciting battles that the protagonists undertake. Yusuke’s comical antics with his friends, like his classmate Kuwabara, balance each episode’s flow in the beginning until the later portion of the series. The episode layout focuses on character interaction, following up with a battle that eventually leads into other fights and personal struggles. Unlike other fighting series, Yu Yu Hakusho revolves around character development with a stereotypical plot of a protagonist getting stronger with each fight. The growth of the characters throughout the series compliments the plot and makes the formula work. The later half of the show becomes darker, serious, and more violent as the characters evolve.
The series contains multiple story arcs. The Spirit Detective arc, which delves into Yusuke’s amateur days before he becomes a “fighting genius” as Genkai says. Next is the Beasts of Maze Castle. Yusuke is given a tougher assignment and jumps into Demon World with his new team. Then the show becomes intense with the Dark Tournament. The character development increases with every fight and the villains are more vicious and entertaining. Plus, there is more violence and blood splatter than ever before. After the Dark Tournament, the Chapter Black Saga ensues with a fierce showdown between two Spirit Detectives. At this point, the show takes on another level in terms of power ups and drama. Finally, the Three Demon King Saga concludes the five story arcs with the fate of all three worlds on the protagonist’s shoulders as he constructs the Demon World Tournament. More memorable characters become important and salivates anime fans’ palates as Demon Kings and S-class demons unleash their power.
Animation (7.0) Unfortunately, the art and animation begins to falter on a couple of episodes. Viewers can tell that the animators and art designs had to be rushed in order to meet their deadline. The episodes that are not smooth as others are intentionally done in order to provide more realistic fighting moves. An example is episode 58 when Hiei unleashes a new signature technique and he does not look as sharp and drawn out as he did in the previous episodes.
Sound (7.0) The abundance of characters adds to the show’s long lasting appeal, however, the background music really draws out the tension and emotions within each climactic battle. Yusuke’s training session to learn the Spirit Wave would not have been as enthralling if the musical score did not measure up. The music does repeat itself throughout the entire show, but the timing and placement of the tunes is perfect. The English dub is great. Funimation did an excellent job in procuring voice actors like Justin Cooke and Christopher Sabat to fulfill certain characters and giving them their own unique style. Funimation added some funny dialogue, which contributes to a character’s personality quirk.
Characters (9.0) Yusuke’s concern for his teammates demonstrates his inner turmoil between him caring for others and his physical behavior. The scene where Genkai is conversing with him about his personal wall of emotions that needs to be broken down is an example of how the protagonist faces reality when he learns the value of life through death. It is through the main character’s understanding of his feelings in which he has the courage to love others and express his emotions. His relationship with Keiko, his girlfriend, provides moral support and the opportunity to grow up in the show when having to express his concern for her.
The drama and character development mesh well when it comes to Yusuke and Keiko. Their relationship causes fans to want to know what happens at the end with the appealing couple. Yusuke’s perverted nature of teasing Keiko with a certain touch of a body part offers a comical aspect along with entertainment, as Keiko is not one to take it. Seeing Keiko dish out the beatings Yusuke usually does, in my opinion, is a nice touch.
Aside from their chemistry, Yusuke’s teammates have their own personal stories where viewers can attach themselves to them because of the introductions of their pasts as the show progresses. The protagonist’s team consists of Kuwabara and his two close demon companions, Hiei and Kurama. By the end of the show, various episodes in the 100+ range provide feedback to the audience in giving them more back-story to the characters.
Overall (8.0) Yu Yu Hakusho is a fighting anime that builds with suspense, character development, and humor. Fans of shonen works, character driven scenarios, and ultimate showdowns will love this show. For an anime that was released in the 90’s in Japan, it is worthy to be recognized as a show that stands on its own and competes with other fighting titles. But this one delivers with a bang!