Thursday, July 13, 2017

Old School Anime Watch: Yu Yu Hakusho

Hello Hello, Lil Buns!

Today's post will be:

Yu Yu Hakusho

I can finally enter this series as completed on My Anime List. Yu Yu Hakusho is one of my favorite anime of all time! Many thanks to the Yu Yu Hakusho page on FB, I was able to watch the last story arcs after leaving it unfinished for so long. I started it when Toonami began, bought only a few of the boxed sets and never got the rest. This was back when they were huge boxes and 100$+ each. And eventually, I forgot about it...

But here we are again. My obsession with it has been renewed XD

Yu Yu Hakusho is an anime from the 90s where its protagonist dies in the very first episode! You meet middle school delinquent Yusuke Urameshi who is hated by most and tolerated by very few people. Including the one girl that puts up with his crap - Keiko. In the first episode, he gets hit by a car and killed when he tries to save a small child. In doing so, he is recruited by Koenma and Botan to be a spirit detective. Kind of like a cop but for the underworld.

The series then shows us how Yusuke earns his keep to be brought back to life and works for Koenma. We also meet his "rival" and friend Kuwabara and two well-known demons Kurama and Hiei. These four eventually end up fighting in death match style tournaments as Team Urameshi. We see tons of characters that are loved, hated or both. And lots of secrets are uncovered...

Rating Summary

Plot/Story 9/10
The plot starts off as a detective crime style theme. Complete with a few cases of murder, theft and shady business. Eventually it turns into the popular fighting anime plot of that time.

Spirit Detective Saga
I like to say this arc is what sets the story. While working as a detective for Koenma, we get to meet and understand Yusuke and co. on a personal level. It gives us a chance to see their personalities and gives us some very important backstory which helps them grow. This is also when we're introduced into key characters that will play a huge role later on...

Dark Tournament Saga
In the next arc, we see the story change over to a fighter anime complete with a fighting tournament. There are a great amount of characters that we're introduced to here and some of them even become allies. But there are also more enemies and some much darker themes here. Up until now, you see how bad demons can be but what about us humans. You kind of start to question everything. Team Urameshi also gains a bunch of power-ups but also lose something very important...

Chapter Black Saga
In this arc, you learn that something is going on in the underworld and it's been an issue for a while now. Yusuke and his friends are tested to make sure they're ready for what's about to happen. This part of the story also plays on the question of whether we humans really are on the side of good or just as bad as demons. Or are we worse? Yusuke also finds out that there was another detective before him...

Three Kings Saga
In this final part of the story, we learn more about Yusuke and what he truly is. It is also during this time that Demon World is losing their current ruler and will need a new one. So Yusuke suggests to make a Demon World Tournament to choose. Hiei and Kurama are also part of the tournament as two characters from their pasts drag them into it as well. Kuwabara is unable to fight because he didn't get invited XD

With each arc, it really does get more involved and darker with all of the different issues (some only truly revealed in the manga) that are thrown in there. This includes real life situations that dealt with the darker side of us humans and how it effects others. But I have to admit that the anime's version of the final saga was a bit rushed and a little awkward. This prevented YYH's plot from getting a perfect 10. But I hear the manga finishes it perfectly so I'll have to check that out.

Animation/Design 8/10
For a 90s anime, it was pretty decent in terms of design. There were a few episodes where you can tell it wasn't the regular artist working on those episodes though... It had its mix of shonen, bishonen, cute normal-looking girls (as in they came in all shapes and sizes and not just a male fantasy that could never be) and not so pretty characters. Not everyone was gorgeous and that actually added to the charm of the series. While most of the backgrounds were just a tournament fighting ring, the scenes were always full of color like a painting. Even some attacks definitely had more dedication with design and animation done to them. And like most shonen series, the expressions of sadness, pain and pure joy were so well done and so believable that the sad scenes really tug at your heart strings. Enemies that did horrible things made you hate them. And you could feel the bonds between friends.

Characters 10/10
The characters definitely get a perfect 10. Not one was absolutely perfect and had flaws. But you still loved them. Or if it was an enemy, you truly hated them. At the time of the series, there weren't many anime that their main character was hated by most people or that was such a delinquent. The designs weren't ridiculously detailed or made to be gorgeous. Each character that you are introduced to left a mark on you just as they did for Yusuke. How they handled real life situations as well as fictional. You could actually relate to him and feel what he was feeling with each new episode and new face. When you realized that he was only 14 and had to deal with so much that you grew up with him. And I loved that.

Audio/Soundtrack 8/10
A good reason that many scenes were very moving or memorable was because of the music. When it was an important battle, a sad scene or even a character's theme, there were actually a good amount of different themes used. I cannot express how important it is for there to be a healthy amount of good music for an anime series. Of course, most of my favorite tracks are songs sung by the voice actors which they sadly did not play during the anime. That's pretty much the only reason this got an 8 out of 10. You did hear a lot of the orchestrated versions but not enough vocal pieces.

But the opening "微笑みの爆弾 / Hohoemi no Bakudan" and ending songs like "さよならByeBye / Sayonara Bye Bye" and "アンバランスなKissをして / Anbaransu na Kiss o Shite" are just so catchy. I also love how they really mean a lot for the series itself.

Overall Rating 8.75/10
If you have been watching anime for as long a time as I have and never watched this series, please do. Especially if you love series like HunterxHunter (since he's the creator of both). YYH has done so much for the anime world and made a lot of milestones.  Many series later on are only able to do so much because of Yu Yu Hakusho. The series spanned several manga books, 112 episodes, 2 movies and a few OVAs and dramas.

Fun Fact! Did you know that YYH's creator Yoshihiro Togashi is married to the amazing Naoko Takeuchi? Both are celebrating 25 years of their big series. Isn't that adorable? Sailor Moon got a new series so I'm hoping we'll see something like that for YYH!

Hope you enjoyed! Please let me know your opinions in the comments if you watched it!

That's all for now! See you next time!

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