Yu Yu Hakusho is different from most shounens. When it first came out, killing the main character in the first few chapters of a story was crazy to say the least. Because the identity of a series is the protagonist. So the audience gets really drawn in the story. The basic question of “What the heck is going on” looms over our heads. The supposed protagonist is wandering around as a spirit. That seems interesting, therefore, we’d like to know what happens further.
YYH doesn’t feel like your average action anime. And in fascinating way, the series gives you enough time to be able to understand how the soul world works while Yusuke’s spirit roams around. And once you get a basic idea of it, the series goes ahead and drops a heart-crushing funeral which ironically reminds Yusuke about the worth of his life. After passing a series of tests, Yusuke is now allowed to return to the living world. But now he has the ability to see demons and spirits. His return comes with a caveat as he is now the ‘Underworld Detective’ and must solve various cases of the mysterious spirits running amok in the world. And just like that – Yu You Hakusho has you hooked!
THE MAIN CHARACTEROF YU YU HAKUSHO:
Leading from Yusuke’s introduction to a lot of the qualities he possesses it’s pretty clear he’s not your average shounen protagonist. The series handles Yusuke’s backstory with utmost perfection as they introduce him as your average school delinquent. But, as the show progresses we get to see that Yusuke is not your one dimensional bully berating kids for no reason. We get to know why he acts the way he does. With everything from his terrible upbringing because of his irresponsible and shitty parents, to how he actually isn’t what he appears. He is actually a kind boy who only wants to have friends.
From his very first actions that we get to see, he isn’t someone who would just jump into danger for no personal benefit. He does hesitates to save a child in danger yet saves him anyway. His personality is further reflected upon as the series progresses. He forms strong bonds with the people around him. Every series needs a strong emotional core to hold everything together and YYH has exactly that in Yusuke Urameshi.
THE GREAT CAST OF YU YU HAKUSHO:
THE SIDE CHARACTERS
Yusuke really is a deserving one of a kind protagonist. But let’s be honest, the show would fall apart with only one character. But fortunately, we have such a great ensemble of people with different personalities and abilities who are unique in their own way. And every character brings something to the group.
Kuwabara is Yusuke’s fellow delinquent with a kind heart. He hilariously ends up helping out a dead Yusuke and gets closer to him in the process. Hiei was outright villainous at first but since then he has blended in with the group too. Kurama wasn’t exactly villainous but he didn’t exactly share the same ideals as your MC so he ended up on the other end. The group is just a bunch of mismatched people until the the dark tournament arc which really brings them together as a group. Every side character has their own realistic and believable set of desires and motivations outside of their relation with Yusuke. This makes it easier for us to sympathize with them and support them in battles which don’t involve Yusuke.
Yu Yu Hakusho sure has amazing side characters but what makes its cast truly memorable is the villains. I won’t deny that some villains obviously had less of intimidation and presence, like Mukuro, Yoni or Sensui’s seven psychics. But the 2 main villains of the series are very obviously Toguro and Sensui. And they are excellent ones at that. While both of them are positioned as villains, it’s more appropriate to call them antagonists rather than villains. Since, their ideals clashed with Yusuke’s and they seemed real evil at first but once you get to know their backstories you kind of start to understand them better.
With Toguro giving up his humanity and becoming a demon to search for the fight which gives him peace. And the former spirit detective Sensui who through a disturbing discovery finds out the world has been lying to him. Yusuke’s goodhearted but slightly dark personality clashes wonderfully with these guys – making clear of the parallels between them.
THE DIRECTION AND ANIMATION:
It is very essential for an action heavy series to have good and fluid animation and direction. Hence, it can properly bring out the fight scenes and be able to properly indulge you in the experience. I don’t claim that everything about YYH’s animation is perfect because I have noticed some repeated frames or scenes here and there. But overall Yu Yu Hakusho animation still holds up and a lot of moments stand out due to excellent direction and lightning. For instance, when Toguro’s muscles are kept in just the proper lighting to make them look awfully disgusting and fascinating at the same time. Studio Pierrot deserves appreciation as they often have tried some unconventional techniques which really made some moments stand out. Each punch in the series and each spirit blast Yusuke outputs has a unique personality and emotional aspect to it.
THE LONGEVITY OF YU YU HAKUSHO:
All of us are very well aware of the fact that YYH is still relevant in today’s times. It often happens that we look at all the series released at that time through our goggles of nostalgia. Thus, we are often prone to ignoring any pacing or execution problems. We may find those by reviewing the series properly in subsequent viewings. YYH, although not alone, is a rare occurrence where you’ll not really find any major problem, I mean obviously no series is perfect but this is truly a great action anime which through its strong characters, emotional connections and overall presentation, still holds up. It is truly hard to find a good action series, like Yu Yu Hakusho, which is over a 100 episodes.
“EVERYONE HAS TO FIGHT WITH TIME TO FIND THEIR PLACE BEFORE THEIR INEVITABLE DEATH/ NO HUMAN IS EVER A ONE MAN SHOW. EVERY DECISION YOU MAKE WILL EFFECT THE COUNTLESS PEOPLE WHO CARE ABOUT YOU.” ~GENKAI
If you liked our review on Yu You Hakusho, check out our in-depth review on Kimetsu no Yaiba!