Written and Media by Paul Anderson.
Anyone who grew up on the Toonami block should already be familiar with Yu Yu Hakusho. I remember watching bits and pieces of the first two seasons back in elementary school, after getting home. At some point while I was in middle school, I borrowed a large section of the series on DVD from a cousin. Though I thoroughly enjoyed the series, I realized that while I enjoyed the series originally, I hadn’t actually retained much from watching it on Toonami. In high school I decided to pick up the entire series so that I could finally experience it in its entirety. Yu Yu Hakusho, fueled mostly by nostalgia, ranks in my top 3 all time favorite anime series.
Yu Yu Hakusho does contain some language, and has some adult humor every now and again, overall though it’s a tame series. Funimation did the English dub for the series, so it’s quality, though it has moments where it feels dated. The early episodes are pretty cheesy, but as the major battles start to unfold the series really picks up.
The story begins when delinquent Yusuke Urameshi unexpectedly dies saving a young boy from getting hit by a car. When awaking as a spirit afterwards, Yusuke discovers that the underworld wasn’t anticipating his death. Without a place for him in either heaven or hell, Yusuke is offered a chance to return to his body as detective of the spirit world. As spirit detective, Yusuke is pitted against several powerful demons threatening his world.
Though his abilities are initially limited, Yusuke develops his ability to control his spirit energy, making him a contender against powerful opponents. Yusuke is a complex character, easy to dismiss at first, but you find overtime that he’s a caring person. The allies he gains are diverse, but all are incredibly enjoyable.
If you survive the introduction episodes, you’ll be rewarded. If you’re a fan of other Shonen Jump series (Dragon Ball Z, One Piece, Naruto, etc.) you’ll more than likely enjoy Yu Yu Hakusho. The fights are epic, the story is highly engaging, and the characters are extremely likeable. The series gets progressively better until about halfway through season 3, when the Dark Tournament arc comes to a close. Not to say that the second half of season 3 and season 4 aren’t worth watching, but the Dark Tournament arc, which begins in season 2, was a touch act to follow.
Though I enjoyed Yu Yu Hakusho’s ending, it is really the only thing about the series that I’m critical of. I’m very big on closure, and hate when series just end. Yu Yu Hakusho follows the original ending of the manga, so it delivers on closure. The problem lies in that it feels rushed. The final arc wasn’t played out to it’s full potential. One episode we’re halfway through a tournament, and the next episode the tournament is over. The results are briefly mentioned in passing, and they move on. Despite the rushed ending, Yu Yu Hakusho is a fantastic series, definitely worth a try. I give Yu Yu Hakusho a 9/10.