Yu Yu Hakusho Vol. #27: Tempting Fate (of 32) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Thursday, November 18, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, November 23, 2004

What They Say
Yusuke Urameshi suffers from a recurring nightmare that he just can’t shake. Are there deeper meanings hidden behind the bizarre occurrences? Genkai sends Yusuke to the home of a former Spirit Detective. But what he doesn’t know is that someone knows his destination... and more about his past than he ever thought possible!

The Review!
As Yusuke tries to figure out what to do with his life and how to deal with a price on his head, opportunity comes knocking on his door.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The track for this features a decent if pretty normal stereo mix. There's little in the way of directionality and nothing going to the rear speakers at all. Most of the dialogue is center channel based but the music and most of the sound effects make use of the full left/right channels.

The transfer here looks pretty good with the masters here being in quite good condition. There's hardly anything in the form of nicks or scratches or other print damage. Cross coloration is pretty minimal overall and everything looks good for colors and saturation. The animation itself doesn't come off as striking since it's mostly done in natural colors and nothing really vibrant. The openings and endings are done with alternate angles so you can see the translated versions or the original versions depending on the language you select in the menus.

There's a gray border around the artwork on the front of the package here, and not straying from the past covers, it's a bit murky in general. The lead trio of fighters take the center stage again here as does the imagery of the shadowy three kings that are now becoming the focus of the final arc of the series. The back cover provides a couple paragraphs worth of show summary and a couple of small animation shots. The episode numbers and titles are listed as well as the discs features and extras. The insert provides the artwork from the front without the border and larger, a very nice touch. The reverse side provides an episode summary for each one on the disc, going into more detail than the back cover.

The menu layout maintains its letterbox feel but places text in the letterbox sections such as the volume title and selections along the bottom. Some static artwork from the show is through the center along with the name of the current arc. Access times are nice and fast and moving around is pretty logical, though the language selection area still strikes me as not being all that clear.

The extras are roughly the same kind as the previous volumes, which means some new text items and the like but also some of the same things we've seen already. The character profiles return again and we get the textless opening and ending sequences. Yama's notebook is the main place for new items, with more behind the name translations showing up. There's also a behind the kanji piece, some on the super titles and the like.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Yu Yu Hakusho has entered into an interesting place for a series, something that a lot of them don't really have. It's a lull between the arcs where elements are slowly set up for the next phase while still dealing with the after effects of the previous one. For Yusuke, it's about his search for what to do next since, as we see here, in his heart of hearts he longs to be at the center of danger. But for others, it's a return to a normal life or a chance to return to their own roots once more.

Yusuke's attempts at figuring out where his life should go, alongside with the dreams he's having and the challenges he's facing from those that are sent out to hunt him down based on the orders from Koenma Jr.'s father, has been the central focus for a few episodes now and he's taken things to Ba-chan so that he can try and work it out with her to determine what path to follow. Surprisingly, she's actually got a good suggestion and that's to send him to see Kuriko, the first Spirit Realm Detective who retired about ten years prior before turning things over.

Getting to see another Spirit Detective is actually rather interesting as the only other one we've seen of course ended up pretty twisted. The fact that Kuriko ends up turning out fairly normal after she decided to give up the life and become a married woman and live a fairly domestic life gives Yusuke another angle to view his future on. But as we continue to see, that edge of wanting to be at the heart of danger is so strong in him that even Kuriko's husband is able to discern in while doing a palm future reading on him. Yusuke's time with Kuriko is a lot of fun, especially in dealing with the two kids she has and how they're already quite well powered individuals for just nine years old, never mind the sharp wit that they have to them.

What turns this set of episodes interesting is the arrival of three S-Class Yokai who have managed to come through from the Demon Realm via alternate means in order to solicit Yusuke's help. With a power-sucking creature attached to their chests that reduces their power level so they can travel across the realms without notice, they've come to convince Yusuke to return with them to the Demon Realm and their country within it to help fight for their King's beliefs. King Raizen is one of the three most powerful demons in the realm and all three of them are in an eternal deadlock over things. Should one fall, another will as well and then the entire Realm will be controlled by one Demon King. Each of them have different views on things but Raizen as it turns out seems to be the most moderate of the three.

And he's also Yusuke's father.

But Raizen hasn't eaten a human in nearly a thousand years and the struggle between the three kings has been going on for five hundred years now and he's close to death. A fight for the future of the Demon Realm is about to be undertaken and those in support of Raizen are trying to shore up their numbers and abilities. With Yusuke being his son and being so powerful, especially when unchecked, he wants to bring him on board to help out and the trio of S-Class visiting Yokai are there to convince him of it.

There are a lot of little bits in these episodes that get touched upon that make it really enjoyable, such as Keiko worrying about him and Kuwabara promising to find out more. Kuwabara's role in the next arc appears to be non-existent as he's focused on catching up on all the schoolwork he's missed in order make his sister happy. Keiko's feeling a sense of loss over Yusuke, especially after he reveals just what's different about him now. And of course, Kurama and Hiei find themselves being linked to what's about to go on in the Demon Realm as well and are being forced to choose sides based on past allegiances and stances. Though the next arc is short, it looks to be one of those interesting pivotal ones that changes the shape of the playing field and that's always fun to watch.

In Summary:
Yu Yu Hakusho manages to be an interesting show even during the down times, something that's just rare in series these days as it is. The time for the characters to simply be themselves and converse about what they want to do and where to go with their lives, especially in a boys action show like this, just doesn't seem to happen anymore. Yusuke's life looks to have a set destiny about it as it is so his concerns aren't all that important in the long run but having the illusion of self-determination is something that'll be with that character right to the end, so seeing him with that in mind is a real positive here and helps push the series rolling forward again just right.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Yama's Notebook,Character Profiles,Textless Opening,Textless Ending

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
MSRP: 24.98
Running time: 62
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Yu Yu Hakusho