Yu Yu Hakusho: Saga of the Three Kings Box Set - Mania.com

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  • 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: 99.98
  • Running time: 600
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Yu Yu Hakusho

Yu Yu Hakusho: Saga of the Three Kings Box Set

By Justin Rich     July 19, 2006
Release Date: March 07, 2006

Yu Yu Hakusho: Saga of the Three Kings Box Set
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.

What They Say
Contains Yu Yu Hakusho volumes 27-32: Tempting Fate, Three Kingdoms, Bandits and Kings, King Urameshi, Dreams of Power & Yusuke Rediscovered.

The Review!
The final arc of Yu Yu Hakusho brings this great shonnen series to a close.

For this viewing session I listened to FUNimation's English Dolby Digital. The show's shonen nature has plenty of action and explosions coming at you from the rear speakers and the dialogue from the center, with no dropouts or distortions. I also took a look at the Japanese Dolby by doing spot checks on episodes 100 Secret of the Jagan & episode 112 To the Future, for I wanted to make sure there was no apparent problems with this audio which was balanced and functioning properly.

This group of episodes aired in the last quarter of 1994 but holds up very well against the flashier shows of today. Especially, since in demon world there is a tremendous amount of coursing electricity which doesn't bleed and adds an eye catching background. The only minor problem is during the fighting scenes there is marginal blurring around the edges of the characters, most noticeably around Kurama's read hair.

The box is soundly constructed going with the trend that FUNimation has had lately of solid boxes. It is black with the Yu Yu Hakusho insignia on both sides and on the spine is a picture of all four leads with their shirts flailing in the wind on a yellow and orange background. The individual volumes in the box contain the cover art that was on the original release of these six volumes.

The menu begins with a crash of lightning and then the words three kings flashes followed by a split screen with image of Mokuro, Yomi & Raizen and then the words 1 ruler which gives way to ...Hiei, Kurama and Yusuke in the exact same positions (disc 1), there is a picture of Hiei with his sword next to him (disc 2), Kurama and Yomi staring at each other (disc 3), Yusuke smelling a flower at Raizen's grave with his new followers around him (disc 4), Mokuro looking off to the left (disc 5), and finally Yomi with his eyes closed to the left with the sunset and Yusuke to the right (disc 6). There is a thirty second sound clip that keeps replay giving the menu a creepy feeling. The menu is a dark blue, mimicking the cover of the dvds. The logo is in the upper left corner with the DVD title in the upper right directly over the three characters. Below the pictures is play all, episodes, language and extras. The menu responds quickly using a vibrant yellow curser to take you were you need to go.

There are six character profiles per volume in the box, with some characters showing up multiple times but with different information. The can also be sad about Yama's notebook which shows up on all the volumes but has unique information here as well. Textless opening Smile Bomb and closing The Sun Will Shine Again are also here. There is an extensive amount of commentaries from the writers, voice actors and directors from the series on the final volume of the series. Trailers of Tenchi GXP!, Spiral, Shonen Jump, Case Closed, Yu Yu Hakusho card game, Fullmetal Alchemist, Dragonball Z Dead Zone rerelease, Baki the Grappler, Galaxy Railways and Yu Yu Hakusho further volumes.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With Sensui finally defeated, in part to a power Yusuke could not control, in was time to return to normal life. But with every shonen series that translates to not for long. Yusuke, Hiei and Kurama are all separately invited by the three ruling kings of demon world to join their camps in an attempt to tip the balance. Yusuke couldn't resist the offer to meet Raizen the demon that gave him the power of the Mazoku. Hiei decides to look into what Mokuro's offer had in store for him, while Kurama is lured back by the third king his old partner in crime, Yomi.

The aspect I loved about this final arc was episodes 99-102 were not spent focusing on Yusuke. The series takes these four episodes to really flush out the back story of Hiei and Kurama; two of the most fascinating supporting characters in shonen anime. The Yusuke comes back to the forefront as his father's self imposed hunger strike final takes the strongest demon who ever lived. Yusuke usurps his "father's" throne, and takes off to meet Yomi. Hiei and Mokuro had already decided to do the same thing causing all three to be in the same place for the first time since they left human world. Yusuke suggest that instead of continuing the three pronged war that had been going on there should be a tournament with any demon who chose to enter via for the crown as sole ruler of demon world.

I'll admit that a much as I loved the fighting in the Dark Tournament saga it drug on far too long and ended rather stereotypically. This refreshing span of eight episodes consisted of the trademark great action but in an exciting yet concise tournament. When I originally saw these episodes nine years ago, I was certain that like his fight with Toguro this tournament was going to be another example of how Yusuke would find a way to take it up a notch at the last doomed moment to score the victory. My jaw literally dropped when Yomi put him in the hospital and Yusuke didn't wake up for three days after the tournament was over. I thought it was great twist that the winner was Enyi, one of Raizen's old sparring partners, for it is not often when you can't predict the end of a fighting tournaemnt.

Togashi's final plan for Yu Yu Hakusho puts a touching close on a series that was solid from start to finish. He wraps it up with one final episode to see where everyone is and a heartfelt reunion between Yusuke and his lifelong love Kayko. The final scene with everyone splashing in the ocean shows the innocents that after all the life and death struggle still remained amongst the group.

In Summary:
The Three Kings saga is one of my all time favorite story arcs in shonnen anime, which in my opinion sets a gold standard to compare against. Plenty of all the necessary elements: character development, action and most importantly surprises. If you're only reason for watching the show is Kuwabara's mindless antics then save your ninety bucks because he is only on the first disc. A wonderful conclusion to a series; which leaves you thinking that one hundred and twelve episodes went by far too quickly.

Japanese 2.0,English 2.0,English subtitles,Yama's Notebook,Character Profiles,Textless Opening and Ending,Commentary on Episodes 110-112

Review Equipment
Sony SAVA D9000 Dual Stack DTS w/ 5 Disc Changer in stack 1 and subwoofer in stack 2 Tv is Sony 57" widescreen rear-projection HDTV Model #KPD 57WS550


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