The finale of Yu Yu Hakusho is a little bit cheesy, but ultimately closes out the series well.
What They Say
The gateway between worlds lies open and past must battle present, but with Yusuke's final death his friends rush onward. Risen once more with the blood of ages coursing through his veins, the young man sheds humanity as the war shifts realms to the land of demons. Three legendary kings seek power where only one can rule, and friends are enlisted as champions to become foes in the final struggle for control. From troubled teen to royalty, Yusuke's final chapter unfolds.
Contains episodes 85-112.
For this viewing, I listened to the English dub, which is offered in 2.0 stereo. The Japanese track is also available in 2.0. For the most part, the mix is pretty basic, with little directionality. The different audio tracks sound distinct, but much of it sounded muffled. In particular, dialogue seemed to be muted more so than the music or effects.
The video for Yu Yu Hakusho is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, the transfer is pretty flawless, with no real technical problems to speak of. On the other, this is definitely a title that shows its age. The coloring is dull at times, and the lining is indistinct. In particular, when the show shifts into the dark, stormy atmosphere that signifies the presence of a demon, objects tend to become a bit hazy. It is definitely a transfer that could have used some touching up.
The packaging for this set is pretty nice. The four discs come in two double-sided thinpaks. Each thinpak has an image of a number of the characters on the front with an episode listing on the back. The box itself has Kurama on the front brandishing a rose, while the back has the season summary along with technical details. All of this is set to an earth-tone motif of maroons and tans. For an anime set, it is a fairly subdued color scheme, and provides a nice change of pace.
The menus are basic, but functional. To the right of the screen is an image of Yusuke. This is set to a montage of images of various characters as through a maroon filter. The selections are to the left of the picture in white, with the highlight in bright green. This does actually show up well over the dimmer green of the background. The bottom of the screen has a black bar, with the disc number and title listed. Submenus follow a similar pattern. There is not a whole lot of pizzazz to the menus, but they match the color scheme of the outer packaging, so they fit well.
There is not a whole lot of extra content, at least in terms of diversity of content. There are no extras on the first and third discs, but the second and fourth have clean openings and character bios. The character bios are pretty inclusive, though, as it seems that just about every character, no matter how minor, got a write up. Overall, though, they are not that interesting once you get past the main characters, but it is a bit impressive that they went to such detail.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With this set, Yu Yu Hakusho goes out with much of the same action that the series has done well for the previous three seasons. As a whole, I found that I enjoyed this series, some parts better than others. And while a little bit cheesy, I found the conclusion to fit well with the overall theme of the show.
As the third season ended, Yusuke was getting set to pair off with the former Spirit Detective, Sensui, who was attempting to destroy the barrier between the human and demon realms. As is usually the case, Yusuke has some initial success and thinks he has the case wrapped up when something comes up to complicate matters. In this case, it is revealed that the horror’s Sensui was forced to inflict during his time as Spirit Detective had given him split personalities, and Yusuke was facing off against the weakest of Sensui’s identities. As more powerful personalities take over, Yusuke loses the advantages he has, and ultimately loses his life. Again.
Following this, Kurama, Hiei, and Kuwabara follow Sensui through the tunnel to Demon World in an effort to take out Sensui, while King Enma disburses his Special Forces with two tasks: close the portal to the demon realm and make sure that Yusuke does not return to the living world. It just so happens that Yusuke is a descendent of the Demon Mazoku, Raizen, and therefore a threat to all the worlds. However, the Mazoku Power within Yusuke surfaces and brings him back to life before he can be spirited away. He fights off the Special Forces and follows his friends to finish the fight with Sensui.
When Sensui is taken care of, Yusuke returns home feeling that his job is finished. However, he quickly starts to feel discomfited with his history and starts to yearn to return to the Demon World so he can confront Raizen and learn all the secrets of his life. Soon, Raizen comes after him, suggesting that he is near death, and he needs an heir to continue his struggle against the other two Demon Kings. The decisions he makes after returning will not only affect Demon World, but also the Human and Spirit realms, along with any potential future he may have with Keiko.
Over the course of the four seasons, I have had some ups and downs with Yu Yu Hakusho. I particularly enjoyed the setup and first season, through Yusuke’s first few jobs. I pretty much lost interest during the Dark Tournament, as the endless fighting with no real plot advancement became boring. But I found myself interested again once the Sensui Saga perked up, as it became more of what we saw in the early stages of the series.
So when we moved into the Three Kings Saga, and Yusuke gulled Yomi and Mukuro into joining a tournament to declare the new ruler of the Demon World—in true Combat Democracy fashion—I was none to impressed. However, unlike the Dark Tournament, the Demon World Tournament only acts as a backdrop to wrap up the stories of each character who had been introduced at some point in the series. In fact, it takes such a backseat that the winner of the tournament—including the final two rounds—is treated as an afterthought.
Because of this, I continued to enjoy Yu Yu Hakusho right up through the end. I was much more interested in the plot and the characters than I was in any fighting, so I was glad to see that it held little import in the final episodes. If I had any problem, it is that the ending was just a little bit cheesy, as it ultimately boiled down to Yusuke teaching the demons in Demon World how to love. It is a little more involved than that, but that is what it comes to. I found it a little cloying at times, but it did fit the overall theme, so I cannot complain too much.
Overall, Yu Yu Hakusho is a shonen fighter that has a little bit of everything in it. In general, I am not a huge fan of shonen fighters, but I found a lot to like with this one. Obviously, picking up season 4 should only be recommended if you have seen the first three seasons, but if you enjoyed the earlier stuff, there is no reason you will not like what the final season has to offer as well. Recommended.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Openings, Character Bios
Magnavox 37MF337B 37” LCD HDTV, Memorex MVD2042 Progressive Scan w/ DD/DTS (Component Connection), Durabrand HT3916 5.1 Surround Sound System