Yu Yu Hakusho Vol. #04: Gate of Betrayal - 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: 24.95
  • Running time: 62
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Yu Yu Hakusho

Yu Yu Hakusho Vol. #04: Gate of Betrayal

By Chris Beveridge     July 23, 2002
Release Date: July 16, 2002

Yu Yu Hakusho Vol. #04: Gate of Betrayal
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.

What They Say
Yusuke vs. Rando: 99 Attacks
Kuwabara’s body lays broken. Shorin is nowhere to be found. And with Yusuke’s energy dwindling every minute, the evil Rando reveals his true and monstrous form. Now, can the injured Yusuke battle the human-hunting demon and close the case? How can he, when Rando has ninety-nine deadly techniques in his arsenal?

The Beasts of Maze Castle
Yusuke returns from training with the great psychic Genkai, and not a moment too soon! Dreadful Makai Insects are invading his own city, part of a sinister scheme to flood the earth with demons! With Kuwabara at his side, Yusuke dives into a forbidden demon city. His target: four deadly creatures known as the Saint Beasts!

Genbu, the Stone Beast
Kurama and Hiei, two demons Yusuke beat in his first case, join Yusuke and Kuwabara to battle the Saint Beasts. This awkward alliance must learn to trust each other quickly, as they struggle through the Gate of Betrayal. And waiting just beyond this trap is the first Beast—a giant made of solid stone!

The Review!
Something of a mix, with the three episodes on this disc the Genkai mini arc comes to a close but the next larger arc begins. No room for filler, it’s back to the action fairly quickly here.

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.

There’s a gray border around the artwork on the front of Yusuke and his three targets for these episodes that becomes the basis of the back cover as well. The front cover has the main heroes of the new arc here, with the artwork for them all seemingly coming from the same source and not a capture, so it looks much more vibrant and consistent. 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 menus are nice and simple and feature some good bits of animation with the backgrounds moving around to give it a polished and professional feel. These are quite nicely done. 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 a bit less this time, though there’s some familiar ones again. The character profiles return again and we get another look at 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 more fighting techniques.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the finale to the Genkai arc, we get a pretty decent playout with a good battle between both Rondo and Yusuke. The battle goes pretty smoothly, giving both sides a chance to show off as well as a sneak assist that was amusing in its own right. But in the end, you know how it plays out, cause you can’t let the bad guys win.

The beginning of the next arc starts off nicely, and I’d hoped it’d play more in that direction. With Yusuke back and in his regular outfit, we come across him and Keiko and eventually Kuwabara. Yusuke recounts his training under Genkai to Kuwabara, and we get some amusing flashbacks to what he went through with all of it. They try to cover their conversation when Keiko comes back though, and end up deciding to catch a movie.

This leads into Botan showing up nearby when both boys sense something afoot and go to check it out, sending Keiko to get the tickets and seats. Botan reveals Yusuke’s next mission, even though he just wants some downtime. Apparently those in the Demon City have decided to make their move on the Human Realm and have sent thousands and thousands of evil bugs to the city, where they seek out “sick minds” and infest them, allowing them to control them and spread their malicious evil around them.

Yusuke’s job is to head down to the Demon City and take on the four beasts that rule there, stopping them from their plans of conquest. Kuwabara, trying to impress Botan still, makes sure he’s going along for the ride. And adding to the group, Hiei and Kurama enter the picture. Both are performing this duty for Koenma Jr. so they can absolve themselves of their past problems. Hiei’s a little more focused as he wants some of the treasures that the four beasts may have down there.

The show then moves pretty quickly into a tournament style combat setting, with a number of trials to pass through before they eventually get to the end. They manage the first one fairly easily, which ends up setting one of the four beasts off to take care of them personally. The battles do a decent job of letting Hiei and Kurama shine a bit and show off their powers. On the downside, the things I was missing from the previous volume are missed here as well, outside of the couple of minutes with Keiko and the guys outside the movie theater.

The episodes aren’t bad, but I was hoping for a bit more between arcs to flesh out the characters a bit more before going right back into their power building mode. Hopefully after this arc I’ll get some of that.

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

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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jnager 3/13/2012 12:10:35 PM

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