Yu Yu Hakusho Vol. #09: Deathmatch - 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: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Yu Yu Hakusho

Yu Yu Hakusho Vol. #09: Deathmatch

By Chris Beveridge     April 27, 2003
Release Date: January 21, 2003

Yu Yu Hakusho Vol. #09: Deathmatch
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.

What They Say
Flowers of Blood
Kuwabara continues his desperate struggle against the child demon, whose twisting serpent-like yo-yos may prove too much to handle. As the second match arrives, Kurama steps forward. But his opponent, Roto, holds a remote that links him to a far-off assassin. Unless Kurama lets himself get beheaded, Roto will have his human mother killed!

Dragon of the Darkness Flame
With the round tied at one, Yusuke still sleeping, and little known about the Masked Fighter, Hiei realizes he must act quickly to save his team. The next opponent is Zeru, Rokuyukai’s leader, and his explosive fire attacks ravage the stadium. Hiei must resort to an unbelievable technique, one that could take his life as well. He must summon the power of a dragon.

Stumbling Warrior
Zeru is reduced to ashes, the remaining members of Team Rokuyukai are running for their lives, and it seems Yusuke’s team will prevail. But a new fighter appears, stumbling and crude, and kills his “chicken mates”. His name is Chu, and with a definitive belch he claims to be the true team leader. Yusuke jumps out of his slumber, ready for the final fight.

Knife Edge Death-Match
Drained of their Spirit Energy, both Yusuke and Chu struggle to win the first round of the Dark Tournament for their team. They agree to settle it with a Knife Edge Death-Match, an intense and fatal arena of combat. Even if Yusuke can survive that challenge, a new threat arrives-- in the form of Toguro’s mysterious ally!

The Review!
The Dark Tournament continues and we get a number of fights in this volume, including one that goes for the deathmatch concept.

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 the package here, with the rather violent cover of a bloody head-butt going on between Yusuke and one of his opponents. 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 here retains the widescreen feel as well as the match-progress boxes to contain the selections while they use the imagery underneath of the arena itself and the crowds watching it. 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 here are roughly the same kind as the previous volume, 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 another look at the textless opening and ending sequences as well as the new textless ending as that changes in this volume. 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)
After a bit of a break with the show, we dove right back in and found that we remembered quite a lot of it and managed to just get right back into the groove. Very few series allow for that kind of viewing style, but so far this one seems to be working out well with it.

As things left off, the Dark Tournament was definitely underway and Kuwabara was of course getting his tail kicked by one of the first round enemy team members. As things going, this continues to be an interesting fight as Kuwabara begins to show off some of the things he learned while training with Kurama. The end result is that Kuwabara continues to be the character that grows the most visibly as well as being the most entertaining during the fights.

Unlike past volumes though, we don’t spend the entirety here on just one or two fights. After Kuwabara gets through, both Kurama and Hiei get in their licks as well. Each of them brings some new powers to the table, though it’s Hiei that brings the most interesting new power out and uses it in such a violent yet quick and efficient way that all I could do was laugh afterwards. It’s good to see them all growing in their powers and abilities but without having to spend episode after episode going through it.

Of course, during all of this we’ve got Yusuke laying on the ground asleep and yelling out his special brand of encouragement to his teammates. He does finally wake up during this volume and ends up getting involved in a very well done and violent match against Chu, a drunk-powered fighter who insists on fighting to the death. In addition to that, we also get some time spent with the onlookers, particularly with Keiko, Bentan and Kuwabara’s sister, someone who’s turning out to be much more than she lets on. They all get involved in various ways throughout the episodes and help expand the show to be much more than just one continuous fight scene after another.

I’m still enjoying this series quite a lot, much more than I really ever expected to. The animation is good, pretty much the kind I like from the folks at Pierrot, the dialogue is quick and smart and the action sequences are definitely crowd pleasers. Thankfully this volume ups the episode count to four again, making it a better value and getting us that much further into it. I think that episode/disc count is still the biggest thing that’s hindering it from being picked up by more people.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character Profiles,Textless Opening,Textless Endings (2),Yama's Notebook

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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