Yu Yu Hakusho Vol. #16: Yoko Kurama - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: C
  • 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. #16: Yoko Kurama

By Chris Beveridge     November 04, 2003
Release Date: September 02, 2003

Yu Yu Hakusho Vol. #16: Yoko Kurama
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.

What They Say
The long awaited Finals of the Dark Tournament have arrived! It’s Team Urameshi against arch-rivals Team Toguro in a winner take all battle where the penalty for losing is certain death!

In a stunning development both owners of the rival teams declare themselves eligible to fight! Kurama hopes that this won’t be necessary as he transforms into the powerful Yoko Kurama! But when Karasu counters Yoko’s best attack, the half-human hero finds himself drained of all his spirit energy! Is this the end of Kurama?!

The Review!
The final match is ready and set to go, once a few more teammates are brought into play…

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. The only area that really suffered this time around is during one of the fight scenes with Kurama where he’s laying against the ground; the reds ended up macroblocking highly there and looked awful for the few seconds it was on the screen.

There’s a gray border around the artwork on the front of the package here, and once again we get some poor looking artwork that looks more like soft fuzzy shots from the show mixed together into an unappealing collage of images of Kurama and his main opponent for these episodes. 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 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 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 another look at the textless opening and ending. 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)
The series moves on towards the bigger fighting match this time around as the end game is here, or ready to start at least with Team Toguro finally taking on Team Urameshi in the big winner take all series of matches.

In the time leading up to that, we’ve had the disastrous results from the previous volume where Genkai has met her match and some new weapons have been placed in our heroes hands. This is mostly given over to watching Kuwabara deal with the sword that he’s gained from the deal, or more specifically the handle that will deal with his power. Since he was given the hilt with the knowledge that the side effects would be unknown, he’s quite leery of trying it out. But once he gives in and gives it a whirl, his powers take on a new and startling level.

With the final event finally underway and a massive number of ugly folk pouring into the stadium to see it, there is a huge amount of energy focused on what’s going on. Once everyone is in place, we learn that there’s a problem though with the teams and the rules. Apparently each time must have five people on it and each is down to four. Add in that it’s too late to swap in someone for Genkai and there’s a chance that the entire match could be forfeited. Of course, this isn’t what Toguro wants so he’ll allow for a switch, but his team still needs a fifth member.

So it is and isn’t surprising that the fifth member is the team’s captain, Sayko. His manipulations of events has been fun to watch, especially now that he’s down on the field and feeling confident that they’ll never even get to him in the queue to fight. So when we learn that Koenma Jr. is going to be the fifth member of Urameshi’s team, the laughter is quite strong. Kuwabara can’t believe it, especially when Koenma comes out with his pacifier in his mouth but in full normal human sized mode.

So with the majority of the three episodes that are here, the first match between Kurama and Karasu begins. The match plays out great, going between each of them going strong with their powers and bringing each blow to a new level. Kurama’s transformation again brings something new to the fights since there are still a lot of unknowns with it and what he can do. But outside of the actual fighting that’s going on and the continual raising of the stakes with each episode of the single fight, there isn’t much more.

With the final series of matches now starting up, I’m not expecting a lot in the way of revelations or other intriguing bits until we get closer to the end of the matches and the real players get their time in the sun. Until then though, I’m definitely enjoying the escalating power levels and brutality seeping into each fight.

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

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP 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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