Yu Yu Hakusho Vol. #17: Sword and Dragon - 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. #17: Sword and Dragon

By Chris Beveridge     November 05, 2003
Release Date: October 07, 2003

Yu Yu Hakusho Vol. #17: Sword and Dragon
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.

What They Say
After a surprise verdict is handed down in the Kurama vs. Karasu match, Team Urameshi finds themselves down one point to none. Hiei must take the ring against the heavily armored Bui...

But Bui's armor is for more than protection. Once removed his full power is released forcing Hiei to unleash the unbelievable Dragon of the Darkness Flame! Hiei knows that the technique could decide the match... but the mystical dragon turns from its target and heads for its master!

The Review!
With the first round closing out in the opening minutes of this disc, the series moves into the next two rounds and the stakes get even higher.

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.

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 with a red background that doesn’t help the look of Hiei or Kuwabara in full color in the foreground. 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)
After the rather deadly and brutal battle between Kurama and Karasu in the previous volume, I was curious as to how they were going to try and top it here.

The first thing that happens though is the results from the first match get thrown off greatly when they “go to the tape.” While its clear that Kurama won in one sense, since he’s the only one alive after the match is over – and barely at that, he lost through the rules since the referee was doing the countdown and Kurama attacked from a down position. Now, that sounds like a load of crap to me when you’re dealing with a series of fights that usually end up in either death or a large number of body parts being unusable for the foreseeable future.

So with the first match, Team Urameshi loses but they at least have one less opponent to deal with. Kurama’s barely got anything left in him but his move was something that I didn’t expect out of him. With that out of the way though, the matches must continue and we find that Team Toguro is bringing out Bui next. The very quiet armored warrior is almost anxious to go out and fight once the opponent is decided and Hiei steps onto the tournament stage in front of Kuwabara.

Hiei’s been anxious for this moment and his posture and near arrogance over it is pretty much justified early on. Bui can’t get an edge in on him and even ends up with his weapon being destroyed completely. The match plays out interesting enough until Bui decides that it’s time for both of them to get serious. In a traditional move in many fighting series, Bui reveals that his armor isn’t exactly designed to protect him but rather to help contain his enormous power within him. So once he’s removed all of his armor, he’s alight in a green glow of power that is simply monstrous.

But all of that is matched when Hiei removes his bandage and reveals his link to the demonic fires that rage below them.

The Hiei and Bui match is quite exciting and well done, the kind of match where their powers are so strong that you wouldn’t want to stay in that arena. The fact so many do even after you have times where Bui is literally chucking tournament stage tiles into the arena stands is just amazing. The damage these two cause to the stadium is staggering, never mind the general loss of life of those who came to the event – though that’s amusingly ignored.

While Kurama and Kurasu’s match lasted nearly three episodes, Hiei and Bui made it just under two and that was with some downtime. The best match though comes after theirs as Kuwabara and the Elder Toguro finally get their match going and it’s just as brutal as you could expect. Kuwabara has a bad sense of what’s going to happen, particularly after hearing the Elder Toguro talking about his wish being for all their deaths when they win, so he’s not quite as mentally prepared as could be. But with his new weapon and the power he’s able to unleash with it, the match is exciting in the number of unknowns going into it. I was disappointed though that they used the obvious trick to get him to become more focused towards the end of it since it was projected so easily and several episodes ago.

There’s a lot of great moments on this disc with the fighting sequences and the power behind it all. And the fun part is that we haven’t even gotten to Urameshi or the younger Toguro brother yet so there is still some serious badass moments to come. This series continues to be one of the very few fighting tournament style ones that I actually like and that continues to improve as it goes along. Very enjoyable.

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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