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Reviews Comments: Most Sophisticated Shonen? Yu Yu Hakusho whole series review by Phrederic

Yu Yu Hakusho is a Deconstruction of the classic shonen. Lets start, hero: dickish, violent, obsessed with fighting, spends large amounts of time training. Now most heroes would pass through life with no consequences for their actions, but Yusuke's only friends he can only relate to with violence and spends so much time training he almost loses the only person who actually loves him. The enemies aren't evil for shits and giggles, they have to eat humans to live. Also the series subverts many tropes, the final fight? He loses, but the outcome of the battle didn't matter, only the fact that he fought it.

You can avoid the questions that this series asks, and it isn't bad in terms of straight up punching action, but by ignoring the queries Yu Yu Hakusho raised, you miss out on a lot of what makes this show awesome.

  • Fun characters. Each of the main four were likable in their own way, with Yusuke's bad boy one liners, Kuwabara's goofiness, Kurama's intellectualism and Hiei's cold badassery.
  • Imaginative fights. Each character had their own unique, and cool fighting style.
  • Humor and heartwarming. Assloads of each.

  • Animation and Art: While not the worst in the world, this show did not highlight the artistic skills of Japan's finest.
  • Later Combat: The Three Kings arc was my favorite, but it did showcase an increasing problem, the enemies got so ridiculous, and theirs powers so ill explained, the final fights seemed more in place in the world of DBZ then in the intelligent place I was used to.
  • Out of Focus: With so many characters, a lot of plot lines get dropped. Like Shizuru, her love interest dies, bam! She's gone. In fact, so many female characters are around, and its a relatively short series, only the main four get really resolved, and even then only the main bits of their character gets filled out.

  • The Dub: I believe the central cast is excellent, with Hiei's actor giving his character so much dark charm it's no wonder he became the Darkhorse. However, the side characters range from okay, to awful.
  • Music: Its not terrible, and it doesn't detract from the piece but its just bland, with no memorable or catchy riffs.

Together, it's one of the best anime's I've ever seen, with a lot of intellect and a fun and engaging plot.


  • Irothtin
  • 14th Jan 10
While I'll have to agree the animation isn't exactly anything special, I trust you considered the anime was made in the early-to-mid 90s? More modern anime is able to make use of many more techniques and resources than in those days, so it generally all looks miles better than older stuff.

The Three Kings arc was expanded on even less in the manga. All things considered, whoever was in charge of the anime did a good job.

Yeah, it's a good, solid, classic shonen.
  • SirPsychoSexy
  • 14th Jan 10
About the ridiculous enemies: One of them was a Deconstruction of God Mode Stu. In that sense, it's still more realistic than DBZ, plus Demon World is kind of...not Earth, so the rules for what's possible on Earth don't really apply there.
  • EleanorRigby
  • 25th Dec 10
Seemed like a good review but you spoiled the final fight....
  • 25th Dec 10
Being different =/= Being good
  • Scardoll
  • 28th Dec 10
I read YYH and didn't watch the anime, so maybe I'm missing something... But it really isn't that sophisticated in comparison to others. There's plenty of Shounen that also have complex villains, problems for the hero caused by their own impulsiveness, and even heroes losing in the final part isn't surprising; hell, Pokemon has it every season, from what I've heard.

I still like YYH, but I hardly think it's somehow more sophisticated than all other Shounen.
  • DiegoBrando
  • 4th Aug 11

Compared to, say, Bleach, Yu Yu Hakusho is sophisticated as hell
  • eveil
  • 5th Aug 11
Bleach isn't exactly a role model of sophistication.
  • slenderman4
  • 26th Sep 11

I think that was the point :P
  • KashimaKitty
  • 26th Sep 11
I never saw it as a deconstruction, even now I don't, though spirit energy does sound more realistic than "Power levels" or Ki or whatever. You've gotta wonder if people being able to harness power like that are something other than normal, like those who can see ghosts.

One thing I hate about Bleach is how stupid and violent most of the characters are, never hesitating to beat each other senseless for the most trivial reasons, fighting aside. It was refreshing to not see that so much in Yu Yu Hakusho. Shizuru was pretty much the worst of that sort of thing.

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