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Yu Yu Hakusho: Eight Finalists

By Joseph Luster
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Posted 12/27/2007

Yu Yu Hakusho's final volume picks up with episode 99, in which Yusuke is getting some demon-style training for the battles ahead while Hiei and, well... pretty much everyone's hitting the gym at this point, and for good reason. The brewing troubles in the demon world, which are speeding quickly toward an inevitable war, can only be quelled by going through with Yusuke's proposal of, you guessed it, a fighting tournament to decide who shall rule all demon-kind!

The all-out animated slobber-knocker both comes and goes spectacularly in this send-off volume, bringing all of the events of the long-running series to a close that should satisfy fans, if they haven't seen it already. The series' standard for action, complimented by consistently decent TV animation, holds up and slams the final battles home with the kind of fervor you'd expect from a series so dependent on its demonic fisticuffs.

Yu Yu Hakusho lives and dies by Yoshihiro Togashi's world design, directed smartly here by Noriyuki Abe (Bleach, Flame of Recca). The bestiary alone is, visually speaking, the complete antithesis to the often brightly colored villains of something like Dragon Ball Z. Togashi's world is eternally hellish and dark, but wildly varied. The only thing that doesn't change throughout its run is the fact that you'll still be rooting for the well-defined protagonists until the credits run on the last episode. The principle cast grows a lot as the story progresses, but their core character traits are never eschewed in favor of driving a character arc into the ground. Sure, Yusuke's been through a lot and has really evolved as a person, but he's still stubborn and recklessly emotional.

Since this is as good a place as any to reflect on the series, it's also worth mentioning that Yu Yu Hakusho has one of the few dubs that I truly love. Maybe this will kill my "cred" a bit, but Justin Cook is pitch perfect in the lead role of Yusuke Urameshi, and Kuwabara's voice is just about the best dimwitted sidekick you're likely to hear. Dubs at their best will simply make the audience forget that it's dubbed at all, and this series has shined in that regard since the very beginning. Naturally, you can always listen to it in the original Japanese; just make sure you don't write off the dub as another acidic audio attack on the senses.

Though the series has already made the rounds on FUNimation's previous DVD releases, this volume marks the end of its 112-episode run on the more-bang-for-your-buck two disc collections that they've been putting out recently. This is the way to go if you want to absorb the whole shebang, but don't feel like cluttering your room with box set after box set of 3-4 episode DVDs. Pick these up from the start to experience one of the most enjoyable and memorable fighting anime out there. Period.

Studio/Company: FUNimation
Available: Now
Rating: TVPG


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