Yu Yu Hakusho (2023) Movie Review

Yu Yu Hakusho

After being popular 2 decades ago, the manga that made Yoshihiro Togashi’s name was finally successfully adapted into live-action .

Still co-produced with Netflix, unlike One Piece which aired a few months ago, Yu Yu Hakusho was completely made by cast & crew directly from Japan, just like the exclusive adaptation of Alice in Borderland.

The five episodes of the first season were directed by Sho Tsukikawa. Taking the first half of Yusuke’s adventure which started in 1990, each episode of this series is really dense and optimal.

Synopsis of Yu Yu Hakusho

Yusuke Urameshi (Takumi Kitamura) is resurrected from the dead to become an astral detective who solves Yokai (Devil) criminal cases in the human world.

When several Yokai threaten the safety of those closest to him, Yusuke’s strength continues to increase. This ended in the kidnapping of Keiko (Sei Shiraishi) which made him have to work together with several ‘good Yokai’ he met, in order to save his friend from the plans of an ‘Evil Yokai’ named Toguro (Go Ayano).

In the same place, the leader of the Evil Yokai, Sakyo (Goro Inagaki) intends to reopen the gate between the Yokai and Human worlds.

Yu Yu Hakusho

Yu Yu Hakusho Movie Review

A comic version of the scene that comes to life

Yu Yu Hakusho really feels like a Shonen adaptation that is thick with all-out fighting action.

Tantalizing choreography from Yusuke who fights with his bare hands, as well as several CGI effects which, although the quality is still below that of Hollywood films, are actually able to provide quite strong interest and satisfy the audience’s thirst.

Like watching poses and scenes in comics come to life. Every character that is knocked down, the arena is destroyed, and the emotions that burn are the ingredients of action typical of Japanese comics.

Likewise, the characters’ determination comes from their passion to protect the people they care about.

Thick with elements of friendship typical of popular manga from Nippon, every turning point in the problem and its resolution may be easy to guess, but in fact, this does not reduce the epicness of the choreographic fighting resolution scene .

The adjustment of the setting which is built into the current setting also feels mixed well and logically, considering that the manga itself actually has a setting that is old enough to be adapted to the present day.

Very fast storyline

In terms of storyline, Yu Yu Hakusho has a pace that feels very fast. It is very clear that this series deliberately compressed the story into 5 episodes, in a hurry to complete the introduction of the first arc .

The background of the protagonist’s character may have been explained quite strongly in the first half, but for the antagonist, the main focus tends to be too much on the character of Young Toguro.

Meanwhile, Sakyo’s origins, and how he has the motivation to reopen the gate between the human and Yokai worlds, are told very limitedly and too metaphorically.

So the impression of the villain is not as strong as Toguro. In fact, Sakyo is the mastermind .

For the first half, the introduction of Yusuke, the afterlife, and the battle against Yokai (Parasite, Goki and Kurama), has quite good detail and pacing .

However, starting from Yusuke’s training with Master Genkai, until the tournament at Kubikukuri, the increase in melodrama felt very fast.

Even the motivation obtained from the kidnapping of Yusuke’s close friend and Hiei’s younger brother (Kanata Hongo), who had been held captive earlier, felt like a mere patch that was a little forced, so that the protagonists would directly meet the antagonist’s gang.

Even though there are several obstacles in ‘condensing’ the story, Yu Yu Hakusho still has other exciting elements which are usually the ‘identity’ of Shonen adaptations and succeeds in covering up the weakness of its limited duration.

The epic battle, which of course manga/anime fans long for , was successfully channeled epically, so that when the next battle started, the audience was even more enthusiastic about the surprise of the cool choreography tricks.

Even though the budget seems limited (as seen from the tight pace and number of episodes), Yu Yu Hakusho is actually quite successful in providing a manga adaptation that is neater in terms of CGI , and more epic than the typical Shonen choreography .

Yu Yu Hakusho Conclusion

The wait for the abridged adaptation of the old manga is very busy and full. Typical shonen choreography combined with optimal visual effects on a budget that isn’t too big.

The first half of the pace of the story is quite optimal in terms of motivation and character introduction, but it becomes too fast when forced to enter the tournament round.

The villain background feels one-sided because it focuses more on Young Toguro than Sakyo, making the film’s conclusion seem to lose its dramatic potential.

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