Flashback Review: YuYu Hakusho: Spirit Detective Saga

In the early ’90s, manga artist Yoshihiro Togashi (Hunter x Hunter) created a manga series titled, “YuYu Hakusho.” The Story’s about a high school jerk named, Yusuke Urameshi who’s given a second chance to come back to life after saving a little boy from being hit by a car. Thanks to his good deed, Yusuke lives, and he’s assigned to hunt down demons as a spirit detective with help from his rival/best friend, Kuwabara, former thief Kurama and reformed criminal Hiei. A Decade Later, YuYu Hakusho introduced American viewers to the series in anime format. A Decade Later, the manga was adapted into an anime series.

“YuYu Hakusho: The Spirit Detective Saga” aired in 2002 (same year Jenna Ortega was born) on Adult Swim and an edited version aired in 2003 on Cartoon Network’s block, Toonami. It received positive reviews from critics and viewers alike. When I was a kid, I used to watch YuYu Hakusho. Now that I’m older, I still consider it as one of my favorite shows. Netflix is producing a live-action TV adaptation. I think it’s gonna sink like another failed live-action TV adaptation, “Cowboy Bebop.”

This review contains no SPOILERS. I’m giving some of you newcomers a chance to see YuYu Hakusho.

Light & Dark Elements

Light: Justin Cook, Christopher Sabat, Chuck Huber, Cynthia Cranz, (the voice of Chi-Chi) Laura Bailey, Eric Vale & Linda Young (the original voice of Frieza) all did an excellent job for their respective voiceover performances.

Kent Williams (the voice of Supreme Kai) provides narration.

Animation still holds up as it brings a few things to life including character models, fluid movement and environmental locations.

Action Sequences showcase Yusuke and his pals’ spirit powers as well as using their fists to conserve energy.

Humor contains a lot of funny as heck moments. Most notably Yusuke & Kuwabara’s constant bickering.

Opening Theme, “Smile Bomb” makes you wanna dance. It’s impossible to skip.

Chemistry between Yusuke and his allies serves as the main highlight. His interactions with them shape the story forward.

We learn about Hiei & Kurama’s interesting back stories.

I never got bored watching every single episode.

Yusuke’s my favorite character. Despite being a jerk to his peers, he has redeeming qualities. Justin’s delivery of his lines never gets old.

I’m not making this up. Kuwabara has a poster of Oingo Boingo.

Every time Kuwabara opens his mouth, it sounds like Chris’ impression of Yajirobe.

According to a crime boss’ rap sheet, the series takes place in 1993. Which is the exact same year I was born.

My favorite episodes are 14-21. Which centers around Yusuke’s gang fighting their way through the Four Saint Beasts. Each one plays like a boss battle. Thanks to Character Development, Yusuke learns new techniques under the mentorship of Koenma & Genkai. He uses his spirit energy to protect his loved ones and save the world.

Near the end of Season 1, the Toguro Brothers make their first appearance. They later appear in further sagas.

Yusuke’s final case in Season 1, sets up Season 2 known as “Dark Tournament Saga.”

Dark: My only gripe is how the actual fudge is Koenma capable of eating with his pacifier on. I know it’s an anime, but it doesn’t make any logical sense.

The Final Verdict: A-

YuYu Hakusho: The Spirit Detective Saga is a near-perfect start to memorable anime series. If you have nothing to do over the week, watch the series on Hulu or Crunchyroll. Someday, I want to see a follow-up to YuYu Hakusho set after the series finale with an older and experienced Yusuke resuming his role as spirit detective facing against more powerful adversaries. I didn’t ask for a live-action remake of the series.

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