Anime Review: Yu Yu Hakusho: The Movie – Poltergeist Report

Poltergeist Report DVD cover

I hope that everyone had a good weekend, and even enjoyed yourselves during my long break.

I got some software a while back and made some preorders, and my budget has gotten a bit tight because of that, so I took the break because of that, and work on something else, but I did not completely forget about this place, since I planned to delve into my DVD collection and check out a title from the past.

Today, I will be reviewing that title which is called, Yu Yu Hakusho: The Movie – Poltergeist Report.

As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will will not go over it again.

Spirit World is in great danger when the River Styx begins to overflow to the point where flooding begins, and Botan heads out to get help from Yusuke and the gang.

However, when the four find out that something is going on, it becomes apparent that both the human and spirit world are threatened by residents of a world that was sealed away long ago.

Yukina sad over Botan

Even though I reviewed all 19 volumes of the manga last year, it has been quite a while since I watched anything of the anime, so I decided to revisit the series once again.

And, after watching this movie, I must say that I was largely unimpressed.

Normally, I like to talk about both the good and the bad, so that I can be as fair as I possibly can, in spite of the flaws to be found and my own biases, as can be seen from my reviews of The Garden of Words, The Chapel Wars, and The Whistler.

Unfortunately, every reviewer, regardless of whether they do written reviews like I do or video reviews, though video reviews on YouTube do not really take advantage of all the upsides to the visual medium, comes across a title where they cannot really see anything good about it, no matter how much they wanted to like it, and they have to accept the fact that they must rip it a new one, so that people know what not to do.

For me, this is the first title since the start of this blog back in 2011, which is probably not as great as the content I have now, even with the mistakes I make, that I could not really think of anything that really impressed me, and I have to make an exception to my methods, even though I have been fairly harsh with anime this year.

From the first few moments that I started watching this movie, I wanted to turn the movie off right then and there, but I did not do that because, as a fan of Yu Yu Hakusho, I wanted to at least give this a chance to redeem itself and I know that nothing in this world is perfect.

If I had to say why, it is because of two reasons.

First, this movie felt more like a DBZ movie than a Yu Yu Hakusho movie.

One of the best things about Yu Yu Hakusho, at least the anime, is that I felt like I was immersed in the world and could actually feel for the characters and understand what they were going through, with some of the best examples being Genkai's final test and Yusuke's awakening against Toguro, not to mention that I actually felt like I was having a good time.

However, that was nowhere to be found in this movie, and that greatly disappointed me.

In fact, the only thing that was present was action.

What the heck, Studio Pierrot? You did such a good job adapting the manga into anime, and outclassed Yoshihiro Togashi in numerous ways, but you guys fail to deliver anything as great as the series was?

You guys should be ashamed, because this movie is not really going to impress fans of the series, regardless of who dubs it, since there are people that really want FUNimation to redub this movie, but that will only make the movie only marginally better than Central Park Media's version, which is what I own.

I might be able to accept this kind of thing from DBZ, which I will admit that I do have some interest in, but not Yu Yu Hakusho, one of the best series from the time that I got into anime and would have no problems recommending it to people today.

Unfortunately, because Studio Pierrot did not really get what made the television so great, aside from little to no filler, it makes me wish that FUNimation is never allowed to touch this movie, as it deserves to never return to where I live, though I do think FUNimation does do a pretty good job with the titles that they get today.

Hopefully, Studio Pierrot does not create anything as terrible as this in their future works, because their work with the Yu Yu Hakusho television series is good enough that I would have wanted to support them, and this has kind of hurt their reputation in my eyes.

The other thing that made it really hard for me to immerse myself in the work was the action itself.

While I do like a few series that are action-oriented, much like the stereotype where I live of what men like says, that does not mean that I would be happy if there is action for the sake of appealing to men because that action must be exciting to begin with, as was the case with Mikoto Misaka's fight against ITEM in episodes 8-10 of A Certain Scientific Railgun S, or volume 5 of the Railgun manga.

In the case of this movie, the fights never really made me feel as excited as I felt when I saw Yusuke fight Toguro in the Dark Tournament finals, or even when Yusuke fought Yomi in the Demon World Tournament, and it just added to why I felt like this movie should just end, instead of continuing to be dragged out.

Really, Studio Pierrot? You not only fail to deliver what made Yu Yu Hakusho so great, but you even failed to make the one thing that was preserved to be on par with what could be found from in the television series when it was at its best?

I may have hated this movie going into this review, but now I not only wish that FUNimation never gets the license to this movie but I also wish that Studio Pierrot never made this movie to begin with.

When people watch a movie, they do not want to feel like their time has been wasted because it does not even meet the bare minimums of what makes a great movie, which is why I do note really enjoy seeing the movies produced where I live today too often.

Like people who read fiction, people want movies that give them a temporary escape from reality, and the lack of any exciting fights does not allow me to lose myself as much as what I would wanted.

This is not how one should make a movie, yet this is what Studio Pierrot delivered, and it greatly overshadowed whatever I could possibly have found that would have been so great about this movie, and it just makes me want to do what Kuwabara did at Yusuke's wake.

I, like everyone else, want to talk about what works of fiction did right, but because this is one of the reasons I had to make an exception and skip right to what I hated, I cannot think of any particular way that Studio Pierrot could have improved things.

Another thing that was not so great about this movie was that it had yet another save the world plot.

Now, stories found today may not exactly be original, as the storylines have all been done time and again, but the way the plot is written or executed can make a work feel different from the rest, and stand out from the rest of what is already out there, or, in the case of this movie, just another work with a cliched plot line.

Unfortunately, the staff that Studio Pierrot had working on this movie could not execute things properly, and it could not stand out from the crowd.

Not only did they make this movie feel more like a DBZ movie than a Yu Yu Hakusho movie by not delivering what made the television series so good, but they even made it feel more like a DBZ movie by executing the plot in a way that does not feel like it is an original work.

This is not only a let down when compared to the greatness that is the television series, but it is also a joke when compared the quality delivered in the manga by Yoshihiro Togashi, because this movie has just as many problems as modern day anime, with the exception of letting the opponent know how a move operates, which is about the only good thing that could be found in this movie.

If this were Studio Pierrot's most recent work, I would have decided to never get anything produced by them ever again, because this shows complete ignorance about what makes anime, or even fiction in general, so great, and warrants the criticism it is getting from me.

Fortunately for them, since this was made way before I knew what made a great story, I can give them a bit more slack, as people can and do improve over time, but not enough to overlook the issue enough to downgrade it from a major issue.

The thing that I hated the most though was the dub itself.

As most of you guys know, I do not particularly care whether I watch something subbed or dubbed, though I do prefer dubs because I do not have to be in perfect condition like I do with subbed anime, but the dub utterly ruined my enjoyment.

Yes, it might be because I am so used to the voice actors that FUNimation got to dub Studio Pierrot's anime adaptation of the manga, but the dub itself made things feel less realistic and really downplayed the turmoil that everyone was going through.

Now, Central Park Media, and its various labels, was not entirely bad at dubbing anime when they were around, since their dub the first three seasons of The Slayers, which are viewable on FUNimation, was actually very enjoyable and bearable, but this is certainly not their best. These guys were a professional dubbing company, yet they delivered something along the lines of Sony's Rurouni Kenshin dub than Media Blaster's Rurouni Kenshin dub or even their own dub of The Slayers.

True, the quality of dubs in the 90's and early 2000's may not exactly match the kinds of dubs produced today, but this does show that there is at least some valid point to argument of subs being better than dubs that is thrown around by people that do not want to acknowledge dub fans as true anime fans, and I am kind of glad that Central Park Media no longer exists.

Dubs are supposed to make things easier to immerse oneself in, since font size and color of subtitles do not pose as much of a problem as some of the so-called true anime fans seem to ignore, and a dub that makes things feel less realistic makes it even harder to get immersed in a work.

Not only did the dub make it the whole movie feel more unrealistic, it also made the things that would have been funny, like Kuwabara's crush on Yukina, not funny at all.

This is one of the few things that was actually carried over from the television series quite well, and would have been something that I felt like applauding Studio Pierrot for doing right, but Central Park Media did not really let this scene be funny.

Really, Central Park Media? Do you call this a great dub? If so, then you deserve to be where you are right now.

While I kind of doubt that this movie would be any better if FUNimation redub this, at least enough for me to want to purchase this movie again, I have no doubt that I would have at least been able to laugh a bit if they did somehow get the license to this movie, and is the reason why I said that this movie would only be marginally better if FUNimation did redub this.

For now though, I cannot in my right mind suggest the dub to anybody, and hope that this movie remains hard to find.

Because Studio Pierrot utterly failed to deliver what made the television series so great, thus making it feel unoriginal, more of a DBZ movie than a Yu Yu Hakusho movie, and cannot create the temporary escape from reality, and Central Park Media made things even worse, by making things feel less realistic and taking away the humor, this was one of the worst movies I have seen.

Considering that the negatives that were present overshadowed whatever good this movie may have had to the point where I had to skip right to what I hated, which has me heart broken right now, this movie was a complete waste of time.

I recommend everyone, regardless of whether they are a fan of Yu Yu Hakusho or not avoid this movie like the plague and either buy the manga or the anime (season 1, 2, 3, 4) instead.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon, and get a chance to recommend anime titles, or buy the products that I linked to from the actual links in this review, so that I can find more worthwhile anime to watch, as well as do whatever it is you normally do when you find something that impresses you.

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