Book Review: Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 1

Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 1 cover

I hope everyone is having a good week so far.

Aside from the usual stuff that we all have to deal with after leaving school for what people call the real world, things have been going somewhat well, especially when I can sit down and get in some time to do something relaxing.

Recently, I had gotten some credit for Amazon and got a quite a few books to read.

So far, I have covered two of them and many more remain out of that lot.

Today, I will be reviewing another one of those titles, which is Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 1 by Yoshihiro Togashi.

Yusuke Urameshi is troublemaker for everyone in his life and has a bad reputation among the public at large, to the point where people view him as nothing more than scum.

However, when Yusuke risks his life to save a kid, a move that nobody living or dead expected, he meets a messenger of death with an offer that will allow him to come back to life, but little does he know that this is only the beginning of his journey.

As many should know from my various reviews, Yu Yu Hakusho is one of the few series I remember from the days of when I got into anime that I still like to this day because it shines in more than its great fights, and because the series is so hard to find, at least if you want to do an anime vs manga comparison yourself, like I was able to when I reviewed the first 123 episodes of the Detective Conan anime, I decided to give the manga a try.

Now that I was able to read it, I have to say that I kind of liked it.

After getting through only the first few pages of the volume, I was really sucked into the world of Yu Yu Hakusho.

Now, a lot of you guys may be going that it was because I liked the anime, which does cover a few events that happen in this volume.

However, just because I enjoyed the anime or manga of a series, it does not mean that I would like the other one.

For example, I enjoyed the D.N. Angel manga as much as I did the anime, though it was really anything that special in of itself.

If I had to say why, it is because Yoshihiro wrote the series of events out relatively well and made me want to continue seeing what Yusuke was going to go through.

Anybody can write a story of any kind, whether it is going to be published the same kind of format that the stories from Agatha Christie, Sir Author Conan Doyle, Maurice Leblance, or even, the more recent and well-known, J.K. Rowling, or if it is published as a comic, like Pandora Hearts and Boku Dake ga Inai Machi, but only people that are great or talented can write something that will keep readers glued to the pages, and Yoshihiro was able to do just that with this volume.

Seriously, if Yoshihiro was not having the kind of health problems that are reportedly causing Hunter x Hunter, the most popular series of his recent works, I probably would have been willing to read more of his work, but I guess I will have to wait and see if he is able to finish his more recent work or if it will end up becoming like Guin Saga, which resumed four years after the death of the original author, according to an article on Anime News Network.

Still, that does not mean that I cannot already see why Yu Yu Hakusho is one of his best works, even though Yusuke is pretty much still the same delinquent that he was in the beginning of the anime.

I also liked how the suffering of Yusuke's family, friends, and acquaintances was delved into more in this volume than in the anime.

Now, while the anime did instill some strong feelings in me that made me feel sorry for them, like Kuwabara causing a scene at Yusuke's wake, Keiko's tears, and the words of the boy that Yusuke saved, it did not really show how devastated these guys were by the fact that Yusuke was dead.

In fact, the most that is seen of their suffering it is Yusuke's mother's behavior getting worse and Kuwabara attacking a dummy resembling Yusuke.

Here, however, it is shown that Keiko regretted saying the things that she said to Yusuke before he died, even though her reaction was warranted, and Atsuko's thoughts reveal how devastated Keiko is because Yusuke has died.

This really reminds me of how important we all are in the lives of people that actually consider us family, whether they are family by paper and/or blood or family in its true sense.

I may not have done anything as great as people like Cristiano Ronaldo, who supposedly offered to pay the entire cost of an operation that a 10-month old child desperately needed, but I have helped my friends through rough patches and even spent time with them, so that they could have something to take their mind off of whatever was plaguing them, in spite of the fact that I could not rid them of their problems, and those people would probably be just as devastated if I died young as Keiko, Atsuko, and Kuwabara were over Yusuke's death.

Likewise, each of us has done something for those that care about us that we have no idea had such a big impact on their lives in ways that only we could accomplish because of who we are, not because we are the kind of person religious groups, society, or our elders say we should be, and if we die, those people will have to overcome the kind of grief that I know all too well.

I have to hand it to Yoshihiro. I hardly know the characters at this point in the story, yet their grief all seems very real and believable.

Good job, Yoshihiro Togashi. This may be yet another manga that focuses heavily on fighting, but I could actually feel something that is not normally present in more recent works this early in the game, and, because he has been in the manga industry for so long now, I expect no less, otherwise he would have only had one good that stands out.

Hopefully, he can start publishing more work some, but, knowing that the effects of aging are not really that nice on all of us, I will just let him to decide on what he wants to do with the time he has left.

Another thing that I liked was how I seemed to like Yusuke, as a person, more than I did at the beginning of the anime.

While he was a jerk before he died in the anime, I never really saw why Keiko liked him so much, aside from entertaining the kid that he sacrificed his own life to save and continued to act like a jerk for most of the time when he got back.

Here, however, even though Yusuke was still a jerk to a lot of people before he died, he actually goes out and helps people after he died.

For example, when he met a boy whose dog was at death's door, he noticed that he was being bullied by fellow schoolmates and that the spirit of the dog lingered on out of concern for the boy, leading him to decide to pretend to be evil to help the boy let the dog pass on.

Yes, this kind of thing has now been done to death in many fictional works, but the way Yusuke did it showed that he was actually concerned for the child and help to show that Yusuke was not really the kind of person his reputation makes him out to be.

As a result, it makes me want to continue watching Yusuke grow, because his change ends up being a bit more gradual than it was in the anime, even though he did not magically become the person that he was when the series ended.

Unfortunately for me, it will take quite a bit of time to go through all 19 volumes of the manga, but, right now, I cannot wait to do just.

It really looks like Yoshihiro did a really good job plotting out who Yusuke was and how he would develop over the course of this series, and is something that I know that I really need to do to become a better writer myself, at least if people can finally start realizing that I am not as free as they think I am, so that I can delve more into the aspects of psychology that are important for writers to know about, in addition to dealing with the other hardships that come from when trying to make money from something like writing.

If more people took time to flesh out their characters like Yoshihiro has appeared to do in this work, we would have a lot more fictional work out there that have interesting protagonists from start to finish, and most likely lead to a greater number of worthwhile reads than there are now.

Then again, until people realize that the ways to earn money outside of the so-call 9 to 5 jobs is also actual work, that day might never come to fruition.

The thing that I liked the most though was how Yusuke was temporarily revived.

Even though I cannot say that this is the most original idea, especially because I have not read every piece fiction on the planet, I liked how Yoshihiro did not decide to have Yusuke's body in some weird coma-like state until he could be revived like the anime did.

Yes, the anime did not have Yusuke stay dead for a long amount of time, like he was in this volume, but it would just end up being weird if Yusuke had just been revived in only a short matter of time or he his body did not experience deterioration.

By doing this Yoshihiro, not only showed how Yusuke's body could pretty stay the same as when he had died, but also opened up a whole bunch of possible scenarios that could arise from just have Yusuke walk among the living for a bit, and it makes me want to continue on with this series all the more, in order to see which direction Yoshihiro decides to go, though I doubt he will have Yusuke stay dead too long.

Good job, Yoshihiro. You have started this work off on a really high note and I look forward to seeing what is too come.

That alone is the mark of a good writer.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked.

Because Yoshihiro was able to pull me into the series by focusing more on the suffering of those who saw Yusuke as an importat person their lives and showing a bit more of Yusuke's kind side, as well as deciding to temporarily revive Yusuke, which may cause quite a few funny moments to crop up in the future, this book was an excellet start to a series that many have come to enjoy.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from a few things that are too minor to talk about, there were only two things that bothered me.

First, while a lot of the suffering over Yusuke's death was believe and did have some feeling, it was not as strong as I would have liked it to be.

For example, when Kuwabara caused a scene at Yusuke's wake, letting out all of his anguish, I seemed to want to go over to Kuwabara and hug him, though he probably would not have accepted.

This is one of those where the anime really outdid the original, especially because Kuwabara becomes a lot more important as the series goes on.

Here, however, I did not get those same feelings.

Now, I cannot fault Yoshihiro, because the anime was made some time after these chapters were originally published, but it really shows that Yoshihiro has some room to improve on creating an emotional atmosphere.

If he can do this, then he would be able to create a ton of scenes that are just as satisfying as Oz Vesalius talking to his father, Xai, in Pandora Hearts Volume 22.

Of course, unlike a few other writers out there, I have no doubt that he will be able to meet this challenge, if and when he can get himself stabilized enough to continue his, otherwise, there would not have possibly been any more moments that such strong emotional feeling like there were later in the anime.

The thing that bugged me the most though was there content missing.

When I got this book, I purchased the digital edition, so that I would not need to worry about shelf space, and was happy the quality of the release Viz Media made with this series.

However, something felt like it was missing.

In the table of contents, I see that there are supposed to be eight chapters, which are all indeed present, and then there is a listing for cultural notes as the last item, but there are no cultural notes to be found.

Really, Viz? How can you forget to include things that are listed right in the table of contents?

I am not sure if the notes were included in the print edition, which is hard to find these days, but the fact that it is missing suggests to me that the staff at Viz media did not look over the contents of the volume before selling it on Amazon digital storefront.

It is one thing to be lazy enough to make things look like they were scanned in right from the pages of the print copy, which happened in the first three volumes of D.N. Angel, with volume 3 being the worst, but to entirely forget to include something is a bit worse than that.

Honestly, Viz! Why even mention cultural notes, if none are included?

That is not being honest and will likely cost you customers, if you continue to do things like this with titles that you release.

At least, you do this with your releases of Detective Conan, otherwise I might not even consider supporting you guys, no matter how much I like that series.

For now, all I can hope for is that they check their digital releases, before making them public, so that they can fix these quickly.

While there were only two problems with this volume, the fact that Viz forgot to include content that was listed in the table of content really hurt the quality of the release.

Despite the fact that Viz ruined the overall quality a bit by forgetting content, the good outweighed it enough to make this definitely worth reading.

I recommend this to fans of action, Yu Yu Hakusho, and those that want to read a series where the protagonist actually grows.

As for everyone else, since this is one of the series that got my generation into anime, and is also one that can still be considered a decent series, this may be worth giving a try.

What are your thoughts on Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 1? Did you like it or hate it? Regardless of how you felt, if you saw the anime before reading this, do you think the early portions of the anime are vastly superior to how they went down in this volume, about the same, or that the manga was better at this point? Was there something that you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.