Book Review: Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 13

Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 13 cover

Things still seem to be going fairly well, huh?

As many of you guys know, I had gotten quite a few books from Amazon a while back, and I was able to reach to final ten books before experiencing computer troubles.

Fortunately, the computer issues were resolved and I covered a few more volumes, getting me closer to the final five.

Today, I will be reviewing another one of those titles, which is called Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 13 by Yoshihiro Togashi.

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

The championship fight between Yusuke and Toguro draws to a close, as Yusuke decides to put everything into one final shot, and Toguro may finally get what he desires.

However, the fight with Toguro is not the end of Team Urameshi’s troubles, because Spirit World has discovered that somebody is picking up where Sakyo left off and humans with strange powers come to take Yusuke hostage, demanding that Kuwabara, Kurama, and Hiei to meet them, if they want Yusuke to remain alive.

While things have been looking pretty decent throughout much of the Dark Tournament Saga, I was not too certain how long the quality could be maintained, especially because this series has had more moments where things felt boring than they were in Studio Pierrot’s anime adaptation.

Fortunately, after reading this volume, this great declined did not happen.

Yet again, I did not feel like putting this book down for any reason from the open I started reading.

Now, this is not unusual, because the latter half of the Dark Tournament Saga was not as disappointing as few of the other volumes in the series, such as volumes 4 and 5, but Yoshihiro has had problems shifting between the major events of the series, all of which are included in Studio Pierrot’s anime adaptation.

In volume 5, once the Saint Beasts arc had concluded, Yoshihiro decided to write a chapter that has Yusuke and Kuwabara get involved in a skirmish, even though they had not fully recovered, and I was just plain bored out my mind enough to make me less inclined to read the future volumes, which was not helped by the fact that the fifth volume was one of the worst entries in the series.

However, in this volume, even though there was not a whole lot of fighting, Yoshihiro was able to keep me invested by creating a huge mystery around what Yusuke and his friends are about to get involved in, which is not even fully answered in this volume.

Yes, because I have seen all 112 episodes of Studio Pierrot’s anime adaptation, which is considered one of the most faithful manga to anime adaptations, not to mention one of the few anime that people say has an English dub that is as good as, if not better than, the original Japanese dub, I do know what is about to happen, but the way that Yoshihiro set things up in this volume makes me want to read on anyway and find out all over again, and that is not something that can be accomplished so easily.

In fact, the only other time in recent history that I felt this excited, in spite of already knowing the outcome, was in volumes 58 and 59 of Detective Conan.

As I mentioned in my review of the 58th volume of Detective Conan, which I just linked to a bit ago, the big problem with rereading content or going through the original source material for a movie or show is killed because the reader already knows the result, which is why people will not always read something they liked before again.

However, if the writer does a good enough job writing the material, this intrigue that came about from experiencing certain moments will remain interesting, even though the reader knows what is going to happen.

Now, I cannot speak for all writers out there, but this kind of experience is what I think that many writers would want to a create. A story that is so good that not only would it draw in new readers, but also good enough to encourage people to return to it some day, because our best stories tend to outlive us all.

Yoshihiro has done just that in the chapters presented in this volume, and, because of it, I kind of feel like giving him a hug, though, like Gosho Aoyama, Yoshihiro and I would most likely never meet in person, so all I can do is just tell him that he has done a good job.

I also liked how Genkai, who was revived after the Dark Tournament, chastised Yusuke.

When Kuwabara, Hiei, and Kurama finally reunited with Yusuke, and the person behind the current situation, though not the troubles about to come, was revealed to be Genkai testing the four, Genkai said that everything that happened to Yusuke was all his fault for just rushing into things, after he said that he could have won if he knew what Kido could do.

Genkai’s exact words were, “Idiot! You think a real enemy’s going to fill you in on everything you need to know?! Your ignorance was your failing, not his!”

This not only makes me believe that Genkai really is the martial arts master that she has been portrayed since her first appearance, as well as the fact that she was Yusuke’s teacher, but reminds me of why this series is so much better than the fighting anime and manga that has recently come out.

As I brought up in my review of the fourth volume, a lot of anime that came out around the time Bleach and Naruto were still being published explained the moves and techniques in a way that everyone, including the enemy, would have a good idea of how to counter it, though those writers never had their characters take advantage of this mistake, and people have been consistently complaining about it.

However, the Yu Yu Hakusho manga, which concluded its run in Japan around the time I was still in K-12, did not have these problems too often, resulting in the fighting to be a bit more realistic, or as much as it can be, since using our energy to attack distant objects is not that feasible, like it is in this series.

After all, Genkai is right in that our enemies are not going to reveal their weak points so easily, at least if they are smart.

Then again, each generation seems to think that the generation succeeding them are not as smart as them, and we also have a hard time noticing the obvious.

Still, I want to give Yoshihiro major applause, because, even though he might not have meant to when he originally wrote these chapters, it ended up being one of the best criticism against works that do something as stupid as what Tite Kubo did with Bleach, and it resulted in me getting much more satisfaction out of this book.

Another nice thing about this book were the funny scenes.

While there was not anything uniquely funny that could be found in this volume, either because those funny moments were also in Studio Pierrot’s anime adaptation, or it was the characters just being themselves, it was still nice that I actually felt like chuckling a bit, especially because I am a little more than halfway through this series.

In fact, in the comedy department, Yu Yu Hakusho has been delivering a much better experience that Detective Conan does these days, and it make me glad that I decided to try this series out.

Hopefully, Yoshihiro’s later works have just as humor as this one did, though the hiatuses that he has been going through with Hunter x Hunter does discourage me from seeing if Yoshihiro really is a good writer, or if, like Nobuhiro Watsuki and Rurouni Kenshin, this is his only decent work.

The thing that I liked the most though was Genkai’s exchange with Toguro in the Spirit World.

After Yusuke beat Toguro, Koenma passes judgement upon Toguro, who requested to be sent to the last circle of hell, or Limbo in Funimation’s dub, Genkai tries to convince Toguro that he made the wrong decision because of guilt that he still harbored from fifty years ago, to which Toguro said it was his fault, and departed to his destination.

Even though I enjoyed this more in episode 66 of the anime, which is viewable on FUNimation’s website and runs for about three minutes and 8 seconds, starting at 14 minutes and 2 seconds into the episode, the events as they were presented here were kind of funny because Genkai last thoughts watching Toguro leave was a question of why men have to be so moronic.

Unfortunately, men are not the only ones that can be such morons, many of us become like Toguro at some point because we go through things that cause great regret and we blame ourselves for things that were not our fault to begin with.

For example, friends and family left behind by somebody who committed suicide or a person that survives an accident that took everyone they knew away from them will feel guilty, thinking that they could have done something to change the outcome, much like how Naho and her friends initially thought they could change in the future in last summer’s anime Orange, and the person or people might punish themselves beyond what is necessary.

Just like those people, Toguro never got over the guilt of not being able to save the people he was teaching and chose to spend the rest of his existence in a miserable place.

While these facts were covered in Studio Pierrot’s anime adaptation, the way that Yoshihiro handled it here made me feel even sadder for both Genkai and Toguro when they talked for one last time, because he did not deserve what he had chosen, even though Toguro was truly evil for most of the time that he appeared.

As a result, I think that Yoshihiro deserves some major applause, because I cannot really think of anybody else who has redeemed a character like Toguro during the final moments of a storyline like he has.

Because things did not feel dull, in spite of the lack of action for much of the volume, and were also quite intriguing, even with knowledge of future events, as well as the fact that it made me feel sorry for one of the series major antagonists after they were defeated, this book was fairly decent.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about and one that had more to do with what the translator and editor for Viz Media chose to put in, nothing really bothered me too much.

As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.

Considering that there was quite a bit to like about this book, this was definitely worth reading.

I recommend this mainly to fans of Yu Yu Hakusho, because they will be able to enjoy this the most, with how little action there is.

As for everyone else, this is not a bad place to start reading the series, but it would be better to read this series from the beginning, to be able to really enjoy this one.

What are your thoughts on Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 13? Did you like it or hate it? Do you think that Yoshihiro Togashi transitioned the story into the events of the Chapter Black Saga better than he did when going into the Yukina arc, like I did, or was it about the same? Was there something that you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment.

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