Book Review: Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 14

Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 14 cover

I hope that everyone is doing well, and looking forward to a relaxing weekend.

I had hoped that I would be able to cover a bit more ground this week with the titles in my Amazon order, but things were disrupted by things going a little as expected.

Fortunately, things were not thrown completely out-of-place, and I was able to find the time to continue on with the final six.

Today, I will be reviewing one of those six remaining titles, which is called Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 14 by Yoshihiro Togashi.

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

After Yusuke was rescued, he and his friends find out what is really going on and decide to try and find the mastermind behind a plot to open a portal to the demon world.

However, when the mastermind finally shows himself, Yusuke finds himself fighting against somebody that is not only an excellent fighter who has done their research on Yusuke Urameshi, but also a person who used to be in the employ of Spirit World and now seeks the destruction of humanity due to the contents of certain video.

I enjoyed this book.

As usual, from the moment that picked up this volume, I did not feel like putting it, even though I did, because of the expected disruptions.

Seeing as Yoshihiro has had a few bumps in this department in the past volumes of the series, it makes me happy that he was able to keep things interesting for this long is a great achievement, especially because I know that not everything I write is deserving of some kind of reward, if any of it actually does.

If more things were this entertaining, without having to resort to the usual eye candy found in media today, there would not really be any boring reads, even if the book itself was not that great.

After all, I doubt that I am the only one who would overlook a few problems here and there, if I was entertained.

Of course, as I stated in my review of volume 2, the way to make things more interesting is dependent upon what kind of work it is to begin with, though every work does need a human element to be great.

Yoshihiro has been able to find the right ingredients to make things interesting for five volumes in a row, and it gives me reason to see how this series will end within the next few volumes. Nice job, Yoshihiro.

I also liked how things did not happen like the characters thought that they would.

While there are a few series out there that are exciting because they focus more on mental battles and out strategizing enemies, such as Death Note and Liar Game, the events of many anime and manga these days still have these just as planned attitudes from either the protagonists or antagonists, and ends up making the characters seem to be infallible.

However, in this volume, there were a few things that did not go as expected.

For example, when Koenma first told Yusuke and the gang about the matter, they were given an estimate of three weeks to deal with the issue, which went down to only one week after reevaluation, but when Sensui, Yusuke’s predecessor, shows up the morning after Kuwabara is confronted by an enemy, he tells Yusuke and his allies that the portal would be complete in only two days.

In society, we seem to rely too much on statistics and the supposed wisdom of our elders when deciding what to do or how long we have until we need to make a decision, but all of that is based on incomplete data, for which we may never find out what the actual truth is, and the only certainty of this world is that things change, which means that, regardless of if things go the way that they are expected, luck is involved.

To illustrate things further, let us say that one is playing a game like chess, or even Innovation, one of my favorite card games, one can have a strategy in mind, especially after researching their opponent prior to the game, but the opponent might make moves that differ from the usual, and if that person does not change their strategy accordingly, they will ultimately lose.

In the case of this volume, because Yusuke and the gang thought that they had 1-2 weeks to investigate the matter and put a stop to things, Sensui and his comrades gained the upper hand, even though Yusuke did not fall into their trap when they first looked each other in the eye.

When things do not go as the protagonists or antagonists expect, the story becomes far more interesting than when everything goes according to the way a person planned it, because makes people wonder who is going to come out on top, and because Yoshihiro went this route, I feel like give him some major applause, since this makes me want to start reading the next volume right now.

The thing that I liked the most though was how the volume explored what can happen if either what we think of the world turns out to be a lie or we think that people all act a certain way.

Even though this does tie in a little bit with what I already talked about in this review, I am listing it separately because there are two situations that really stand out in this volume, one is because of virtue that became a vice and the other is one that can only be guessed at this point, since I am not too sure how Studio Pierrot’s anime adaptation differs from Yoshihiro’s work.

First, when it is revealed that Shinobu Sensui is Yusuke’s new adversary and that he was a former spirit detective, Kurama, with everyone around in an in-person meeting, asks how it happened and Koenma said that he saw something that contradicted his sense of justice, which stated that demons were an evil that had to be eliminated.

While this volume talked about Sensui’s sense of justice and what made him feel that way to begin with, what happened to Sensui can happen to anybody, regardless of what it is that they believe in.

For example, many people that have been or are currently members of the church that I attend learned stuff about the church, such as a history where the members and leaders may not completely innocent, of which were many incidents, or the active use of the BITE model in a way that discourages people from thinking for themselves, instead of helping them to leave behind things that really are knowingly detrimental, they will take one of two paths, as a guest post on Manga Therapy discusses. They would either try to come to terms with what they had learned and find their own path that makes them happy or they would try to bring about its destruction, which will happen anyway due to the corruption that comes from greed and apathy.

Sensui believed that all humans were good and that all demons were inherently evil, but during a mission, he saw humans that had a look of satisfaction while they made demons, who were probably innocent, suffer, and he broke down and decided to have humanity go extinct.

This is why I kind of disagree with one of the talks a member of my parish gave that quoted Uncle Hub from Secondhand Lions, one of my favorite movies that is not an anime, which went, “Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most.”

In that talk, which was may have likely resulted because they thought I said knowledge was the most important thing in one of the electronic publications, they said that belief was more important than knowledge because knowledge was limited, and belief would fill in the gaps.

However, it was because Sensui strongly believed that demon were evil that he fell, when he should have accepted the truth that demons were not all bad.

I am not too sure about you guys, but this is a message that needs to be spread far and wide today, because a lot of problems occurring now are because people believe things that are not necessarily true, though I will not deny that there may be incidents in which they are right, and the fact that Yoshihiro put it into this work really improves the quality of this books, which makes me want to give him some major props.

The other incident that really made this stand out on its own was when Kuwabara came into contact with Seaman, or Mitarai.

After the incident with Kamiya, who goes by the alias Doctor, is resolved, Kuwabara decided to go off to a concert with some friends, and Mitarai attacks the four and mocks Kuwabara for trying to rescue his friends.

But then, after Kuwabara successfully freeing his friends, Mitarai asks Kuwabara why he is helping him, and Yusuke Urameshi later tells Mitarai, when he tells Yusuke about the objective of his group and why, that Kuwabara saved him because he saw somebody that desperately wanted help.

From the way that Mitarai acted during his assault on Kuwabara and his friends, it seemed like Mitarai either was a bully victim or believed to have been looked down upon by his peers, and both kinds of people are the ones that people believe to be likely targets of cult recruitment, and, at this point, I am inclined to believe it myself because it is clearly made known in this volume that Sensui indoctrinated Mitarai.

True, this may not be the reason why Mitarai joined Sensui’s group, because Agatha Christie’s A Pocket Full of Rye gives a good illustration of why actions and behavior cannot be trusted completely, but, at this time, it is the only one that makes sense.

However, because Mitarai strongly believed that mankind was evil and that Kuwabara would abandon his friends, he did not think that Kuwabara would help him.

Like Sensui, Mitarai came to believe that all of humanity was evil because of the horrors that he saw from the Chapter Black video, and with him being supposedly isolated from society, he did not realize that humans were not inherently evil, or realize that he was being indoctrinated, not that anybody would know at the time that they are being indoctrinated to think a certain way, until he met Yusuke and his friends.

Seriously, it seems like Yoshihiro is making the psychology of each of his antagonists an important aspect of this portion of the series, and makes to give him a kind of praise that I do not think I can describe, since both situations have real life counterparts.

Stories would be a whole lot better if more people did this more often, because the reader would feel like the characters are actually real.

Unfortunately, because characters in popular anime do not develop characters too much, the would only be something to kill time, not that that is entirely a bad thing.

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

Because Yoshihiro is keeping things interesting, especially by not making things a just as planned moment too often, and delved a bit into how people become evil because of what they believe to be true, made this book fairly enjoyable.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, including one that I thought existed before looking through the events again, nothing really seemed to bother me.

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

Considering that there was quite a bit to like, such as the exploration of how the antagonist’s beliefs led to his fall from grace, this was definitely worth reading.

I recommend this mainly to fans of Yu Yu Hakusho and action, because there was quite a bit of action and Yoshihiro Togashi seems to be on a roll lately.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, because it does a good job of showing that strong beliefs can lead a person to a path of evil, but it might be best to read the previous volumes first.

What are your thoughts on Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 14? Did you like it or hate it? If you liked it, do you think that Yoshihiro might be showing his true potential, or do you think there is still major room for improvement? Was there something you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment.

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