Book Review: Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 15

Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 15 cover

I hope that everyone had, or is having, a happy holiday, now that the last full month of fall, or spring if you live in the southern hemisphere, is coming to a close.

Things have not been that great, and could have been better, but after the undesired events that transpired, I can get back to covering remaining titles in my Amazon order from September.

Today, I will be reviewing one of those books, which is called Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 15 by Yoshihiro Togashi.

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

The fight between Yusuke and Sansui concludes and Sensui's gang captures their intended target, which prompts Yusuke and his allies to take action and face off against the people in Sansui's group.

However, after defeating a person that Yusuke's group was forced to kill, Kurama becomes unsettled, beneath a façade of calmness, and must face off against a familiar face, before the group can face off against Sansui once again.

After seeing how great the Chapter Black saga started off in the last two volumes, with the previous volume doing quite a few things better that the anime and magna coming out these days, not counting Yoshihiro Togashi's later works, since I am not in a good enough position to say whether this is Yoshihiro's only work or not, Things seemed to be looking up for the magna counterpart of one of the shows that introduced my generation anime.

Fortunately, that spark has not left this series in this volume, though I cannot say that things will remaining this way in the final four volumes.

Within the first few pages of this volume, I felt myself being pulled right into world and did not want to stop reading for any particular reason.

Yes, things in this series have not been as boring or tedious for quite some time, but, when looking back through all of my disappointments in the early volumes, it seems like Yoshihiro is finally coming into his own and it is not hard to see why Yu Yu Hakusho is one of his best works, even though I still consider Studio Pierrot's adaptation, with its flaws, to be much better overall.

This is what I keep hoping to see in the various series that get written these days and Yoshihiro delivers, albeit in the final third or so of the series, instead of all the way from the first to the final volume, like Jun Mochizuki was able to do with Pandora Hearts.

Seriously, the various mediums of entertainment, and their forms, such as the animated and live-action formats, would be so much better if people's attention were captured right from the beginning and kept hold off it right until the end.

Unfortunately, I doubt that would ever come to fruition, because books have been around for so long that I doubt anybody alive would have come into contact with a great grandparent that saw the rise of the written word, since many of the grandparents of my generation lived through World War II and the Great Depression, and even the things that are called classics today range from mediocre to great, in terms of quality and enjoyment.

Then again, there may be chance that the quality of fiction can improve in the future, much like how there is always the possibility that a snake would not bite a person regardless of how many times that person shares a bed with the snake, since the person has a fifty percent or so chance of being bitten each individual night.

Still, it is remarkable how far Yoshihiro has come, and it makes me feel like giving Yoshihiro some major applause.

I also liked how a bit of basic psychology came into play yet again.

While the series does not rely on psychology to explain things, like Liar Game did during its run, and was not something that anyone would need anything more than what anybody could figure out on their own through extensive observation, reading, and getting to know people intimately, the antagonists that Yusuke and friends seemed to be rather average until Sensui came into the picture, mainly because they were presented to be evil to begin with.

However, the moment Sansui came about, we finally got a character that we knew from the beginning used to be good and fell because he encountered a situation in which the truth was much more important than what one believed, and is acknowledged by the quote from Uncle Hub that mentioned in my review of the previous volume.

In this volume, we see Sensui using tactics to manipulate others to do his bidding, all while making them forget about any negative consequences, when they would not have otherwise chosen to do so.

When Yusuke's party comes across Amanuma, whose alias is Gamemaster, they find themselves in a real life recreation of a game that a few of them are familiar with and Kurama eventually suspects that things will not end as peacefully as Amanuma thinks it will, as well as Sensui being the one who decided the game.

Even though Amanuma knew what Sensui's ultimate goal was, he, like any other child in society, and, in some respects, ourselves when we talk with our elders, or those who we think know more than we do, willingly did what Sensui wanted because Sensui praised his abilities and withheld the negative consequences of Amanuma's abilities.

Now, you guys might be saying that this would only work for children, because they are naïve, and is the big reason why parents and elder siblings need to protect them, but we can get others by doing our bidding by rewarding them for desired behavior, or making them think they will get what they want.

For example, in the church that I attend, the leaders at the top of the hierarchy, or bottom, if you want to use an upside down pyramid, the elders, and, if you have reached adulthood, peers try convince each other that we must go through certain rituals or ceremonies in a temple so that we would not be separated for our loved ones and can become happier, but, for one of those ceremonies, the families of the individuals cannot attend unless they too went through a special ceremony.

While this is not a big deal in some parts of the world, because marriage laws do not allow the convenience of combining the wedding ceremony with this particular ceremony, which my church calls the sealing ceremony, and, according to a blog post written by Alan Rock Waterman, a former member of my church, was not always the norm where I reside today, it actually does separate people from being able to share the joys of their loved ones, unless they decide to swear loyalty to whoever is part of the group who has wields the most power, which I will most likely never do.

The people that did go through that process did what they did because they thought and believed that they would remain together once they die, but they, like the rest of us, will never know the truth until they do die.

Likewise, Amanuma, who never engaged in a game in real life where either the main antagonist or the protagonist dies, believed that the game would go on forever because he would continually pound Yusuke's party into the ground.

However, when Kurama brought this fact to Amanuma's attention, he began to falter, much like how Sensui experienced a breakdown after finding out that what he believed was a lie all along.

This is why we really need to investigate things before acting on them, instead of relying on people we think we can trust, because we would end up in a trap that we cannot escape.

Yes, Kaito did not experiment too much with his ability, according to what happened in volumes 13 and 14, but Amanuma obviously had a lot of gaming experience and had tried out his abilities a few times, so he should have been aware of what could happen to him.

Unfortunately, we do not always do what we should to do, and, instead, do what we are supposed to do.

Seeing how Yoshihiro did a good job of demonstrating this, I feel like giving Yoshihiro quite a bit of praise, because he is obviously doing quite a bit of research in how humans act, instead of completely relying on imagination, even though I agree with a quote attributed to Einstein that says that imagination is what really fills in the gaps of our knowledge.

The thing that I liked the most though was how Kurama obtained yet another hysterical victory.

After exploiting the weakness of Amanuma's abilities, and being forced to kill a kid, Kurama is a bit disturbed and notices that the elder Toguro had survived the attack his brother made against him before Yusuke and the younger Toguro fought and calls him out, to which is it revealed that he is now truly immortal and has a few other abilities.

Moments later, Toguro is heard screaming and Kurama comes out unscathed, saying that Toguro is experiencing an illusion.

Many people in our society think that immortality is this great thing that would lead us to happiness, as we would not experience the kind of pain that is important for all of us to experience (and I say this while I am also afraid of my own death that will happen one day).

However, immortality is not all that it is cracked up to be.

To illustrate this point, let us say that somebody you care deeply about, such as child, kid brother, kid sister, grandparent, or disabled family member, was being tortured or experiencing some other terrible event that no good and decent person would wish upon his or her enemies. If people were immortal, they would continue to suffer that pain, and we would also be in pain because we could nothing for them.

Yes, such a thing is not a good thing to think about, but death keeps such terrible possibilities from occurring, no matter how much those left behind have to suffer and have to put things back in place.

In this volume, the downside of immortality is played for laughs, because the elder Toguro got what he deserved for making Kurama's wrath worse than it was before.

When I saw this in the anime, which occurs in episode 84 and is viewable on FUNimation's website, I do not remember laughing as much as I was here.

As much as I like the anime more than the manga, because Studio Pierrot improved upon the scenes that lacked any emotional feel in latter, this is one of those moments where I liked how I got a different feeling from the same events, which ran about at the same pace.

If I had to say why I got such a different feeling, it would be because how the animated medium and comic medium work and Studio Pierrot showed Toguro struggling to kill Kurama, as opposed to just showing Kurama just standing there and using sound effects to show Toguro's struggle.

We all have to work around the limits of the medium being used to tell a story and giving of the same feeling in different medium is fairly difficult, though not impossible, and Yoshihiro was able to make this scene enjoyable in spite of the limits of the comic medium, which makes me want to give him quite a bit of praise.

If we could utilize the mediums that we use to tell stories as well as Yoshihiro did in these moments, I have no doubt that fiction in general would be a whole lot better.

Then again, that will not happen for a while, because the people who adapt written works into a visual medium tend to cut out important event that help us grow closer to the characters of work.

Hopefully, Yoshihiro can keep this up, as he brings the series to a close in the next four volumes, otherwise Yoshihiro's work will not be able to stand up to the bar that Studio Pierrot had set with their work.

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

Because Yoshihiro has continued to keep things interesting and showed how we can overlook the weaknesses of what we take pride in, especially by making the weakness of Toguro's immortality hilarious, this book was fairly enjoyable.

Although I liked the book, there were some issues.

However, aside from issues to minor to talk about and one thing that I thought was an issue on Viz Media's end but was not, nothing really seemed to bug me too much.

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

Considering that there was more to like than hate, this was definitely worth reading.

I mainly recommend this to fans of Yu Yu Hakusho, because they will be able to enjoy this the most.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, but it might be better to start out with the earlier volumes first.

What are your thoughts on Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 15? Did you like it or hate it? 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.