Book Review: Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 16

Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 16 cover

I hope that everyone is doing well and preparing for the holidays, especially holidays that are not necessarily on the same day worldwide, such as the Russian Christmas, which at least has some reasoning behind it.

Things have been going fairly well, now that it is probably quiet enough to experiment with video reviews, should I choose to do so, and I can continue on with the last few titles from my Amazon order.

Today, I will be reviewing one of those titles, which is called Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 16 by Yoshihiro Togashi.

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

All but two members of Sensui's group have either been defeated or defected and the rematch between two spirit detectives begins, while Spirit World itself starts to react.

However, even though Yusuke is not having an easy time with Sensui, things become more complicated when everyone finds out that there is a secret that nobody was aware of before and people are afraid of it manifesting.

Even though the Yu Yu Hakusho manga has had a rough start, things have been looking up recently, and that has not dwindled one bit in this volume.

From the very first moment I started reading the first few pages of this volume, I did not feel like putting it down for any reason.

As many should be aware, Yoshihiro Togashi has had a rough time keeping things interesting in the early portion of the series, which was clearly obvious by how much better Studio Pierrot's anime adaptation was, in spite of a few details being left out.

However, as time went on, Yoshihiro finally found his stride and has been able to create something that is enjoyable as Studio Pierrot's work for too many volumes for me to even count now.

This is the kind of thing that aspiring writers or professional writers want to be able to reach one day, because it is hard to keep coming up with anything truly interesting time after time.

Of course, if it were possible for everyone to keep things interesting for such a long time, there would be more gems than garbage, regardless of whether one looked more through the classics or the recent works of fiction out there today.

Still, seeing as Yoshihiro really improved in the quality department makes me really want to check out his other works, though I should really be getting back to working on my current story, and that deserves some major praise.

I also liked how I could feel Kuwabara's pain as he realizing that Yusuke was going to sacrifice himself.

Out of all the problems this series has had in the beginning, Yoshihiro Togashi has been unable to give me the same feelings that Studio Pierrot gave off in their adaptation of this manga, which made it difficult for me to invest myself in the world of Yu Yu Hakusho.

However, once the Dark Tournament saga started getting close to its end, things really improved to the point now where it almost dead even with the bar that Studio Pierrot's adaptation set.

If I had to say why it was almost dead even, in spite of the fact that Studio Pierrot's adaptation still has a bit of an edge, it is because it is shown that Kuwabara has had a history with Yusuke that they shared for the longest time and both the events featured in this volume and what is seen in episode 89, which is viewable on FUNimation's website, go into a bit of depth.

Even though I knew that Yusuke was going to survive when I first saw these events in Studio Pierrot's adaptation, mainly because, like Detective Conan, I had stopped following Yu Yu Hakusho until I got FUNimation's initial DVD releases of episodes 91-112, I felt Kuwabara's emotions and thought that Yusuke was really dead.

Seriously, this is giving me flashbacks to the incident that occurred between Akai and Kir in volumes 58 and 59 of Detective Conan.

Then again, I had read the events that happened in those volumes before Viz released those chapters where I live, whereas with Yu Yu Hakusho, I never even touched the manga until now, which should be obvious from my bias towards Studio Pierrot's adaptation.

Still, that does not mean that Yoshihiro should not be praised, because everyone likes to see improvement over time.

Another nice thing shown was how Sensui stomped Yusuke into the ground, saying that Yusuke lacked experience.

While I did say that experience is not that great in my post from last year on optimism and the briefly mentioned how we, as a society, rely too much on our elders in my review of volume 14, a decent amount of experience is not entirely bad.

For example, back when I was having troubles with a friend during the summer, that friend made a lot of assumptions because they did not really know me as well as they thought did in the year or so that we have been acquainted with each other, as well as did not bother to question what they have been told by my elders, and their inexperience led them into thinking that I had problems that were not the real problem, though to this day I still do have problems in life that I need to address.

Even though those problems would have still happened, if that friend had as much knowledge and experience as I did, they would not have jumped to the conclusions that they did, nor would they have tried to do what I did not ask them to do, although I am still grateful for everything that they have done for me.

In the context of fighting, those with a good deal of experience would be able to anticipate what will come next because they can gauge what the best possible method of attack or defense in almost any given situation.

Yes, the kind of thinking that comes from experience is not entirely foolproof because the person can become set in their ways or think that they solved a problem when they have not, which is an advantage that introverts tend to have, but are not guaranteed to be able to do, but that is the exact reason that I said a decent amount of experience was not entirely bad.

In the case of this volume, Sensui shows that he definitely does have a somewhat adequate amount of experience fighting and trounces Yusuke, at least until Yusuke decides to try something.

If Yusuke did not have as much trouble as he did against Sensui in this volume, I would have been mad because Yoshihiro introduced Sensui as Yusuke's predecessor and somebody that was a very capable fighter.

Fortunately, because Yoshihiro made Sensui a difficult challenge for Yusuke both times that they fought, I am left wondering if Yusuke can really defeat Sensui and it makes me want to start reading the antepenultimate volume of the series right now.

Nice job, Yoshihiro. You have not been letting me down as much as you did back in the early volumes by delivering what I expected to see, and this is something that I have no doubt would impress fans of fighting series or sports events.

The thing that I liked the most though was how Yusuke was revealed to be part demon.

Even though I already knew that Yusuke was a demon, because of the aforementioned fact that I got back into Yu Yu Hakusho when FUNimation originally released episodes 91-112 on DVD, I still felt a little surprised by the revelation.

Throughout the course of the manga, I never once saw an instance where it was suggested that Yusuke was demon and it made me wonder where things would be going next, especially because demons were never really explored in this series.

Yes, Yusuke had been fighting demons for much of the series, but they all seemed to be rather weak, since the younger Toguro was classified as a B-class demon and Koenma only recently revealed that there were demons stronger than Toguro.

Now that Yoshihiro made Yusuke a demon, I have to wonder if he will delve more into what the demons are like in the universe he created, because Studio Pierrot did make the final saga take place in the demon world.

For now, I can only hope that the next saga is the Three Kings saga, and if it is, like it was in Studio Pierrot's anime adaptation, Yoshihiro would be demonstrating that this was all planned, instead of plot convenience, which I currently suspect because there are people that say there is more manga exclusive content coming up after Yusuke's battle with Sensui is decided.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked that cannot be grouped up with what I already talked about.

Because Yoshihiro kept things interesting and showed that adequate experience can give people a run for their money, as well as the fact that he gave me the same kind of feelings that Studio Pierrot could dish out and gave off a hint that he might be exploring demons next, this volume was fairly good.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about and one thing that I am not too sure is plot convenience or not, there was only one thing that bothered me.

After Yusuke revives again and deals with the threat from Spirit World, Koenma and Yusuke go flying through the tunnel to demon world and the volume ends.

Now, this is not the worst way to end the volume, seeing as it was at least better than how volume 8 ended, and it did feel like a decent stopping point, but I just do not seem to be too excited about the conclusion of the fight between Yusuke and Sensui.

I wanted to feel more pumped of the conclusion of the saga, but I only feel like things can wait until sometime next week.

Readers want to be given a reason right at the end of a volume to continue on with a series and go out and made to feel like they need the next volume right now.

That is what makes a great series and a few writers have been able to pull this off, but Yoshihiro was not quite there.

If I had to say what the best way to end this volume at would have been, it would have been like how Studio Pierrot finished off the anime counterpart of the events in this volume.

In episode 91 of the anime, things happen pretty much the same way as they do in this volume, with some small differences, and then Yusuke and Koenma appear right before Sensui in demon world with Yusuke saying, at least in FUNimation's dub, “I'm sorry I got delayed. Traffic was a bitch, but I'm back and I'm ready to finish this!”

The moment that I saw that, I wanted to start watching the next episode right then and there because everything felt like exciting and that it was just getting started.

However, in this volume, because it just ended while Yusuke and Koenma were riding on Pu, I was more excited about finding out what was going to happen next, as opposed to the final clash between Yusuke and Sensui, which is the big fight in this saga.

Maybe, there is more manga exclusive content to come before the arc that is said to occur after the events in demon world, but I should be feeling excited about the fact that things will soon be decided between Yusuke and his predecessor.

Then again, as I said before, this is not the worst way to end a volume, and Yoshihiro has done an otherwise good writing the chapters, so I will just label this as a minor annoyance, because it is not something that really needs to be fixed.

While there was only one thing that bothered me, the fact that it was more of a minor annoyance than a huge problem ended up doing very little, if any damage to the quality of this work.

Considering that the only thing wrong with this work was only a minor annoyance and that Yoshihiro keeps doing good work, this was definitely worth reading.

I recommend this to fans of fighting series and Yu Yu Hakusho, because the fighting was not really that bad and things are starting to get interesting.

As for everone else, this might be worth giving a try, since this is the part of the series where I became reacquainted with Yu Yu Hakusho after a long time away from it, but it might be better to read the earlier volumes first.

What are your thoughts on Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 16? Did you like it or hate it? Do you agree that the only thing wrong with this volume are minor annoyances or is there more that I have not mentioned? Was there anything that you liked that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.