Book Review: Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 18

Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 18 cover

I hope that everyone is having a good week so far.

Things have been going fairly well, even if not exactly as expected, but being able to do something relaxing is also nice.

Back in September, I got 24 titles from Amazon, and I have covered every single one of them until only two remain.

Today, I will be reviewing one of those two books, which is called Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 18 by Yoshihiro Togashi.

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

Yusuke, Hiei, and Kurama have all arrived in Demon World and are either training or helping the person they chose to side with increase their military strength for the impending chaos that will come soon after the death of one of the three demon kings, and Raizen has some advice for Yusuke.

However, Yusuke ignores the advice of his ancestor and begins to enact plans of his own, but that plan might allow the one of the two strongest remaining kings to act upon his ambitions of ruling over all of existence.

I kind of liked this book.

While the previous volume started of dull and took some time to become interesting, this one was able to keep my interest right from the very beginning, and so much so that I did not want to stop for any reason.

Now, it is not like Yoshihiro was not able to do this earlier in the series, but this volume has hardly anything happening, aside from what the penultimate volume should be doing, which showing the final preparations for the last major conflict and showing where the main alliances lie, and that is something to be proud of.

After all, I doubt that anybody would want to read something if even the moments that would be dull in real life were not that interesting in the in a story.

This is what I wanted to see from the end of the Chapter Black saga, but Yoshihiro kind of ruined the best aspects of that saga by making things uninteresting.

Fortunately, Yoshihiro did make a bit of minor improvements and the people who compiled these chapters in the volume did not choose to have the volume start or end at the worst possible moment.

If works of fiction were more like this, there would probably be a lot more work out there that could be considered gems, and there would be no need for reviewers to post their thoughts.

Then again, trying to catch everyone's interest is not the simplest thing in the world, since everyone has different tastes.

I also liked how Yusuke did not rush in and demand a fight with either Yomi or Maruko.

Back in the beginning of the series, and right up to the point where Yusuke met Raizen, Yusuke would rush headlong into matters without thinking things through, with a few exceptions, and be feeling confident that he could defeat his foes.

However, soon after Raizen's death, Yusuke thinks things through and then meets with Yomi because he knew that he was the weakest of the demon kings.

In our society, we encourage people to pursue their ambitions and say that we should jump right into things with an optimistic outlook.

However, as many martial arts practitioners and those that are good at strategy games can tell others, the one to act first, especially based on what their initial impressions are, usually end up losing to those who either start off on defensive or those that have done their research prior to making the first move.

For example, in Dominion, another one of my favorite card games, the board has a few basic cards that are always present, but other cards that are not always in the game are also in the mix, and new players do not even take the time to really see the strengths and weakness of each card, mainly focusing on getting money and the highest value point card(s).

While this approach may work against tables where everyone is either new or fairly new, experienced players will take time to see what cards are on the table and try to figure out an initial strategy and a way to get the cards they want sooner before they even start to take their move, which results in their victory in most instances, though they would have to change up their strategy if the situation calls for it.

In the case of this volume, Yusuke knew that Yomi and Mukuro had centuries of experience, and, from his bouts with Raizen, who kept beating him even though he was starving to death, were a lot more powerful than he was and he decided to take things a little slower.

If Yusuke had just marched right on in and started a war, I would have been mad because Yusuke appeared to have learned nothing over the course of his journey, much like how Goku in DBZ continued to show mercy towards his enemies even he should not have, which resulted in Frieza killing his family in the Resurrection F movie.

However, because Yoshihiro had Yusuke learn from his mistakes, I am now seeing a bit of why I consider Yu Yu Hakusho to be one of the better fighting series out there, even compared to the what is being released in Japan today, though some people might say that Yoshihiro's more recent work, Hunter x Hunter, trumps it by a long shot, which I hope it does, but not enough to actually try to check out the series myself.

And, as a result, I feel like giving Yoshihiro a ton of applause, because Studio Pierrot did not completely upstage him with their adaptation.

Another thing that I liked was how I felt like chuckling a bit while reading this.

In the beginning, Yu Yu Hakusho started off as a comedy, much like Dragon Ball and Detective Conan, but both the Dragon Ball series and Detective Conan flatlined in that department to where I rarely, if ever, got a laugh.

However, in this volume, which precedes the final volume, I still find myself laughing about a few things that occur, like Kurama showing up Yomi's second-in-command, Hokoshin's reactions to what Yusuke did, and other character interactions, even though they are not necessarily unique.

This is one time that things did not go exactly as expected and I am pleased to see that Yoshihiro succeeded where so many have failed.

I may have come into this series thinking that it was going to be a fighting manga, much like how Studio Pierrot's anime adaptation was a fighting anime, but I am glad that the humor was not sacrificed.

After all, fans would become alienated if one the things that they liked so much just up and disappeared.

Seriously, if Yoshihiro has not been taking so many hiatuses with his more recent work, though I am aware that none of remain healthy and we lose interest in things, I would be willing to check out his other works right now just because he was able to keep some humor present for most of the run of this series, and he deserves he some major props for the accomplishment.

The thing that I liked the most though was how the volume ended.

Even though many of the volumes ended in a way that made me want to find out what would happen next, which is a necessity in writing a series, there were instances, such as volume 8, though what Vis did was worse, where there was no excitement for what would come next or, like in volume 16, the way it ended did not make it important to read the next book immediately, which would have helped to make the previous volume more interesting.

Here, however, the people who compiled the chapters into this volume decided to end this volume with Yusuke giving something like a commencement speech, which makes want to read Yu Yu Hakusho's final volume right now, even if there is still more manga exclusive content to come when things get resolved.

Yoshihiro may have done good work with many of the chapters so far, but I highly doubt that he gets to decide when each volume ends because I am not too sure how similar Japan's comic industry is to writing stories in the UK or where I live, though writers do come up against unexpected demands, so he cannot possibly churn out books that end properly.

This is why what the publishers do with a work is just as important as what the author does, even though I can only guess who is at fault for problems from online scans, since I cannot talk directly with the people who create the works I like, mainly due to language barriers, and because the people that compiled this volume did what they did, it made the whole thing a lot better.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, especially because I am so close to the end of the series.

Because things were interesting right from the beginning, even though not a whole lot happened, Yoshihiro continued to make me laugh at things that are not unique to the volume, and that the people who compiled the chapters into this volume ended at a good enough point to make me want to read the final volume right now, this was one of the best magna releases that I have seen.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from issues that are too minor to talk about, nothing really seemed to bother 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, especially ending the right way, this was definitely worth reading.

I only recommend this to fans of Yu Yu Hakusho, because this is the penultimate volume and they are the only ones who will like this.

What are your thoughts on Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 18? 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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