Well, this is certainly surprising, huh?
As many are aware, I got quite a few books from Amazon back in September, and I have been going through them off and on for a while to the point where I was not too sure whether I could finish before the year's end.
Fortunately, I was able to get enough time to go through the five remaining titles and went through each of them until only one remains.
Today, I will be reviewing that last book, which is called Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 19 by Yoshihiro Togashi.
As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.
The Demon World tournament continues and the biggest contenders make it all the way to the main event and each person has their own goals.
However, trouble continues to follow Yusuke when the dust settles, and the four friends who went their separate ways are reunited to stop another problem that will affect the human, demon, and spirit worlds.
I kind of liked this book.
After reading the first few pages, I felt like I was sucked right into the world of Yu Yu Hakusho again and did not want to put down this book for any reason, even though I do have the same needs as everyone else.
Now, a lot of you guys may be feeling bored from me repeating this, and I will not deny that there are some low points, but being able to hook a reader's attention is not necessarily easy, even if the said reader is a fan of the series.
For example, I thoroughly enjoyed Sword Art Online, at least up until the Fairy Dance arc, but the first novel, which all the SAO fans declare is perfect the way it is, I had a really hard time getting into it because it felt very tedious, though I did also have a hard time feeling for the characters like I did in the anime.
Here, however, Yoshihiro was able to keep things fairly interesting, like he has been able to do for a vast majority of the volumes of this series.
It is nice to see that Yoshihiro finally understands how to make things interesting, even though there are rumors that problems with the publisher in Japan did not allow for the series to end the best way possible, and it makes me interested in seeing what Yoshihiro can really do if he was able to relax more.
I also liked how I actually felt like a few times during this volume.
While the humor found was nothing unique, in comparison to anime or manga in general, it was still funny nonetheless because Yoshihiro was handling it correctly.
The funniest things present though were all in the manga exclusive content.
For example, when Yusuke gets a gig trying to weed out a problem at Keiko's school and brings things to a close, Keiko refuses to pay because Kurama resolved the matter and Yusuke decides to get back at her by giving her uniform to his mother.
Yes, this is not something that fans of the series would not expect, but it was pulled off so well that I actually felt like laughing.
I sure wish that Gosho Aoyama could pull this off in Detective Conan, because things would be a whole lot more enjoyable when the cases themselves are dull.
Unfortunately, Gosho has been playing more on serious relationships and knocking Richard and Serena out than trying to use the quirks of the characters themselves, so getting anything as good the things that happen between Yusuke and Keiko would be asking for a little much.
Another thing that I felt like laughing about was when Yusuke and his friends infiltrated Spirit World for their final, and relatively minor, conflict.
When Yusuke and the others arrived in Spirit World, they discuss things like they are trying to come up with some kind of plan that could match the Mission: Impossible movies with details on security, such as timing of security cameras, and then, moments after they begin to infiltrate, which is shown more as a montage, they do what they were planning do and just walk about the place like it was business as usual.
Normally, this would get on my nerves, since the main cast is taking their time with an urgent matter, but Yu Yu Hakusho's manga has been able to remain funny from the beginning all the way up to this volume, and, for that reason alone, I am actually willing to talk about this as one of the good things about this book.
The thing that I liked the most though was how things actually felt like an ending.
Now, I have not read or watched everything out there in the world, but I have encountered quite a few series that ended without have some kind of closure, such as Liar Game, which ended in a way that suggested that there was more to the story, and such stories are rather irritating.
On the other hand, many of the series that I do like, such as Pandora Hearts, tend to have an end that actually felt like one, even if it ends in a way that allows for the story to be extended.
Yoshihiro did just that by not only bringing about the end of the last major conflict, with was resolved with the tournament in demon world, and showed what happened to many of the characters that were introduced as friends and allies were going through in their new lives, such as Yusuke setting up shop as a private investigator under the guise of a ramen shop, Hiei getting bored of patrolling for humans, and Koto becoming famous in the human world.
While I think that the way Studio Pierrot ended the anime adaptation was vastly superior, I have got to hand it to Yoshihiro. I was not expecting to feel as content as I do about the ending presented here, and I am glad that the series was not extended out to the point where it becomes boring, like so many series these days.
For all the problems that I have noticed in this series, I am kind of willing to overlook them enough just because Yoshihiro ended things fairly well, even if it was a bit rushed, which people seem to bring up quite often, and shows that this series is definitely one of his best works.
Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that would be worth mentioning on its own.
Because I was quickly drawn into the book and I had gotten quite a few laughs, as well as the fact that it really did feel like the end, 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, there were only two things that really bothered me.
First, the fight between Yusuke and Yomi was never shown.
Throughout all of the anime, and even the manga, we see Yusuke change from a delinquent with a terrible reputation into a person that people could respect, and that change was fairly obvious, though gradual, but I never really felt like Yusuke had finally come into his own.
Yes, Genkai did get on his case during the last skirmish of the series, but he seemed to be a real idiot even up to that point.
However, when Studio Pierrot's anime adaptation ended, Yusuke did seem like he had come into his own.
The reason for this was because Yusuke's final conflict was not with any of the two remaining demon kings Mukuro and Yomi, but finding out why he was still fighting. This was kind of obvious point to cover because Yusuke had become bored with the human world when things transitioned from the Chapter Black Saga to the Three Kings saga, and Yusuke would eventually become bored of the life he lived in the world of demon.
Yusuke and Yomi's fight not only ended up being one of the best fights in Yu Yu Hakusho, but also the point of the series where Yusuke had actually found himself, instead of waiting to be killed.
Unfortunately, Yusuke just seems to be content with things as they are and does not and the only thing shown of Yusuke's fight with Yomi was just them facing each other and a brief moment of the fight.
Come on, Yoshihiro! Yomi was one of Yusuke's biggest foes, and even though the contents of this volume said that their fight lasted 60 hours, I still wanted to see what Yusuke could really do as a half demon.
I guess I'll just have to watch episodes 110 and 111, which are both viewable on FUNimation's website, again to enjoy this experience, because this series had me so pumped to watch these two guys clash.
It might not have added much in the manga, but it would have definitely ended on a much better note if the fight was covered fully, instead of the skirmish that does happened after the tournament.
Hopefully, Yoshihiro has not done something as disappointing in his later works, but, with the constant hiatuses of his current work, I am not too willing to find out.
The thing that I hated the most though was how this volume took too long to end.
While the volume was mostly interesting, I just felt like I wanted things to ended after the tournament was decided, because when the tournament concluded, everything was over and there were no more loose ends, so Yoshihiro could have ended it after showing what became of everyone.
However, instead of ending it, Yoshihiro decided to have Yusuke and the gang deal with one more problem.
Really, Yoshihiro? This is not a good way to end the volume. There are times when a story can properly end and that was ruined by making this skirmish important to the series finale.
The ending can have a big impact on a series, as it can make a terrible series great, as was the case with Judge, but it can also ruin things. That is why a writer has to pay attention to the flow of the story, because the story can reveal when it should end, and Yoshihiro did not do that.
Should Yoshihiro left this skirmish out of the picture entirely? I do not think so, because it was not terrible, but I think that it would have worked best as a bonus chapter, like the way Kurama and Hiei met was shown in a bonus chapter featured in volume 7.
After all, those events did scream out that it was more of a bonus chapter than something relevant to the end of the series.
If he did that, the volume would not have felt like it dragged on like it did, in addition to allowing me to laugh about what Yusuke and the gang does.
Unfortunately, because it does play some importance to the series finale and also has the series drag its feet, this ends up being on the high end of a minor issue in my book and ended up hurting my enjoyment.
While there were only two things that bothered me, the only thing that hurt the book was the fact that something that felt like it should have been a bonus chapter was actually part of the main story did the most damage.
Despite the fact that there were a few things that were not so great, the good outweighed this enough to make it worth reading.
I only recommend this to fans of Yu Yu Hakusho, because this is the final volume and they will be able to enjoy this the most.
What are your thoughts on Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 19? Did you like it or hate it? Regardless of what you thought, do you agree that the final skirmish after the demon tournament would have been better as a bonus chapter or am I missing something? Was there something that you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment.
Use an app on your on phone (e.g. Scan for Android) to capture the image above. If successful, you should be taken the web version of this article.