Book Review: Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 2

Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 2 cover

I hope that everyone has been having a good week so far.

Things here have been relatively peaceful, enough so that I have been pondering whether I should try something or not, since there seems to be a family member that thinks it would be a good idea to get on YouTube, in spite of the fact that Google has been giving content creators there a rough time.

Whether I try to migrate to doing video reviews, as opposed to written ones remains to be seen, since I feel a lot more comfortable writing, even if there are things that I probably do in a video review that would be hard to capture in this kind of format.

Anyway, I got some books from Amazon last month and covered a few of the titles that I got at the time, and because the first of the two preordered books in that order came, I guess it is time to get back to covering those books, while waiting for the other preorder to show.

Today, I will be reviewing another one of titles I got last month, which is called Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 2 by Yoshihiro Togashi.

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

Yusuke is still busy trying to resolve matters that involve both the living and dead, while biding his time until the moment that he can be completely revived.

However, when something happens at his house that puts the girl he likes in danger, Yusuke makes some rash decisions and must prove himself worthy of being brought back to life, but even if he succeeds, Yusuke only has a very short window of opportunity to be permanently revived.

While the first volume really started things off on the right foot, I cannot say that I liked this as much as I did the previous volume.

Fortunately, there were a few nice things present, so I do not have to jump right into what I hated.

I liked how I was pulled right back into the world of Yu Yu Hakusho, even though I had only been away from the series for almost a month now.

Yes, I do quite a few series that do not get new volumes for quite a few months, such as Detective Conan, which Viz Media releases on a quarterly basis, so my memory of events does help, but, unlike those series, the complete series of Yu Yu Hakusho has been released as both a manga and anime where I live for quite some time now, most likely to the point where it might not be so easy to find through the channels that manga artists and licensors would want people to go through.

If I had to say what it is that really helped draw me in, it was that Yoshihiro was able to keep his writing fairly interesting throughout the timeline of when he was getting these chapters published in Japanese publications.

From the long amount of time that I had spent away from writing, because I had to deal with the pain of losing not only a pet that had been in my life for a long time but also my last living grandfather, I can tell you guys that it is not so simple to keep writing interesting, which is a key element needed in making people want to read a work, even with its flaws, and many can see that my writing does have some problems here.

Of course, the way the writing is kept interesting differs depending on the work, whether it is fiction or something as important as a publication that lets people know about what is coming up.

However, those differences are very small, and the thing that they share is a need for a human element, in spite of how flawed we are.

For a publication that disseminates information, that human element is what sets the tone and makes people want to look through it more often, which is probably why the electronic publication I used to handle for the church I attend was able to gather so many readers, aside from the fact that I was able to generate some laughs out of people.

For a fictional work, the human element is what makes the characters interesting and being able to understand their struggles enough to feel sympathy for them makes people want to continue on and root for that character to succeed, unless the person is going through it all in hopes that the protagonist would die off.

In this work, even though Yusuke Urameshi might not be one of the most unique protagonists out there in manga, or even fiction in general, he and the people around him still seem to come across as actually being people, instead of some cardboard cutout that gets pulled along in whichever direction the writer or the other characters are trying to get them to go.

Good job, Yoshihiro.

Hopefully, Yoshihiro can get himself into a good enough shape to continue working on his more recent works, because this is already the mark of a good writer, and it would be a shame if he were to die now, though I do have to acknowledge that we all suffer from problems as we age, and Yoshihiro is not exactly young any more.

I also liked how there were quite a few funny scenes.

However, unlike Yona of the Dawn, where many of the funny scenes to be found in the early volumes, at least in the first two volumes that Viz Media released where I live, the things that really stood out were the events that were cut out from the anime adaptation.

For example, while Yusuke was temporarily revived in the beginning of this volume, Yusuke finds out that something happened to Keiko and Kuwabara was planning to go save her, which Yusuke thought would fail, Yusuke looked around for a disguise and ended up worrying about Keiko noticing.

Not only was I laughing about Yusuke worrying that Keiko would find out what he did, which she did fairly quickly, I was also laughing at how Keiko miraculously regain consciousness to deal with a fire, only to go back to where she was before, without noticing that Yusuke was right there.

Now, some of you guys might be thinking that this kind of thing is not very believable, as many people would normally be wide awake at the sight of a fire and notice somebody nearby, but not everyone is going to act the same way and that are a lot of variables to go into determining whether a person would notice things.

Besides, Keiko was still pretty much out of it mentally at the time, and it would have taken away from the comedy if she did.

The other thing that really made me laugh was when Yusuke took over control of yet another person's body.

Yes, Yusuke possessed two people as a ghost in anime, like he does in the manga, but the one featured is this volume was way funnier.

If I had to say why, it would have to be because of the way things played out.

In episode 3 of the anime, which can now be watched on FUNimation, Kuwabara has to deal with the same test that cropped up in the first volume and Yusuke just took possession of the body of a girl to beat the living daylights out of people that wanted to beat up Kuwabara, and while it was kind of funny enough to make me laugh, it was just more of the usual comedy found in anime where a female lays the smack down on a bunch males.

Here, however, when Yusuke decided to help out a friend he had not seen for a while, the two actually fight against each other a lot to the point where it looks like the kid is beating himself up and Yusuke actually makes him seem like less of a wimp than he was at the beginning, since people were overestimating him due to Yusuke's exploits.

Now, this is still not something that would be considered high-class comedy among those with refined tastes, but I do not remember laughing as much as I did here when I watched what Yusuke did before Kuwabara started his test.

This is the way comedy is supposed to be delivered and Yoshihiro succeeded in making things that way.

After all, something cannot be funny if it is not delivered in the right way, especially if the kind of stuff that has been done enough times that people automatically think such things would garner laughs.

The thing that I liked the most though was how some people Yusuke encountered actually got themselves out of their own predicament, instead of relying on others, or even God's servants.

After Yusuke came into contact with Sayaka, which was drastically different from how she was introduced in episode 4 of the anime, Sayaka notices trouble brewing that seem a bit similar to a case that cropped up in Ghost Hunt and says that a girl is about to be killed.

Later, when that threat fully manifests, and is the result of the girl's best friend, who is now overwrought with guilt, dabbling in the occult, Yusuke asks Botan what can be done to save the girl, and Botan says nothing can be done because the two girls will have to face things head on and that people have to guide each other onto the right path, and the girl that caused everything realizes what she truly wants, fighting the curse she invoked.

While many people would be like Yusuke and become upset or disappointed that both the heavens and God would just sit by and let things happen, none of us would be able to become better people if all of struggles were taken from us.

As a few people should know from the last post and the post I wrote about my thoughts on God, I do not really agree with everything that is being taught in the church that I attend these days, but that church and I both agree that a loving God would not take our burdens from us because that is how we grow.

In fact, those troubles were what really brought on the emotional feels found in the Clannad visual novel and even helped make events like Edward Elric sacrificing his ability to perform alchemy to get Alphonse Elric back feel like the happy moment that it was in FMA.

Besides, I strongly doubt that anybody would want to read a book where practically nothing happened.

Oh wait! There is a play that I heard about where nothing really happens and it is called Waiting for Godot, which is apparently considered a classic where I live, so I guess there are some people that would read something where nothing really happened.

Still, I am glad that Yoshihiro did have Yusuke solve everyone's problems like usual, because I would have otherwise started thinking that this was a series about Yusuke fixing problems for others, instead of being one of those fighting series where the characters actually grow as the series progresses.

And, as a result, it makes me want to give him a hug, though I doubt we would ever meet face to face.

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

Because Yoshihiro was able to keep things interesting and that there were a few manga exclusive events that made me laugh more than what was seen in the anime, as well as the fact that Yusuke did not solve everything, this book was fairly enjoyable.

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 bother, and, unfortunately they are the same kind of problems found in the first volume.

In case none of you guys read my review of the first volume, I will go through it again, especially considering that the places where this volume fails are a bit different.

First, I did not really get any strong emotional feels during the course of this volume.

For example, when Yusuke's home is lit on fire and Keiko rushes into the flames, in order to keep Yusuke's body safe, I wanted to feel like I was on the edge of my seat from beginning to end and feel for Yusuke's predicament, but I could not.

However, when these same events occur in episode 4 of the anime, I did not want to pause for a second as I was very engaged and was experiencing the same emotions that Yusuke was feeling, and it had more emotional impact when Yusuke ended up making his choice to save Keiko, whereas Yusuke asked Koenma to save Keiko in this volume.

I am not too sure what was going on with Yoshihiro when he originally wrote these chapters, it seems to me that he really has a hard to expressing any emotional feeling when it really counts, because this is an area where the anime far outshines the manga.

Hopefully, those that have read Yoshihiro Togashi's more recent works, like HunterxHunter, can tell if he has improved, because I sure would not like to think that Yoshihiro only had one title that he deserve praise for, much like how Nobuhiro Watsuki failed to impress me with the work he released after Rurouni Kenshin was completed.

After all, a truly great work exudes emotional feels at exactly the right times, because the great writers behind them understand the importance of those feelings.

The thing that bugged me the most, like the first volume, was there was missing content.

Yet again, Viz Media has a listing in the table of contents that says there is extra content, but the volume ends right after The final obstacle Yusuke had to face in this volume.

Really, Viz? This stuff may have been included in the original print releases, but I ordered all of the books I got from Amazon in a digital format, and most of those titles were published by you!

Table of contents pages should be listing what is in the book, but Viz is listing missing items. This not a good sign of any quality and makes me kind of regret buying all the volumes of this series.

I am glad that Viz does not do this with Detective Conan, at least yet, because that would mean that they are not the kind of professional manga publishers that they seemed to be.

Still, that does not mean that they do not deserve to be called out for appearing to be lazy in publishing these volumes digitally.

I want writers and publishers to put a lot of work into making the best possible product that they can muster, and it really shows that everyone worked hard when a titles has done a lot right, with only flaws that can be easily overlooked.

This does not deliver on that aspect and it really disappoints me, especially because this is the second volume in a row that has this issue.

Please, Viz, look over your work before you release it to the general public like you are supposed to.

While there were only two major problems with this work, the fact that this was the second volume in a row where they were as bad as they really hurt the quality of this release.

Despite the fact that there was quite a bit to like about this book, the fact that two issues from the previous volume cropped up again in this one, and in the severity, took this book from being definitely worth reading to only good enough to kill time.

I only recommend this to fans of Yu Yu Hakusho.

As for everyone else, while I would not recommend you guys avoid this volume entirely, I think it would be best to stay away from Viz Media's version of this volume, or at least the digital edition of it, and find a different English publisher to support.

What are your thoughts on Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 2? 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.