Book Review: Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 4

Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 4 cover

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

Things have been going been going pretty well, while I try a few things out, and it is even nicer to be able to do something relaxing.

As many of you guys know, I got some ordered some books from Amazon last month, and while I have yet to cover half of them, especially with one title yet to arrive, I have covered quite a few of them.

Today, I will be reviewing another one of those titles, which is called Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 4 by Yoshihiro Togashi.

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

After having beaten the three demons that stole artifacts from the spirit world, Yusuke is sent on an undercover mission to prevent a demon from inheriting Genkai's techniques, and he is now participating in the final test.

Unfortunately for him, Genkai's trials and training are not the only things that await him because four more demons, who all share a similar goal that might wipe out the city where Yusuke lives, are causing trouble for the spirit world and things may become quite difficult for Yusuke, even when he gets help from some faces that he thought he would never see again.

While most of the volumes of this series that I have read so far were fairly enjoyable in some way, I cannot say that I liked this one too much.

Fortunately, there were a few things that I liked, so I do not need to skip right into what I did not like.

I liked how things picked up right where the previous volume left off.

Now, out of all the problems this series has had so far, which was either because of Yoshihiro himself or Viz Media, this has not been one of those problems, but a lot of confusion starts to crop up when trying to get things to continue on over a large amount of time, especially when there is a long pause in the work.

For example, after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes in The Final Problem, which was supposed to be the first and last story to feature Professor Moriarty, people have noted that Sherlock's character changed so much that they did not feel like the Sherlock they saw was the one that they knew, even though the people that read the story featuring Sherlock's return when it originally came out, which was 1903, according to Wikipedia, and backed up by a page on the Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia, which I could only partially verify with help from links found on a page found on the University of Pennsylvania's domain name, probably did not care as much as the today's Sherlock fans do.

While I cannot say for sure that there was a definite a change in Sherlock, since I have not read all of Sherlock stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, it was bound to happen, because Arthur Conan Doyle stepped away from writing about Sherlock for a fairly long time.

However, in the case of this volume, since the chapters were published in Shuukan Shounen Jump, otherwise known as Weekly Shonen Jump, according to Baka Updates Manga, that would not be too much trouble, depending on how hard Yoshihiro Togashi was working at it.

After all, this is still the early portion of the series, and, as far as I can guess, Yoshihiro was not yet facing the troubles that he is now.

Readers do not want to be confused about what is going on in a work and Yoshihiro really delivered.

I sure hope that I do not live to see the day where the opposite becomes the norm, because my faith in humanity would decline much more than it has with the recent manifestation of the kind of apathy that Shinichi Akiyama from Liar Game warns about in the 29th chapter, which I quoted in a post that I linked to in my review of the second volume of the series.

I also liked how the fights that happened during Genkai's trial interesting.

While they were not as interesting as I would have liked it to be, since the fights that have happened so far were decided much more quickly than they were in the anime, I still could not really take my eyes away from the fights that did occur, especially the major one, which was Yusuke vs. Rando.

Fans of fighting of any kind, regardless of whether those fights happen in fiction, like this series, or real life, since I have known a few UFC fans, want the fights to be interesting and not feel as dragged on as the fights in DBZ.

Yoshihiro keeps on delivering in this aspect and it makes me want to change my mind all the more about whether I would check out his other work, though I probably would not do so, unless he somehow does what Tadashi Kawashima did with Alive: The Final Evolution, as that series ended around the time Tadashi died.

Good job, Yoshihiro.

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

Even though most of the comedic moments could be found in the anime, like how the comedic moments in the Yona of Dawn manga were pretty much the same as those seen in the anime, I could still find myself chuckling a bit.

However, not all of the funny parts could be found in the anime.

For example, when Kurama faces off against Genbu and finishes him off, I felt like laughing hysterically, as if I were being evil to the people in The Sims 3.

While this fight was featured in episode 15 of the anime, which can be viewed on FUNimation, and ended in the same manner, I did not laugh too much towards the end, whereas I actually felt like laughing here.

If I had to say why, it is because of the fact that this fight came to a close rather quickly, when compared to the anime.

True, the fight in the anime only took one episode to finish, as opposed to the many episodes it takes for Goku and friends to finish an enemy in DBZ, but its duration in the anime, which starts somewhere around 10 minutes and 50 seconds into the episode and ends at around 20 minutes and 50 seconds, gave of a more serious feel than.

Not only was the duration longer in the anime, but Kurama's final words were, "Farewell."

However, in this volume, the last thing Kurama said before killing Genbu was, "Well, now…", which he said prior to throwing the all-important stone.

From a series that I was quite sure was known for its serious, yet quick, fights, I was not expecting to find myself laughing so much during the conclusion of the fight, instead of just the state that Genbu was in prior to his death.

Nice job, Yoshihiro. I hope that the future volumes will be able to make me laugh just as much this did.

The thing that I liked the most though was how things were explained outright for everyone, including the enemy, to hear.

While I have not been following anime and manga for my entire life, at least knowingly, since I was not too well aware that not all the cartoons on television were produced by studios in the country where I live, I only remember really noticing this in the anime and manga that came out around the time Naruto and Bleach aired on television started divulging how attacks and counters work outright.

Unfortunately, as many people complain about when commenting on the currently manga popular series, this is a stupid thing to do in real life, much like a trained and seasoned fighter can predict what kind of attack is coming from a stance, unless their opponent is planning on using feints, which I do not think is all that uncommon, and should, likewise, be a stupid thing to do in manga.

Yes, the writer may be doing this to explain the mechanics of the ability, but I kind of dislike this kind of tactic as well.

In this volume, however, that does not happen at all, or at least not until the opponent was soundly defeated.

The best case of this is during Kurama's against Genbu.

When Kurama initially cuts Genbu into pieces, Kurama gives off the same explanation that he does in the anime, yet it is all in his mind, just like Genbu's question was not remarked on out loud.

This is how I wish things were handled, because it seems to be that much more believable, especially because experienced strategy game players would not openly reveal what they are about to do or the weaknesses in their own strategy.

I am not too sure if Yoshihiro Togashi is as big into gaming as Nobuhiro Watsuki seemed to be in his intermissions that cropped up in Rurouni Kenshin, since there were a lot of intermissions in the Jinchu arc, but he certainly does understand how to appropriately to reveal information to readers, unlike many of the writers in the manga industry now.

Seriously, if more writers in the manga industry would follow Yoshihiro's style of doing things, fighting anime and manga would be a whole lot more enjoyable than it is today, though many series would need better fights to begin with too.

Unfortunately, things in the quality department will only get worse, much like the previous generations believes that media has become worse in a moral sense too, which I will not debate, so I guess that it will be a very long time before quality is demanded once again.

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

Because things from the previous volume were resolved, as they should have been, and one of the fights that were presented made me laugh more than it did in the anime, as well as the fact that Yoshihiro did not reveal how Kurama detected Genbu in a way that Genbu would hear, made this a fairly decent read.

Although there were things to like about this book, there are some issues.

However, aside from issues that are too minor to talk about, only one thing really bothered me.

Fortunately, that one thing exists only in this volume, at least as far as I know right now.

Much of the volume felt rather boring.

While I was not expecting things to be as great and exciting as the anime was, the way that Yoshihiro handled the chapters that appeared in the previous three volumes made me want to continue on reading and I really lost focus of my surroundings.

However, in this volume, once the fight with Rando was over, I wanted to stop reading the book right then and there.

True, it could be because Yu Yu Hakusho became more of a fighting series in the previous volume, but I really doubt that is the reason.

If I had to say what the real reason was, it was because things felt like they dragged on way too much.

For much of the time that I have been going through these chapters, I have noticed that things go at a quick, yet easy to follow, pace and I was hoping that things would continue on like that, but the moment that the Saint Beasts become a threat, it slowed down.

Yes, stories need to change between a slow and fast pace, in order to skip over unimportant details or reveal the important details, but that change in pacing should also feel natural, and the way that is handled here does not really feel that natural.

Honestly, Studio Pierrot gave the anime adaptation a more natural feel in terms of pacing than Yoshihiro had in this volume.

I am not too sure if Yoshihiro improved in this department when he started working on Hunter x Hunter, but I very disappointed in him.

Maybe, things will improve as progress through this series, or I will get used to how Yoshihiro handles his pacing in a fighting series, but I cannot really overlook it at this point.

What happened, Yoshihiro? This is not how one keeps the writing interesting.

For now, I will keep on pressing through this series, since I doubt that what I saw in the previous volume was just a fluke, but if it keeps happening, I might as well forget reading the other volumes in this series.

While there was only one problem present in this book, the problem was bad enough to take this from being great to just being okay.

Despite the fact that there was quite a bit to like, the negative outweighed it enough to make this book only good enough to kill time.

I recommend this mainly to fans of fighting, as that was what was mostly great about this volume, though fans of Yu Yu Hakusho may find some things to like as well.

As for everyone else, it might be better to watch the anime at this point, but I would not say that it is time to throw in the towel for the manga, since the series is technically still at the beginning.

What are your thoughts on Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 4? Did you like, hate it, or, like me, just fine it okay? Was there something that you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment.

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