Book Review: Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 5

Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 5 cover

I hope everyone is doing well, and had a good Halloween.

Except for the fact that I have been having troubles being able to work on my story, things have been going fairly well, and I am now ready to get back to the stuff on the back burner.

As many of you guys know, I got a few titles from Amazon a while back, totaling around 24 titles, and I have covered a third or so of those titles before the extensive break that I recently took, which means that there is still quite a bit more to go.

Today, I will be covering another one of those titles, which is called Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 5 by Yoshihiro Togashi.

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

Yusuke and his comrades are still chasing after the four saint beasts, in order to find the whistle that is wreaking havoc in the human world, and making good progress, but when the strongest of the four demons targets somebody close to Yusuke, things become personal for Yusuke and he must deal find a way to stop the worst from happening.

However, Yusuke’s most difficult ordeal may not be the Saint Beasts, as he gets pulled into another skirmish without getting adequate rest.

While the first few volumes were relatively decent, especially when the series transitioned on to a fighting series in the third and fourth volumes, this one did not really impress me too much.

Fortunately, there were a few things that I liked, so I do not need to skip right into the bad.

I liked how Viz is staying consistent in their digital releases.

Back in the first two volumes, the table of contents listed items that were nowhere to be found, though they may have existed in the print editions, which I cannot verify because the release dates listed on Amazon for many of the volumes makes me think that they are out of print, so getting them would be as difficult as, and expensive, as it was for me to get all volumes of Detective Conan between volumes 26 and 42.

However, starting with the third volume, Viz got their act together and fixed the table of contents in their digital releases so that there was nothing as confusing as those first two volumes.

This what I like to see from publishers, because products that contain what they say they contain is one thing that consumers expect.

After all, people are happier when they get more than they expect, as opposed to the opposite.

If this were the norm in our society, regardless of the goods or services being sold, there would not be any need for people like me to be out there and tell people that we would probably never meet what we thought, though word of mouth would still be necessary for businesses to survive.

I also liked how there were a few things that were funny present in the volume.

While much of the funny things that occurred in this volume could also be found in the anime, and were not as funny as they were in the anime, I still felt like chuckling a bit, especially at the moment where Keiko says that she does not want to be left in the dark any more.

It looks like Yoshihiro is doing a good job keeping the humor around, even though this series is no longer a comedy, because the anime would have probably not had any of those scenes if the manga did not have it.

Then again, I am not too sure how well Studio Pierrot can do when they run out of source material, since I have not watched all of their anime, whereas Bones Studio still gets a few praises for how they ended the 2003 adaptation of FMA.

The thing that I liked the most though was how Hiei started to see some development in this volume.

At the beginning of this arc, Hiei was only helping Yusuke in hopes that it would reduce the sentence he received from Spirit World, not because he actually felt like going to help the Spirit World, and he even swore revenge on Yusuke.

However, when they entered the castle, Hiei did not take the opportunity to kill off Yusuke, stating that things will go quicker with their help.

Yes, at this point in the series, regardless of whether one is talking about the anime or manga, we do not really know Hiei that well, but from the moment that he was introduced in the volume 3 of the manga, he actually seems to be evil, thus making his transition into one of the good guys make much more sense.

In the anime, Hiei just seems like a good person that does not know how to deal with people throughout the entire course of the early portion of the series, instead of an evil demon slowly becoming good, and it takes away from some of the development that Hiei would experience throughout the series.

Not only was the change in Hiei more noticeable because of how different a scene from the previous volume played out, but at the conclusion of Hiei’s fight with Seiryu, Yusuke says that he would have been dead if Hiei did to Yusuke what he did to Yusuke and Hiei says that he might be right with very little enthusiasm.

Even though things play out in a similar manner in episode 18 of the anime, which is viewable on FUNimation, the anime adaptation continues to make Hiei out to be somebody who is just misunderstood, because Kurama says that Hiei is starting to like Yusuke.

However, in this volume, Kurama says that Hiei not only changed after entering the castle, but that Yusuke may be a good influence on him.

The manga may still not be as great as the anime was, but this makes me believe that each of the four characters will grow over the course of the series, whereas Yusuke was the only one that seemed to have went through major developments over the course of the anime, though Hiei’s past was eventually covered before the anime ended.

If Yoshihiro can keep this up, there might be more to like about the anime, than just having things make much more sense than before, especially because a few people following Yoshihiro Togashi’s more recent work, Hunter x Hunter, claim that he got better at developing his characters after completing this series.

This is one of the reasons that myself and many others continue on watching anime and reading manga, because, with a few exceptions here and there, even among series created in the where I live, they tend to have characters that grow, in addition to a story to follow, instead of characters forgetting the lessons they learned in the past.

Unfortunately, the only place where these kinds of advantages can be consistently found where I live is in the prose books that are actually good in many ways, such as Weston Kincade’s A Life of Death, instead of books that so-called experts say is good, though things do seem to be changing a bit these days.

If all work can improve in this area, especially my own, since I do make the same mistakes that I chastise many writers for making, which is why I hardly, if ever, call anything perfect, and even refuse to adopt the kind of rating scales that people are accustomed to seeing.

Good job, Yoshihiro. Things are looking rather bright, even if this is one of the weakest volumes in the series.

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

Because Viz has been consistent in making sure that the table of contents actually lists what can be found in the volume and that there were a few laughs, as well as the fact that the change in Hiei seems to be more believable, this volume was relatively decent.

Although there were things to like, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, there is only one thing that bothered me.

This book was awfully boring.

Unlike the previous volumes, where I was pulled into the world and felt excited to see what was going on from the moment that I first started reading, I instead found myself wondering whether things were over yet.

In fact, I did not seem to become even remotely interested in what was going on until Yusuke fought Suzaku.

If I had to say why, it would be because this series is now a fighting series and what is to be expected is not delivered.

Yes, Yoshihiro continues to do a few things right, like not revealing enough information out loud to make weaknesses obvious, but it really seems like he forgot what made the fights in the other volumes so exciting.

In the earlier volumes, there was tension and, even with knowledge from the anime of who would win or lose, the outcome still seemed to be unpredictable.

However, throughout this entire volume, there was very little tension to be found.

Really, Yoshihiro? This is one of the earliest fighting series that many people of my generation were introduced to anime through and you cannot deliver any tension?

Heck, DBZ, which is known for dragging on its fights by giving too much time to certain things, such as transformations, was still able to create tension in its fights.

Even Studio Pierrot made these things more interesting in the anime adaptation of this series, and the Yu Yu Hakusho anime is known to not drag things out as much as DBZ did.

Both had interesting fights that had me on the edge of my seat, but this volume only had it once Suzaku took the stage.

Fans of fighting events and shows want things to be as interesting as everyone else, and if the fights are not interesting, they will not continue watching.

Yoshihiro may have improved in his later works, but since the two previous volumes make this a fighting series, Yoshihiro should have realized what makes interesting fights, especially because the final volume of the Dragon Ball manga was released in August 1995, according to Amazon Japan, and this volume was originally released in March 1992, also according to Amazon Japan, which means that Yoshihiro could get an idea of what works and what does.

There is a reason why fights that are decided quickly are rare in the world of anime and manga, and Yoshihiro really should have lengthened the fights present here to add in what is desperately needed, though it does not need to be as long as fights in DBZ.

This makes me glad that I did not fully invest myself in the manga when Viz was still releasing these volumes where I live in print, because I would have probably written it off as a poor excuse on a fighting series.

Hopefully, things will only improve from here, otherwise I will not be able to see the reason why there are some people who think that the Yu Yu Hakusho manga is better overall than the anime, thus making me decide to just forget reading this series at all.

However, right now, this is a major problem that may come to haunt the volumes yet to come and Yoshihiro should be ashamed.

While there was only one problem, the problem was bad enough that it took the volume from decent to rather terrible.

Even though there were a few things to like, the fact that the only major thing wrong with this volume overshadowed that good made this a waste of time.

I recommend everyone avoid this like the plague, even though it does show Hiei going through a bit of development, because Yoshihiro forgot that this series became a fighting series and did not make things too interesting, and just watch the anime version of these events instead.

What are your thoughts on Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 5? Did you like it or hate it? If you hated it, did you find this volume as boring as I did? Was there something you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment.

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