Book Review: Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 6

Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 6 cover

I hope that everyone is doing is well, especially now that it is getting to that point of the year where the weather starts to shift into next season, which will mean cold weather in the northern hemisphere and hot weather in the southern hemisphere.

Things have been going fairly well, aside from the annoyances that seem to crop up every even numbered year here, though it might take a while for me to get back into the groove of things.

As many of you know, I got some books from Amazon back in September, and even though I have not knocked out all of them, I have at least managed to get the numbers down to less than 20.

Today, I will be reviewing one of those remaining titles, which is called Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 6 by Yoshihiro Togashi.

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

Yusuke Urameshi has garnered a reputation among demon kind after taking down both Rando and Suzaku, and they want his blood.

Fortunately for them, Yusuke's mission to rescue a demon girl from the clutches of the human under world pits him against two of the most infamous mercenaries around and one of them demands that Yusuke, Kuwabara, Hiei, Kurama, and one person of their choosing to participate in deadly fighting tournament, if they want to survive.

After the disappointment that was the previous volume, I was not too sure if I was going to continue on with this series.

However, after reading this volume, my hope has been rekindled a bit, though not enough to have faith in Yoshihiro.

I liked how I was sucked right into the world within the first few pages.

Yes, a lot of works that I recently read do have this quality about them, but this not the kind of thing that is easy to accomplish.

After all, The Book Thief and A Certain Magical Index Volume 1 were both rather tedious for the vast majority of the time I spent reading them.

Of course, there are plenty of other bad examples from writers who were considered good in the past.

In the case of this volume, Yoshihiro seems to have realized that the chapters in the previous volume were not as interesting as before, and added in some excitement, even when things were decided quickly.

There may be moments, even now, where I would prefer watching the anime to reading the manga, but I am at least glad that Yoshihiro did not make me feel bored out of my mind like he did in the previous volume.

It makes me so happy to see this kind of thing happening, because it shows that this series is not as overhyped as the anime that is popular these days.

Then again, the people that compiled these chapters into volumes over in Japan do deserve some credit too, because they are going to have some say of what chapters will be published in each volume.

I also liked how Yusuke does not discriminate when it comes to fighting.

When Kuwabara and Yusuke going storming Tarukane's estate, they come across the Demon Triad, or Ogre Triad, in the Viz Translation, and Kuwabara says he cannot fight girls, yet Yusuke seemingly charges right in.

While my elders would probably reprimand me for doing what Yusuke did here, since they think that chivalry, and gentlemanly and ladylike behaviors are things to be proud of, I too would not discriminate based on age or gender, if I were to engage somebody in fight, which would only happen if I am forced into it.

After all, the statistics used as proof for why men should not attack women are, like practically everything else based on percentages to show data, nothing but incomplete data.

What actually decides who wins a fight is intellect and agility, with the former being probably more important, not strength, especially because some women are stronger than the average man and some men are weaker than the average woman.

Now, a lot of you guys might be going on about why I am thinking this way, since many forms of entertainment shows the woman running away scared and men in a blind rage, but in actuality men and women can be found in either position and the frightened individual will eventually strike back. This is the reason why there are phrases like "Beware the nice ones" and even phrases about cornering animals, though there are also instances where quiet people suddenly become aggressors, otherwise introverts would not be stereotypically labeled possible serial killers or would-be murderers.

In fact, in the episode 24 of the anime, which can be viewed on FUNimation, Yusuke seems to be a bit more in line with the people who are think that chivalry, which is not actually what my elders think it, according to a review by Sarah Douglas found on Ohio State University's Origins and a post by a user under the alias of Ovid on Myths Retold, is something to be proud of, because he seems to have express a dislike of attacking women in general.

However, in this series, before Yusuke died, he was a delinquent with a terrible reputation, and, as such, I think Yusuke would have not adhered to the so-called virtues of chivalry, even though he does have a female childhood friend, like most male protagonists in anime these days, and, in this volume, Yoshihiro stayed consistent with Yusuke's past, by saying that he would have went easy on his opponent if she was actually a female, which ends up making much more sense with his character than how Studio Pierrot portrayed him to be in the anime.

Besides, I doubt that anybody would believe that Yusuke was as bad as his teachers and peers at school made him out to be if he had any reservations about hitting girls.

This is one area where many writers, including myself, need to improve, because readers do not want characters that are suddenly different from how they were portrayed to be in the beginning of a work. Readers want to see characters changing slowly over the course of a work, and Yoshihiro delivers.

Good job, Yoshihiro, you have given me much more reason to check out your other work, at least if your current health was not affecting the more recent titles.

Another nice thing were the funny moments that were present in this volume.

The funniest moment was found, yet again, on Yusuke's mission to rescue Yukina.

While on a rampage through Tarukane's estate, Kuwabara and Yusuke dispatch many opponents with relative ease and take out two members of the Demon Triad, flashing their fingers at the cameras to count down the number of opponents, which makes the younger Toguro excited to face them, and then right at the start of the next chapter, we see Kuwabara and Yusuke lay the smack down on Gokumnoki, who says he did not even get a chance to introduce himself.

These guys were all underlings and everyone who has seen the anime wants to see the showdown between the Toguro brothers and Yusuke and Kuwabara, but I do not remember laughing about such a beating, except for maybe Kurama's fight with Genbu from volume 4, even though that fight did last longer than Gokumonki's beat down.

I am not too sure about you guys, but if this fight were dragged out more, like many of the fights during the Saint Beasts arc should have been, I would not have enjoyed this as much, considering that the anime version of this encounter, which starts approximately 13 and a half minutes into episode 24 and ends at around 15 minutes into the same episode, felt like it was needlessly dragged on.

This is why the fights found in a fighting series must be interesting, in addition to having some tension, and, aside from Botan being a hostage, this encounter had absolutely no tension in the anime.

In fact, because Yoshihiro had Kuwabara and Yusuke one-shot Gokumonki, and left Botan out of the equation, I want to give Yoshihiro a big round of applause.

I just hope that Yoshihiro can come out with something else that surpasses the greatness of Studio Pierrot's adaptation than just finishing off pointless fights quickly and fleshing characters out better, because I am not too sure if I will continue laughing when I go through the remaining 13 volumes.

The thing that I liked the most though was towards the end of what is considered the Spirit Detective saga and the beginning what is considered the Dark Tournament saga.

After Yusuke and Kuwabara take care of the Toguro brothers, the younger Toguro finds Yusuke and the entire time they talk, Yusuke is scared, even though Toguro practically did nothing.

While this confrontation occurred in episode 26, which is viewable at the same link I gave to watch episode 24, with quite a few differences, such as where Yusuke first comes into contact with Toguro, things seemed a bit more tense in this volume just because Toguro did practically nothing more than flex his muscles, whereas in the anime Toguro actually wrecked the place where he and Yusuke conversed.

Now, the anime did get me interested in seeing Yusuke go against Toguro when he does not hold back, but if things can become this tense without any action, I think I am more interested in finding out what happens next in the manga more than I am about watching the anime adaptation of the Dark Tournament saga.

After all, Yusuke and the gang usually take down enemies in only a few strikes, yet Toguro is still standing.

It seems like Yoshihiro has definitely improved in his capability of delivering tension, and I hope that this will only improve in later volumes.

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

Because things were much more interesting than the previous volume and Yusuke Urameshi seems to still be living up to his delinquent ways, much more so than in Studio Pierrot's adaptation, as well as the as the fact that the meeting with Toguro after rescuing Yukina was intense, even though there was no action, this book was extremely enjoyable.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

First, the Yukina arc did not feel like it was all that special.

Yes, it is the first time Yusuke was sent to rescue a demon from human beings, as opposed to capturing or eliminating demons, but it just felt like yet another adventure for Yusuke Urameshi.

If I had to say why it was because I did not really understand what Yukina was going through during the whole ordeal.

While there are scenes where Yukina is tortured, as well as flashbacks to the other things that Tarukane had done, there did not seem to be anything feeling present. It was almost like Yoshihiro was just glossing over this arc in aseries where things are already moving at a quick pace.

Yukina may not be a main character of this series, but she is an important focus of this arc, since Yusuke and Kuwabara are tasked with rescuing her.

Honestly, this is reminding me of the Sisters arc in the Raildex universe all over again.

In all versions of the Sisters arc, the arc involves Mikoto Misaka and her clones, and because she tries desperately to stop Touma from getting involved, it became important to be able to feel what she was going through and know what she had to deal with, but in both versions of the Index side of the arc, with the novel version being a little superior to the anime adaptation, Misaka did not get as much attention as she should have, which lessened the emotional feels that could have existed.

However, in the Railgun side of the Sisters arc, I find out everything that Misaka went through and see everything that she had done, which made scenes, like Misaka breaking down and asking the badly injured Misaka 10032 for help, because knew she could not do anything else, have much more emotional weight than just bringing it up like the Index versions did.

Likewise, I did not see enough of Yukina experiencing any moments of happiness, nor could I feel her sadness and pain from being tortured in this volume, but in the episodes 22-25 of the anime, Studio Pierrot included quite a few more scenes of Yukina, and, along with the additional background music, I could feel how much pain she was going through, although she still does not get that much screen time.

Come on, Yoshihiro! Neither the anime nor the manga are perfect, but Studio Pierrot keeps doing a better job than you of delivering emotional feels when needed, whereas you keep falling flat.

How am I supposed to be rooting for Kuwabara and Yusuke when the person they are rescuing feels like a nobody?

After all, would anybody in their right mind help somebody if they cannot feel for them? I sure would not.

Then again, there are people that do go out of their way to try and help others because they think that they understand what the other person is going through, what problems they have, or fall prey to things that are not necessarily true.

For example, in the church I attend, young men and women volunteer to go out and bring in more members into the fold for a period of 1.5 to 2 years, sometimes shorter or longer, and a pair of those female volunteers, who are called missionaries, disappeared in my area.

When one of my family members found out about it, they were kind of worried because that person grew up in a time where women were in more danger just because they were women and women had to be treated as delicate flowers, even though there is also data out there that suggests that the disabled adults, regardless of gender, are 1.5 times more likely to be victimized than others, which is why I stated in my review of Case Closed Volume 54 that it would be harder to attack a woman who has all her senses and full use of her body at her disposal than it would be to attack a disabled man, depending on the disability and its severity.

I, on the other hand, did not feel as worried or concerned because I did not know those missionaries well enough to know if their disappearance was indeed peculiar, what was possibly going through their minds, or what disabilities, if any, they had.

I must not be human, huh?

Since I cannot get any immediate reactions, aside from comments, all I can do is think that some of you guys might be saying that my feelings would have been different if those women were my sister or a close female friend, but it is impossible for any human to care about everything that goes on in the world or be concerned about everyone on the planet.

If Yoshihiro put more work into giving off an emotional feel when it was necessary, I think that this arc could have been so much better than it was, maybe even matching or surpassing the anime adaptation, though it would still probably pale in comparison to the emotional feels that were found in the anime adaptation of the Dark Tournament.

I also hated how the way fights were handled kind of devolved into the way fighting in anime and manga is seen today.

As I stated in my review of volume 4, there has been long running pattern of anime and manga where the characters explain how things work for everyone to hear, which would give the opponent an advantage, and people keep on complaining about it.

Throughout most of this series, so far, Yoshihiro did not make this mistake and let us figure things out by what we saw in the panels or through their thoughts, which made me think that I finally encountered an author with experience in strategy games.

However, when the Dark Tournament commences and Kuwabara faces off against Rinku, Rinku tells Kuwabara outright that he is using his energy to manipulate his yo-yos and Kuwabara then does the same thing with his spirit sword, explaining that it was the same prinicple.

Now, Rinku explaining how things work may not have made much of a difference, but this takes away from the mystery that needs to be present in fighting series like this.

Why did you do this Yoshihiro?

It might be necessary to explain things to readers, so that they do not get confused or feel lost, but that does not mean that the enemy should know what you did or how. That is responsibility of a master teaching somebody martial arts or a sparring partner, once a fight concludes, not somebody determined to kill you.

Hopefully, things will improve from this point, but, seeing as this is a popular trend in fighting manga and anime these days, I kind of doubt it.

Still, the fact that this happened just degraded the quality of this manga in my book, because this is a major problem for fighting manga and anime.

The thing that I hated the most though was how underwhelming the fight between the Toguro brothers and Yusuke and Kuwabara felt.

Now, the Yukina arc in the manga was already a relatively weak, even though it did have quite a bit of action, but the troubles did not end with not being able to feel for Yukina in her situation.

True, the younger Toguro was holding back because his true client wanted him to throw the fight, but it did not seem like Yusuke and Kuwabara were putting their all into the fight.

Really, Yoshihiro? I thought that you improved in this category, because I was interested in what was going on.

In episode 25 of the anime, even though Yusuke and Kuwabara were being played by Sakyo and the Toguro brothers, it actually felt like the two of them putting all of their effort into it and their was not even one hint that the Toguros were going easy on them.

As a result, I was just as surprised as Yusuke when I saw Toguro come and demand that Yusuke and the gang participate in the Dark Tournament, because I thought that they had defeated the Toguro brothers.

However, in the manga, everything seemed to be screaming that Yusuke and Kuwabara were being played and it was obvious that the Toguro brothers were still alive.

If I had to say why these two versions of the fight were so different, it was because of the manga tendency to go through events quickly.

Yes, things can be dull if they are dragged on for too long, but wrapping things up too quickly can be just as bad. It is for this reason that pacing must change when it needs to be.

When there is nothing interesting going on, it is okay to skip on ahead, and when important things do crop up, like major fights in a fighting series, the pacing must be slowed down, so that tension can be present.

Unfortunately, Yoshihiro just went full speed ahead, like he did with the minor skirmishes, and did not allow me to invest myself in the fight.

Honestly! This is unacceptable for a series that is now a fighting series, because fans of fighting anime and sporting events, like UFC, want to be on the edge of their seats while watching fights play out.

Different genres and kinds of stories need different things, and if you cannot deliver on those expectations, like Yoshihiro has done here, the fans of those kinds of stories will stop reading.

But because Yoshihiro did not do his homework, he ended up making a mistake that ultimately made Yukina's arc one of the worst in the manga, making this the volume second major issue.

Thankfully, I cannot think of anything else that utterly annoyed me.

With quite a few glaring problems to be found, the book quickly went from great to okay.

Despite the presence of a good number of things to like, the bad outweighed it enough to make this only good enough to kill time.

I only recommend this to fans that only like the Yu Yu Hakusho manga, as they are probably the only ones that will like this.

If you are a fan of things like UFC, I recommend that you avoid this like the plague, because there are not going to be any memorable fights to be found here.

What are your thoughts on Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 6? Did you like it or hate it? Did you hate how disappointing the fighting got in this volume like I did? Was there something you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.