I hope that everyone is doing well this week, and looking forward to the weekend.
Compared to what I had to deal with earlier in the week, things have not been too bad, especially now that I have finally got some time to myself, so that I can relax and get things done.
And it looks like things are going quite well with my order from Amazon. I started off with 24 titles and covered each one at my own pace, now putting me at the near halfway point.
Today, I will be reviewing another one of those titles, which is called Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 7 by Yoshihiro Togashi.
As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.
The Dark Tournament has officially begun and Team Urameshi is the starting pistol by facing off against Jolly Devil Six.
With the first set of five one-on-one fights yet to be decided, Yusuke's must come out on top.
However, unknown to Kuwabara and Yusuke, even if their team advances, there is one other team comprised of humans and demons, and those humans are being manipulated to kill.
While things have gone downhill fairly quickly, it has not quite yet devolved into just another one of the herd, since the previous volume did not make things any worse than they were.
After reading this, I am getting a better impression of the series.
I liked how most of the volume actually seemed interesting.
Even though this series did start off quite well, there were moments I was underwhelmed, like the fight with the Toguro brothers in the previous volume, or simply bored out of my mind, like I was when I read volume 5.
However, in this this volume, things did not become dull too often, not even in the big fight featured in this volume.
Yes, the fighting was as fast paced as ever, which is why the fights in Yu Yu Hakusho do not feel like they are as dragged out as much as they are in DBZ, but a series focused strongly on fighting must still have interesting fights, and Yoshihiro really delivered this time.
This is what I like to see from writers, and I doubt that anybody will disagree with me, because there is nothing more satisfying than seeing somebody improve in the field that they decided to focus on pursuing, though there are limits to how much one can improve, otherwise having too much experience would not be problematic.
As of right now, I feel like giving Yoshihiro a big round of applause. Good job, Yoshihiro, you are finally doing something right in a series that my generation thinks is one of the best fighting series ever made, even though Studio Pierrot probably deserves more credit for that than you do because they made improve things from how they were presented in the manga.
I also liked how I started to feel bad for the situation some characters were going through in this volume.
Ever since the beginning of this series, Yoshihiro has had problems making his work give off emotional feeling when it is necessary, such as when Keiko rushes through fire to save Yusuke's body, and it ended up not making me feel as happy as I probably should have been.
In fact, the only time that I remember getting any strong sense of either happiness or sadness was when Kurama told Yusuke why he wanted the mirror in volume 3, even though Yusuke's sacrifice afterwards lacked emotional feeling because it seemed like Kurama was the only one bearing his soul.
However, in this volume, after the fight with the Jolly Devil Six, or Team Rokuyukai in the anime, Kurama is watching the competition and notices that there are three humans on one of the teams present in this tournament that mainly sees demon participants, which makes him wonder if they are not here of their own will.
Later on, Kuwabara sees these three humans, in a dream, at a complete loss over what to do about the their father-figure/martial arts teacher, who is on his deathbed, and accepting an offer for help from somebody named Ichigaki, and Kurama, after he and Hiei deal with people getting their way, confirms that Kuwabara's hypothesis was in fact correct.
While Kurama makes somewhat similar observations in episode 33 and Kuwabara does experience a dream with Team Urameshi's next opponents in episode 34 of the anime, both of which can be watched on FUNimation's website, and things have not yet reached a conclusion in this volume, I actually found myself rooting for Kuwabara's attempt to bring back the humanity of his opponents already, because I can tell that the other team is most likely suffering, whereas in the anime I never knew what these fighters were like until right before Team Urameshi and the Dr. Ichigaki team the decides the terms of the match.
Now, a few people may be wondering why I say that the manga did the better when I have continually put the Studio Pierrot's adaptation up on a pedestal, but even Studio Pierrot's anime adaptation of Yu Yu Hakusho is perfect.
For example, in my review of the third volume of the manga, I said the way the incident with Iwamoto played out made more sense and was a bit more believable in the manga because how Yusuke got back into school was explained and things did not just stop when Koenma tried to get Yusuke to take on a case, even though I did like the anime version more.
Like the Iwamoto incident in volume 3, the things featured in this volume were much more believable and made more sense because Kuwabara's dream was explored while Kuwabara was asleep.
After all, it is not unheard of for people to have dreams that have some significance in what they experience the next day, or night, if they are one of those people who need to sleep during the day.
Not many people, aside from avid readers and professional writers, notice that not only are there important details that must be covered in a work, to make the story the best that it can be, but there are also certain points at which the details are best revealed. If those details are revealed too early or too late, the storyline can be greatly tarnished.
To illustrate this point, I will again refer to Raildex's Sisters arc, though unlike in my review of the previous volume, only the Railgun side of it has any relevance.
During the Sisters arc in A Certain Scientific Railgun, which occurs in volumes 4-7 of the manga and episodes 2-16 of A Certain Scientific Railgun S, Touma and Accelerator duke it out, because the only way to end the Level 6 Shift project is for Accelerator to be beaten by a normal human, as opposed to an esper, and during that fight, in the manga, there are flashbacks of how Accelerator got involved in the project, which makes the changes that are seen in him in the later events of A Certain Magical Index much more believable.
However, in the anime adaptation of Railgun's Sisters arc, the flashback of how Accelerator got involved in the Level 6 Shift project ended up being shown in episode 11, which ruined my feelings of pity for Accelerator during his fight with Touma in episodes 15.
Likewise, Kuwabara's dream had much greater impact upon me while he was asleep in this volume than it did when Kuwabara tells Yusuke about the dream in episode 34 of the anime.
As a result, I want to give Yoshihiro quite a bit of praise, because this is the first time that he actually did a better job than Studio Pierrot on delivering emotional feels.
Hopefully, things can stay this way in the remaining volumes, because Yoshihiro has set the bar pretty high for himself, since he has had problems in this area prior to this volume.
Another nice thing about this volume were the funny things present.
While some things that were shown in the anime did not happen in this volume, such as when Chu loses his cool and goes after a member of the audience in episode 30 because they were making fun of him being drunk, there was still plenty to laugh about, though it was mainly the fights that occurred after the fight between Kuwabara and Rinku and before Chu entered the ring.
The funniest was Kurama's fight with Roto.
In episode 29 of the anime, even though Roto is just as much of a piece of scum as he is in this volume that Kurama could dispatch easily, but Studio Pierrot made this episode feel way too serious, and it this was not a fight that was that significant.
However, while going through the manga version of this fight, I was laughing the entire time because it seem like Kurama was just toying around with the lowlife.
Fights that are decided quickly may not be enjoyable so often, but, in the right circumstances, it can be downright funny, so I have to give Yoshihiro major props here.
There were two things that I liked the most though.
First, Team Toguro was watching Yusuke's team fight, and Toguro asked Karasu what he thought.
Even though this does happen in the anime, in episode 32, I felt much more excitement from the exchange here because, like the case with Kuwabara's dream, this happened at a different point in time in this volume than it did the anime. The manga showed this exchange after Yusuke beat Chu, while the anime showed this exchange occur during the Knife-edge Death Match, which sounds cooler than Knife-edge Sudden Death, if you ask me.
Another well-placed scene, Yoshihiro, because I am already interested in seeing what these guys can do.
Seriously, if Yoshihiro could have done this kind of quality of work, the manga would have been so much better, and Studio Pierrot would have had a run for their money.
The other thing that was great about this volume was seeing how Hiei and Kurama first met.
While watching the anime, it seemed like Hiei and Kurama each knew the other quite well, even knowing how the other fights and what their capabilities are, and that is something that cannot be gain from rumors alone, so I was wondering how they came to meet, even if it did not matter too much.
However, in this volume, after the final chapter, there is a bonus chapter that tells the story of how they met, which takes place a year before the events of volume 3.
As short as this chapter was, I did not once get the desire to put down this book.
It might be because Hiei and Kurama are the best characters in the manga version of this series, but I think the real reason is that Yoshihiro put all his effort into this chapter.
After all, there are moments in other series where I was disappointed by what I was seeing, even though my favorite characters were present.
If anything, Yoshiro deserves major props for delving into things that Studio Pierrot never in the anime adaptation, and that alone shows that the Yu Yu Hakusho manga can step up to the plate and deliver something great.
Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked.
Because there was nothing too underwhelming to be found and Yoshihiro started to improve in area where he was weak, by placing scenes in just the right place, as well as the fact that Yoshihiro explored how Hiei and Kurama met, this book was almost excellent.
Although I liked the book, there are some issues.
Thankfully, after three volumes that had glaring issues, nothing bothered me too much, aside from things that are too minor to talk about.
As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.
Considering that there was quite a bit to like, and hardly anything to hate, this was definitely worth reading.
I recommend this to fans of Yu Yu Hakusho and fighting, because the fights are great and the former group would have a lot to enjoy.
As for everyone else, while the manga is starting to look better, I do not know if the volumes to come will be just as good, so it might be better to watch the anime, if you want to check this series out.
What are your thoughts on Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 7? Did you like it or hate it? If you liked this book, but were disappointed with the past volumes, like I was, do you think that Yoshihiro Togashi outdid himself here? Was there something that you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment.
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