Book Review: Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 9

November 8, 2016

Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 9 cover

It seems like things are progressing quite well, huh?

Back in September, I got roughly 24 books from Amazon's catalog, and covered around a third of those titles before taking a few weeks off.

Now, I am closing in on the two thirds marker, and the season has yet to officially change from fall to winter, or from spring to summer in the southern hemisphere, which means that I should be able to wrap things up before the year is over.

Today, I will be reviewing another one of those titles, which is called Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 9 by Yoshihiro Togashi.

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

Team Urameshi has taken out most of the members of Team Shadow Channelers, but because of interference from the tournament committee, Yusuke's match with Jin is declared a tie and Yusuke is out of the running, and the only way for them to advance is to rely on a severely beaten Kuwabara.

However, if even they do make it out alive, more challenges come for the underdogs, and one of them means competing yet again with only three members, as the masked fighter decides to reveal their identity and puts Yusuke through a trial that may cost him his life.

While the series has been having its bad moments, there have been some fairly decent moments, which makes me want to give this series a little more time.

After reading this, however, I am sort of regretting that decision.

Fortunately, there were a couple of things that I liked, so I do not need to skip right into what I hated.

I liked how I felt like laughing quite a few times in this volume.

Ever since the beginning of the series, Yu Yu Hakusho has had elements of comedy, which worked out quite well to certain point, in addition to the explanations surrounding events that Studio Pierrot's anime adaptation showed, and, with how boring the fights have been as of late, it is nice that that comedic element exists.

The thing that made me laugh the most though was the fight between Kuwabara and Risho.

After Yusuke beat Jin and was about to tangle with Risho, Kuwabara stepped up to the plate, only to get the snot beaten out of him.

However, he sees Yukina in the crowd, he beats Risho, allowing his team to advance to the semifinals.

While this does happen in episode 42 of the anime, which can be viewed on FUNimation's website, it was not quite as funny as it was in this volume because the fight was stretched out, and helps to make the book a bit more enjoyable, even if I liked the how these evens played out in the anime adaptation a whole lot better.

At least this is good enough to make me want to give Yoshihiro a small amount of applause.

The thing that I liked the most though was that this volume felt like it had an end.

Back in the previous volume, Viz handled things reasonably well, with what they could, but they forgot to let the reader know that the end of the volume had been reached.

Now, this may not have been a problem in the print releases, because the usual clues of an ending, such as ads and author comments and other bonuses, are usually present, yet Viz has been omitting such items and not putting message down at the bottom denoting the end of the volume.

In some cases, that would not be too much of big deal, but it really depends on how the book flowed.

Unfortunately, the way the previous volume flowed, it did not feel like an ending at all.

However, in this volume, when Team Urameshi faced off against Team Factured Fairy Tales, or Team Uraotogi in the anime, things went at a decent pace and the volume ended right in the middle of Kurama's fight, which actually felt like an ending.

If I had to say why there was such a huge difference in feeling, even though neither volume let the reader know that they reached the end, it was because the previous volume ended later than it probably should have ended.

While Viz could have made this so much better by letting me know that I reached the end, as I blamed them in my review of the previous volume, the actual people who put the volume together in Japan are the one responsible by deciding to end the volume that way, instead of ending the volume at either what was the penultimate chapter of that volume or what is page 23 of this volume, since there are series out there have their chapters shortened or lengthened in around the time they are compiled into volume.

I have got to pay more attention to what I put down, huh?

Then again, that really only works out the best when noise pollution is not getting in the way of the investigation of the cause of issues, or if they are issues to begin with.

Still, it looks like the publishers of this volume step up their game in the quality department, because readers want to feel like the book they are reading really did conclude, and they deserve some major applause.

Hopefully, the volumes to come after this give me some sense that I had finally reached the end, because I want to start reading the next volume right now.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least nothing that could be mentioned on its own.

Because there were things to laugh about and the volume felt like it reached the end, this book was fairly enjoyable.

Although there were things that I liked, there are some issues.

However, aside from issues that are too minor to talk about, there were two things that bothered me.

First, this volume was rather dull.

Outside of the humor present, I felt like putting down this volume more than once and do something else, but I just continue on, in hopes that things would improve, even if for a bit.

However, that intrigue never came.

If I had to say why, it would be because the fights themselves were rather dull.

Yu Yu Hakusho has been a fighting series since the third volume and the series is now in a saga where fighting is supposed to be a huge focus, so the fights must be interesting.

After all, I doubt that fans of fighting anime and manga or sporting events, like UFC, would want to go through a boring fight.

Detective Conan is a comedy and a mystery series, and, even though it is not as funny as it used to be, it still delivers the things that fans of detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres expect most of the time, so Yoshiihiro Togashi should be delivering interesting fights.

Unfortunately, because the fighting, and the series itself, has a quick pacing, Yoshihiro cannot make things too interesting.

In fact, this is why Studio Pierrot's adaptation is as good as it is.

Whenever a fight happens in the anime, I feel like watching all the way through, regardless of whether the opponent is insignificant fodder, or a major one, like Toguro.

True, there are fights that feel like they went on for too long in the anime, but that does not change the fact that hardly any of the fights are dull.

Come on, Yoshihiro! You have been producing manga during the time where the fighting series that my generation got into anime through were first being produced, yet you do not see that your fights cannot be ended so quickly all the time?

Hopefully, things have improved in Yoshihiro more recent works, like Hunter x Hunter, but this is huge disappoint.

The anime is more of a fighting series than this is right now, and I am even less willing to continue on with things once the Dark Tournament Saga concludes.

Honestly, the anime was a better fighting series than the manga is right now, and that makes me want to label this a minor issue.

The thing that I hated the most though was how there was little, if any, emotional feeling.

The best example of this was around the time Genkai was revealed to be the masked fighter.

When the masked fighter and Yusuke leave the group, she removes her mask and reveals herself to be Genkai, to Yusuke's amazement, and orders Yusuke to fire his spirit gun at a large rock.

After he does so, and Genkai shows off her own spirit gun, she tells Yusuke that his final test is to kill her, and Yusuke stands out in the rain, before he goes to tell Genkai his answer.

Genkai taught him everything that he knew, except for his spirit, which he learned from Koenma, and went through many hardships with him, so Yusuke should be feeling frustrated and lost about what to do.

This is how he felt in episode 44 and I could feel for him throughout the entire thing, which made his answer feel more heart felt.

However, in this volume, I did not get those feelings at all. This is one of the reasons why Genkai's death, which most of the people familiar with the anime knows happens soon after this point, had a huge impact on the characters in the anime, so it is an important event.

As such events like these are times when reader need to get some emotional feeling, and if the reader cannot feel anything, then they will not understand the kind of situation the protagonist is in.

The reason the anime had so much more feeling was because Studio Pierrot inserted in flashback and put a lot of focus on Yusuke's turmoil, whereas, in the manga, we only see Yusuke standing there.

Really, Togashi? Are you going to leave things like this, when Genkai is such an important character?

Studio Pierrot was aware of how important she was in Yusuke's life and did what was necessary to put in emotional feeling for these scenes.

Maybe Yoshihiro improved in his more recent work, but he certainly is not doing that great of job here, because the Dark Tournament Saga is the one portion of the series that many people prefer the anime over the manga, though their reasons might not be entirely the same as me.

Please, Yoshihiro, try doing more work on these chapters before publishing them. I know that you can do it because I would not have not felt anything for the humans on Team Ichigaki, if things did not go the way they did in volume 7, and because that did not happen here, the work's quality went down another peg.

While there were only two things wrong with the volume, each one was bad enough to take this from being a decent release to just okay.

Despite the fact that there were things to like, the negative outweighed it enough to make this only good enough to kill time.

I mainly recommend this to fans of Yu Yu Hakusho, because they would be the ones that can enjoy this the most, though I much more strongly recommend viewing the anime version of these events, which takes place in episodes 41-46.

As for everyone, it may be worth giving a try, but Studio Pierrot's anime adaptation would deliver a more satisfying experience.

What are your thoughts on Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 9? Did you like it or hate it? Was there something you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment.

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