Yu Yu Hakusho: Bandits and Kings

imageEpic plot twists of doom, mayhem, blackmail, and betrayal, all hallmarks of a quality series, at least if you always look on the dark side of life. While I’d never seen Yu Yu Hakusho before and came in at Episode 101, my socks were beyond rocked. The first episode I watched seemed a little heavy on the talking and a little light on the stuff happening side. I was all set to give it a “Meh.” Then, in the last five minutes of the first episode, it turned out all the talking was leading up to betrayal, revenge, and blackmail, and that’s pretty cool.

The next two episodes showed this was no anomaly. If someone isn’t getting squished or having a cool fight scene, they’re doing intricate, complicated political things that involve their rival getting the shaft in the end. The series also seems fond of dramatic lightning crashes, for reasons I can’t really ascertain, but that’s what we call “atmosphere” around these parts.

Something is always happening, but it’s not always lightning flashes, explosions, and cool fight scenes. Sometimes, it’s a blind guy getting revenge for an assassination attempt seven hundred years or so ago, with a softly spoken comment, such as “Well, it sure would be a shame if that plane with those people you love in it crashed, wouldn’t it?”

Which isn’t to say there aren’t cool fight scenes. To include an excerpt from my notes:

image“Hahaha. I have no idea what’s going on, but that red-haired dude just shot some vines out of his arm, yelled “Rose Whip” and cut a bunch of ninjas into tiny bits. And that’s AWESOME.”

So what happens? In Episode 101, Reunion of the Bandits, former bandits and comrades Yomi and Kurama are reunited when Yomi blackmails Kurama into serving as his advisor for Yomi’s planned takeover of the Demon Realm. Episode 102, Torn Between Identities, deals with Kurama gathering a force of six very powerful people and using them to ease his way into Yomi’s good graces, though of course, Yomi has several trump cards on him. Things change dramatically in the Demon Realm when a major player dies in Episode 103: Inheritance.

imageAdmittedly, this one isn’t for everybody. If you’re looking for something light and easy to follow, something to throw in to make noise while you zone in and out, I would have to suggest you pass on this one. However, if you’re up for a plot that twists and turns like a twisty turny thing and characters so cool FMA Warcry Staffer KichigaiSaru wandered by and said, “Whoa, you can tell just from the way they’re drawn that that’s the good anime,” then you’re going to love this DVD. It’s got betrayal, blackmail, revenge, and everything that makes anime good.

Ratings

Technical/Extras: 8
Some nice character profiles and the textless songs are always good, but there’s not a whole lot of extra goodies. However, considering this is mid-series, I don’t think that’s extremely negative.

Entertainment: 8.5
I refrained from giving this a higher score because it’s admittedly not for everybody and requires close attention. It’s not constantly stimulating. It builds like a slow book that’s very worthwhile when you turn the page and the previous hundred pages come crashing down on the main character.

Overall: 9
A little higher than the both of them, simply because I enjoyed the DVD a lot. The first thing I know is that I know nothing, so not knowing who anyone was or what was going on didn’t bother me. Good characters, cool fight scenes, blackmail, betrayal, backstabbing, and someone getting squished and killed every few minutes. Good times.

Episodes: Episode 101: Reunion of the Bandits, Episode 102: Torn Between Identities, Episode 103: Inheritance

DVD Extras: Character Profiles, Textless Songs, Japanese and English Languages, English Subtitles, Scene Selection, Trailers, Uncut Episodes.

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