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YU YU HAKUSHO #15 -- Watch & Learn

What's Yusuke been up to while I've been gone?

I'm less impressed by Hiei's combat skills than by his razor-sharp highlight coordination.
I'm less impressed by Hiei's combat skills than by his razor-sharp highlight coordination.

It’s at moments like this that I develop such a swelling gratitude for kind people with the good sense to episodes off with quick recaps. Christmas break was only a couple weeks. but I had the damnedst trouble trying to remember where Yusuke and his gang of hooligans, demons and animal spirits were when I last watched me some YU YU HAKUSHO. Thanks to the recap, the re-acquaintance period was as brief as a gasp and as smooth as a whisper.

One thing I didn’t forget, of course, was how this show’s so endearingly plotted like a video game - - a fact reaffirmed by the happenings in this episode. If packing no less than two mini-boss battles into 22 minutes wasn’t enough to verify that, they even went so far as to include a vulnerable spot that pulses and glows at a rate commiserate to inflicted damage. Toss in the fact that these saints’ lair looks like a lost dungeon of CASTLEVANIA and that the titular Genbu looks like a jacked-up rogue Pokemon (with a caption to properly introduce him, no less,) and I felt an overwhelming reflex to grope for an instruction manual.

Not that I’m objecting to any of this. As I’ve said, many times there’s a simple enjoyment to be found in the procedural quality to a “fight” show like this. More importantly, the team’s adhering to some disciplines of storytelling that bring out some serious tension and suspense out of even the most seemingly-straightforward scenario. I knew Hiei would have to stay with Yusuke’s crew (lest the intro’s promise be broken,) but I nevertheless believed, during that key and crucial moment, that he might actually betray everybody to that eye monster. If anything, this show’s continued to be a demonstration in how complexity can be all well and good, but it still always comes down to the telling of a story.

Look up this episode, "Genbu, the Stone Beast" and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here & here. Follow him on Twitter: @tompinchuk

zaldaron Jan. 9, 2012 at 1:54 p.m.

eh...if you say so. I'll go with complexity though. A show that is plotted like a video game....not my taste. Can't wait for the next bit of last exile though!

metalsnakezeroon Jan. 10, 2012 at 10:54 a.m.

You could say that this is how most adventure stories are told in Japanese tales and fights. It makes for a even ground for both fighters to fight on.

coonce staff on Jan. 10, 2012 at 3:54 p.m.

great article tom. love your writing.

Dig Deeper into Yu Yu Hakusho

Yu Yu Hakusho follows the adventures of Yusuke Urameshi, a spirit detective, and his eclectic group of allies as they tackle various cases involving humans, demons, and their worlds.

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