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YU YU HAKUSHO #21 + EUREKA SEVEN #21 -- Watch & Learn

Why, what a suggestive image... Hee hee hee...

No double entendres, just straight talk. This look like two sperm cells swimming to a big ovum.
No double entendres, just straight talk. This look like two sperm cells swimming to a big ovum.

Huh. That ended a lot sooner than I was expecting it to. Looking ahead at how these arcs are divided, I assumed that this Saint beasts storyline wouldn’t continue that much longer after Suzaku was defeated. Hell, it certainly seemed like they were setting a big brawl between Yusuke’s gang and Suzaku’s duplicates since they were rushing to the rescue just as he was regenerating all those pieces of himself.

Well, I shouldn’t complain about being surprised, then. It keeps things interesting. Though, I’ve got to say that I’m not entirely sure how “life energy” is supposed to be different than “spirit energy” when it comes to your chi projectiles. You’d figure the two were synonymous, right? Or perhaps it’s just a case of one pertaining to Yusuke’s health bar and the other pertaining to his manna gage (to break this down into video game terms, once more.) Kuwabara does basically just give him a few of his hearts.

Maybe the notion of Yusuke defeating Suzaku only after he proves he’s willing (again?) to lay his life down for Keiko’s, but the meaner side of me would’ve preferred this arc to end with him psyching out the bird. It’s a riff on the whole “Do ya feel lucky, punk?” schtick from the first DIRTY HARRY, sure, but that’s not really a bad thing. It’s got more personality, to be sure. Yusuke’s a juvenile delinquent - - not a model UN member. Wouldn’t it have fit more for him to just snap that bird’s neck?

I suppose I should be glad I got that nasty prank Kuwabara pulls on him at the end. He made him think his girlfriend was dead! Ha ha ha!

Look up this episode, "Yusuke’s Sacrifice" and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.

Awwwwwww...
Awwwwwww...

Well, this was a tighter episode than we’ve had in a while.

I’ve brought up EVANGELION a few times as a comparison piece, and this is one time where I think EUREKA’s handled something better. For as much as I appreciated the three dimensionality of EVA’s characters and the way it focused on the emotional duress the mecha pilots would suffer over saving the world every week, I did think the show erred sometimes in representing that psychological depth with only the vaguest, nigh-imperceptible changes in behavior. GURREN LAGANN handled that sort of thing better by grounding all its themes of self-belief and self-actualization into concrete terms and actions.

Here, they’ve handled Renton’s moral crisis regarding all the enemies he’s killed in a more coherent fashion. Like the viewers of, well, most action-adventure stories, he simply never made the visceral connection that there were real people inside those enemy mecha suits. And Matthieu’s calm, unaffected take on the consequences of his actions rang pretty true as the kind of attitude somebody would have to have after being at war for however many years. I’m not saying this is “showing us the consequences of violence” in the pretentious way some sci-fi purports to, but it does simply have a lucid comprehension of how the characters would all react. As silly as sounds, the thread of Renton binging on chips represented his depression more effectively than a lot of EVA’s dramatic inner monologs did.

In less theoretical terms, Eureka’s kids were so cute when they were shooing Renton away, it was satisfying to see some callback on the Vodarac stuff and Renton’s quiet escape was a uniquely cathartic moment for me. Odds are, he’s going to run into this dandy mecha mercs and he’ll be back to Gekkostate sooner than later, but this is definitely the most sensible things he’s done in the whole show.

Watch this episode, "Runaway" here 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

paulungaon Jan. 23, 2012 at 7:22 a.m.

I also like the pretty subtle (for anime anyway) allusions to Eureka having feelings for Renton with the ECG in the background. I'm not sure what that reaction where she flinches is about. Possibly her not wanting him to see her scars?

zaldaron Jan. 23, 2012 at 8:31 a.m.

I haven't watched eureka and evea recently enough to comment directly on the characterizations you draw here. I did like eva more overall among the three (laggan, eva and eureka). That is likely wrapped up in the overall package more though. What is funny is I am not sure any of us have realized yet..besides being a name eureka is also a word....so I suppose I am having a eureka moment about the meaning of eureka? Pronounced differently of course (short or long e making most of the difference) but surprised that hasn't merited a comment before.

I guess you could say renton had a eureka moment (long E) here about the costs of war and know we are just waiting for eureka (short E) to have a eureka (long E) moment about her love for Renton and go back and get him right? Or I suppose she could just buy a vacuum....

Ok done now

AgentJon Jan. 23, 2012 at 2:42 p.m.

After the power came back on last night (four days without so much as water pressure in the toilet) I decided to pop in my new Yu Yu Hakusho blu-rays into my playstation. I watched the first six episodes, stretching from Yusuke's death all the way through his resurrection.

The first thing I noticed was how much nicer the production values seemed. the colors and sound were way better than my memory remembered them (usually nostalgia turns everything 1080p). Lines seemed crisp and strong, and I noticed things I didn't see when I watched it the last four times. The new format really made the 80's style of the early episodes stand out more, making me think that Yu Yu's long run served as something of a bridge between that animation era and the one that turned out the Evangelions of the world. Really though, that early style that Yu Yu uses is more reminiscent of children's anime (which, other than Yusuke's death, would probably be an apt description for those first few chapters).

I've already pointed this out a few times, but like you say, the dub just adds so much to the series. Some very smart writing combined with generally great dub work (not the least of which from the rockstar, Christopher Sabat (Picollo, Vegeta)) give all the characters a fresh layer of depth that they didn't have in the vanilla original japanese.

Do you still think you'll quit at the end of this season? My thought is that you're just as likely to pick something you don't like as something you do (you seem to like Yu Yu). I'd love it if you did BECK or Gankutsuou, but I, like I'm sure many here, would be perfectly content if you stuck with Yu Yu as long as you were enjoying it.

No_name_here staff on Jan. 23, 2012 at 6:45 p.m.

@AgentJ: Yeah, like I said, it definitely holds up without any gloss from nostalgia.

I haven't decided yet about whether I'll keep going. I'm going to have to stop sometime, since it's 100+ episodes long, and I'm reluctant to keep covering a show for more than 26 installments (FMA was the exception, due to demand.) It leads to similiar promos over months.

Then again, trying to pick another show that this audience will respond to coverage is always a pain and I'm starting a screenwriting gig soon that's going to take up any time I might otherwise use to deliberate. If I'm in a good groove, why break it? And while I try to have some measure of "journalistic objectivity" for the purposes of this column, maybe there's no point in putting a pretext on how I just want to watch what I like here.

Or perhaps I'll just go on a break, like I did periodically for FMA.

AgentJon Jan. 25, 2012 at 1:22 a.m.

@Tom_Pinchuk: A break would be a fine idea, though obviously no one would hate it if you just continued on. I don't think this community would begrudge you spacing them out a little more with a larger workload.

Besides, journalistic integrity is overrated.

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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