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YU YU HAKUSHO #5 + EUREKA SEVEN #5 -- Watch & Learn

Alright... which show's doing better at episode #5?

With a turkey dinner and a cancelled flight or two behind me, I’m finally, actually back to catch up on these shows that ended however many years ago. I figure another “double whammy” is due today to make up for lost time, and while I’m juxtaposing the two shows like this, it’s hard not to compare and contrast. They’re totally different stories, of course, so there aren’t as many worthwhile discussion points to be found in comparing plots as there are in contrasting technique.

This is to say that, while I’m enjoying both series, I think YU YU HAKUSHO’s doing a better job of telling its story so far. The scope of its spooky sitcom shenanigans (seriously, this feels almost like RANMA ½ with ghost-hopping instead of gender-swapping) certainly isn’t as awesome as EUREKA SEVEN’s aerial mecha battles, but it’s been able to elicit much thicker suspense from it. As silly as sounds, simply dropping the sound out for twenty seconds while Keiko was rushing home to kiss Yusuke back to life added some genuine tension to this smaller-scale business.

This episode of EUREKA actually was an “up” one, but HAKUSHO’s found out how to keep its stakes high with each installment, either by threatening Yusuke with some terrible fate or by dangling the possibility of a drastic change in the premise. I thought they might’ve actually gotten past Yusuke’s quest to escape the afterlife last episode, but it looks like my guess was actually only just a little bit off.

Is this a worthwhile switchback turn? My first thought is that it cuts through a big chunk of superfluous back-and-forth and jumps right into all the rad ghost fighting stuff promised in the intro. I could easily picture an overly-long arc where Yusuke’s has to repeat the same challenge, over and over again, by collecting all the items the lil’ guy told him he’d have to gather. Along the way, we’d be teased, over and over again, about him possibly regaining his life. It could very easily beat around the bush.

On the other hand, the solving of this particular problem does feel like it came a lot quicker than I was maybe even ready for. It is a little perplexing to invest a whole episode to set up a long journey into the spirit world and a series of trials that are then tied up with our hero throwing an egg. Yusuke’s proving that he’s learned his lesson much sooner than anticipated does seem like some clever “third option” in the vein of Kirk "honorably cheating" to win the Kobyahis Maru test in STAR TREK… but I still think they could’ve rode it a little longer.

Now, about EUREKA… it just wouldn’t be an anime without at least one instance of borderline-inappropriate sexual tension between a plucky teen and his young adult minder. At least Renton and Talho are addressing it aloud. That’s at least healthier than how Shinji and Misato handled it in EVA.

Believe it or not, this was another solid character development episode for the show. Talho’s “bullying” of Renton actually winds up seeming sympathetic when she admits to doing it because Gekkostate’s men are ignoring her. And that, in turn, sets us up for a tidy sense of closure when we get to the reveal of who actually bought John Henry bracelet (or whatever it was.) I’m still enjoying how Gekkostate’s basically a bunch of kids trying to figure out what they’re doing as they go along (something I’m also trying to do, since the show hasn’t explained much of anything yet.) It’s almost like Renton’s some plucky junior intern on the set of an old school MTV show or something.

Watch this episode, "Vivid Bit” 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

kashif1on Nov. 29, 2011 at 3:16 p.m.

The manga had Yusuke be a ghost for much longer than the anime. I consider the anime better for it, anyway just a warning but Yu Yu Hakasho is an old school shoenen at heart and that will show more and more from here on out. Just one question, what language are you watching it in? Justin Cook's performance as Yusuke is a big part of why this show is so well remembered.

AURON570on Nov. 29, 2011 at 3:50 p.m.

Haha I remember this being one of my favourite episodes for Eureka Seven, specifically because of how Talho's character was being developed.

metalsnakezeroon Nov. 29, 2011 at 7:02 p.m.

Bones (Studio) has a tendency to having slower development on the story kinda like how it was for FMA for you.

zaldaron Nov. 29, 2011 at 7:05 p.m.

ug to much time spent on crappy shonen show number 305. I can't wait until you split the shows apart again so I don't have to read about yu yu any more. The comparison to Ranma 1/2 is apt as it is another show with waaay to many episodes that I could never get into.

I remember this episode of Eureka being cool but it was about this point that I began to get annoyed at the sillyness of the geko state...I mean really life IS about more than just hanging out. Unfortunately when you get to see what they are actually about (and they are about something) it just gets to ridiculous and only get worse as it gets closer to a really terrible and stupid ending.

Mezmeroon Nov. 30, 2011 at 5:06 p.m.

Yu Yu Hakusho is a genuinely great show as far as shounens go. I fondly remember watching it despite it spawning some pretty lame knock offs like Flame of Recca and being a precursor to something like Bleach which I don't care for in the least. It is probably the only show that I found the Japanese voice performance super annoying compared to the English dub. I don't expect you to end up doing a write up for the 100 or so episodes that exist but I am always happy to see a like minded adult indulging in a series I consider to be a pure classic.

rubberluffyon Dec. 1, 2011 at 1:10 p.m.

@Mezmero said:

Yu Yu Hakusho is a genuinely great show as far as shounens go. I fondly remember watching it despite it spawning some pretty lame knock offs like Flame of Recca and being a precursor to something like Bleach which I don't care for in the least. It is probably the only show that I found the Japanese voice performance super annoying compared to the English dub. I don't expect you to end up doing a write up for the 100 or so episodes that exist but I am always happy to see a like minded adult indulging in a series I consider to be a pure classic.

How dare you insult Flame of Recca. Insulting Bleach is fine but Recca is off limits >:(

Still waiting on my Bluray collection of YYH to get here from Rightstuf. It been on backorder for about a week, but it just charged me yesterday while still telling me it hasn't shipped. How about anyone else?

Dig Deeper into Eureka Seven

A young boy named Renton has a mech and its pilot, the young-looking Eureka, nearly fall into his lap. He joins them and their renegade group, Gekkostate.

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