Anime Vice News

YU YU HAKUSHO #54 -- Watch & Learn

Ah, good to see my pals again.

As previously discussed, I’m picking YU YU HAKUSHO for one last go that'll take me to the end of the “Dark Tournament” saga. At this point, I can’t help but think about that one line from ALIEN3 and say that I’ve been covering this show for so long, I can hardly remember a time when I wasn’t covering it.

A nicer way of phrasing that is to say it’s good to be back, because the characters feel like old pals I’m finally getting to hang out with after one party or the other was on vacation. I’ve never been much a stickler for plot summary in these write-ups, so I’ll instead go on a little tangent to make my point more effectively.

Recently, I met a comics artist at a party who’d just recently come back from an extended sojourn in Japan where he tried to become the (possibly) first and only American creator to make his way in the manga business. He had a lot of interesting insights to offer (mainly about how the infamous production schedules of mangaka actually work out) but the most salient was his take on the secret of manga’s success. By his testimony, he was told again and again that character is of utmost importance in a comic. Not themes, not messages, not tones, not storytelling techniques… character.

Whether or not simple human interest is enough to make a story worthwhile is a topic for a much longer discussion. However, the simple point of his experience means that if you’re going to tell an extended serial - - like YU YU HAKUSHO - - then it’s really all a matter of crafting personalities that readers basically just want to hang out with every episode.

With that in my mind, I have a better understanding of why this show works, and why it continues to hold viewer’s imaginations. There’s not much of a mythos, there are no profound statements being made, and the combat isn’t even that innovative… but that’s all really irrelevant. All that matters is that this show does make you root for Team Urameshi while they're kicking ass, and whimper when they're getting their asses kicked... and it does feel like you’re hanging out with some friends after a vacation.

Look up this episode, "The Beginning of the End" 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

rubberluffyon May 24, 2012 at 4:22 a.m.

Good to see you back on this. Since you were checking out other shows, did you consider checking out Hunter X Hunter? It has a currently airing anime (32 episodes at the moment, available on crunchyroll), and is Togashi's other famous series. It, like YYH, takes a bit to get going, but when things get in full swing I have a hard time deciding which one I like better between the two series. It definitely has the same kind of feel, but I think it digs a little deeper into its characters than YYH does. Just an idea.

FoxxFireArt moderator on May 24, 2012 at 3:55 p.m.

By his testimony, he was told again and again that character is of utmost importance in a comic. Not themes, not messages, not tones, not storytelling techniques… character.

That would certainly explain some of the success of ONE PIECE. Everyone is such a unique character in that series. So many characters have such odd personality quirks. He just ties them all into a very well crafted plot.

Did you know entire stores dedicated to ONE PIECE merchandise are going to start opening in Japan?

AgentJon May 24, 2012 at 7:31 p.m.

@FoxxFireArt said:

By his testimony, he was told again and again that character is of utmost importance in a comic. Not themes, not messages, not tones, not storytelling techniques… character.

That would certainly explain some of the success of ONE PIECE. Everyone is such a unique character in that series. So many characters have such odd personality quirks. He just ties them all into a very well crafted plot.

Did you know entire stores dedicated to ONE PIECE merchandise are going to start opening in Japan?

Didn't know that, but in a way I'm surprised it took them this long :P

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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