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YU YU HAKUSHO #59 -- Watch & Learn

You've got to appreciate the nuance of blasting half of a stadium off.

Get deep enough into pop culture and, soon enough, you stop appreciating stories for the sort of qualities that make the lesson plans in any number of “How to Write” books seem useful. At that point, you start appreciating them for the more... extreme qualities that set them apart. You know, like how RAMBO IV didn’t exactly “work” as a proper action movie since Rambo was never actually thwarted at any point in the runtime. Watch enough flicks in that genre, though, and you can’t help but see the beauty in how that movie's basically showing us what happens when Rambo’s slumming it in between harder adventures.

To whit, YU YU HAKUSHO earns my admiration for being the single most comprehensive execution of the mystical martial arts tournament that I have ever seen, in any medium. You’ve seen the concept broached in things like ENTER THE DRAGON or the first MORTAL KOMBAT movie or the various STREET FIGHTER animes… but they all basically cheat out of it. Typically, a lot of matches are glossed over, some treachery’s introduced and the whole tournament conceit is then dropped for your typical hero vs. villain plot.

Not so with this show, though! It shows every single moment of every single match of every single level of this tournament. It gets into such exhaustive that I really couldn’t fault somebody for getting tired of the repetition. However, there’s something sublime about that exhaustive level of detail. It fosters such familiarity in the viewer that he starts appreciating all the fine minutia of the fights enough to say, “You know, that was really clever how Elder Toguro impaled Kuwabara with his fingers! And that was really unexpected how he basically rolled out of getting disemboweled like that.”

Few shows have gone to this length. Maybe no other show has. You’ve got step back and enjoy the beauty of that.

Look up this episode, "The Shadow of Elder Toguro” 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

Lurkeroon July 8, 2012 at 8:56 a.m.

I dislike it when tournaments have so little structure that it doesn't really matter. What's the point of a tournament if no one is around to officiate it.

Notice how in Street FIghter, Tekken, King of Fighters (most fighting games) the tournaments are rarely actually in a tournament arena? How is anyone supposed to know the tournament is actually taking place? I could murder my opponent (without an actual fight) and move on to the next round.

Yu Yu Hakusho showed people how tournaments are supposed to go down. If you are going to have a tournament don't just use it as a plot device, you gotta own it.

Rxanaduon July 8, 2012 at 2:47 p.m.
This actually has me thinking of the Dragonball tournaments.  Did any of those get finished through to the end, or did some big baddie come and ruin all the fun / break up the monotony?
 
Also, Tom: after Yu-Yu Hakusho is over, is Samurai Champloo the only show you're watching for W&L? 
No_name_here staff on July 9, 2012 at 12:22 p.m.

@Lurkero said:

Notice how in Street FIghter, Tekken, King of Fighters (most fighting games) the tournaments are rarely actually in a tournament arena? How is anyone supposed to know the tournament is actually taking place? I could murder my opponent (without an actual fight) and move on to the next round.

Ah yeah. That's a consistent conceit.

No_name_here staff on July 9, 2012 at 12:23 p.m.

@Rxanadu said:

This actually has me thinking of the Dragonball tournaments. Did any of those get finished through to the end, or did some big baddie come and ruin all the fun / break up the monotony? Also, Tom: after Yu-Yu Hakusho is over, is Samurai Champloo the only show you're watching for W&L?

Haven't figured it out, yet. I've been real spread, working between AX and SDCC. I kind of want to cover OUTLAW STAR, but need to get a copy.

Username_Undefinedon July 10, 2012 at 12:57 p.m.

@Tom_Pinchuk said:

@Rxanadu said:

This actually has me thinking of the Dragonball tournaments. Did any of those get finished through to the end, or did some big baddie come and ruin all the fun / break up the monotony? Also, Tom: after Yu-Yu Hakusho is over, is Samurai Champloo the only show you're watching for W&L?

Haven't figured it out, yet. I've been real spread, working between AX and SDCC. I kind of want to cover OUTLAW STAR, but need to get a copy.

I've never seen Outlaw Star, so I'd follow that. I'll also throw in Phi-Brain as a potential show. It's still on-going, but just the first season (25 episodes) is good enough to stand alone.

zaldaron July 11, 2012 at 10:35 a.m.

Eh no..I call it repetitive filler and crazy myself...not beautiful at all..but then DBZ is the anime I really hate with a passion so..

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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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