Source: Pexels by Nothing Ahead
Shonen Jump has given us a lot of great manga over the years. In turn, these manga have been adapted into anime that have been seen by millions. Probably.
What are these series, you ask?
Only some of the biggest and best titles! Fist of the North Star, Dragon Ball, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Bleach, and Naruto all began life in the pages of Shonen Jump before going on to fame and fortune with animated adaptations. But there’s one series that I feel doesn’t get the love it deserves.
Yu Yu Hakusho!
First published in 1990 – with the first episode airing on TV in 1992 – Yu Yu Hakusho never felt like it quite got the traction that Dragon Ball Z, Bleach, and Naruto did. Dragonball Z was a mainstay on TV in the UK for years, and Bleach and Naruto got constant DVD releases. But for years, Yu Yu Hakusho went untouched. MVM released a couple of volumes but then just… tailed off.
Well, how the hell did you watch it?
Ah, my friend. Importing! This was in the days when DVDs were about twenty quid for four episodes. Can you even IMAGINE that in this day and age? It’s hardly cost-effective and feels like a complete waste of plastic and space. But back in 2004, this was the model, and importing the whole series on DVD took a lot of effort and money. Not as much as it would in a post-Liz Truss/Kwasi Kwarteng-economic-disaster world. Upon
Wait, they killed the main character in the first episode?
Oh yeah, I never explained the story, did I?
Well, within the first 30 seconds of episode 1, our protagonist – Yusuke Urameshi – is hit by a car and killed. Upon discovering this – and freaking out – he is greeted by Botan, a sort of spirit guide, who explains to him that he wasn’t actually supposed to die. Given a chance to return to life, he leaps at it under the condition that he takes on the role of a spirit detective.
Yeah. To be honest, that gives off a whodunit vibe that doesn’t exist. The early part of the season is a series of short cases before it goes full Shonen jump and enters into a tournament arc. Because who doesn’t like a Shonen jump tournament arc?! The Dragon Ball saga had loads of them, after all.
How long does it last?
Well, this is part of the reason I love Yu Yu Hakusho. It’s 112 episodes. To put that in comparison, One Piece has just hit 1000 episodes, Naruto has hit a similar amount of episodes across its various series and Dragon Ball is in the multiples of hundreds. In comparison, Yu Yu Hakusho is a short series. But in this way, it doesn’t outstay its welcome. After all, think of every show you’ve ever seen. How often does it get better the longer it goes? Other than maybe Breaking Bad, not often.
Dub or Sub?
I’m a dub kind of guy. And there ain’t nothing wrong with that! Some folks prefer sub. And there ain’t nothing wrong with that either! If you listen to the sub, you’ll hear all the original voice actors from the original series. If you listen to the dub, you’ll hear the likes of Justin Cook, and Christopher Sabat (Aka the English voice of Picollo and Vegeta) along with future video game star Laura Bailey – famous for Marvel’s Avengers and The Last of Us Part 2.
Where can I watch this?
Well, aren’t you lucky! You’re just in time for the release of the 30th Anniversary Blu-ray boxset! Available on Amazon and the likes, it contains all 112 episodes along with the recent OVA that adapts the penultimate chapter of the manga that I cannot wait to see for the first time.
If you’re like me and love a bit of old-school anime, then please – go give Yu Yu Hakusho a look!