To be honest, I was a little disappointed with these next episodes of Yu Yu Hakusho. They’re not bad episodes per se, but after the brilliant start to the series these two somewhat drop the ball. I mentioned in our last analysis that most first episodes or chapters usually try and set the scene and gently introduce you to the characters involved, and this is what these two do but in a way I found quite unnecessary.
Episode 3 focuses on Kuwabara, with him standing up to be counted for his friends against the dastardly and scheming teachers of the school. How Principal Takenaka didn’t decide to fire the two of them is beyond me.
The episode’s only real purpose is to show is that Kuwabara isn’t just a goofball, and is in fact someone who can be quite intelligent when he puts his mind to something, as well as someone that cares for others.
The thing is, I think the first two episodes already did a good enough job of showing us sides of Kuwabara’s personality, and that we as the audience didn’t really need it spelling out for us. Kuwabara’s actions after his rival Yusuke’s death already showed us that he wasn’t necessarily a bad person, and there was always time for him to show his intelligence later on in the story.
One of the highlights of this episode and the series so far was when Yusuke had another go at possession, taking over the body of an innocent schoolgirl to subdue Kuwabara’s pursuers as they tried to attack him.
Episode 4 suffers from similar issues, with Keiko now being the central character and showing us how much she feels for Yusuke. This was something that seemed quite obvious from the first two episodes, so why there is a whole episode to show us this seems pretty needless. Yusuke appears to like Keiko in a romantic way also, but is too stubborn and perhaps too shy to admit it.
We do at least get some explanation of why a goody-two-shoes like her is such good friends with our rebellious main character, with it being revealed that they have always been childhood friends and have grown up together.
Yusuke has a conundrum with the mystical egg in this episode and lobs it into the fire in order to save Keiko’s life, damning himself to ‘death’ in the process and sacrificing his big chance to return to his body. I say ‘death’ as the series hasn’t been quite so clear about this. Yusuke’s body is still very much alive, but in a comatose state. It appears as though the afterlife in Yu Yu Hakusho counts someone as dead if their mind or soul leaves the body, even if they are still technically living.
Thankfully, Koenma after seeing everything take place sees sense and grants Yusuke the chance to return to his body again after his noble decision, so he should be able to have his earthly body back fairly soon.
More of Kuwabara’s spirit sensitivity is also on show here, as Yusuke and Botan are able to influence him to stay out of trouble and to gain his attention to help with the arson incident at the Urameshi household. You’d expect in stories like this that the spirit realm wouldn’t be allowed to interfere with earthly matters, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Yusuke’s spirit also appears to be able to physically touch Kuwabara, which we see during Episode 3’s dream sequence.
A note about the animation here, I found that it has mostly been very enjoyable so far, but I realised that the faces of some characters looked quite off-model in Episode 4, with characters’ eyes noticeably being drawn quite far apart in comparison to the previous episodes. This is something that bugged me a little bit, even if it is something pretty minor.
With that said then, these episodes were enjoyable, but unfortunately slowed down the momentum of the first two episodes which is unfortunate. I’ve heard that the Yu Yu Hakusho anime is very faithful to the original manga, but these episodes could have been largely cut down in length. They do help to develop the relationship between Keiko and Kuwabara, however, helping to bring the main cast of characters closer together.
I imagine we may see a few more episodes like this, perhaps until about Episode 10 where many shows hit their stride.
What did you make of these episodes of Yu Yu Hakusho? Leave your comments down below.