For Yusuke’s next mission as a spirit detective, he is promptly instructed by Botan to find Genkai, a martial arts master who is willing to pass on her techniques to the next generation due to her old age. Because of her advanced spiritual techniques, numerous yokai aim to participate in the trials she has arranged under human disguises.
These episodes surprised me somewhat, as I had always heard that Yu Yu Hakusho didn’t turn into a fighting story until later on, but these two episodes definitely feel that way.
Joining Yusuke in this quest is Kuwabara, who initially wants to see Genkai in order to cure his apparent sleep paralysis, seemingly brought on by his high spirit sensitivity. It’s due to this ability that Kuwabara has that allows him to fare slightly better than Yusuke over the course of these two episodes. He is the first of the hopefuls to make it through the cursed forest, and is able to win his battle in the darkness while Yusuke struggles against his opponent.
Yusuke did manage to defeat the bat demon in the forest however, which Genkai was impressed by. Her thoughts over these two episodes show that she has very high hopes for both Yusuke and his rival, and it’s pretty much a given that either one of them will win this tournament once it’s through.
Despite the two of them being rivals, we begin to see some degree of camaraderie between them over these two episodes, especially when Kuwabara worries about Yusuke not making it through the forest trial. Looking at their behaviour together since the start of the series, it’s clear that the two of them were never sworn enemies, just rivals.
The other contestants remaining in Genkai’s challenge appear to be very strong, but we don’t know if these competitors are actually human like our heroes. Earlier in Episode 9, Yusuke’s watch went completely haywire and exploded, such were the number of yokai that were in the vicinity. Which one could be the dangerous yokai Rando is anyone’s guess, but I think it’s probably going to be the innocent and unassuming looking Shorin (the short guy).
Yu Yu Hakusho is primarily known as a fighting story, so it’s good that these episodes gave us a first proper taste of that. Sure, we had gotten a little of this in Episode 8, but this is where we appear to see this side of things properly.
Who do you think will win Genkai’s tournament? Which contestant do you think is Rando? Leave your comments down below.