Yu Yu Hakusho
A Parent's Guide to Anime
Parental Guidance Advised
Reviewed by Samantha Audsley:
Yu Yu Hakusho is an action-adventure that may be a good next step if you're getting tired of Dragonball Z. It has plenty of fights and tournaments, mixed with lighthearted comedy and some seriously dramatic moments. The story starts with a 14-year-old boy named Yusuke Urameshi, who unexpectedly dies saving the life of a child. He is allowed to come back to life on one condition: He will act as a "reikai tantei," or spirit detective, and solve mysteries for the spirit world. Despite the title, Yusuke and the other detectives seem to spend more time fighting then solving mysteries, but they do face some stumpers. A lot of the fighting takes place in the two tournaments they compete in.
The other detectives are a varied bunch, which makes for some interesting situations when the personalities bounce off each other. Kazuma Kuwabara is the "stupid lummox" of the group. Kurama is calm, poised, and always has some good advice. Hiei is anti-social, doesn't like the job, and can be extremely ruthless at times.
There's also an off-the-wall supporting cast, including Botan, the super-perky deity of death, and Koenma, the ruler of the spirit world, who is over 700 years old but looks like a little kid. The villains are an equally strange bunch--for example, one of the opposing teams at the first tournament, Uraotogi Team, is one big allusion to Japanese folktales. Except for Suzuki, each of the team members refers subtly to a Japanese story, both through their names and their abilities. Other villains are more serious, but one of the best things about YYH is that the lines between good and evil aren't always clean-cut and the villains have definite reasons for what they are doing.
Overall, this is a fun series, and I recommend it for anyone old enough to handle the violence.
Parent's Guide Rating:
yellow (parental guidance advised)
The most adult element of this series is the violence. It's not X-rated or overly gory, but it's not for kiddies. One example would be Kurama's battle with Karasu. Kurama takes some serious abuse and is nearly killed. Karasu is obviously enjoying torturing Kurama, and Shizuru mentions that Karasu must be a sadist. In a later story arc, an insane doctor called Kamiya is on the rampage in a hospital; he slices up many people and there's plenty of blood. Early on in the series, Kurama is impaled on a sword and blinds Hiei with his own blood. Most of the violence is at this level, although there's also comical violence, such as Botan hitting Yusuke on the head with her oar.
There are some deaths; Yusuke dies twice but comes back both times. Some of the villains are killed and the heroes nearly die time and time again. There are some cold blood killings; Hiei shows Zeru no mercy, and Kamiya kills a lot of innocent people during his hospital rampage.
Nudity isn't really a problem; off-hand, the worst thing I can think of is that Yusuke and Hiei both seem to get their shirts ripped off a lot. The girls have better luck keeping their clothes on; the worst instance I can think of here is that the ref at one of the tournaments wears a skimpy outfit.
Sex is neatly stepped around, except for occasional moments with slight inneundo. One example would be when Botan gives Yusuke a lens that will give him x-ray vision. Yusuke immediately aims it at Botan; she smacks him on the head with her oar.
Profanity is common, though YYH has been licensed by Funimation, and they have a reputation for cleaning things up. Most of it isn't severe, unless you're watching the Yusuke's GANG fansub, which does use the f-word and the s-word here and there.
The general theme of the series may be objectionable to religious parents, because the story revolves around conflicts between demons and spirits. The demons aren't necessarily evil; Kurama and Hiei are both demons, but they're with the good guys. If you're strongly religious, you may want to find an anime that doesn't revolve so strongly around the supernatural.