The first of the Yuyu Hakusho movies based on the very popular manga series and with a TV anime series, this is a very short movie feature. Being completely unfamiliar with the entire YuYu Hakushou universe, this movie provides a very quick introduction in an easy to follow, although lightning quick, manner. With younger kids in mind, the action moves very quickly with lots of childish humour tossed in the mix.
Overall the story in this movie is very basic and is little more than an excuse for a lot of fighting and action. Given the extremely short time frame, there is naturally very little in the way of story or character development and the concentration is really on the action. As such the fast-paced movemment from one encounter to the next is more than enough to hold younger kids' attention. The only thing is that I found the level of violence a touch high for young kids. While AnimeWorks rates this video as "Kid Safe", I find that the violence itself is closer to a low PG rating. Somewhat akin to watching an animated version of WWF wrestling with a lot more space and without the fakery or holding back.
The animation quality is typical of what would be seen more on TV than in a movie, however, as it dates back to 1993, it's also a touch dated. With lots of stills, speedlines, and limited detail, the animation is rather uninspiring. Mind you, this is a kids anime, and for its target audience and for the purposes of the story at hand, it's sufficient to do its job. The music is again nothing fantastic, but does its job at building tension and heightening the sense of action in scenes.
The voice acting is a bit mixed here with most characters being decently into character. Garuga, on the other hand, struck me as a touch forced as did Botan. Nothing fantastic overall but again, sufficient for the purpose of the story and again given the target audience, it does its job well.
I have to admit that the story concept behind the series as introduced in the movie has me a touch intrigued. The idea of working for the underworld after having accidentally being brought to the spirit world is rather cute. However, the strong shounen angle plus the younger age focus isn't always my thing. More than anything, the movie provides a very brief and superficial introduction to the world of YuYu Hakushou. I'd say this is really a feature for YuYu Hakusho fans more than anything else. Either that or a watch only when you're in the mood for some childish, and brainless fighting.
- JYN, 2001.06.22