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YuYu Hakusho

The Movie

Copyright: ©1993 Yoshihiro Tagashi, Shueisha, Studio Pierrot, 1998 AnimeWorks
Length: 30 minutes
Rating: Rated Kid Safe (3+) by Anime Works, Suitable for Family Viewing
Format: English Sub, Dub (VHS, DVD)


vhs jacket

Urameshi Yusuke is on summer vacation and nothing could possibly get him to go back to the underworld to work. Nothing except perhaps the kidnapping of young Koenma, who is responsible for bringing Yusuke back to (semi) life. In exchange for young Koenma, the kidnapper, the demon Garuga, wants Enma-Daiou's Golden Seal. The seal which is stamped on all of the Lord of the Underworld's important documents. However, getting to the exchange point is going to be a lot more difficult than expected. It seems that someone has told most of the powerhungry demons that Yusuke is carrying the coveted seal...

capsule review:

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

café rating (English subtitled):


2 stars
[2 / 5] - A pretty basic story. Bad guys are out for revenge but someone decides to go out on their own once they seem to have won.


3 stars
[3 / 5] - Generally decent. One scene where Botan screams before being hit though.


3 stars
[3 / 5] - Okay, but not quite up to usual Japanese seiyuu standards. Garuga could be a bit more in character.


2 stars
[2 / 5] - Lots of speedlines and stills here, not what you'd expect of a theatrical feature.


3 stars
[3 / 5] - Nothing fantastic but it suits the scenes and action.


4 stars
[4 / 5] - A low 4; generally accurate. A couple of places where the translations are a touch loose. Could use a bit more variation.

Overall Rating:

2 stars
[2 / 5] - With lots of action, younger kids and especially those who are fans of the TV series will undoubtedly enjoy this movie feature. Good for when you're in the mood for something mindless.

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Page last modified 2001.06.22