Yu Yu Hakusho is perhaps one of the most underrated shonen anime and manga in recent times. Made in the early 90s by mangaka Yoshihiro Togashi, mainly known these days for his work in the Hunter X Hunter series, Yu Yu Hakusho is a captivating story about the journey of protagonist Yusuke Urameshi after his passing, becoming a Spirit Detective, and dealing with a lot of supernatural events.
The story grows and progresses, adding a lot more variety and complexity to its theme, resulting in an anime adaptation in the 90s of about 112 episodes which are still liked by many fans. Here are a series of reasons you should watch (or rewatch) Yu Yu Hakusho.
The plot progression and villains are a few of the many reasons why you should watch or rewatch Yu Yu Hakusho
Its main cast
Yu Yu Hakusho has a lot of interesting, strong characters, but the four main cast members steal the show. They are the biggest selling point to watch the series, whether because of who they are as individuals or their interactions with one another.
Yusuke’s journey of self-growth after a second chance at life, Kuwabara proving his manhood and extreme humanity to protect the ones he loves, Kurama’s mixture of cunningness and sheer brutality, and Hiei’s cool factor - these four are one of the best teams in manga and anime.
Watching them interact and fight as a unit is one of the best things about this series. Their friendship also grows a lot throughout the story, especially Kuwabara and Yusuke’s.
This series doesn’t have a clear formula, which is part of its charm. Even back then, it was clear that Togashi wasn’t the kind of mangaka that wanted to stick to the winning formula of shonen and constantly tried a lot of different things.
For example, the first arc has a “Monster of the Week” format, the second one is a tournament, the third is complex and ambitious, while the fourth one… well, by the fourth one, Togashi wanted out, but that’s another story. The point is that there is a constant desire to push the envelope, making the series richer and wider in themes and concepts to explore.
There is also a conscious effort to make the tone of Yu Yu Hakusho darker in every arc, which reaches its creative zenith with the third one, Chapter Black, even if the Dark Tournament is the fandom's favorite. It also allows for greater development for characters like Kurama and Hiei.
Some amazing villains
Antagonists like Toguro and Shinobu Sensui are the stuff of legends in shonen manga and anime. And while antagonists like Yomi deserve some plaudits, there is no denying that the former two carried the show in terms of villains and did a phenomenal job.
What makes those characters so good is the fact that they had a great backstory, always acted with intelligence and an imposing presence, and their entire development was of the highest quality. It is also interesting how they both represent different approaches within the series itself: Toguro is clear and straightforward, while Sensui is complex and has many layers.
There is much to like about Yu Yu Hakusho, and antagonists like Sensui and Toguro are high up there in the list.
Yu Yu Hakusho is a 90s classic that deserves to be viewed and enjoyed by the younger generations. It is a shame that the manga ended the way it did, but the quality of the story and the phenomenal 90s anime adaptation will always be there, and fans worldwide will always be thankful for that.