SSBS – Yu Yu Hakusho Episode 3: Kuwabara – A Promise Between Men

SSBS - YYH EP 3

Plot: Kuwabara and his friends save Keiko from a bunch of thugs, but their actions land them in trouble back at school. The bastard teacher Mr. Akashi is more than happy to lay out the punishment for them. The terms: No fighting for a whole week or else Okubo loses his part-time job privileges. Okubo desperately needs this job since his mother is too sick to work, his siblings are too young to work and his father’s not in the picture.

It seems like a doable task, even with Kuwabara willingly taking every beating that the many thugs who have a vendetta against him and his friends dole out. He even commands them to target him and only him so his friends won’t suffer.

Mr. Akashi suddenly adds another condition: Every boy in the group must earn at least 50 points on the upcoming physical science test. Most of the boys are confident that they can meet this challenge since their scores in the previous test weren’t too bad, but Kuwabara reveals that he got a measly seven points on his last test.

Desperate to help his friend, Kuwabara starts studying like never before. He’s hitting the books hard, but his many rivals in the area are hitting him even harder. Yusuke decides to try and help his friend by reaching him in a dream the night before the test. He helps him study while he sleeps, and he seems set for a passing grade the next morning.

More thugs try to jump him while he makes his way to the test. Yusuke is helpless to protect him until the boys accidentally knock out a schoolgirl that Yusuke is acquainted with. He possesses her and beats the hell out of the boys without Kuwabara even noticing.

Kuwabara’s test goes well, and he’s able to determine that he passed before he even got his grade by copying his answers and checking them after the test was over. He and his friends are ecstatic, but Mr. Akashi is devastated that his plan didn’t work. Mr. Iwamoto, his bastard partner in crime, helps him by erasing the last answer on the test, giving Kuwabara a failing grade.

When Kuwabara gets his grade, he’s furious, but he’s even more enraged when he notices that Mr. Akashi erased the final answer on his test. Fed up, Kuwabara attempts to hit Mr. Akashi, but Yusuke ‘stops’ him and tells him to not give up everything he just did for Okubo for the sake of beating an idiot teacher.

Kuwabara relents and walks away. Mr. Akashi looks on in satisfaction until Mr. Takanaka shows up and reveals he knows what Mr. Akashi and Iwamoto did to his test. He demands that he change the grade and honor the conditions that he set for Kuwabara and his friends.

Okubo and the others share the good news with Kuwabara as Yusuke and Botan watch them up in the sky. She reveals that Kuwabara couldn’t hear him or feel him back there, but he probably felt the communication of his intentions through Yusuke’s feelings.

Kuwabara looks up into the sky, seemingly sensing Yusuke’s feelings again, and thanks his lost buddy for his help.

Breakdown: Episodes like this are a shining example of why I love this show and these characters so much.

It also exemplifies why Kuwabara is a precious cupcake, protect him.

Every second of this episode, barring the enraging Mr. Akashi and Mr. Iwamoto, makes my little jaded heart flutter. Kuwabara and his friends protecting Keiko, Kuwabara and his friends fiercely sticking together as they get unfairly punished, them also sticking up for Okubo when he gets targeted, Kuwabara asking, without prompt, for the bullies to target him and only him with their beatings, Kuwabara taking the beatings without an ounce of retaliation, Kuwabara doing all of that hard work studying to get a good grade for Okuko to keep his job, Yusuke helping out Kuwabara several times in various ways, those little moments between Kuwabara and his friends at the end as well as his look to the sky to thank Yusuke and his smile back down at him – how can you not feel all warm and gooey?

When people ask me why this is my favorite fighting anime, I just think of episodes like this. Particularly this one, to be honest, because this is one of my absolute favorite episodes of YYH.

In addition to being a wonderful friendship episode, it’s also a perfect melding of the action aspect with the gentler moments. Yusuke beating the crap out of those jerks as an innocent schoolgirl is just golden. It sucks that the Toonami airing cut out him viciously kicking one of them over and over in the groin.

It’s also great how they perfectly mixed this episode as both a story that highlights the strength of Kuwabara’s friendship with his inner circle with his friendship with Yusuke. We barely even know anything about his other friends at this point either, yet you feel like you know them quite well in this episode.

We haven’t got to focus much on the friendship aspect of Yusuke and Kuwabara’s relationship yet, so this was a great opportunity to show them as more than just rivals, and it gives a lot of backing behind Kuwabara’s outburst at Yusuke’s funeral.

I guess the only thing left to say about this episode is….

Fuck Mr. Akashi and Mr. Iwamoto.

Rating: 10/10

Next time, Yusuke’s revival is getting closer and closer, but his reincarnation might be put in danger when his house catches fire. There’s no one in the house to save Yusuke’s barely living body, and it’s up to Keiko to save him. Can she get Yusuke’s body to safety or will she die trying?

…Previous Episode

3 thoughts on “SSBS – Yu Yu Hakusho Episode 3: Kuwabara – A Promise Between Men

    • Go for it! It’s a great ride of a show with plenty of heart, action, comedy and memorable characters. In my opinion, it starts to plateau after The Dark Tournament, but it never gets bad.

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