SSBS – Yu Yu Hakusho Episode 5: Yusuke’s Back

SSBS - YYH EP5 1

Plot: Koenma finally starts the process of reuniting Yusuke’s soul with this body, but the procedure for resurrecting him is complicated. First, Yusuke only has one day’s worth of a window to get what needs to get done for the ritual. Otherwise, he’ll have to wait 52 years to try again. Secondly, he’ll have to have someone who cares about him to transfer some of their life energy to him within that 24 window – and that life energy must be transferred through a kiss. In order to do this, he enters the dreams of the three people who care for him most, or two of them anyway, Kuwabara and Keiko, to convey images of them kissing him as he glows gold (a side effect of the gateway being opened within his body.)

Kuwabara is far too freaked out to even think about the dream any further, so it’s up to Keiko.

As terrible luck would have it, her mother is hospitalized with exhaustion that very same day. Keiko won’t leave her mother’s bedside until she recovers, so Yusuke goes off to find his only other two chances. However, despite Kuwabara’s high spirit sensory abilities allowing him to feel Yusuke’s presence, he is still too freaked out by the ‘tickle’ feeling of his powers to get the message.

Yusuke’s final option is Atsuko and she’s too drunk off at the bar to even think straight.

It seems like Yusuke’s destined to be a vegetable for the next 52 years until Botan gets an idea. She transmits a message to Keiko through her sleeping mother to go to Yusuke immediately. She’s got a handful of minutes to rush across town and kiss Yusuke before the strike of midnight.

She cuts it as close as humanly possible, but she succeeds.

Yusuke’s back in the world of the living once more!

When Yusuke returns, he wants nothing more than to lay low and relax, but curiosity gets the better of him when he hears that a bunch of thugs from Rugafuji Junior High, lead by Sakamoto, have muscled in on Kuwabara’s turf. Yusuke notices something very strange about Sakamoto that appears to go unnoticed by everyone else – he has horns growing out of his head! Despite this, Yusuke decides against getting involved, so as not to disturb his vacation.

He learns that they have Kuwabara running around like an errand boy, trying to do things that go against his honor code. Yusuke is shocked to see Kuwabara bowing down to Sakamoto and his goons, but apparently they have someone precious to him as a hostage – Eikichi. While Yusuke initially believes this is a girl, it’s soon made apparent that it’s a little kitten.

Sakamoto is displeased with Kuwabara’s inability to break his codes, so he gives Kuwabara one last chance to get back his precious Eikichi – he must beat up his friends until he tells him to stop. This is one step too far for Kuwabara, despite his friends agreeing to the terms full-heartedly. Sakamoto orders the cat be killed, but suddenly Yusuke rushes in and saves Eikichi.

Everyone is shocked to see the legendary Yusuke Urameshi back on the streets again, especially Kuwabara, but there’s no time for pleasantries. There are asses to be kicked. The Rugafuji thugs get taken down rather easily by Kuwabara, his crew and Yusuke, but Sakamoto makes a break for it.

Yusuke corners him in a tunnel and knocks him out. He thinks this is the end of it, but a little demon suddenly crawls out of the boy’s mouth. He’s shocked that Yusuke can see and catch him, as he’s normally not visible to humans. A strange fortune teller that Yusuke ran into earlier tells him that this little demon is a criminal that the spirit world has been trying to apprehend for weeks, but he’s so cagey that he always eludes capture.

Breakdown: Ya know, I always forget that this episode isn’t two separate episodes. The two halves are just so drastically different in their storylines that I kinda don’t understand why Yusuke’s resurrection wasn’t attributed to one episode and his first outing as a spirit detective wasn’t relegated to another. It’s just very odd in its structure.

Since I always see it as such, I feel it fitting to review this episode in two halves.

Side A (Yusuke’s Resurrection)

SSBS - YYH EP5 2

Ah the infamous episode where they pretty much seamlessly meld a Cinderella story with a Sleeping Beauty one. Even though I always find this story to be tense and exciting, barring the title of the episode completely spoiling the outcome (though, being fair, there wouldn’t be a series if we had to wait 52 years for Yusuke to come back) there’s no denying that it’s a clusterfuck of plot contrivances.

Of course Yusuke only has the next 24 hours to get the ritual done in order to come back, and of course he’ll have to wait an unreasonable amount of time to try again if he fails. Of course it’s a literal kiss of life scenario. Of course Keiko doesn’t try the first time she sees him, despite the dream, because the golden glow effect starts at his covered feet and works its way up. Of course his only legitimate chance to come back is sidetracked by a random medical emergency. Of course it’s a rush down to the second to kiss him, and of course she does it in nick of time while the bells of midnight are chiming, no less.

I can forgive all of those because I do love this storyline. It’s great for Keiko and Yusuke in regards to their relationship, and there were a couple funny Kuwabara moments.

However, that’s not to say the entire episode was good. There was one aspect that really pissed me off, and, let’s work one more ‘of course’ in here – of course it’s Atsuko.

You read right in the plot synopsis – despite nearly losing her son in the previous episode due to a house fire because she was too busy getting drunk off of her ass at parties, today’s episode showcases her, yet again, leaving the house in a drunken stupor to get more drunk down at the bar, leaving her comatose near-death son home alone.

At the very least she supposedly had really good insurance so their new home is bigger and nicer, and Yusuke’s not covered in trash and dust this time, but still. What the hell is this woman’s problem? How many times does her son need to nearly die in order for her to stay sober? Excuse me, her son actually did die once, so apparently not even death can stop her from being one of the most irresponsible parents I’ve ever seen.

Side B (Yusuke’s Officially a Spirit Detective)

SSBS - YYH EP5 3

Going back and watching the start of this series kinda makes me sad because I remember that the ‘spirit detective’ gimmick never really sticks around. From start to finish, Yusuke is a spirit detective, but, for the most part, the series never goes back to the way it started out. Yusuke used to get all sorts of neat gadgets and items to help him through his cases, and the stories used to at least have some semblance of mystery to them. However, quickly enough, this all goes away and becomes the usual shounen tournament fighter fare. Big baddie, fight littler baddies to get to him, get stronger, come out on top, prep for next baddie. Wash, rinse, repeat.

His ‘cases’ are usually just designating a target and explaining why he needs to be defeated.

Don’t get me wrong, I still adore Yu Yu Hakusho – it’s my favorite shounen fighting anime – but I still kinda wish we had held onto the spirit detective aspect more firmly. They pepper it here and there, it never fully goes away, but there was a lot of wasted potential in my opinion.

In other news, Kuwabara is a precious cupcake, protect him.

I mean, come on, the guy gave up his turf, bowed to an asshole’s demands and demeaned himself for a kitten. How can you not love him to bits?

As for Yusuke’s return, it was really well-written and bad-ass. He not only came to Kuwabara’s aid in the nick of time, but he also saved his kitten and defeated a demon. He was a tiny demon but a demon nonetheless. Plus, the fact that this guy was being possessed by a demon was pretty well done. He wasn’t being too over-the-top, he was just being a massive asshole. You probably never would have suspected he was a demon unless Yusuke noticed his horns.

And so starts Yusuke’s long journey as a spirit detective.

Rating: 9/10

Next time, we get introduced to everyone favorite demons – Kurama and Hiei!…and some other third dude!


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