SSBS – Yu Yu Hakusho Episode 4: Requirements for Lovers

SSBS - YYH EP4

Plot: Yusuke has been given a spirit beast egg as part of his trial to come back to life. If he’s good, the egg will hatch into a guide who will reunite Yusuke back to the world of the living. If he’s bad, the egg will hatch into a horrific monster that will consume his soul.

A spirit world investigator named Sayaka arrives to keep an eye on his case. She is particularly focused on Keiko since a big part of bringing people back to life is ensuring the person in question has people who actually want him back.

Keiko cares for Yusuke’s body, waiting for him to return, but when his body is suddenly put in, ironically, mortal danger, she has to find some way to save him or else he can never come back.

Breakdown: This is another really great episode, particularly for building Keiko and Yusuke’s relationship even more. I feel like it’s a bit on the cruel side to say that there’s no point in bringing Yusuke back if he doesn’t have people who want him back. What about people who are really great but have no friends or family because of circumstances beyond their control?

The fact that Yusuke sacrifices his chance to come back to life, seemingly anyway, to save Keiko’s life is really touching. His outburst after his mom apologizes to his body is quite heartbreaking. Plus, despite the fact that Keiko’s very much a passive character throughout about 99% of the show, this is one moment where she gets to shine. Running into a burning building to get Yusuke’s body shows insane levels of courage.

There were, however, a couple of things I disliked about this episode, and one of them is pretty much hatred.

Let’s cover the least infuriating first – the random arson on Yusuke’s house. We needed to put Yusuke’s body in massive peril so Keiko would have to save him. To achieve this, they put in a random arsonist/pyromaniac who, of course, has Yusuke’s house set as his next target. This guy comes out of nowhere, has no face, is never caught and is never brought up again.

Also, the Neighborhood Watch Committee’s message on this is strange. They warn people of staying safe in the heat and then they tag on that there’s a suspected arsonist who has already set fires to two homes. It’s literally ‘Hey guys, it’s mighty hot, so remember to stay hydrated, keep your pets inside (OR well watered, dub?) and oh yeah, there’s an arsonist around that you can do nothing about who is putting your lives in mortal danger.’

There’s even weirder dialogue later where they say there’s been 12 fires just that day, despite the arsonist only being linked to two (Darn that dry hot weather) so the fire department conveniently can’t get to Yusuke’s house in time.

The randomness and convenience of this guy isn’t even what fully gets me. It’s the deep suspicion that I truly believe this was a hasty rewrite. I haven’t read the manga yet, and I doubt this is in there, but I always felt like this was originally meant to be Atsuko’s fault.

Which leads me to the hatred part of this episode – Atsuko.

I know I briefly talked about how the funeral in episode one showed us that Atsuko really did love her son, no matter how shitty of a mother she was when he was alive, and this is compounded briefly in episode two when she’s so happy to see that Yusuke’s still alive, even though she was going to slap his corpse for DYING, but now….

*sigh*

In this episode, Atsuko is just not home. How long she hasn’t been home, I don’t know. She didn’t call Keiko to take care of Yusuke for her – she just left a cartoony note that, for all she knows, she wouldn’t have found for days. It seems like Keiko hasn’t visited Yusuke in a while due to the fact that she’s shocked as to the state of the house.

How is he even being giving nutrition? There’s no IV and he’s in a coma so he can’t eat.

Not only is Atsuko not home, but she’s also clearly drinking and partying. The house is a pigsty, covered in loads of garbage, and even Yusuke is covered in trash and dust. Also, the house wouldn’t have caught fire nearly as easily if there wasn’t loads of trash everywhere.

What mother who just got blessed with her dead son coming back from the grave would treat their son like this? It’s repulsive.

Granted, yes, she felt bad about it, but she moreso felt bad about not being there when the fire happened, not that she was doing a shit job of taking care of her son in the first place.

My theory connecting back to the first negative note was that I believed this fire was originally intended to be caused by Atsuko’s negligence. I feel like Atsuko was meant to leave a lit cigarette around the massive piles of trash and it was meant to cause the fire instead of Rando McPyro.

Then it was changed at the last minute because they realized this would make Atsuko seem a little too irresponsible? To the point of being unlikable?

Again, this is all just a theory I came up with, but it makes perfect sense to me.

Rating: 7.5/10

Next Episode, it’s Yusuke’s one chance to come back to life, and he needs a kiss to do it. If he misses his window, he’ll have to wait 50 years for a new one. Can Keiko give him to kiss of life in time?

.Previous episode


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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

30DAC – Day 10: Favorite Fighter Anime

I’m taking the meaning of this prompt as like brawl fighting, tournaments a theme etc. I was torn between two shows for this. Yu Yu Hakusho and Dragonball.

While I do truly love Dragonball, I can’t deny that Yu Yu Hakusho just has slightly more to offer in terms of interesting characters and cool powers. I didn’t include DBZ in this because, while I do like that show too, it gets monotonous after time, and the battles are drawn out too much.

Yu Yu Hakusho centers around a boy named Yusuke Urameshi who died while trying to save a kid from getting hit by a car. He’s brought back to life by a shinigami named Botan and Koenma, ruler of the spirit world, though technically a prince, under the condition that he become a spirit detective, a person with immense spiritual powers who solves cases for the spirit world typically involving demons.

He is quickly joined by his best friend/rival Kuwabara, who had heightened spirit awareness far before Yusuke, Hiei, a fire apparition and Kurama, a reincarnated fox demon.

While the animation isn’t fantastic, the fights are incredible and many of them are very memorable. My personal favorite is the Dark Tournament arc because not only do we showcase the main group’s powers, but we also get introduced to all sorts of different demons and abilities that constantly change up the battle. There’s a couple other tournament arcs, but I find the Dark Tournament more diverse and interesting.

Plus, it introduced us to Jin and he’s just awesome.

The characters are really memorable, even if Hiei really gives off a Vegeta vibe, only without the rivalry with the main character, and the storylines, while not being insanely original, are also memorable and well-written.

It’s just an overall great fighting anime that I’d be glad to recommend to anyone.