Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files, Season Three – DVD Review

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Review by: Clive Owen

Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $34.98
Running Time: 620 minutes
Genre: Action/Fantasy
Rating: TV PG
Release Date: November 11, 2008

This one hits the ground running and doesn’t stop until the last episode.

I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed and a tad excited about how the Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files, Complete Season Two set ended. The second season of the series is known for the awesome Dark Tournament storyline that had our favorite characters representing the human race in a fighting tournament against the demons. Then, as the last round is about to begin, the four-disc set ends when things get very interesting. Oh yeah, I was disappointed … and excited by the prospect of getting my hands on Season Three.

At last, Season Three is here and the feeling of disappointment with the decision to cut the Dark Tournament storyline the way Season Two did is long gone. Starting with Episode 57 and ending with Episode 84, Season Three of this much-loved series does not disappoint in the very least and by the end you will still be anxiously anticipating the arrival of Season 4. The first episode in the four-disc set begins with the ending of the battle between Kurama and Karasu and the verdict is quite unexpected by both demons and humans. With a wish on the line, each of the fighters go allout and it’s Hiei who asks to go next against an armored foe and ends up unleashing his Dragon of the Darkness Flame attack that nearly levels all of the arena. We knew Hiei was a force to be reckoned with but man does the guy rock in this season.

During the tournament, Kuwabara is also told of Genkai’s apparent death (which happens during Season Two) … a fact the big guy never sensed. It’s great to see how far Kuwabara has come in the series and seeing him join Yusuke and the others as friend is great. So you can imagine his reaction to Genkai’s death when the tricky older Toguro brother tells him how Genkai died. That leaves Yusuke to take on the younger Toguro … a battle that ends badly for one of Yusuke’s friends. It’s moments like these that show how deep the storytelling in this series is and how it is able to mix comedy, action and drama easily and wonderfully enough.

With the closing of the Dark Tournament, a plot to destroy the arena and everyone in it is uncovered, leaving no time for Yusuke and the others to grieve over the death of their close friend. Personally, while I enjoyed the episodes revolving the Dark Tournament itself, it’s the events that happen directly after it is what really makes a bigger impact. A revelation is made as Team Urameshi prepares to leave for the Living World and new adversaries show up wanting a piece of Yusuke. When a comrade is kidnapped during the scrape, however, a new chapter in the Yu Yu Hakusho saga unfolds. Originally, this new storyline was meant to be the beginning of Season Three but here it serves as an interesting new development that turns things to a new and welcome direction.

Kuwabara manages to put together a group to come to their kidnapped friend, showing us that there’s more to the big brawler than just muscle. Apart from the interesting rescue mission, Disc 3 finds the Spirit Detective looking into a tunnel that threatens to tear a portal between the Living World and the Demon World. The result is a rift between the two worlds that would turn the world to chaos. As new foes show their face, Yusuke and his friends attempt to put an end to this new threat. The episodes that follow bring Yusuke and his friends to Mushiyori City to take on each interesting new foe that stands in their way of closing the tunnel.

The final episodes of Disc 4 do a good job of setting up the events that eventually will lead to the conclusion of the new story arc. If anything, this Season Three set does a great job of bringing the episodes in their uncut format so there’s plenty of bloodletting … especially when the Dark Tournament conclusion is concerned. It’s also great to see that the episodes are looking as crisp as ever on DVD. While the set isn’t big on features, it’s the episodes featured here that will keep you more than satisfied.

This is easily one of the best seasons of Yu Yu Hakusho and by the middle of the four-disc set you will be more than hooked in by the events that transpire throughout the 28 episodes. It’s easy to see why this series is loved by anime fans with a number of great episodes that really stand out. We’ve recommended this series before when Animanga Nation was a print publication and we recommend it still. Definitely pick this one up if you like your anime with a lot of heart and action-packed from start to finish.

 

DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN

MOVIE/EPISODES: A
Wonderfully transferred from the original uncut source, the episodes in this four-disc season set are one of the most exciting moments in the series. There are a number of favorite moments scattered throughout each disc but you’ll be easily pulled in by the great fight sequences. Plus, Hiei rules the arena during the Dark Tournament in this one.

VIDEO QUALITY: A-
The video quality is excellent and it’s good to see the series look this sharp. Really, my old VHS copies of the show were murder on the eyes.

AUDIO QUALITY: A+
Like the last two Complete Season sets, Season Three does the sound quality justice and it comes through nicely if you have a good sound system setup. You just have to love the excellent English dub voice cast for this series.

EXTRAS: C
A few extras are found in this third season box set and that’s a tad disappointing. Still, the character profiles are helpful to YuYu Yakusho newcomers.

OVERALL: A
Season Three of Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Profiles is certainly one of the more entertaining and action-packed seasons of this highly-entertaining series. This is a series that just keeps getting better and better with each episode and you’ll love it for that. Fans of the series, do not miss this four-disc set.

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