Review by: Eduardo Zacarias
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $44.98 US (Blu-ray)
Running Time: 620 minutes
Rating: TV PG
Release Date: Available Now
The UFC fighters have nothing on these brawlers.
Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files is easily one of those true classics that join have seen multiple releases before and much like the releases of Dragon Ball Z Kai, this beloved anime series certainly deserves the Blu-ray treatment. If the first season of Yu Yu Hakusho didn’t catch your attention then the fighting action of its more intense Season Two will hook you in and won’t let go until the very last episode.
The Dark Tournament has finally commenced as Yusuke Urameshi, his once rival Kuwabara, a mysterious Masked Fighter and the two demons known as Hiei and Karama stand together as Team Urameshi. Having no choice but to participate in the fighting tournament, they find themselves the underdogs of this event composed of demons. In fact, they’re despised by all in attendance but that hasn’t put a damper on their determination. Team Urameshi is here to win and to finally face off against muscle-bound freak named Toguro who made sure Yusuke participated in the tournament.
It is Kuwabara who takes the first real match against Team Rokuyukai’s Rinku with his serpent yo-yo attack. It’s clear that the big brute has become one of the best fighters but Kuwabara’s anger issues and his blockheaded nature has him losing this fight on the technicality that he failed to be in the ring during the countdown because he was too busy yelling at a still sleeping Yusuke. Meanwhile, Kurama takes on his opponent – Roto – who happens to be a cheater but gets what’s coming to him as Kurama showcases one of his deadliest weapons.
Hiei also steps into the ring to reveal a deadly attack called the “Dragon of the Darkness Flame” that finishes his opponent off in a gruesome manner. Yusuke wakes up in time to face the real team leader of Team Rokuyukai in a battle that is not only exciting but intense as the fight shifts to a bloody “knife edge” deathmatch. Meanwhile, in the stadium, Team Urameshi’s only cheer section (composed of Keiko, Botan and Kuwabara’s sister, Shizuru) are joined by Yukina … a fact that has the love-sick Kuwabara to keep fighting even after obtaining a bad injury later in the tournament.
With the tournament’s committee clearly not on Team Urameshi’s side, Yusuke and the others are pushed into another team battle without even getting a chance to catch their breath after their battle with a twisted Doctor and his collection of fighters that are under his influence. With injuries and one fighter down, Team Urameshi takes quite a beating and we finally get a peek at the Masked Fighter’s face and it happens to be a very pretty face at that. On top of the fact that they’ve been forced into a fight so soon, a sexy enchantress posing as a nurse takes the Masked Fighter and Hiei out of the remaining round. Things are definitely looking really bleak for Yusuke and Kurama.
There are disappointment and surprising developments that makes this particular team battle truly memorable whether it’s Yusuke’s fight with a likeable Irish opponent or the badly injured Kuwabara stepping in to finish the team battle. Another twist in the Masked Fighter mystery reveals what we had suspected since the final episodes of Season One. Actually, it wasn’t hard to figure out her identity since Yusuke did run off to train with her. Genkai is back and begins the final phase of Yusuke’s training that could very well kill him if he doesn’t complete it.
With Master Genkai on the island, the older Toguro brother turns his attention on her. It seems that the two had had a long history together that was close to love. Through both their memories we see that Genkai and Toguro partnered up and participated in the Dark Tournament before. However, Toguro traded everything for great power and eternal youth while Genkai – disgusted by the very idea – walked away from him. Now, after 50 years, Genkai and Toguro clash and the outcome is heartbreaking.
Meanwhile, despite making trillions off the tournament already, Sakyo disposes of those in the committee that oppose him. He reveals what he plans to do with the money and the plan is shocking enough that the last members of the committee protest despite the fact that they know they cannot win against him. On Team Urameshi’s side, the others cope with the loss of a friend and teammate in their own way as each remaining member of the team manages to power up in interesting ways.
This leads us to the finals as Yusuke and his friends will face off against Team Toguro as the fight has now become even more personal. A new member stands in for Team Urameshi and things will definitely get more interesting when Season Three comes along. With fights aplenty and surprising developments that includes Kurama’s other form and a cute moment between Yusuke and Keiko, this second season is nothing short of surprising.
Without a doubt, The Complete Second Season of Yu Yu Hakusho is one of the strongest entries in a series that has no shortage of surprises or awesome battles. Then again, this is exactly what you would come to expect from an anime classic that pushed the action envelope back in its day and still manages to be refreshingly intense and irresistible now. Believe me when I say that you will wish Season Three was already here after watching this collection.
BLU-RAY REVIEW BREAKDOWN
The Dark Tournament has begun and Yusuke and the rest of Team Urameshi find themselves going up against a number of fighters that are prepared to rip them apart in from of a massive stadium filled with demons hungry to see them lose. Meanwhile, Togura targets a member of Team Urameshi as the tournament’s biggest supporter reveals his shocking plan. Do Yusuke and his friends have what it takes to reach the finals and face their greatest foes?
VIDEO QUALITY: A+
Considering the fact that this is an anime classic, the series shines beautifully on Blu-ray and should definitely be enjoyed on a big HD screen. There are a lot of classics that need to be seen in high-definition and this is definitely one of them. This second season also contains some of the best fights in the series.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
The voice cast for both the sub and dub has always managed to pull off some great performances for this series so whatever your viewing preference is you will find a worthy voice cast. Then there’s the score that is excellent enough to do each scene justice and the new closing theme song is sweet.
Once again, the extras are pretty slim in this Anime Classics release so all you’ll find are the textless opening and closing theme songs and a few Funimation trailers. This release would have benefited from an audio commentary track reuniting most of the English dub voice cast. The biggest deal here is the fact that it’s on Blu-ray and looking better than ever.
A genuine action-packed brawling classic, The Complete Season Season of Yu Yu Hakusho has everything you can ask for in an action anime. In fact, it does not disappoint in the very least to become that type of series you will want to watch repeatedly for years to come. We cannot recommend this series enough to our friends and family and neither will you if you give this amazing series a chance.
Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment