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 fighting tournament may be over but the real fight is just beginning.
Yu Yu Hakusho is one of those anime classics that not only still hold up well over the years but always seems to get better each time you see it. Even if you’re watching it for the first time you can’t help but feel that the series just gets better with each season and, as we can see from Season Three of Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files, this is definitely one of the strongest entries in this series.
The Dark Tournament has taken a lot out of Yusuke Urameshi and his friends as they received a number of blows and setback as well as the loss of a valuable teammate. As it turned out, Yusuke’s mentor, Genkai, was the mystery teammate who died in Yusuke’s arms after she confronted Toguro outside the stadium. Now, as Team Urameshi faces off against Team Toguro with the death of Genkai weighing heavily on their minds, the final battle in the tournament will be the toughest yet.
Kurama stepped up to the challenge during the first battle with Team Toguro and risks his own life in order to defeat the deadly Karasu. Unfortunately, despite sacrificing a lot in the fight, the judges don’t consider Kurama’s victory a win since he technically went down during the 10 second count. The next battle has Hiei step up to the challenge of the armored foe, Bui, who does not hold back his true power in order to fight Hiei. One of the more impressive battles, Hiei uses his true power as well.
Kuwabara is up next and his battle becomes an emotional one when he finds out what happened to Genkai seeing as the others didn’t disclose her death to him. His fight with the Elder Toguro is one of the highlights of the Dark Tournament but what happens after will not fail to shock and surprise as Toguro steps up to the plate and does the unthinkable to his own flesh and blood. A deadly bet is also placed for the final battle between Yusuke and Toguro as Sakyo and Koenma take the bet.
Yusuke’s fight with Toguro is what you would expect from the series as the two trade blows in an unforgettable brawl that nearly levels the entire stadium. In the end, however, Yusuke pushes himself to his very limits when the lives of his friends are in danger and the result is a victory that doesn’t come easy. What should be a moment of celebration turns into panic as Sakyo sets into motion his plans as he also makes good on his bet.
Oh, there’s also a big surprise as Yusuke and his friends – having escaped what went down in the stadium – decide to finally head back home. A certain somebody makes a return after Koenma pulled some strings on his end that leads to said person’s final goodbye to a foe heading straight for the gates of hell. Cheerfully, they all return home to their old lives hoping to enjoy some peace but we know that a Spirit Detective’s work is never peaceful.
A challenge from three young students with special powers has Yusuke and his friends coming together once again only to find out that the three – Yu, Kido and Mitsunari – are actually testing and preparing them for something coming their way. As Koenma tells them that Sakyo’s original plan involving a portal that connects the Demon Realm with the Living Realm is about to be open in Mushiyori City by a mysterious group of powered humans ready to carry out Sakyo’s plan. Once again, Yusuke and his friends must band together to stop them all. The problem is that not all of them are on board to take on such a huge task.
Once in Mushiyori City with their three new super powered comrades, they come across a young man with the ability to read minds. It is this mind-reader who tells them that there are seven deadly humans with powers who have their own reasons for wanting to see all humans wiped off the face of the Earth. Led by a mystery man codenamed Black Angel, the group targets Yusuke and his friends immediately. Starting with the one codenamed Doctor, they find out just how deadly the enemy really is and how determined they are to kill Yusuke and his group that now includes Keiko and Kuwabara’s older sister, Shizuru.
After a very close encounter with the one called Doctor, Kuwabara is attacked by another member called Seaman who uses water-based attacks. Unlike Doctor, the aftermath of the battle with Seaman leads to a surprising development that ends up being a big help to Yusuke. For starters, they discover the identity of the one called Black Angel and they even get an idea of where they might be able to find him an the portal they are trying to open. Their foe is Shinobu Sensui, a man whose hatred for humanity has inspired a group of likeminded individuals who have troubled pasts.
In the meantime, the one called Sniper takes on Yusuke and his friends as the remaining members of Sensui’s team kidnap Kuwabara for one major reason. The fight with Sniper leads Yusuke into one of the most exciting chases and fights this series has produced and believe me when I say that you will be on the edge of your seat. As they advance closer to Sensui’s hideout, they encounter another member of the group that has them playing a live version of one of Yusuke’s favorite video games.
The third season ends with quite a bang as they finally confront Sensui and the remaining members of his team. Believe me when I say that this is but the beginning of an intense confrontation that will make you look forward to Season Four.
Season Three of Yu Yu Hakusho is still just as exciting and just as epic as the first two seasons of this flawless classic and since it’s now on Blu-ray you definitely should own this one right away. With the Dark Tournament behind them, Yusuke and his friends find themselves facing a new problem that makes said tournament look like a beauty pageant. In other words, this third season will keep you on the edge of your seat and you’ll love every second of it.
BLU-RAY REVIEW BREAKDOWN
In the final rounds of the Dark Tournament, Team Urameshi takes on the Toguro brothers with some surprising results that leads up to a shocking final battle. After escaping the aftermath of the tournament, Yusuke and his friends return home only to find themselves facing a new enemy that threats to wipe out all humanity. Once again, Yusuke and his friends step up to save the world from seven powerful enemies.
VIDEO QUALITY: A+
There’s nothing quite like watching a remastered classic on Blu-ray and FUNimation manages to make this Anime Classics edition a very impressive release. I still get a kick out of the fighting scenes in this series.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
Speaking of impressive, the voice cast is still great whether you loved the original Japanese voice actors or the English dub cast. Even the music in the series is great and the two new closing theme songs still decent after all these years.
There’s no audio commentary track to be found, which would have totally rocked, but you will find the clean opening and closing theme songs as well as a few FUNimation trailers. It’s hard to complain, though, when we’re watching this on Blu-ray.
Despite the fact that the excitement of the Dark Tournament ends here, Season Three of Yu Yu Hakusho does not slow down one bit to give us yet another riveting season that is definitive proof that some classics really are timeless masterpieces. You just can’t call yourself an anime fan without having Yu Yu Hakusho among your collection.
Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment