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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Yugo the Negotiator, Vol. 4: Russia, Vol. 2 - Rebirth
Yugo the Negotiator, Vol. 4: Russia, Vol. 2 - Rebirth
ADV Films // R // March 21, 2006
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Todd Douglass Jr. | posted March 9, 2006 | E-mail the Author
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The Show:

You all know as well as I that the bulk of anime that is released provides a lot of fan service with kinetic action, lots of excitement and bubbly bouncy characters. It's rare that a title comes along that is so completely different from the norm and tries hard to do unique and unpredictable things. Yugo the Negotiator is one of those series that breaks the mold and tells its tale in a different fashion, though this doesn't mean that the show is for everyone.

The pacing is much more deliberate and slower than a lot of anime out on the market right now, and for all intensive purposes it has a very realistic vibe. There are no flying ninjas, busty cat-girls, robotic space pirates, or fuzzy alien critters here; instead things take place in our present time with current technology and a real world feel. This means that unless you keep an open mind or are interested in slower dramas, Yugo has the unfortunate potential to bore you out of your skull.

The series may only be released across the span of four discs, but in that time frame there are actually two separate negotiations or mini-series, if you will. The first two discs were comprised of the Pakistan negotiation while the second two focus on the Russian. With the Pakistan story arc having come to a close Yugo's character got a lot of fleshing out and we really saw what the guy was capable of. He really puts it all on the line in order to get the job done and will stop at nothing to see that justice is served in the end.

The Russian arc picks up with the third volume and really has no ties to the previous storyline. In fact it's rather difficult to pick out chronologically where this plot is located in Yugo's life so you're probably better off not nitpicking these things. As I said the series is the same, but the tales are completely different in content and tone. While Pakistan was much grittier and more relevant to current news stories, Russia has a certain cold war feel to it and a very different tone.

The tale this time around has to do a lot with Russian royalty and hidden treasure. In fact most of the tale revolves around a pair of rings and the young daughter of an exiled family. This may yet prove to be Yugo's most dangerous assignment because if the Russian military doesn't kill him, the blistering cold just might. In the last volume Yugo went deep behind enemy lines and risked his neck to make contact with key players in the twisted game. Unfortunately he found himself captured and tortured beyond reason, although he did manage to escape after a while. He avoided getting caught again and confronted the man who tortured him (Viktor) in the final minutes of the third episode.

When volume four gets started we join Yugo and Viktor as they have an exchange of sorts. When the room is stormed by guards, Yugo outs his opponent as a traitor and leaves a trail of breadcrumbs to bring the man down. Of course the side effect is that Yugo gets captured again and stands in line for another round of torturing. This time it's conducted by the Russian mastermind in charge of everything. Though fortunately for Yugo he trained himself to resist the gallons of truth serum that he's injected with. After watching him get tortured in the Pakistan arc and earlier in this plot, you have to wonder what this guy's breaking point is.

At any rate the mystery behind the ring and the girl gets solved in the last episode of the show. I have to say that the solution was a bit of a stretch compared to the Pakistan arc and it really was kind of lame. I was hoping for something a little more climactic considering that this was the last episode for the show, but sadly that wasn't the case. With the way the Russian story ends it leaves things hanging and will undoubtedly leave fans wanting more. There is no closure for the characters at all and the way it's handled really begs for another negotiation.

If you're looking for a slower paced anime that breaks conventional thinking then Yugo the Negotiator may be something to look at. The two negotiations each feature an interesting story with a heightened sense of the dramatic. My only regret now that the series is over is that there aren't going to be any more episodes. Yugo is an interesting character with a fascinating background, but the shortness of the series doesn't give us a lot of time to get to know him.

The DVD:


Yugo the Negotiator – Russia Volume 2 is presented with a 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio. The video quality features significantly less grain than the Pakistan storyline, mostly thanks to a cleaner overall presentation. There was a slight bit of aliasing to be found here and there, but to be honest it wasn't anything that detracted from the experience. The new environment for Yugo and sharply cold temperatures are represented here with both pale and vibrant colors.


Just like the Pakistan arc, depending what audio track you listen to is how your experience will be. The English dubbing tends to offer ridiculously bad accents and rough dialogue while the original Japanese with subtitles is much easier on the ears. The sound quality is obviously better with the English track thanks to a 5.1 mix, but I found it to be more bothersome than it was worth. It really depends on your personal preference, but I tend to watch just about all of my anime in Japanese anyway.


The last volume of the Yugo series includes a wealth of bonus material just like every other installment. There are clean opening and closing animations along with some ADV previews as you'd expect.

There are also interviews included with Director Shinya Hanai, Kenichi Imaizumi (Character Designs), and Kenichi Kanemaki (Series Planning). Each of them talks about what it was like to create the Russian storyline and details about the show. There isn't a lot of content or information worth noting in either interview though, but they are interesting none-the-less. There is also a character relationship chart included on the disc along with another installment of the Japanese representation of Russia. A little music video for the Russian arc was also tossed onto the DVD.

Final Thoughts:

Yugo the Negotiator comes to a close with this final volume and I have to admit that I'm left with mixed feelings. As far as the series itself is concerned the off-beat nature of the slower pace certainly gives the show a voice of its own. I enjoyed the Pakistan arc and liked most of the Russian story, but the series doesn't end very strongly. I guess I was looking for more of a closing to the show instead of just the Russian negotiation. Of course in that regard the tale ends very anti-climactically and without a lasting impression like the Pakistan story did. I recommend Yugo the Negotiator to anyone looking for something different with a more deliberate pace and flare for the dramatic.

Check out more of my reviews here. Head on over to my anime blog as well for random musings and reviews of anime, manga, and stuff from Japan!

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