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Yu Yu Hakusho: Season Four

FUNimation // Unrated // November 29, 2011
List Price: $44.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Neil Lumbard | posted December 20, 2011 | E-mail the Author


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YYH-S4-BD-Review


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style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Sayonara,
Bye Bye.
Please take care of yourself...


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">It is
finally here... The final season of Yu Yu Hakusho has
arrived on Blu-ray.
The wait is over for the conclusion to one of the most influential and
important anime classics of all time. Fans that have already seen the
entire
series will no doubt have a blast revisiting every moment of the grand
final
season while newcomers will be surprised by amazing twists and turns
that await
them in season four. 


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Yusuke
Urameshi was in an unquestionably challenging situation at the end of
the
previous season. Yusuke had to face down a once missing spirit
detective who
had disappeared and turned in to something resembling the opposite of
the goals
and ambitions of his team of heroes. The third season concluded with a
battle
against the past Spirit Detective ongoing and the fate of the human
world at
stake. Yusuke, Kuwabara, Hiei, Koenma, Botan, and Kurama had to
continue
working together to try and figure out a way to stop the portal between
the
human and demon world from opening and unleashing upper-level demons
with
energy levels that would pose a great risk to the safety of everyone on
the
planet.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Season
four concludes the storyline involving the previous Spirit Detective
and begins
to unfold another storyline involving a surprising development for
Yusuke
Urameshi, who is apparently a descendant of... a demon king. Yusuke has
unusual
qualities combining both demon and spirit energies. 
It is not surprising then that Yusuke decides
he must learn a great deal more about himself and his place in the
world. After
a brief moment of reprieve with Keiko and his friends he sets out
towards demon
world with determination to uncover the truth behind his heritage,
abilities,
and inner self.


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style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Joining
the trip to demon world are Hiei and Koenma. The long journey ends up
becoming
one of self discovery and reflection for each character as they face
challenges
that are so crucial to unlocking the territories of their hearts and
minds. Along
this new quest of sorts there is a new tournament that determines who
the new
Demon World king will be. Luckily, the tournament only lasts a few
episodes
(which in nothing in comparison to the long 2nd season of
the on-going-and-seemingly-never-ending
tournament of Yu Yu Hakuso's past). Each
of the central characters and supporting characters eventually receives
more
than enough screen-time and presence to reach a meaningful point of
storytelling resolution.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">This
set contains many of the best moments throughout the entire Yu
Yu Hakusho
series. While there are
inevitably some filler episodes that decrease some of the excitement
and
enjoyment found in viewing the show there are many more captivating and
edge-of-the-seat moments. The last five episodes in particular: style="">Farewell, Kurama,  Love and War, style=""> A Reason to Fight, Closure, and
To The Future
are of the highest
quality the show has ever seen. Fans won't feel let down by the way the
series
resolves and will be surprised by the huge magnitude of soul in the
closing
moments. This has always been a series that cared about the characters
more
than the battles and the resolution proves that quite nicely by
delivering a
satisfactory and well-crafted tale of redemption, renewal, self growth
and of deeper
understandings in the final batch of episodes.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Take
a walk into the sunset with one of the finest anime series ever: it has
a huge
heart, great characters, strong action sequences, beautiful animation,
superb
score music, and some of the best direction around. It was a long and
bittersweet journey to reach Yu Yu
Hakusho's
destination but it was worth every second.


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style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
DVD:
style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">
 


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style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Video:


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Yu
Yu Hakusho: Season 4
style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">has
been released on Blu-ray with an impeccably gorgeous AVC encoded High
Definition image that uses the same restored frame-by-frame masters
used on the
Japanese editions previously released on the Blu-ray format. Color
saturation
is the biggest improvement and the series looks remarkable for a show
of its
age. This traditional style anime is stunning in High Definition (most
of the
time). There are random moments which are softer than one would expect
or hope
for but it is difficult to determine if it's due to the source or these
encodings.
These moments are rare and shouldn't detract from the overall
experience. Yu
Yu Hakusho
looks remarkably clean, sharp, and impressive for the
bulk of
the presentation. A few moments of minor dirt on the prints or some
random soft
shots do not dramatically alter the high quality presentation or the
experience. This is the best Yu Yu
Hakusho
has ever looked.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif"; font-style: normal;">Note:style="">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">


The
artwork on this release indicates that the release is Region A/B
compatible,
which means that overseas fans should be able to import and enjoy the
series in
High Definition as well.


The
images
featured in this review are from the Season Four DVD release and do not
represent
the High Definition Season Four Blu-ray picture quality.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Audio:


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">There
are two worthwhile audio options for Yu Yu Hakusho: Season 4 on
Blu-ray:
Japanese 2.0 and English 5.1 (both in Dolby TrueHD). The English dub is
amongst
the best produced for any anime series with stellar voice-acting for
each
character. The original Japanese dub is impressive but many fans will
want to
experience the wonderfully done English version. Either option provides
an
impressive aural experience, although the 5.1 sound-mix is the better
of the
two choices with better dynamics and separation. The sound field isn't
better
than modern anime productions but it's satisfying for a classic series
that is
making a leap to HD resolution audio.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Subtitles
are provided in English for those who choose to watch with the Japanese
dub.


style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: center; line-height: normal;"
align="center">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Extras:style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">This
release contains a plethora of bonus materials.
The previous season sets did not contain much in the way of additional
supplemental materials so it appears as though Funimation is attempting
to
alleviate some of that unfortunate drawback by adding a surprisingly
high-volume amount here. Some of the material has been taken from the
previously released individual volumes (back when the company only put
out
episodes through installment-style releases containing three or four
episodes
per grouping). The latest and final Blu-ray season of Yu
Yu Hakusho
also contains a handful of new extras.


align="center">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">New
Supplemental Materials:
style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">


align="center">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Rare
Limited
Edition Trading Card (The Dark One)


align="center">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Yu Yu
Hakusho
style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";"> Trading
Card Game Revisited


align="center">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Remixing
Yu Yu Hakusho (Episode 99)


align="center">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Actor
Commentary
(108)


align="center">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Other
Supplemental Materials:


align="center">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">ADR
&
Mixing Commentary (Episode 110)


align="center">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Supporting
Cast Commentary (Episode 110)


align="center">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Writer
Commentary (Episode 111)


align="center">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Outtakes
& Foul-Ups (Episode 111)


align="center">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Leading
Cast
Commentary (Episode 112)


align="center">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Memoirs
of Yu Yu Hakusho (Episode 112)


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
Trading Card Game Revisited
style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";"> extra
is
somewhat peculiar. It is essentially a 30 minute long video of a game
session
between Justin Cook and a fellow game player. He discusses "dusting off
the
cards" and revisiting the card game. It appeared as though the card
game hadn't
been played in a while and it was sometimes a bit hard to follow what
was going
on. The video is supposed to help introduce the game to new players but
it
simply left a sense of confusion. I can't proclaim to be a big fan of
card
games associated with TV series so I can't seriously endorse the
supplemental
extra as anything particularly enticing for those who are less familiar
with
the already established trading
card game.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
commentary tracks are worth checking out for
fans of the English voice cast. The main cast members (i.e. Yusuke,
Kuwabara,
Hiei, and Koenma) have been represented with the voice actors who
portrayed
them throughout the English language dubbing. Episode 112 is
particularly
enticing as the commentary offers some adequate reflections on style="">Yu Yu Hakusho and the process of it
being licensed, dubbed, and brought to a new US audience. There are
some
interesting and thoughtful words shared by Justin Cook (he voiced
Yusuke in the
dub and was a major player in the show being developed and released
stateside).


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
commentaries are a bit varied in approach and
aim so it is best for fans to select any of these supplements that
sound
interesting and to give them a whirl to see if they might work for any
particular fan. The included outtakes are voice-over only (with
non-synched
video of random Yu Yu Hakusho clips)
and aren't going to be of much interest - alas, these moments weren't
that
funny for viewers at home. One can imagine the cast enjoying the
blooper area
but it doesn't quite translate as well as hoped.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The set
also contains the usual assortment of
trailers for other Funimation releases and the clean opening &
ending
credit sequences relevant to the episodes contained in the season.


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style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Final
Thoughts:


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Yu Yu
Hakusho's
style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";"> final
season contains some of the best episodes in
the entire series. While there is a definite feeling of sadness to see
such a
wonderful series come to an end it was also satisfying to realize that
it
reached an acceptable conclusion that adequately resolves most of the
elements
fans would want to see concluded. In the end, it was the characters
that made
the show such a wonderful journey to take and the destination is a
bright light
following a long path frequently deterred by despair and only salvaged
by hope.
The final episodes prove surprisingly philosophical and contemplative
while remaining
in the action packed style fans have come to know and love. These
Blu-ray
upgrades continue to be worthwhile in Video and Audio aspects and the
inclusion
of bonus features is surprising. Fans will undoubtedly want to collect
all four
season sets of Yu Yu Hakusho on
Blu-ray. There has been no finer re-release of a classic anime series
in 2011.  An essential set.


style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Highly
Recommended.



Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.

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