Reviewby Allen Divers, Oct 23rd 2002
Yu Yu Hakusho: The Movie
DVD: Poltergeist Report
Engulfed by the River Styx, the Spirit World turns to its last hope to protect the Earth from a group of Demons, returned from banishment. Now it's up to Yusuke and his fellow Spirit Detectives to defend the Earth and free the Spirit World from the hands of the Demons from the Netherworld. With their powers dwindling, can Yusuke and his friends summon enough strength to fight off the rebirth of the Netherworld?
Yū Yū Hakusho Poltergeist Report – The Movie continues the exciting adventures of the television series seen on Cartoon Network. Although a different company handles the TV series, U.S. Manga, a division of Central Park Media, brings this exciting movie to fans in a well-produced DVD collection. Set early in the timeline of the TV series, the movie is an exciting, action-packed 90-minute adventure, full of the drama and comedy that make the TV series great.
Under a slightly different subtitle of Poltergeist Report, the DVD contains a good set of extras to go with the English and Japanese soundtracks. The extras include an art gallery in the form of a slide show, Character profiles with short animation clips to introduce the characters and a set of previews for other CPM releases. While not essential, the character profiles help introduce the characters to those who are new to the series. The profiles stick to describing Yusuke, Kuwabara, Hiei and Kurama while ignoring some of the other key characters like Koenma, Botan and Keiko. It's interesting that they include Hinageshi in the profiles, as this is first appearance in the series. One amusing extra is the trailer for the Big Apple Anime Fest. CPM is a big supporter of this annual convention, so its no surprise to see this extra included in one of their recent releases.
Fans introduced to Yū Yū Hakusho thanks to television will probably find themselves in a bit of shock when first hearing the movie. The movie uses a completely different voice cast for the English dub. In many cases, the voices have similar tone to the FUNimation dub cast, but the differences are notable. The dub is done quite well, with a lot of attention given to keeping it close to the original Japanese. It's a bit disappointing that the TV cast wasn't included in this release, but that's the unfortunate side effect when a series' various releases are licensed separately. Both soundtracks, Japanese and English, are in Dolby Digital Stereo and are mixed well, with music, sound effects and dialogue blending well together. The music helps drive the action sequences, but doesn't force emotions from those watching.
Being a movie, the animation and artwork are a lot more impressive than the standard TV release. Relying heavily on the familiar TV character designs, the movie shows off its more impressive budget allowing more detail and stronger action sequences to dominate the screen. CPM keeps intact the widescreen format of the movie, but doesn't bother with an anamorphic transfer to DVD. The transfer to DVD is crisp and clean, with no noticeable scratches from the original film.
As is typical for movies based on popular TV series, Yu Yu Hakusho: The Movie features a self-contained story. For newcomers to the series, enough information is provided in context to help explain most of the background of the story. While followers of the series will always understand the various nuances of character interaction, newcomers won't be left pondering the small details. There are a few characters introduced that haven't been seen on Cartoon Network's showing of the series yet, but again, enough information is given to help explain them.
The story centers around an old enemy of the Spirit World returning to cause havoc and restore their kingdom to power. Of course, it's left to Yusuke and the others to save the day as always. While the drama and action are intense there aren't any earth shattering revelations made to change the course of the TV series. This movie is more about showing what makes Yū Yū Hakusho an exciting series. The focus is on action, with each of the characters getting a chance to shine. Despite relying on a few clichés, the story is good, and the action moves well through the 90 minutes of running time.
Yū Yū Hakusho is an exciting action-packed series mixing horror, martial arts and comedy into a wonderfully vibrant world. The movie simply complements the series, showing off the best aspects in a 90-minute form. While a bit of background into the series is useful, fans and newcomers alike will find something to enjoy with this release.
Overall (dub) : C
Overall (sub) : B
Story : B
Animation : B
Art : B
Music : B
+ Action-Packed Martial Arts Supernatural Adventure
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