Reviewby Allen Divers, Feb 18th 2004
Yu Yu Hakusho
DVD: Terrible Truths
Yusuke and the gang return home after success at the dark tournament. After beating the strongest demon ever, what's left for the Spirit Detective to do? While Yusuke tries to figure out his next challenge, forces begin to move. It seems someone else had an interest in establishing a permanent tunnel between the human world and the demon world. To top it all off, ordinary humans have begun to manifest powers and three of them have kidnapped Yusuke. Now its up to Kurama, Kuwabara and Hiei to rescue the spirit detective!
Terrible Truths, the first volume in the Chapter Black series has a lot to live up to after the spectacular conclusion to the Dark Tournament series. Starting a bit slow, Terrible Truths lays the groundwork well for the next saga of Yu Yu Hakusho with a set of new challenges for Kuwabara, Kurama and Hiei when Yusuke is captured. After the ultimate battle, Terrible Truths works to return Yu Yu Hakusho to its roots with a good spirit detective story. Leaning on the more creative side, Terrible Truths introduces a slightly darker storyline that simple brawling may not solve. Ok, that's in there as well, but it's nice to see the gang doing something other than fighting. While fans who have been following the series faithfully will gain the most from this new chapter, newcomers looking to jump on the train now will find it easier to board with Terrible Truths.
Terrible Truths the uncut edition is a fairly standard FUNimation release. It contains the first four episodes of the Chapter Black saga and the standard variety of character profiles, textless songs and FUNimation previews. Going back to the dark days of DVD production, the disc starts off with an unskippable preview for Kiddy Grade. A preview of Tenchi Muyo! GXP is also included on the disc. Also, as is standard in a FUNimation DVDs, the opening and closing credits are in English or Japanese text depending on your language selections. Newbies to their discs will want to make sure they use the DVD menu options to change the language, as changing it with the DVD player could lead to the wrong subtitles being shown. FUNimation discs often contain a series of dubtitles as subtitles.
Being a more vintage series, Yu Yu Hakusho sports some of the best cel animation for its time. Studio Pierrot continued to put a lot of effort into this series around this period. Nothing has really changed with character design, with the new characters being introduced looking like variations on previous characters. The animation also successfully keeps up with the action, working well with the established pace of the series.
Chapter Black represents a new direction for the series and as such, Yu Yu Hakusho finally receives a new opening. The Japanese version of the opening contains a slightly rescored opening song, using the same lyrics as the first opening. The new music is more upbeat and flashier than the original. However, the English version of that song doesn't change at all. Since the lyrics didn't change, FUNimation probably figured they could save some money by not updating the song to match the Japanese. While the meaning is there, the beat of the old song feels mismatched with the new opening animation. This is a minor gripe, but for a company that loves to rescore and translate opening and closing songs, it's a bit of letdown when one changes and they don't keep up.
So after beating the strongest demon in the world and becoming the strongest fighter, what's left to do? This is the question that Yusuke finds himself debating in the first episode of this new saga. In shows like these, this is usually the beginning of the end as a series tries to recapture former glory by escalating the power levels of the heroes and throwing generic villain after generic villain at them. And to be honest, that's just what it seems like is going to happen in this new saga. Luckily, there are a few wrinkles thrown in to try and avoid the predictable end of a decent adventure show. For most of the episodes on this disc, Yusuke is taken out of the picture, and it's now up to the rest of the team to take care of business. What you end up with is a series focusing more on the pretty-boy Kurama working with the others to save the day. After sixty-plus episodes, it's nice to see someone else being the hero for a change. More of a thinker than a brawler, Kurama allows for more puzzles to be introduced rather than fighting-it-out action.
Terrible Truth marks a turning point in Yu Yu Hakusho. After the Dark Tournament, fans need something a bit juicier to chew on, or the series will become predictable. Chapter Black is shaping up to be just what the fans are craving, a lot of action with a solid story backing it up. Yu Yu Hakusho will always contain the fighting that has made it popular, but Terrible Truths proves you can throw in some puzzles as well to break up the monotony. With the focus directed a bit more at the supporting cast, Yu Yu Hakusho can gain strength from its ensemble and continue on a solid path. For those who have been looking to get into the series, Terrible Truths represents a good starting point. Fans will be pleasantly surprised that Yu Yu Hakusho hasn't yet fallen into the monotony of some long running series with this strong start to a new chapter.
Overall (dub) : B
Overall (sub) : B
Story : B
Animation : B
Art : B
Music : B
+ The supporting cast has the chance to shine for a change
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