Reviewby Allen Divers, Oct 4th 2003
Yu Yu Hakusho
DVDs 16-17 (Dark Tournament Finals)
The finals of the Dark Tournament have finally arrived and both Team Toguro and Team Urameshi are ready for action! After the dramatic end of one of their own, Team Urameshi is forced to find a replacement to meet the requirements of the tournament. From there, it's all out chaos and destruction as the battles commence. Each of the members of Team Urameshi must dig deep to find it within themselves to overcome the battles they fight. In comparison to what they face now, the prelims were a cakewalk!
FUNimation's latest releases in the exciting Yu Yu Hakusho series have arrived, beginning the final round of the Dark Tournament for Team Urameshi. Continuing on the established pace of previous volumes, the action moves quickly into the final round with plenty of action and surprises to keep the fans happy. Mixed in with the excitement is plenty of story to help develop each of the main cast. While the focus is on the final round of the Dark Tournament, there's a lot more going on than simply another round of combat.
With such a long series, it's hard to come up with exciting extras for each individual volume. Both DVDs contain the standard mix of character profiles, textless songs and a standard set of trailers for other FUNimation releases. Each volume also contains a small set of liner notes translating the special moves of the fighters as well as a bit on the kanji seen in a few of the episodes. Each of the discs this time around contains only three uncut episodes.
Maintaining the tone set with the established cast, the English actors work well as their particular characters. There's no sign of fatigue on this long series as the cast continues to deliver their lines with strong feeling. The script itself stays in line with the original Japanese, helping to deliver much of the original impact of the Japanese cast. Being a life and death battle, the cast is still playing with the darker side of many emotions and continues to deliver a consistent performance.
Throughout both discs, the animation remains top quality for a standard Studio Pierrot show. Based around the fighting tournament, there are a lot of heavy action sequences to keep the animators busy. The animation remains smooth, and the action sequences exciting as the show moves through its paces. The only downside comes in the middle of volume seventeen with a set of animation a bit off from the standard set by the other episodes. Being a TV series, this is a common enough affect as animation is sometimes rushed to get a show to air. Slapped right in the middle of two normal looking episodes, the affect is a bit more jarring than if the show had been seen separately. Overall, the animation and artwork remain top quality for standard TV viewing.
The Dark Tournament final round is all about excitement, and the episodes presented this time around do not fail to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. While sticking with a bit of the typical good vs. evil format, the viewer is kept on the edge as the good guys must find new ways to save the day. Yu Yu Hakusho has hit its stride past the 50 episode count, and continues to prove why its one of the best action series out there. While the action is dramatic, the series remains witty allowing for a few comedic moments to help lighten the mood. The tone remains overly dark, but there is still hope for the good guys as they battle their way through the final round. In the middle of all of this action, each of the main characters is forced to grow, creating a nice dynamic in character development that isn't often seen in simple action shows. Each of the main characters has their own personal motivations for being in the tournament, so it's nice to see that play out in the dialogue and storyline.
Yu Yu Hakusho remains an exciting tale exploring more than the standard good vs. evil action storylines. While the final round is taking its time to play out, the storyline remains strong as each character gets their time to shine. The Dark Tournament is definitely one of the high points of the entire Yu Yu Hakusho series creating some nice dramatic high points for character development. While fans may be a bit disappointed at only getting six episodes in these two volumes, they shouldn't be disappointed at what they find inside.
Overall (dub) : B
Overall (sub) : B
Story : A
Animation : B
Art : B
Music : B
+ Strong action and dramatic storytelling keep this series exciting
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