Yu Yu Hakusho: Season Two on Blu-ray
by Jef Burnham
Available on Blu-ray on August 9, 2011 from Funimation Entertainment.
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Season Two of Yu Yu Hakusho is 100% non-stop, irresistible action that will keep you glued to your television for 600 minutes straight and leave you wanting more! Collected here are another 28 episodes of perhaps the greatest of all fighting animes, based on the manga by Yoshihiro Togashi (Hunter x Hunter), representing the bulk of the series’ Dark Tournament Saga. For the Yu Yu Hakusho’s Blu-ray release, Funimation presents the series here with a meticulous and dazzling new restoration of the original film elements.
Season One opened with the death of junior high student, Yusuke Urameshi. Unprepared for his death, the Spirit World allowed Yusuke to return to life under the condition that he serve as Spirit World Detective. His final case in the season found Yusuke and rival-turned-comrade-in-arms, Kazuma Kuwabara, squaring off against the sinister Toguro Brothers. Having faked their deaths in the battle against Yusuke and Kuwabara, the Toguros resurfaced at the end of the Season to lure the pair, along with their demon companions Kurama and Hiei, into the Dark Tournament— a tournament for demons sponsored by wealthy humans.
The Dark Tournament Sage is truly an epic arc, one that refuses to be confined to a single release. As the Season Two box set begins, the tournament is already under way. The first episode features the conclusion of the tournament’s opening match between Kuwabara and Team Rokuyukai’s Rinku. What’s more, the Dark Tournament doesn’t even end here! At the conclusion of this set, only one match of the Tournament’s Finals has been decided, leaving the fate of Team Urameshi agonizingly unclear.
The packaging of the set is classier than past releases, with black and gold borders showcasing the cover art from the previous DVD release of Season Two. And unarguably, any title honored in Funimation’s Anime Classics line is deserving of such an aesthetic upgrade. The returning cover art features my favorite character Kuwabara (an unpopular opinion, I know) in the white trench coat he adopts during the Dark Tournament. With no insert, the episode lists for each disc are printed on the inside of the artwork, which leaves the lists for discs 2 and 3 obscured by the 3rd disc. This might be a problem if you’re looking to watch a specific episode from the set; but if you can watch a single episode of Yu Yu Hakusho without sitting through the rest of the disc in turn, you’re admittedly stronger than I.
The obviously painstaking restoration of the series, presented here 1080p HD, is absolutely breath-taking for those familiar with the series. The picture is so clean, the colors so vibrant, and the lines so crisp, that one might almost swear this was all completely new animation. Frankly, it outshines the Blu-ray transfers of Funimation’s own Dragon Ball Z Kai by leaps and bounds. Additionally, the series here features a totally new audio 5.1 audio mix of the English dub that, on top of synching better with the animation, is every bit as dynamic as a Blu-ray release’s audio ought to be.
All I have to say is, even if you own Funimation’s previous DVD releases of the series, Yu Yu Hakusho on Blu-ray is a necessary upgrade!
Jef Burnham is a writer and educator living in Chicago, Illinois. While waging war on mankind from a glass booth in the parking lot of a grocery store, Jef managed to earn a degree in Film & Video from Columbia College Chicago, and is now the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com.
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