Someone asked me before “What’s your favorite anime?”
I don’t particularly have a favorite but I do have some that I treasure among the others. One of my personal top favorites would be YuYu Hakusho or commonly known as Ghost Fighter.
Wikipedia’s information of it goes like this:
YuYu Hakusho (幽☆遊☆白書 Yū Yū Hakusho?, lit. “Ghost Files” or “Poltergeist Report”) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated byYoshihiro Togashi. The name of the series is spelled YuYu Hakusho in the Viz Media manga and Yu Yu Hakusho in other English distributions of the franchise. The series tells the story of Yusuke Urameshi, a teenage delinquent who is struck and killed by a car while attempting to save a child’s life. After a number of tests presented to him by Koenma, the son of the ruler of the afterlife Underworld, Yusuke is revived and appointed the title of “Underworld Detective”, with which he must investigate various cases involving demons and apparitions in the human world. The manga becomes more focused on martial arts battles and tournaments as it progresses. Togashi began creating YuYu Hakusho around November 1990, basing the series on his interests in the occult and horror films and an influence of Buddhist mythology.
Here’s a better synopsis (for me) from MyAnimeList.net:
Urameshi Yusuke, 14 years of age, is about as troublesome and violent as teenagers come. He is constantly ditching school, causing trouble, and getting into numerous fights everyday. One day however, he does the unexpected, sacrificing himself to save a young child. Such an action, was never ever expected, especially coming from someone as troublesome as Urameshi Yusuke. The afterlife is not prepared for Yusuke, as they never thought he would make such a sacrifice. Nowhere to go, and dead, Yusuke becomes a ghost and must earn his way back into existence.Yusuke is “employed” by Koenma, who is in charge while his father and ruler of the afterlife, King Enma, is away. Under Koenma’s command, Yusuke helps to stop menacing demons that threaten the lives of people everywhere; whether by stealing priceless and invaluable items and destructive weapons, or by wreaking havoc on humans everywhere.Throughout Yusuke’s journey, he is usually joined by; his arch-rival, and local bully, Kuwabara Kazuma. He is also joined by two demons named Hiei and Kurama, whom are ex-convicts of the afterlife that managed to escape from Koenma.This group of unlikely allies goes on to participate and struggle in battles that have outcomes that determine the fate of humanity!Yu Yu Hakusho is created by popular mangaka Yoshihiro Togashi, who is also responsible for creating the acclaimed and much-loved series known as Hunter X Hunter. Yu Yu Hakusho also managed to surpass Dragon Ball Z in ratings during its TV run.
So that’s a rough draft of the plot line of the anime.
I first saw the series when I was in fourth grade of grade school. I latched on to it immediately as I have a fondness for anime even back then (though not much of an obsession yet). I can say that it sparked my interest and my obsession. I really loved the story and the characters’ personality. My personal favorite was Kurama, followed by Hiei. Not much of Yusuke and Kuwabara though I know they are important (obviously since the main character is Yusuke). I loved it so much I created a fanfic (I didn’t know it’s fanfic, only that I’m imagining a different setup for the story) of it in my mind for several years.
The flavor of family, friendship, sacrifice and the supernatural appealed to my entire being that I can honestly say that I can feel every emotion in me whenever I watched it. Let’s take a look on the main characters:
Yusuke Urameshi may be a goofball at first but he embodies every hero of the series. Stalwart, loyal, powerful and reliable. He learns from his mistake and he never lets himself stray to the wrong path. He always do what he thinks is best for everyone. He died at the onset of the series when he saved a little kid from being hit by a car. Koenma then struck a deal with him that would help him return to life by giving him a golden egg he needs to take care of (which he chucked into the fire to save Keiko) and later on by having someone kiss his body to save him. We saw his transition from a normal high school student to a powerful mazoku.
Hiei is the typical antagonist turned ally. He’s cold, antisocial, snob, and mean. He rarely cares for the people around him. But that was until we were shown how much he loves his little sister and to what lengths he went through just to find her and to keep her safe. He is a forbidden child of a Koorime and was born with a twin sister. He was unfortunately cast away from their island (it was an all-women island) against his mother’s wishes and because he was a fire demon. When he grew up, he had a Jagan implanted on his forehead to help him find his sister. In exchange, he can never tell her who he really is. He and Yukina have matching pearl necklaces from their mother’s tears (Koorime’s tears turns to rare pearls when shed) that he wore secretly. We saw his transition to a loner to a very important and loyal part of team Urameshi.
Kurama is the guy who portrays the perfect gentleman. He’s polite, courteous, intelligent and good-looking. But later on, it’s shown that he’s actually an old, sly demon thief fox (or a kitsune in Japanese folklore though he’s a guy and kitsunes are normally women) that is well-known in Makai for being ruthless and cunning and escaped into the Ningenkai when he was shot while escaping from a heist and sought sanctuary by fusing his soul to a baby in a woman’s womb. He was originally a partner in crime of Hiei but he turned on him when Yusuke helped him save his ningen mother. His human name is Shuuichi Minamino. We saw his transition from a sly, mistrusting soul to a warm, caring and protective friend they can rely on.
Kazuma Kuwabara is Yusuke’s self-proclaimed rival. He is your typical high school bully who was undefeated until Yusuke came in the picture. He vowed to defeat Yusuke but sadly, the latter is just too cunning and powerful for him. He is unusually sensitive for a human which allows him to “sense” the spirits around him. He is hopelessly smitten with Yukina and constantly gets into fights with Yusuke and Hiei, cracking jokes about Yukina’s older brother never knowing that said brother is his team mate (he is the only one in the group who deosn’t know this). We saw his transition from a clumsy, bit dim-witted bully to a courageous, and unshakably loyal guy of the group.
Other characters are:
- Keiko Yukimura – Yusuke’s childhood friend and future sweetheart who helped him return to life when he first died. She’s a normal high school girl with looks and brain. People wonder how she became friends with Yusuke, not knowing they are childhood friends. She has an unusually strong slap and is able to keep Yusuke in line when others can’t.
- Koenma – Enma’s son who helped Yusuke return to life by giving him chances and later assigned him as the Detective of the Spirit World. He’s the one who gives Yusuke his assignments. He is portrayed as a toddler with a pacifier but he can take an older form as shown during the Dark Tournament. His pacifier is like a storage where he stores his power that can create a shield or seal powerful demons.
- Genkai – an old reiki master who taught Yusuke how to properly use his powers. Yusuke respects her even if he acts as she’s a cold-hearted old woman with no mercy. She also trained Kuwabara and helped him harness his spiritual energy. She used to be the younger Toguro’s teammate and lover 50 years ago. She died in the Dark Tournament before the final face off between Team Urameshi and the Toguro Team. When Team Urameshi won the tournament, Yusuke wished for her to return to life.
- Botan – is a fairy girl of the underworld or what we call a grim reaper. She was the one who guided Yusuke’s soul when he first died. She’s usually clumsy and a crybaby but she is very loyal. She has a certain fear of Hiei especially when he’s so powerful and mean. She accompanies them on their assignments and provides information and gadgets they might need.
- Yukina – is a Koorime and Hiei’s twin younger sister. She grew up in the island for Koorime and was usually watched by Hiei in the shadows. She left the island after learning about her twin brother and set to find him. She was kidnapped by an evil businessman who wanted to get her pearl tears and sell them off but was later saved by Yusuke, a love-struck Kuwabara and her missing brother Hiei. She has healing powers she uses to help them. She’s painfully shy and innocent causing endless frustration to Kuwabara much to Hiei’s worry.
- Shizuru Kuwabara – Kuwabara’s older sister who like him is unusually sensitive. She can not only sense spirits but also see them. She’s the one who takes care of Kuwabara as they live together. In the anime, she had a brief romantic connection with Sakyo but I heard this did not happen in the manga.
- George (Jorge) Saotome – is an ogre who is portrayed to be Koenma’s main assistant (more like slave) in the anime. Koenma always blame him when things go awry even when it’s Koenma’s fault. He tries to do the right things but gets overpowered (more likely bullied) by his boss.
- Pu – or Pusuke is Yusuke’s spirit beast. It looks like a cross breed of a penguin and a dog breed with floppy ears. It was hatched from the golden egg Yusuke was given on the start of the story to help him return to life. The creature to hatch from it is suppose to resemble the purity of a person’s actions. Yusuke was ashamed at first to have a spirit beast like Pu (who definitely looks like a stuff toy) but was endeared to him when he helped him during Genkai’s trial in the Dark Tournament. When Yusuke returned to life after getting killed by Sensui, Pu transformed into a huge blue phoenix.
I guess that’s the most important ones. YuYu Hakusho is a must watch for all anime lovers. It’s definitely a classic (as it’s also a bit old) and will give you a great experience.