YuYu Hakusho (Manga) Volumes 8, 9, & 10 Review
The Dark Tournament draws closer to its conclusion and the first major character death of the series occurs. While also having odd fights between evil reimaginings of characters from Japanese Folklore in a middle card fight and exploring how much sacrifice one is willing to make for victory or whether holding onto or jettisoning one's humanity is worth attaining victory. In particularly Kurama vs. Ura Urashima with Kurama being returned to his demon fox form, other highlights include Hiei adapting Kuwabara's reiki sword attack. Younger Taguro going all the way to eighty percent of his total strength in the big climactic fight in volume ten and the hatching of the spirit egg as well. Which was nice to see brought up as that could have easily become a forgotten plot device. As well as the real introduction of Elder Taguro in a fight. Although it is disappointing to have a number of fights simply be an excuse to show the power of certain characters by obliterating the opponents handily, of course, this was a criticism I had of the previous three volumes having anti-climatic fights. Still, even if it starts to feel rushed none fo the action looks overly rough in character design although the amount of detail to backgrounds has distinctly diminished. Although detail and attention are given to establishing shots of buildings and architecture. Making for a world that feels well designed and thought out in those elements even if at places the use of speed lines and staid camera angles make for a pedestrian experience of the fights in question. Togashi=sensei's strong point has been for these past six volumes the characters and fleshing out the relationships and internal psychology of the characters be it Kurama and his dual loyalties or Yusuke and Keiko's relationship. Feeling more like while he wanted to write a Battle Manga Togashi-sensei found using the fights as a way to explore character growth more interesting than the fights themselves. In contradistinction to latter Bleach where Kubo-sensei focused more on drawing ridiculous over the top battles and either retconned or ignored established character continuity for the sake of just having a fight but I digress. While the action may have lost some of the ingenuity and cleverness of the fights in earlier volumes thankfully the characterization has not become overly simple either. Yusuke being atypical as an Shonen Jump hero not really being pure-hearted while Kuwabara has become very much the heart of the team. While never succumbing to power escalation the enemies have become more powerful presenting not only physical challenges but also philosophical challenges as well. Such as the place honor in battle or loyalty as well again feeling like a greater focus is placed on characterization as opposed to flashy battle mechanics. Depending on what you want in a story this can be help or hindrance. I'm happy to see at least some detail or texture given to character or personality as it would be so much easier to have the motivation devolve into simple "I must get stronger" platitudes.