Yu Yu Hakusho: Yusuke Lost, Yusuke Found

Yu Yu Hakusho: Yusuke Lost, Yusuke Found (1992)
Genius Products
Extras: Character Profiles, Credit Songs, Yuma’s Diary, Trailers

A relative newcomer in the DVD field, FUNimation has just released ’Yu Yu Hakusho’ a series of Japanese animated films, which like so many of them originated in cartoons.

The series begins with the main character, Husuke, being killed in a car accident while he attempts to save a little boy from being run over. He floats atop his body and realizes that he has moved into a new realm, the world of the Dead, the Spirit World. Here he meets Koenma, a 700-year old ruler in the body of a toddler. Before long Yusuke becomes part of adventures and encounters he had never dreamed of as he goes through an ordeal that could give him back his life.

The DVD contains the first four episodes of the series in their fullscreen aspect ratio. The image has been transferred nicely and is free of blemishes or defects. Grain and noise is also at a minimum, creating a very clear and stable presentation. Edges are sharply delineated but without overemphasis or edge-enhancement. The color reproduction is flawless bringing all the vibrant colors of the films in all their beauty. Blacks are also nicely reproduced creating well defined lines and strokes.

The DVD comes with Dolby Stereo audio tracks in English and Japanese. The tracks are rich and dynamic with a good frequency response and a good dynamic range. The English dub is a bit on the cheesy side as some of the dialogue just doesn’t sound right and appears stilted, but other than that, there is little quibble about.

The DVD also contains a number of extras, such as general character profiles and the episodes’ opening and closing credit sequences without the credits but only the music, which is a nice touch. Yuma’s notebook is a section in which viewers can learn more about the symbolism in the films. A section with translations of the names found in the show, as well as rundown of the locations is part of this section. One of the nicest additions is ’Behind The Kanji,’ which is also found in the notebook section. It takes screens form the movie and translates the Kanji symbols that are found there. Whether it is store front writings or notes in the films, all of them are carefully translated and explained here. Trailers for other FUNimation releases are also part of the release.

’Yu Yu Hakusho’ turns out to be a great DVD. The series itself is a bit on the naïve side in its art direction but other than that, it is highly imaginative, surprising and full of colorful creatures and events. FUNimation has put quite a bit of thought into this release, as sections like ’Yuma’s Notebook’ show and they definitely have to be lauded for the extra effort. Check it out is you’re an anime fan. This may just be the series for you!