Yu Yu Hakusho is one of Togashi’s earlier works. It is a great series that often gets overshadowed by Hunter X Hunter. The plot follows Yusuke Urameshi who is appointed as a Spirit detective and has to solve the cases assigned to him. Yu Yu Hakuso has aged really well and can be quite enjoyable even now.
There are four arcs or saga in the series. Let us rank them from worst to best.
4. Saga of the Makai Tournament
This arc focuses on the tournament held in the demon world. Yusuke, Kurama, and Hiei all travel to the demon world. On Yusuke’s suggestion, a tournament is held to find the next king for that world. We get to meet new powerful demons in that world. Finally, Enki wins the tournament after several hard-fought battles and becomes the king. Finally, Yusuke returns to the earth to live with his friends.
This tournament arc wasn’t as engaging as the dark tournament as the stakes weren’t high. Also, our protagonists are too powerful now that the element of fear or mystery has faded. Having said that, this arc still has its great moments. The demon world and its culture, its class system were interesting to look at. The character designs of the new demons were amazing. I think this arc could have done better if it had high stakes or tension. Overall it is still a pretty nice arc.
- Hiei vs Mukuro
- Yusuke vs Yomi
- Kurama’s flashback
- Yusuke’s suggestion for a tournament.
- Yusuke reunites with Keiko
3. Spirit Detective Arc
This is a mega saga that contains five small arcs. They are Yusuke’s ordeals, Artifacts arc, Genkai’s arc, Maze Castle arc, Yukina rescue arc. Yusuke, Kuwabara, Kurama, and Hiei all join together over the course of this saga and their group dynamic is one of the best in the shonen ever. Each individual is unique and has some great personality traits.
With each mini-arc, we get to introduce new characters, the demons, the power system, the world-building, the fights, etc.
Artifacts arc introduced Kurama and Hiei and gave us a peek into their characters. Genkai’s arc shows the power levels and explains a bit more about the power system. The mini tournament in Genkai’s arc is better than most tournament arcs in other series. Maze castle arc showed the first time each of our main characters working as a team.
Yukina’s rescue arc is the best part in this arc where Yusuke and Kuwabara go to rescue Yukina. Togoro brothers are introdued in this arc who are amazing villains. Also, the underworld of the humanity is shown and questions were raised regarding the morality of humans compared to the demons.
- Yusuke sacrifices himself for Kurama.
- Yusuke vs Kuwabara was supposed to defeat against Togoro brothers.
- Yusuke vs Suzaku.
- Yusuke vs Hiei.
- Yusuke winning Genkai’s tournament.
2. The Black Chapter Arc
This arc deals with Sensui, former spirit detective, and his goal of opening the tunnel connecting the demon world and the human world. This will lead to even top-level demons escaping to the human world that no humans will be able to tackle.
The power levels are explained as Togoro is put as just B level while demon exists that go to S level.
The mini-arc where Kurama, Hiei, Kuwabara, Botan try to rescue Yusuke is one of the best parts in the series. Then the group has to face Sensui seven, the group of psychics assembled to aid Sensui.
This arc probed into the morality of humankind. The chapter black video is one of the darkest things in the series. Sensui is one of the righteous people that couldn’t accept how evil can humankind be as he was living his whole life killing demons without remorse. The guilt and anger made him create alternate personalities of himself.
The ending is somewhat lackluster as Yusuke gains the demon form due to his ancestry several generations ago. The power system really expanded in this arc in a way that even physically weaker people can defeat stronger ones due to special abilities. Sensui is an amazing villain that suffered due to a slightly weaker ending but I still enjoyed his character arc.
- Taboo game.
- Itsuki takes Sensui to a pseudo space for eternity.
- Gamemaster games.
- Feast of Human Vices
1. Dark Tournament Arc
Dark tournament arc tells the story when Yusuke, Hiei, Kuwabara, Kurama, and Genkai enter the dark tournament arranged by greedy humans and entered by blood-thirsty demons.
The team fought against four teams before meeting Team Toguro in the final. They face off against Team Rokuyukai, then against Team Ichigaki, then against Team Masho and then in semifinals they face off against Uraotogi before facing Togoro’s team.
Each battle is really hard-won. Also, all the fights are imaginative and creative. Tournament arcs are usually boring as they don’t have stakes or an engaging plot but this arc managed to escape that. Yu Yu Hakuso doesn’t have a subverted tournament arc-like Chunin exams, for example. It is purely a tournament arc with no subversion. It actually set the bar so high for that tournament trope in Shonen. This is, without doubt, one of the best tournament arcs in anime.
- Yusuke vs Togoro
- Hiei using Dragon flames
- Most of the fights
Agree with the rankings. Do comment your opinions.
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