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"Yu-Yu Hakusho: King Urameshi" says "OFF WITH HIS HEAD!"

On Yu-Yu Hakusho, Volume 30: King Urameshi Yusuke Urameshi is no longer Spirit Detective of Earth. He’s now King of one-third of Demon World, where he has to maintain peace between the three Kingdoms. The other leaders, Yomi and Mukuro, know that Yusuke’s realm has just suffered a great loss and are ready to attack. But Yusuke decides to take a different tack. A Demon World Tournament will decide the ruler of the entire land of the dead!

I’m slightly lost, I’ll admit. But I’m sure as heck not going to ask for directions. It had been a while since I’d seen this series—once it dropped off Toonami, all I had was Volume 26 to watch. Skipping ahead, I see that things are different. Last I saw, Yusuke Urameshi had just been brought back to life. Many of the characters on this volume are completely new to me. The lack of the standard human back-up cast (Kuwabara, Keiko, family and friends) makes me wonder if something’s happened to them.

Somehow or another, Yusuke has ascended the throne. The blind Yomi and the eye-patched Mukuro, rulers of their own respective kingdoms, sense that Yusuke’s hold on power is rather weak and feel they can easily take over his kingdom. Yusuke, not being a king but a kid from Japan, figures that a more organized fight would be better. Votes will be cast via punches (a concept that would make Puff Daddy and his “Vote Or Die” campaign proud), and the winner of the tournament will rule the land.

Entering the tournament are Yusuke and his companions, including not only the standard demons from way back but even some old enemies from a previous tournament—it’s nice to see the drunk Australian again. Also entering are the leaders of the other land, King Yomi’s mysterious clone son-thing Shura, and various other disposable demonic deities.

So you have the beginnings of your standard high-stakes tournament arc. There can’t be much plot when most of the animation is saved for pure fight scenes. The battles are far from bad or unenjoyable, but this is where YYH gets a little weak: The saga of the Spirit Detective really shines when it mixes battles and story together, and concentrating on fights can only diminish the plot. It doesn’t boil down to full Dragonball Z levels, but it gets close.

Should I even cover the extras? They never vary on Yu-Yu Hakusho. Character profiles actually were helpful this time, given that I had missed so much. Textless songs are standard, and it looks like there’s a new pair since I last watched. “Yama’s Notebook” translates some on-screen text.

There’s not really much I can say. This is not a good volume to hop onto YYH with. Even if you’ve only missed a few, it’s probably best to go track those down. The episode count and extras are standard and weak. Start from the beginning of the arc, not here.

Episodes included on this volume:
Episode 104: “Every Demon For Himself”
Episode 105: “The Preliminaries”
Episode 106: “The Battle Of Father And Son”

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