Yusuke Urameshi may have only just become a spirit detective, but the underworld seem to be quite happy to throw him in at at the deep end with another highly dangerous mission. Ageing martial artist Master Genkai is to select an apprentice to inherit her awesomely powerful Spirit Wave techniques, but amongst those competing for the honour to become her pupil is an extremely dangerous demon called Rando who wishes to use Genkai's techniques for evil. Yusuke's job is to track Rando down and stop him, but even with the help of fellow delinquent Kuwabara (who went to Genkai for spiritual advice and ended up competing too) will he be able to find him amongst the crowds of hopefuls before it's too late, and does he have the power to stop him?
I've really been enjoying Yu Yu Hakusho so far, and this volume is no exception, but this time round the emotion of the previous two volumes takes a back seat (for the most part) to pure unadulterated action. It is in this volume that the Dragonball Z parallels become very apparent, as the storyline leads to a succession of increasingly epic battles with opponents of increasing strength before coming to a final showdown between the show's hero and a powerful villain.
It must be pointed out that if you are not a fan of this kind of setup then you probably won't be a fan of this volume, but if you are someone who likes some dramatic battling then this will most definitely be up your street. The story is a little better than you might expect from this kind of thing, with a kind of detective story underlining the action as Yusuke tries to stay in the running whilst trying to work out which of the other combatants is the demon Rando. The battles themselves are well executed and don't go on for ever, unlike those in Dragonball Z, and there is plenty of drama and tension as the volume reaches its climax. Yusuke and Kuwabara (who I'm glad to see back with a major role in this volume) continue to grow as characters, and Genkai is a good addition, but it is a shame that Keiko (Yusuke's childhood friend and love interest) is missing this time round as the emotion that really set Yu Yu Hakusho apart from its peers mostly goes with her.
This said there is still some emotion in the last episode on the disc, but be warned there is also a particularly nasty moment when a character has his arm broken in quite a vicious way. However, the fights are extremely entertaining and there is still some comedy - highlight being when Koenma pretends he's not in by mimicking an answer phone message. From a technical point of view this disc is much the same as the last, with identical extras (trailers, clean opening & closing, name translations and character bios), dated but decent animation and good music.
At the end of the day I still recommend this volume as highly as the previous two, it has plenty of action and some great characters but doesn't overdo things with a massive cast or battles that last for ten episodes - something that its peers can be guilty of. It also has a decent retail price so if you haven't started buying it then do so now, as Yu Yu Hakusho continues to be one of the most entertaining releases of the year and is definitely worth a look.
Best Bit: Genkai dealing with
the Kyushu spiritualists