Yu Yu Hakusho – J-drama Episode 1 Recap & Review

Episode 1

Episode 1 of Yu Yu Hakusho starts with Urameshi Yusuke’s body being taken to the hospital after an accident. His childhood friend, Yukimura Keiko, rushes to the scene and Yusuke’s spirit realises that he was having an out-of-body experience because he had already died.

A flashback from 4 hours before the incident shows a roundworm monster escaping from the underworld while Yusuke and Keiko are in school. Keiko finds Yusuke smoking on the rooftop and asks him to stop doing that. The teacher catches Yusuke beating the school bullies up as he tries to save the victim.

The teacher punishes Yusuke and he goes back home. Yusuke is berated by his mother at home as well and he leaves to go out to get some air. On the street, his arch-nemesis Kuwabara Kazuma brings in his friends as they try and fight Yusuke. An already irritated Yusuke beats Kazuma and his friends up to a pulp leaving Kazuma further agitated.

Kazuma then arrives at the ramen shop where Keiko works. Yusuke eats ramen when Keiko arrives from school. She argues with Yusuke for not defending himself in front of the teacher and asks him to die out of frustration. Meanwhile, the roundworm monster possesses a truck driver and forces him to drive onto the road that Yusuke is on.

Yusuke leaves the restaurant after his fight with Keiko and notices that the truck driver is about to crash into a little boy. He pushes the boy away and ends up getting run over by the truck. The narrator states that the human and the demon world were connected in the past where the yokai attacked humans who came to the human world.

After the spirit world drew a boundary, separating the two worlds. Yusuke’s spirit notices his body being taken away in an ambulance when Botan (the Grim Reaper) shows up. She tells Yusuke that he was an evil person by the standards of the book which means he could be sent to hell.

However, Botan tells him that his death was not anticipated because his act of saving the young boy was odd for his personality. Botan takes Yusuke to the Spirit World to meet her boss, Koenma. While Yusuke and Botan take the trip, Koenma sees a play-by-play recap of the recently deceased humans’ lives and sends them to heaven and hell, based on their actions.

Koenma tells Yusuke that he will be reincarnated if he agrees to be a Spirit Detective for the Spirit world. Yusuke learns that his duties as a Spirit Detective would be to stop the Yokai that are invading the human world to cause trouble. He tells Yusuke about the Roundworm Monster that turns into Yokai and asks Yusuke to go find it. Yusuke refuses the offer because he is certain that his human body is not dead yet.

Meanwhile, Sakyo is the owner of several casinos. He meets a guest there, Mr. Gonzo Tarukane, and pitches an investment deal to him. Sakyo tells Mr. Gonzo about a deep pit, the one that the roundworm monster came from. On the other hand, Botan asks Yusuke to visit his funeral and see what his mourners thought of him.

There, Yusuke sees the little boy whose life he saved. He hears the boy tell his mother that he was waiting for Yusuke to wake up so that he could thank Yusuke for saving his life. Yusuke also sees Kazuma emotionally at his funeral. Yusuke sees Keiko and his mother crying over his death which makes him rethink his decisions. He sees Keiko mourning his death in her room and agrees to work as a Spirit Detective for the Spirit World.

At the same time, the same roundworm monster that killed Yusuke enters the body of the boy who was being bullied by Yusuke’s classmates. The roundworm monster starts a fire in Yusuke’s house and makes the victim beat the bullies up. Kazuma and his friends witness the incident and get worried.

Koenmo informs Yusuke that he had to urgently possess his own body which was inside the burning house. He also asks Yusuke to save his classmates who are being attacked by a roundworm monster. Keiko goes inside the house and tries to carry Yusuke’s body outside.

Yusuke’s spirit goes inside as well when Koenmo sees his valour. Koenmo resurrects Yusuke who brings Kieko out. Yusuke then fights the roundworm monster who is soon going to turn into a yokai. Koenmo asks Yusuke to channel his spirit energy to kill the monster. Kirino, the boy possessed by the monster grows more and more aggressive which worries Koenmo and Botan.

After a long and tiring fight, Yusuke ends up exorcising the monster by using his spirit energy and Kirino is saved. Yusuke crushes the monster with his bare hands. Kazuma wakes up after the fight to see Yusuke carrying Kirino home.

The next morning, Yusuke’s mom and Keiko hug him, revealing how happy he is to see them.

In the Spirit World, Koenmo tells Botan that he is worried because Yusuke is going to fight three very powerful Yokai. The episode ends with the three yokai, Kurama, Hiei and Goki demonstrating their respective skills by using the three magical artefacts stolen from the Spirit World.


The Episode Review

Wow! What an exciting and nail-biting episode this was. While the chapter seems rushed, it perhaps should be as the first season of Yu Yu Hakusho comprises 5 episodes in total. However, because this season is based on 2 seasons of the anime (which consisted of 112 episodes in total), it will be interesting to see how the makers are able to condense the story in 5 hours.

The production value of the show looks great and the VFX does justice to the fantasy, magical realism and supernatural themes of the show.

As someone who has only read the lore behind the show and has not watched the anime, I am excited to see what happens when Yusuke clashes with the Yokai of the underworld and to see if he is able to defeat and capture them as Koenmo trusts him to do.

 

Next Episode

Expect a full-season review this weekend!

 

  • Episode Rating
    (4.5)
4.5

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