Poltergeist Report: Yu Yu Hakusho
Urameshi Yuusuke and pals try to defend Tokyo from demonic invasion by preventing powerful underworld minions from opening five mystic seals around the city.
This is actually the second Yu Yu Hakusho movie, released in North America long before the television series was licensed. This is also one of the first anime I watched at the video store, and damn if it didn't make any sense to me back then.
You really shouldn't watch this movie if you're not a fan of the TV series. As a standalone, it does absolutely nothing to develop its characters, because it's assumed you already know them. Still, in terms of being an action anime, this movie does deliver some visually impressive magically enhanced fight scenes that will entertain even those oblivious to the characters and their personalities.
Those of you familiar with Yu Yu Hakusho will be pleased to see Hiei, Kurama, Kuwahara, and Yakumo doing what they do best - kicking ass and taking names, with lots of collateral damage. While the original tape I watched was damaged and had some serious video problems, even that couldn't hide the skilled, rich animation that is used for this movie (a surprise from normally mediocre Studio Pierrot). Skyscraper windows shatter and bridges crumble, and the action scenes are furious and fun. The best fight in my opinion is the showdown between Kuwabara and the demon Majari, which is grueling and impressive especially considering that Kuwabara is the only full human in the line of main combatants.
On the minus side - Plot? What plot? No one in their right mind would watch a movie like this for the plot - it's virtually nothing but action scenes, and I'm not sure there's any sort of memorable dialogue to speak of. Further minus points for the dub, which mangles Kuwabara's name ("KuwaHAra") and generally manages to be a mediocre pile of crud. (Good thing there's not much dialogue after all.) Considering that this lack of plot and characterization is all that the North American market had to deal with for years, it's no surprise that it took Yu Yu Hakusho so long to get here. Now that the rest of the franchise is familiar, we can look at this movie by the merits it was meant to have - and it's not excellent, but it's good enough as a supplement to be worth getting in conjunction with the series.
While a good deal more serious than the first movie, Poltergeist Report: Yu Yu Hakusho will be seriously confusing without the context of the TV series, and therefore should not be remotely considered a standalone, despite its release by a completely separate company from either the first movie or the TV series. If you love Yu Yu Hakusho, then you'll enjoy this movie. However, if you haven't a dang clue why these folks are fighting or who they are, then it's going to be an action-packed, but totally meaningless hour and a half.
A fair supplement to the TV series, but confusing and unsatisfying if taken out of context, and thoroughly lacking in character development. If you want more out of your movies than action and animation, and aren't familiar with the characters, remove one to two stars. — Carlos Ross
Recommended Audience: Fantasy violence, some of it rather intense. A bit of mild language, but nothing too offensive. No sex to speak of - there's barely even more than a cameo of the female characters here!
Version(s) Viewed: VHS, English dubbed
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Poltergeist Report: Yu Yu Hakusho © 1994 Toho Co Ltd / Studio Pierrot / Movic
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