Yu Yu Hakusho: The Movie
Yu Yu Hakusho is a TV and manga series which has gained quite a following, and I've been told it's quite good. Unfortunately, only the two movies based on the series have been commercially released in North America.
Now it should be made requisite that any movie based on a series should provide enough background details on the plot and characters so that anyone who hasn't seen the series won't feel lost watching the movie. The Patlabor, Ranma 1/2, and Urusei Yatsura movies are all good examples which can be enjoyed without any prior knowledge of the characters and plot lines. Unfortunately, the Yu Yu Hakusho movie was obviously intended only to be enjoyed by fans of the series.
Right off the bat, I had no idea what I was supposed to be watching. There's all of about a minute or so to figure out who's who and what's what before Lord Koenma gets kidnapped and everyone rushes off to save him. No attempt is made to explain who the characters are, nor any of the plot elements. Anyone who is unfamiliar with the TV series will be simply left to speculate as to the importance of Lord Koenma or this "Golden Seal" thingee.
The story then dissolves into a giant action sequence, with the heroes dispatching loads of monsters with a variety of superpowers. However, the action alone was hardly enticing, especially since I didn't care about any of the characters. Eventually the climax is reached, complete with a cliched attempt at a plot twist, but by that point I had lost all interest.
Had this "movie" had an extra half-hour or so to develop a better back story and provide some insight into the characters, then it could have fared much better. Unfortunately, I doubt anyone but a diehard Yu Yu Hakusho fan could possibly enjoy this.
The Verdict: * (awful)
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