A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The concept of death is portrayed as the next step in life and not something to be feared. Also people who behave poorly might not be as bad as they seem. True strength can only be achieved through hard work and perseverance.
Positive Role Models
Although the main protagonist Yusuke Yurameshi displays mostly bad behavior in the beginning, he cares deeply for his friends and family and is willing to put is life on the line to protect them. Another main character, Kurama, is very kind, intelligent, and determined to protect humanity despite being a demon. Boton is smart, funny, and a productive member of the group.
This Japanese series is set in Japan, and the cast is entirely Japanese and made up of female and male characters that are well rounded. Master Genkai is an elderly woman who's a martial arts expert and becomes the teacher and mentor of the main character.
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Violence & Scariness
There is a lot of supernatural animated violence, which can get pretty graphic. The main characters confront enemies by punching, stabbing, supernatural attacks (which can lead to disintegration), decapitations, amputation, and explosions. There is also a fair amount of animated gore during fights.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lots of romantic tension between Yusuke and his love interest Keiko, which leads to a few kissing scenes. In the beginning, Yusuke teases Keiko about her breast size and even looks up her skirt to tease her. Another character, Kuwabara, develops a crush on another member of the supporting cast, Yukina, but it never gets beyond hand holding.
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There is a fair amount of language in both the Japanese and English dub. Unedited versions include: "bitch," "crap," "damn," "hell," "s--t," and "ass."
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Products & Purchases
There is a moderate amount of merchandise available for this series including DVDs, posters, and action figures.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some of the adult characters are shown both drinking and smoking quite a bit. Yusuke's mother, Atsuko, drinks entire bottles of alcohol, goes out to bars, and gets drunk. Kuwabara's sister is almost always shown with a lit cigarette in her mouth. These behaviors are never portrayed in a positive light, but are integral parts of their characters or are used for comedy.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Yu Yu Hakusho is a high-quality anime that is available in milder edited formats and edgier, original formats. The unedited versions include more intense violence, more sexual humor, and stronger language. The edited versions are likely appropriate for kids 8 and older, while the unedited versions are more appropriate for teens. In either case, violence is ever-present and can occasionally be brutal and include blood or gore. A few adults drink and/or smoke frequently, with one parent seeming to abuse alcohol.
Is It Any Good?
Although this is an action-packed anime, much like Dragon Ball Z, it rises above the latter with good storytelling, characters, and a strong moral thread. Yusuke is not your typical do-gooder hero, but deep down he has the qualities that make the audience root for him. Yu Yu Hakusho focuses on moral grey areas and how people may not always be who they seem to be. For example, a loud-mouth trouble maker can be a hero or a polite gentleman can be cruel. Despite the supernatural elements, Yu Yu Hakusho feels more realistic than some other anime series, and as a result is more entertaining.
A potential drawback for a lot of people will be the violence. More than a few fights in the series show plenty of animated blood and gore. Despite the frequent fighting, the series also slows down regularly to expand its characterization and offer some humor. While not for everyone, Yu Yu Hakusho is one of the best action anime available and is well worth a look.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.