.Yű Yű Hakusho article published in Animerica Extra Vol. 4, No. 10, September 2001
This article was written by and is copyrighted to Patricia Duffield and may not be reproduced in part or whole without permission.
In Japan, Yu Yu (both u's long) Hakusho (Poltergeist Report) was one of the kings of popularity in the mid-1990's. From big bookstore chains to tiny train station kiosks, this Shonen Jump anthology comic was everywhere, and it skyrocketed artist Yoshihiro Togashi to manga stardom.
Yusuke (first u long) Urameshi, the delinquent 14 year old lead, is dead. His spirit has left his body and is having a heck of a time figuring out why no one will listen to him. Confused, he tries to remember the day's events leading up to his current situation...
It had been a bad day. For the first time in ten days, Yusuke (first u long) was attending school... sort of. Childhood friend and class representative Keiko tracked him down on the roof where he'd gone to have a smoke. He escaped her wrath only to encounter a teacher who has it in for punks. Blaming him for another kid's cigarette, the teacher berated Yusuke (first u long) and demanded he leave. So he did. His homeroom teacher caught up with him and tried to bring him back, but Yusuke'd (first u long) had enough. At home, his 29 year old alcoholic mother also lectured him, sending him back into the street. There he ran into Kuwabara, a punk who keeps challenging him. After pounding Kuwabara, Yusuke (first u long) felt a bit better, so when he ran into a little kid playing ball by a busy street, he tried to entertain the kid and get him to play someplace safe. But as he left, the boy went into the street after his ball. Yusuke (first u long) dove after him, pushing the boy out of the way of a speeding car and... died.
"No way... I'm a ghost?" he concludes.
"Bingo!" This comes from a girl on an oar floating behind him. She's Botan, the God of Death who guides souls across the Sanzu river to the Reikai, or Spirit World. She explains he wasn't expected to die yet, least of all doing something selfless. As a glitch in the bureaucratic machine that is the afterlife, there's no place for Yusuke (first u long) in Heaven or Hell. So he can undertake a trial to become resurrected, or be a wandering ghost forever. Yusuke (first u long) figures no one'll miss him, but Botan suggests he decide after his wake. At the wake, the emotional reactions of Keiko, Kuwabara, and even his surly mom convince him to take the trial.
In the Reikai, Koenma, the child of Enma Daio (long o) who decides the fates of all spirits, gives Yusuke (first u long) an egg to nurture. When it hatches, Yusuke (first u long) will return to life. What Yusuke (first u long) doesn't know is the animal's form will be determined by his spiritual energy --if Yusuke's (first u long) heart is filled with evil, a monster will hatch and devour him, body and soul. After several spooky and touching adventures, another glitch allows Yusuke (first u long) to return to life before the egg hatches. His experience as a ghost makes Yusuke (first u long) more sensitive to the supernatural, so he becomes a spiritual agent, helping to solve cases for the Reikai in the human world with growing spiritual power and punkish martial prowess. Along the way, he meets intriguing allies and increasingly powerful enemies, offering readers plenty of strange action and suspense.
Until recently, only the two Poltergeist Report movies were available in English, not the 112-episode TV show nor the 19-volume manga. This made Poltergeist Report much less accessible to potential fans. Now, FUNimation, of U.S. Dragon Ball Z fame, has bought the rights to the show. With luck, the popularity of the TV series will encourage a publisher to translate the manga so everyone will have the chance to read this sensational supernatural series.