Yu Yu Hakusho season 1, episode 1 recap “Episode 1″

Yu Yu Hakusho
Yu Yu Hakusho /

Netflix’s live-action adaptation of the manga and anime Yu Yu Hakusho has arrived! Season 1 episode 1 opens very similarly to the anime, as we are introduced to our main character Yusuke, who is killed saving a child.

In order to return to the Human World, Yusuke must become a Spirit Detective as unexpected Demon World activity is creating cause for alarm.

Yu Yu Hakusho season 1, episode 1 recap – Yusuke Urameshi

Season 1 begins with Yusuke looking over his dead body at the scene of a bad car accident. His reaction is that of disappointment.

We then flashback a little bit, where we learn more about the main character. Meet 17-year-old Yusuke, a delinquent who smokes and cuts class, much to his friend since childhood, Keiko’s dismay.

But Yusuke is also a good person deep down, as he saves a classmate from rough and violent bullies. Of course, a teacher happens upon the moment Yusuke intervened, which means he’s blamed for harming the student instead of helping.

Deciding to ditch school, Yusuke goes home where we meet his mother. Although it’s not said aloud, evidence about the home reveals she’s a drinker and lazy.

From there audiences meet Yusuke’s rival from another school, Kuwabara and his clumsy friends, and a little boy playing with his friends… When Yusuke’s rough and careless attitude upsets Keiko at the Ramen shop, she wishes him dead.

Despite all of this exposition, which flows as beautifully as the camera work (it really does, I’m still impressed), we come to learn that there is a bigger, unseen problem. A gigantic hole in town is actually the pathway to the Demon World, and some mysterious, big money casino owner knows this.

A creepy bug that we later come to learn is a Yokai, escapes and possesses a truck driver. As it plows recklessly down the street and towards the little boy Yusuke saw earlier, he saves the child but dies in the process (that was a really rough scene to watch).

Yu Yu Hakusho season 1, episode 1 recap – Spirit Detective

Yusuke then meets the Grim Reaper Botan, a rather chipper guide for our fallen hero. She leads him to the Spirit World where Yusuke meets Koenma Jr., son of King Enma, the ruler of the Spirit World.

Koenma immediately offers Yusuke a second chance if he’ll become a Spirit Detective. Koenma is aware of Yokai slipping through to the Human World and he wants Yusuke to find and kill the bug one that escaped.

In typical Yusuke fashion he declines, refusing to be told what to do and believing the world would be better off without him. However, when Yusuke and Botan visit the Human World to his wake, we see that a lot of students have come to pay their respects.

This includes the student who was bullied earlier, who is still getting bullied even with Kuwabara’s interference. Yusuke sees how his mother, Keiko and even Kuwabara are heartbroken over his death, and knows he needs to return.

Trouble is the bullied student becomes the next target of the Yokai bug and in the process of attacking the bullies, a lighter and gasoline mix to create a huge fire. The fire soon engulfs Yusuke’s home just when his mother notices that the color is returning to his dead body’s face.

Unable to save her son from the flames, Keiko goes instead believing Yusuke’s mother that her son is still alive. Yusuke agrees to do whatever Koenma asks, as long as he can save Keiko.

With the deal made, Yusuke is back and successfully saves Keiko from the fire.

Yu Yu Hakusho season 1, episode 1 recap – The first Task

His first task as Spirit Detective is to kill the Yokai before it completely controls Yusuke’s classmate. This Yokai is incredibly strong, able to defeat Kuwabara and his friends.

What ensues is a very dragged out (very), but stellar and incredible fight scene nonetheless (it really is incredible, the effects, choreography, all of it was just perfect). Yusuke battles with the Yokai while trying to save his classmate, but he’s unsure how to with the Spirit Energy Koenma is practically feeding him like a video game tutorial.

Yusuke is able to save his classmate successfully and kill the Yokai bug. The ending of the episode, however, affirms that Yusuke’s job as a Spirit Detective is far from over, as three Yokai arrive to steal three items.

Yu Yu Hakusho season 1, episode 1 review

So believe it or not, I actually watched the Yu Yu Hakusho anime way back when it aired on Cartoon Network’s Toonami (feel old yet?). It was one of the very few animes, even today, that I loved!

Seriously, I love it! There was something about the story and characters that felt new, different, unique and compelling.

Nowadays anime feels very saturated, which is both good and bad. It’d be hard for something like Yu Yu Hakusho to really take off today when there are so many similar stories about teens with paranormal/supernatural abilities fighting demons and other creatures.

But when anime was hard to come by, let alone watch for a middle schooler, Toonami was the only answer. It was the gateway to a lot of animes like Sailor Moon, Rurouni Kenshin, Dragonball Z and Tenchi Muyo.

That being said, when I heard there would be a live action adaptation of Yu Yu Hakusho, I nearly lost my mind! It had been so long since I saw the anime, yet I remembered so many details.

So as you can expect while watching season 1 episode 1, I was already picking up on the story changes. Yusuke is aged up, his reasoning for wanting to be alive again and even how he actually becomes an official Spirit Detective are all different.

But the story, at its core, is the same and I love it! The casting thus far has been spot on!

This is Yusuke 100%. This is Kuwabara, although his design made it hard to recognize him if it weren’t for the brash and big personality.

Koenma, although already aged up as well, is as sarcastic as I remember. Botan, who could forget that bright and cheery personality?

Although I was disappointed to learn season 1 only has 5 episodes, I am already craving a season 2! And yes, I did recognize the anime opening song playing in the truck before the driver got possessed, and yes, I started singing along!

Next. Upload season 3, episode 2 recap: “Strawberry”. dark

What did you think of Yu Yu Hakusho season 1, episode 1? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.