See what I did there?
When I first saw the poster for the YYH 25th Anniversary special back in May, I literally shrieked with glee because I knew it was the cover for the tankobon volume containing Two Shots – a bonus chapter that showed how Kurama and Hiei first met. I also read that there would be another OVA episode based on Noruka Soruka, a fun bonus chapter in the series last tankobon volume.
I finally got to watch both episodes over the weekend, and I swear the nostalgia just Kokuryuu Ha-ed me right in the feels. But don’t worry, this post is relatively spoiler-free.
Of course I had to watch this one first. Kurama was one my first and top husbandos back in the day, and he’s always held a special place in my heart. (Hiei is an adorable little shit too, don’t get me wrong.)
Two Shots is a prequel chapter that shows us how Kurama and Hiei first met. Kurama is still in middle school here, so his uniform and his school are different from what we see in the original anime.
I noticed that they made Kurama’s hair a much less obnoxious shade of red for this particular episode, which might have been an homage to his original color scheme in the manga – black hair with blue school uniform.
I’ve always hated Maya’s hair, but it was actually nice to see her again (it’s been over a decade since I read the manga). Maya is Kurama’s classmate, and she only appears in Two Shots.
I almost died when Kurama’s Theme started playing in the background during this scene. SO, MUCH. NOSTALGIA.
The animation is much cleaner, crisper, and more up-to-date than the old anime’s, and the art style is much more reminiscent of Yoshihiro Togashi’s original artwork
While Hiyama Nobuyuki’s voice was unmistakable, I barely recognized Ogata Megumi’s voice as Kurama. Maybe her voice got deeper with age, or she learned how to modulate it to sound more masculine? Or maybe I’m just remembering her voice all wrong.
As promised, I won’t include any spoilers here, but I do have to say that I’m so happy to finally see Kurama’s leaf blade in animated action, and to watch him and Hiei fight in tandem again.
Noruka Soruka (All or Nothing)
Oof, the ending of this episode caught me off-guard. I just thought I’d put that right up front as a bit of a warning to the rest of you who haven’t seen it yet. But I think all this happens shortly before the last episode of the anime, and that kind of changes everything.
So this episode is all about a terrorist attack on the Spirit World, complete with a hostage situation. Of course, it’s up to Yusuke to resolve the situation … with a little help from the usual suspects.
I shrieked and slapped my husband’s arm multiple times in excitement when I saw the gang all back together. No joke.
Also, Atsuko (Yusuke’s mom) played a bigger role in the manga, but her role was pretty much merged with Shizuru in the original anime. I’m so glad they gave her some air time here.
Again, no spoilers here. The plot of this episode is nothing really special and feels like a simple excuse to get the gang back together again (that is also kind of how I felt about it in the manga), but if watching the boys performing their signature moves again doesn’t make you happy, I don’t know what else will.
All in All
Wooh, what a nostalgia trip! As a celebratory 25th anniversary gift to the fans of the series, this entire Yu Yu Hakusho OVA did everything right – upgraded animation, but with the old voice cast, familiar art style, and the same awesome soundtrack. There are a few more manga-only story arcs that I’d LOVE to see animated, but these two were satisfying on their own.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I need to rewatch the old series again because all of this made me realize how much I missed Kurama and the gang.
Many thanks to yyh-revival.tumblr.com for subbing and uploading the videos for the fans to enjoy. <3