When I first bought Yu Yu Hakusho: The Movie back at ye olde Best Buy, when I got it home, I was thoroughly disappointed.
Needless to say, when I heard something about a second movie (which somehow I believe still hasn't managed yet to be sucked into Funimation's vast black hole of anime licensing), I wasn't exactly jumping out of my chair to go look for it.
However: I'm happy to report that the second one, entitled Poltergeist Report, despite being just mediocre, is still a decent enough movie to make up for... whatever the hell that thing they called the first movie was.
So, are the YuYu Hakusho movies worth seeing?
YuYu Hakusho: The Movie: Summary and Review
This is really more an episode than a movie, being only 30 minutes long and hardly having the star qualities of a true movie. The only reason it's not an episode is probably because it's so bad, and because the story isn't really connected to anything else in the main YuYu Hakusho plot.
In it, Koenma (the toddler-looking child of King Enma, the lord of Spirit World) gets kidnapped at the beach by a big turtle-like monster. Yusuke and the gang receive word that the bad guys want King Enma's golden seal, for which they're holding Koenma hostage.
Turns out, the true "villain" is just some snot-nosed little brat named Koashura. When his big turtle demon minion tries to take the seal though, play time is over and Yusuke has to kick its ridiculous, cheesy ass.
Ultimately, this could have been just a bonus on existing DVDs of the show, or I totally wouldn't have minded if they had simply destroyed it and pretended such a crummy, predictable, lame story never had the YuYu Hakusho name attached to it.
But at one point I bought it, because of said name, and whatever amount of money I paid for the DVD was clearly too much.
Even worse, if you like watching dubs (and I have no problem with the main show's dub) they didn't even use the same voice actors in the dub for this one! I'm not sure why, but maybe the voice actors in the main show had too much dignity to sign on for something like this? I mean, not that the dignity bar for Funimation voice actors is that high, but...
Poltergeist Report: Summary and Review
In Spirit World, the River Styx gets flooded. But it's no ordinary flood, it soon destroys Koenma's dad's cute little spirit filing cabinets. Botan flees to the human world to warn Yusuke and Keiko. The usual gang gathers up at Genkai's place, where a handy new character named Hinageshi is there to explain the weird, convoluted plot.
You see, there exists a place called the "netherworld". It seemed like a place where Spirit World sent evil humans, or like a heaven for demons? It's not really explained well.
Bad guys from there show up, and Team Urameshi has to fight them all over the city. Yukina, Botan, and Keiko... do absolutely nothing, having been knocked out. Well color me surprised.
Tthey have to fight at five locations representing the five spiritual energies of Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit.
Different netherworld demon thugs show up at each of these sites. They're led by the king of the netherworld, flamboyant 80's villain Yakumo. He steals the plot ball, I mean, "Power Sphere" out of Botan's body... because... reasons, and this is supposedly the key to him taking over Spirit World for good.
There is a long fight, and while it's mostly Yusuke's battle with the guy in the end, all four of them (Yusuke, Hiei, Kuwabara, and Kurama) pay a major role in saving the day.
I thought this movie was.. all right. It's not on par with the greatest story arcs of the series, but it's a decent enough movie that I think fans of the show will be entertained by it. It wasn't particularly moving and it kind of drags in the middle.
Plus, it's a huge Botan/Yusuke ship tease, so be warned. I like shipping Botan and Yusuke, because I hated Keiko, but this isn't a great one for Keiko fans.
So, the first "movie" isn't really a movie at all, but more like an episode that was made but then should have ended up on the cutting room floor. The second one, called "Poltergeist Report" is entertaining and better than that, but still no masterpiece. The movie is not terrible, but I wouldn't spend money on it per se.