Yu Yu Hakusho Currently in the midst of celebrating the 30th anniversary of the original anime take on Yoshihiro Togashi’s legendary manga, it is still seen as one of the best anime released to this day. It’s one of the franchises that continues to influence anime fans of a certain generation, and it’s likely been in the conversation of many fan-favorite anime versions of all time. This was true of both the original Japanese language version and the English dubbed version as well. As a mainstay of anime on Cartoon Network, it continues to make an impact.
One of the main anchors of the anime’s success was its central star, Justin Cook, who provided the voice for its main character, Yusuke Urameshi. Celebrating the release of the special 30th anniversary box set of yu yu hakusho, And Cook returns to the role of Yusuke in the newly recorded OVAs included in the collection, and ComicBook.com got the chance to chat with Cook for a bit to talk about returning to the franchise, the best scenes in the anime, and more!
Read on below to chat with Yusuke Urameshi star Justin Cook (edited for clarity), and tell us how you feel about this major milestone. Yu Yu Hakusho! How does it rank among your favorite anime of all time? Let us know all your thoughts on this topic in the comments! You can also reach out to me directly about all things animation and other cool stuff Valdezology on Twitter!
Yu Yu Hakusho effect
Nick Valdez, ComICBOOK.COM: From your point of view, did I expect Yu Yu Hakusho For such an effect to occur after all these years?
Justin Cook: I’ve learned in my time, I try to lower expectations like that to a pretty big degree, but I can definitely say that the show has had a profound impact on me and it continues and continues to inspire me, so it only makes sense that it would do that for other people.
You’ve had an amazing career! You’ve done many things Yusuke isn’t since, so did you bring any of Yusuke’s into any of your future characters?
Oh, I don’t know. I think when we have the opportunity and the honor of being able to take on one of these characters, it ends up being a bit of a mix-up that happens. A little bit of Yusuke kinda stays with me, and I wish if it was working right, a little bit of me stays with Yusuke. I suppose these parts could find their way into other characters, but I really try to make each character unique and have their own flesh and blood personality.
Back to Yusuke for the 30th anniversary
I recently got the chance to go back to Yusuke’s sake [30th Anniversary OVA dub] Which is great! Was there any kind of modification needed to return to Yusuke in particular?
No no. He always has a place here. It’s live, I should basically call him up front, but I’ll tell you it’s absolutely amazing just getting the whole band back together. That was quite an amazing experience, so working with Cynthia [Kranz]and Kent [Williams]and John [Burgmeier]and chuck [Huber]and Chris [Sabat], and put all the crew back together. Shun Teague even going back to Koenma, it was a real pleasure to visit that area again.
Just like that, we started getting all sorts of revivals and reboots. Yu Yu Hakusho He’s usually one of the top fans on a must comeback list. If she came back for a full anime, would she do it again?
If I was invited back, I would absolutely love it. It will be an ongoing honor.
Yusuke’s scene of the dark tournament is shattered
When researching the series itself, one of my favorite moments to this day is Yusuke passing the test. He’s got the power of his Genkai, and you do that guttural shriek, but it’s not just your average anime shriek. It has multiple layers, eights, and emotions. I’ve always wanted to know how you prepare for even something like this, and how do you make sure it goes down the way it’s supposed to?
Justin Cook: Well, going forward and making sure it lands the way it’s supposed to is just going to take time and effort. He does it until you get it. If I remember, and it was in the mid-’40s in the Dark Tournament, and if I remember that scene correctly, it wasn’t just trying to locate where the panels were and grab those feelings that were there, but there would be moments when he would make a move and you’d see that blood or whatever. It doesn’t explode from his knees or something. He was also making sure that we were trying to tag all of those different things that you see on screen to where that screaming or that kind of screaming is happening.
Look, for what it’s worth, when I was in sixth and seventh grade, I was in my first rock and roll band and was the lead singer. I never had a mic or PA system to use, so he was always shouting at the drummer and the two guitarists. I’m going to guess I might have run my old vocal chords here through the bell back when I was a kid and who knew? I think I was preparing myself for that. I was bringing my Spiritual Orb into my body at the time in order to kind of prepare for this.
Favorite Justin Cook Moments
Now this is one of my favorite scenes. Do you have a particular favorite moment that you look back on many years later?
It’s hard to pick a moment or a scene and I’d say I like that one more than the others. There are so many magical moments. You know what it does, as soon as I start picking a favorite scene it just flows into the hundreds of great scenes that are in that series. All of the moments between Keiko and Yusuke are great. You were talking about the Darkness Tournament for a bit, but when she appeared after that soul wave, he was sleeping in her lap. There are so many great little moments.
The various times that Kuwabara is returned to the original ring during the Dark Tournament are fun. Chizuru’s character, Sensui from Season 3, will meet the Three Demon Kings. Each of these moments and new characters really has a place in my heart because I’ve lived with that for so long. It’s hard for me to tear a page out of the book and say, This is the thing that sums up this show.
Bring balance to Yusuke
As someone who brought Yusuke back to life, do you have perspective to ensure that even though Yusuke is initially portrayed as a delinquent, he is still a likable hero?
My approach was to let the animation guide me and the story itself. There is no way to say I added something that wasn’t already there. I think everything was already there. Being a delinquent is part of his behavior as it were, but his personality is not delinquent in order to be a delinquent. He’s restless, so to speak, but he has a heart of gold. What his friends mean to him is quite honestly, that’s a trait I’m really trying to bring into my life.
This is the part I was talking about earlier where using a little Yusuke stays with me and I hope a little Justin stays with him. Yeah, all of that stuff came straight out of the animation, straight out of the script. It really falls to any artist who takes on any of these roles to be able to define what those human moments are. They are there. It’s on the screen. It is only our responsibility to make sure that we are able to recognize it and then project it.
As a final question for me, do you have any advice for the many to jump to Yu Yu Hakusho First time to celebrate the 30th anniversary? Like maybe what to watch for?
I think it’s a great time to become a fan of Yu Yu Hakusho, that’s for sure. I think any time you’re able to get additional bits of a story, maybe a little bit more of it, kind of help flesh it out a little bit more, give more background. It’s an exciting time to get into the show and I think give it a go. I think you will really find that you may like it.