If someone were to ask me what the best shonen series for someone to start with I would say YuYu Hakusho. I belive that YuYu hakusho hits every single one of the neo-shonen beats that a shonen series is expected to hit and hits them very well. As far as tournament themed power escalation shows go YuYu hakuosho is told very well. I did not see YuYu until long after I should have , not till i was about 17 and I still really liked it, a lot actually. I still kind of feal that it is a little hard to get into it because the first of the four arcs of the show is pretty slow. But once it moves into the second, the arc that everyone knows about even if they have not seen the show “The Dark Tournament” arc. I think that while the second arc is awesome, the third arc or “Chapter Black” is where the show really shines in my opinion.
The series follows a very typical shonen formula for this kind of show but does it very well. All the the character stereotypes are turned up to 11 but it really works for YuYu hakusho because I think it is using those things very well. A great deal of shonen series now a days use the character tropes a lot as well and it can really come off as forced, such as “This character is the guy who is kind of antaganistic towards the main character but really he just wants a friend” or “This is the happy-go-lucky guy but he is actually really dark”. While I do really like a lot of the shonen tropes, sometimes it can come off as really cynical. Though in YuYu Hakusho I think it is probably the best use of those tropes I can think of. I mean what kid does not think Hiei is awesome? or doesn’t want to be like Yusuke? No kid that’s who! even the girls!
I think like shaman king this is a very good shonen seires to show people when they are pretty young. I think YuYu maybe for kids a little bit older then that.10-12 maybe? I think this and Shaman King both make excellent first shonen seires for kids. I think YuYu works on more levels for people that are older too. It is a little deeper then shaman king and the things it can deal with at times, especially in the “Chapter Black” arc can be kind of disturbing. That said, I do think it is one of the most fun shows to just pop in when you just want a cool fight or something going on in the background. I think out of all the things that have been animated out of the things that have come from Weekly Shonen Jump, YuYu Hakusho is probably my favourite adaptation. I do love the manga, but I think the anime has something very special all its own. I think it may have something to do with the full ‘IM A MAN!’ yell of “SPIRIT GUN!” that Justin Cook puts into his performance of Yusuke that makes me prefer both the anime and the English dub of the series.