Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Yugo the Negotiator Anime Review

Yugo the Negotiator
ADV Films
Complete Collection - 3 discs
325 mins. - 13 episodes
$39.98 (2007)
$29.98 (2009)
ISBN 702727150425
Japanese/English Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Seiji Kishi/Shinya Hanai
Studio - G&G Direction/Artland

Synopsis: Yugo Beppu is a world-class negotiator who is rumored to have never lost a case.  He uses words as his weapons and his extensive knowledge of human nature allows him to control deadly situations.  The cases he takes are those where a loved one has been kidnapped and he must believe in the person requesting the negotiation in order for him to accept the job.  He lost a friend during a kidnapping gone wrong due to failed negotiation and vowed to help others avoid suffering the same hardship.

A lovely Japanese woman comes to seek Yugo's aid.  Her father is working for a corporation overseas in Pakistan and was kidnapped by a group of rebels.  The company employed a negotiator to get her father back, but the military became involved and the rebels killed the negotiator.  Leading the rebels is a fearsome man who believes his work is blessed by Allah and he will only negotiate with a true hero.  Yugo sympathizes with the woman's plight and takes the case.
Yugo heads to Pakistan to negotiate with rebels
He must infiltrate Pakistan and engage the rebels without involving the military.  They wish to apprehend the rebels and avoid giving them financial aid to continue their resistance with no care for the life of the prisoner.  Yugo studies up on religious zealotry and carefully researches the players involved in the region.  He formulates a plan and has a friend prepare a few gadgets to help him while out in the field.  Once he makes contact with the rebels he must endure extreme torture to prove himself a true hero.  Can Yugo save the woman's father?  Even if he does can he escape the country without the military intervening?
Yugo must negotiate with this fearsome rebel leader
Yugo is sought out by the descendants of Russian royalty exiled in Japan. Two rings exist which when combined contain the secret clues to accessing the Romanov fortune.  One ring is held by the descendants in Japan and the other is in the possession of a granddaughter held by the Russian government.  Yugo travels to Russia to recover the girl and bring her to Japan to be with her family.  He takes the job and heads to Russia.
Yugo must rescue this little girl and her teddy bear (and her ring)
He must infiltrate Russia to find the girl and research the Romanov fortune.  Enlisting the aid of a young, beautiful college girl who studies Russian history, Yugo sets to finding records of a mysterious cargo shipped out of the country when the Romanovs fled.  A beautiful army officer was planted in Japan with the family in order to find the secrets of the fortune.  She was recalled to Russia and Yugo must deal with her on his quest.  The Russian Army wants to access the fortune in a time when Westernization has completely changed the country.  Can Yugo find the girl or will he be intercepted by the army?  Even if he survives the torture, can he survive the Russian winter?
This beautiful Russian officer was a plant in Japan for eight years
Pros: Lots of intense situations where Yugo's life is in danger, beautiful women, two complex stories with cliffhanger moments, Yugo is one tough and determined guy with high moral fiber, great backgrounds in the Russia arc
Ships docked in a frozen harbor in Russia
Cons: Yugo surviving and triumphing over the horrible torture he endures seems impossible, ending to Russia negotiation is completely hokey/impossible, opening/ending theme songs are mediocre, each story arc is written/animated by different people/studios, one Russian officer was a long-haired blonde dude - shyeah right!
Yugo gets tortured by the rebels in Pakistan
Mike Tells It Straight: Yugo is an intense, political anime with adventure and beautiful women thrown in.  Judging from what Yugo goes through to accomplish his negotiations successfully (i.e. torture) I would nominate his job for one of the worst jobs in history.  The writers obviously build Yugo up to be an impossibly resilient man - no one could endure the torture he does and still function as well afterwards.  It's just too much suspension of disbelief for an anime trying very hard to be realistic.
Yugo gets tortured by the Russian Army
I enjoyed the complicated stories and political intrigue, but certain events were hard to swallow.  Animation was decent and scenery (particularly Russia) was good.  Dub was okay.  I was expecting the show to be more episodic with Yugo negotiating a different crisis over a few episodes instead of two involved story arcs.
Yugo negotiates with this bullish female Russian general
Good luck, buddy!
The story felt conflicted with trying to be realistic, but then having these totally unrealistic things happen - Yugo's torture, the rebel leader in Pakistan shooting helicopters out of the air with a rocket launcher, Yugo surviving this crazy blizzard in Russia, and then the characters/ending to the Russian arc.  I came away thinking 'yeah, Yugo is tough, but that would never have happened!'.  The complex and intense situations were entertaining, but my final verdict is mediocre for this anime because of the unrealistic parts.

TO BUY and Recommendations: