JUSTIN COOK: Yusuke has always been occupying a spot in my brain–or heart–for the last twenty years and I don’t know if he’s going anywhere. So he had no problems popping back out and finding a few more things to say.
There are definitely some popular anime that were products of their time, but Yu Yu Hakusho really holds up. Had you revisited it at all before returning to the role?
Yeah, for sure. I was a fan of Yu Yu Hakusho before I was even a part of it. I’ve returned to the Living World, as it were, quite a few times to take another look at it. But I certainly did it before we went into production on the OVAs. Definitely went back to look at it then, if for nothing else than to make sure that I was providing a consistent experience for all of the actors, as well as folks who are taking a look at all of this for the first time.
Would you do those early Yusuke performances any differently now with what you’ve since learned or was that naivety helpful to some extent for the character?
I hadn’t thought of it from that second angle that you mentioned before, but that’s interesting. I will say, the magic of which was captured–and this goes for any show, not just Yu Yu Hakusho–there’s probably always a desire to go back and do things differently. A lot of actors–certainly myself–are perfectionists. There’s that desire, for sure. However, from the other perspective, I like a lot of TV shows and I would hate it if people took old episodes of whatever and decided to mess around with them or change them. That’s not how these things were remembered. So in that sense, I wouldn’t want to change a thing. With the number of folks who have been inspired by the show and like the dub, it seems to me like it hit all of the chords that it needed to at the right time and so why mess with that.?
You voice the main character in Yu Yu Hakusho, but you’re also an ADR director, and producer on the show’s dub and seem to be deeply involved in the property. Is it satisfying to see the legacy that the dub has left behind?