Tournament arcs are one of the most tried and true story arc types in anime. shonen of fight. They allow you to introduce new characters, set up multiple fights in quick succession, give major and minor characters a chance to stand out, and much more. They can be pretty good when done right, which is why even hit shows like Naruto and Yū Yū Hakusho used them.
Naruto’s Chūnin Exams and Yū Yū Hakusho’s Tournament of Darkness are host to two of the best tournament arcs in all of shonen battle. They feature intense combat, character highlights, and all sorts of twists and turns that make each arc even more interesting. They’re both great on their own, but, for the sake of argument, here’s a comparison of what each series does and who can claim to have the best tournament bow.
Naruto Chūnin Exam Tournament
Naruto’s Chūnin Examsdespite its plethora of fights, has a fairly unorthodox approach to the formula of the tournament arc. The fight portion of the exams only had two rounds, the preliminary elimination round and the publicly presented first round. The rest of the tournament was interrupted by the hidden sound village ofOrochimaru and the hidden sand village who have teamed up to destroy the Leaf Village. While the subplots that unfolded in the background kept the story interesting, the tournament itself was still good on its own.
The Chūnin Examinations Arc had the difficult task of establishing the characters. In addition to introducing over nine new characters to the circle ofnaruto friends, several larger characters also debuted in this arc, which proved to be integral to the overall plot. As for the fights themselves, some are considered the best in the series, including Rock Lee vs. Gaara and Temari vs. Shikamaru. Not only were all of these main characters introduced, but their different powers and personal stakes in battles were also highlighted. By the end of the arc, some of these characters ended up being more liked than the main cast of Team 7.
Yu Yu Hakusho’s Black Tournament
Compared to Naruto, Yū Yū Hakusho’s Tournament of Darkness arc was much simpler. He saw Urameshi Yūsuke and his friends fight several rounds of team battles against demons in life and death fights. During this time, the Toguro team passed each round with the hope of fighting the Urameshi team finally. The corrupt tournament committee did a lot to make the progress of the Urameshi team in the final even more difficult.
While the Naruto Tournament arc was to establish many new characters who would become important in the future, that of YYH kept the main cast small and simple. Team opponents Urameshi were mostly unique characters whose only service to the plot was to serve as obstacles to the team Urameshi. Because of this, character development has focused on the main cast, but it also means it’s a bit more difficult to invest in the individual fights.
Why Yū Yū Hakusho had the best tournament bow?
Determining which anime has the best tournament arc requires looking at certain characteristics, starting with the character development. Naruto and YYH manage their development very differently. In Naruto, we tried to distribute the development evenly among the characters in the extended cast; for many of them, like Rock Lee and Neji, it worked well.
In YYH, character development remained focused on the main cast. While most of the other characters were moderately well developed, the focus was on making the main characters more complex. Both of these series have treated character arcs respectably, so this aspect of their stories is on par.
Naruto may have had more intense and suspenseful fights than YYH. Contrary to YYH, the stakes in each fight were just low enough that the fights could go any which way. Additionally, the fights in this series featured some very well-animated fights that are still going strong. YYH also had some well-animated fights, but those of naruto were of a higher level.
All that being said, the stakes of theYYH were significantly larger than those of naruto. The Urameshi Team did not fight only for victory and glory; Toguro had threatened to kill them and everyone they knew if they lost. During this time, naruto and his friends could have died on the way Chūnin exams, but they also had the option of trying again another time. With the stakes of theYYHeach turn of the Tournament of Darkness was becoming more and more of a bottleneck.