By: Casea Mhtar, @madamekrow
Yu Yu Hakusho is ultimately my favourite anime, to the point where I can’t bear the thought of liking an anime more than it. For example, Berserk (1997) will be my “number 1” while Yu Yu Hakusho has exceeded the list altogether because its pedestal is just that high. That is the length I must go to secure a strange sense of balance for myself and stave off yet another identity crisis for a different reason. So you can probably imagine how much chaos was thrown at me when I found out that Yusuke Urameshi’s voice actor is completely different than the one I vividly recall when I found myself rewatching the series a few weeks ago. I have a memory of my sister and I watching a single episode she had taped on VCR and we would specifically watch the credits nonstop. We were trying to memorize the song (with great success, I might add).
At the time, there was still no means of listening to the ending theme anywhere other than its source. YouTube wasn’t really a thing, and even if it was we didn’t have access to the same databases we have today. So we watched that part over and over and over again. I remember etching each image into our minds, every lyric into our internal roster of songs as it played on repeat. The names kept popping up just as they did before the last and the voice actor of Yusuke Urameshi, my favorite character, was none other than Yuri Lowenthal.
I distinctly recall thinking “Yuri, that’s a cool name” to myself as his name came up again and again. Not to be rude, but “Justin Cook” just isn’t exactly a name that would elicit such a thought from me and, indeed, never came to mind since I am certain it wasn’t in the credits of my beloved Yu Yu Hakusho VHS.
So, in my rewatching of the show, present-day me had the initial assumption that what was going on here was a perverse version of the Mandela Effect. However, looking into it now, I feel that completely waters down my experience and doesn’t actually explain what happened.
I mean, I can’t simply ignore my recollection as being a false memory, as every Mandela Effect is reasoned away with. No. I needed to find true reasoning for this madness.
For the sake of convenience and for the lack of a better theory, I will settle on there being an unexplained dimensional shift. Certainly, any reasonable person could argue that I made a mistake. I simply misread the credits, maybe even pulled that name from somewhere else. Or perhaps Yuri was Yusuke’s voice actor from a different dub! But that isn’t the case as seen in this YouTube video comparing EVERYONE who has voiced Urameshi.
So… Let’s say this was all a misunderstanding on my part. BUT THEN it didn’t just end with me incorrectly reading names in the credits over and over. I didn’t wrongly perceive the Funimation dubbing as being someone else and then call it a day. I was validated in my belief for a long period of time by outside sources.
.Hack//G.U. Vol. 1: Rebirth (2006)
The overall series of .Hack// is a subject I will certainly indulge in more in the future, but for the purpose of staying on-topic, I shall restrain myself. The reason I bring it up now is because in 2006, when .Hack//G.U. Vol. 1: Rebirth was released (I will always say it in full!), the protagonist–Haseo–sounded so familiar. I couldn’t quite figure it out until I saw who was credited with the voice acting. Out loud, in front of witnesses (if you count my birds), I said, “Yuri Lowenthal?… Wait, is that the voice of-”
I looked up his name to find he was-at that time-credited as the voice of Yusuke Urameshi. Quite a mistake that is since officially he is unlisted in the series yet multiple people around the world think otherwise, the same as me. Not only that, but updating all of Lowenthal’s pages to be credited with Haseo in addition to Urameshi. Many people had to review those pages, many people happened upon those pages and never bothered to correct them. That’s what really gets me. Sure, if my Ego was backed into a corner then yes, I can perhaps admit that my eyeballs had failed me and that’s all you’re gonna get out of me! Yet there is no copy I can find of him voicing the character online.
Could this be an example of lost media instead then? Well, no. Apparently not. Most anyone I’ve told about this believes I am confusing him with someone else. They may not remember “Justin Cook” at the top of their heads, however they are adamant about Yuri Lowenthal never, ever voicing Yusuke Urameshi. Because he didn’t… in this dimension.
Perhaps I truly am mixing him up his voice with a different character? Yuri Lowenthal is also famously the voice actor for Sasuke Uchiha in the english dub of Naruto. An extremely popular character from an anime that is surrounded by an enormous and ever growing fan base. The problem with that is, I’ve never watched Naruto. I didn’t even know Lowenthal was in any way a part of Naruto until I was somewhat adjusted into adulthood. When explaining my entire theory to a friend, I asked them if they can imagine the essence of an other-dimensional Yusuke within the voice of Haseo.
“All I hear is Sasuke from Naruto,” They bluntly said.
I’ll be honest… That hurt more than it should have, but I swallowed my pride and looked into it since I’ve never actually heard what Sasuke sounds like.
What I begrudgingly find is that my friend was right. Again, this was the first time I had ever heard Yuri Lowenthal as Sasuke and I didn’t know that he was the voice actor until a few years prior. This entire ordeal leaves me feeling unnerved that there are so many loopholes being found in the False Memory Theory. It can’t be completely dismissed as large scale misinformation or misremembering. That is why I had to settle on the theory that there was some strange dimensional shift, even with how outlandish that sounds.
I don’t know when it occurred and I’m not sure how I missed it, but it happened. You would think being thrust out of your prior dimension, or being crammed into a different one, would have some sort of impact. Maybe that’s why I developed back problems during my teenage years, I can’t really say. All I can recall is the feeling of my stomach hitting the floor through the bottom of my feet when I finally found out. I was watching the DVD box set of Yu Yu Hakusho that my friend lent me and I could immediately tell something was not right. Yusuke didn’t sound anything like I remembered, the voice–the tone–was weird, his inflections were way off, it was all wrong! WRONG, I TELL YOU. So, to the internet I went only to find someone else being credited…
“Justin Cook this” and “Justin Cook that” appeared all over. There was even a video of him yelling “spirit gun” for a fan and I was still in disbelief! There was no way! This wasn’t possible!
Apparently, in this dimension it is though, and that is a fact that I will have to live with for the rest of my life… or until reality throws me back to my own dimension. The knowledge that I will look crazy whenever I tell this story, as well as the reality that there could be more dubs out their with voices unknown. Not just voice actors, but entire animes—maybe video games, even people I thought I knew! Who knows what was left behind with Yuri Lowenthal as Urameshi! I don’t care to think about it too much. My heart is wounded enough I tell you. I already have a crippling fear of one day finding out my whole life is a lie—I don’t need to rack my brain about all of this as well.
Yuri Lowenthal was fantastic as Urameshi and I wish I could somehow put my memory into an audio clip for everyone to hear. Not so much to prove that he was better, but to solidify why my experience is very real to me. Though, if you did hear the Yusuke that I knew, I truly believe you would think it was pretty good at the very least. (Not that Justin is bad… just that it feels wrong to my beloved memory… sorry Mr. Cook.) On the bright side, Lowenthal is plenty successful and I am always rooting for him regardless. Sure, Justin Cook is my “number 1” Urameshi in this dimension, but the Yuri Lowenthal rendition that doesn’t exist in this world has exceeded the list all together in my heart. His pedestal is just too high.
What about those of you reading this? Do any of you have a similar experience? Maybe you also remember Yuri Lowenthal as Yusuke Urameshi! Let us know! (Let ME know! Please–I beg someone to find a copy if one exsists in this world. 😭)
Happy Wednesday. I guess. Bye.