It’s been four years since the last Yuusha Yoshihiko series. Its third season started airing in October 2016 as the gang has been revived to take another journey to save the world from evil. Here is a quick look at the three seasons of Yuusha Yoshihiko, its famous lead, Takayuki Yamada, and other works of its director, Yuichi Fukuda.
Yuusha Yoshihiko is a low budget, reference-heavy, late night Japanese comedy based on the role-playing video game series Dragon Quest.
Dragon Quest, the all time best-selling RPG series in Japan, was created by Yuji Horii and developed by Armor Project. The latest version, Dragon Quest Heroes II, came out exactly 30 years after its first release on May 27, 1986. The basic plot of the game is seen through the eyes of a "Hero," the Chosen One who could defeat the evil Dragonlord who wishes to conquer the world and end humanity.
Season 1 (2011)
Yuusha Yoshihiko to Maō no Shiro (The Hero Yoshihiko and the Demon King's Castle) follows the Dragon Quest premise. It all began when a plague desolated the Cowboy Village. The Hero, Teruhiko, went on a mission to find a miracle herb has not returned. The village needs a new yuusha (hero). All abled men are asked to try and pull the Beckoning Sword from the stone. This sword has the power to cut humans without taking their lives. Teruhiko’s son, Yoshihiko, succeeded in this test of strength. His sister, Hisa, could only follow him with looks of concern as he sets out on the same journey to find his father and the miracle cure.
Along the way, Yoshihiko meets Danjo, a fierce fighter who wouldn’t leave his side until he makes him listen to his story and kill him. Deep in the forest, they were ambushed by Murasaki, who believes that Yoshihiko is the one who killed her father. Unable to confirm this truth, she decides to follow Yoshihiko until the time when she can finally kill him. Soon they arrived at a town led by the fraudulent guru, Merebu. Tired of deceiving the people and hopeful to learn some new magic tricks, Merebu joins Yoshihiko’s party. Together, they all set out to find the cure, but just when they thought they have easily accomplished their mission, Buddha appeared and gave them an even bigger one: To fight the Demon King.
Season 2 (2012)
The actors reprised their roles in Yuusha Yoshihiko to Akuryō no Kagi (The Hero Yoshihiko and the Key of the Evil Spirit). The events happen 100 years after Yoshihiko’s battle against the Demon King. Evil has been released on earth and the village is in need of another hero. Unable to find a man fit to follow Yoshihiko’s footsteps, the elders tried to convince Yoshihiko’s descendant, but failed. With the help of Buddha — albeit with a few blunders — Yoshihiko and his companions were brought back to life to embark on another dangerous journey to save the world.
Season 3 (2016)
Yuusha Yoshihiko to Michibikareshi Shichinin (Yoshihiko the Hero and the Guided Seven) is like a reference to Dragon Quest IV: The Chapters of the Chosen, which is subtitled as The Guided Ones in Japan. This season sticks to the same formula that made the series such a hit. Darkness has emerged so Yuusha and his companions need to go and rid the world of demons once more.
What the series lacks in budget, they make up for it in talent. Takayuki Yamada plays Yuusha Yoshihiko. Is this guy a big deal? Yes! He is an award-winning chameleon-like actor who is popular for his roles in Densha Otoko, Crows Zero, 13 Assassins, Milocrorze, and Ushijima the Loan Shark, to name a few.
As Yoshihiko, Takayuki Yamada has the ability to deliver the cheesiest, most absurd and even pervy lines with a straight face. The character's earnestness despite his naïveté and stupidity makes him extremely funny.
His companions are deadpan too. Yoshihiko’s party includes: Shin Takuma as the warrior Danjo, Haruka Kinami as the female fighter Murakami, Tsuyoshi Muro as the wizard Merebu, and Jiro Sato as the Buddha Hotoke. Azusa Okamoto plays Yoshihiko’s sister, Hisa.
Yuichi Fukuda wrote and directed everything from Season 1–3. His other famous works include the cop series, Tokyo Dogs, starring Oguri Shun and Mizushima Hiro; the manga-based series Aoi Honoo, starring Yuya Yagira; the slice-of-life comedy, Mr. Nietzsche in the Convenience Store starring Shotaro Mamiya; and the ecchi superhero comedy Hentai Kamen, starring Ryohei Suzuki. He will also direct the 2017 live-action movies: Gintama starring Oguri Shun and The Disastrous Life of Saiki K, starring Yamazaki Kento.
The Yuusha Yoshihiko series suffers from recycled plot and overdone running gags, but the strength lies on its actors' skills and their ingenious ways of utilizing cheap props due to budget constraints, just like Monty Python. Fans are delighted to see the wit and the silliness of its new season.
Have you seen Yuusha Yoshihiko? If not, then why not try and have fun catching the RPG and pop culture references as well as the popular cameos in the show.