When you have an action-packed, epic manga series, you sort of expect it to have a really explosive, action-packed ending.
Sadly, "YuYu Hakusho, Vol. 19: The Saga Comes to an End!" falls pretty flat on that score, mainly because for some reason Yoshihiro Togashi wimped out on an epic world-changing tournament with dozens of unspeakably strong fighters. Instead, we get a hasty recap. There are some nice wrap-ups for characters like Yusuke and Hiei, but this ending is still fairly unsatisfying.
The various fighters are selected, and the first round of battles begins -- Chu, Rinku and Yusuke all fight opponents with varying levels of success. But in the third round, Yusuke is faced with a far more imposing opponent: Yomi, the blind demon whose power dwarfs his.
Then... we timeskip. Seriously. We don't get a big bad climax, or even an end to the fight.
A year and a half later, Yusuke unexpectedly returns to the human world. Things have changed drastically -- the new Demon King has taken control, Spirit World is under new management, and the demons are starting to make a peaceful foothold in the human world. But Yusuke's talents are still necessary, especially when Spirit World is invaded by dangerous fanatics.
"YuYu Hakusho, Vol. 19: The Saga Comes to an End!" feels like Togashi still had a few interesting ideas left, but was so desperate to finish the series that he just sort of glossed them over. There are brilliant stories and plot twists here -- the tournament, demons "coming out," Koenma's shocking revelations, and even the death of a main character -- but they're just sort of summed up after the fact.
As a result of this, it feels like half the story is MISSING, as if Togashi forgot to include some key chapters. The choppy handling of the tournament comes as a major letdown, and the final two chapters -- involving religious fanatics taking Spirit World hostage -- are headscratchers.
Fortunately, Togashi takes the time to wrap up the characters' storylines in a consistent and pleasing way. Kuwabara's scholastic/personal life is flourishing, Kurama has a new job and new family, and Yusuke is surprisingly content. And there's a grotesque story involving Hiei's relationship with his new boss Mukuro -- there seems to be a bit of romantic tension there, in a suitably twisted way. It's actually rather cute.
Even the minor characters get their uptempo endings: we finally see Kuwabara's dad, find out what's up with Yusuke's parents (and why we never see his dad), and see what happens to Chu, the three psychic boys, Yukina, and various other people.
"YuYu Hakusho, Vol. 19: The Saga Comes to an End!" has some satisfactory finales for the characters, but as a series climax.... it sputters out and dies.