Ok let's start out with something that bugs me the most, how much time they spend on Yusuke's "trial" or whatever it was he had to do to be brought back to life again... Jeez... took up the whole first DVD... Nothing gets really good until the seventh or eighth episode when the demons start coming in, along with the two fan favorites Hiei and Kurama. I'm really not a fan of slow starts. I want to be engaged from the first minute at least.
The characters are all funny and interesting in their owns ways. Yusuke, our main character, has had a hard knocks life and is a frequent no show at his middle school. He's pretty much the school thug and no one talks to him, except love interest and school over-achiever Keiko and friend/rival Kuwabara. Pretty typical backstory for him. Kurama is a fox demon in a human body, it's difficult to explain so go look it up or watch the show. Hiei is a fire weilding demon.
A lot of this season is spent on developing Yusuke's powers and strength and fighting evil demons to protect the Spirit and Human Worlds. We meet a couple of villains who come more into play in the next season, as well as the adorable ice maiden, Yukina.
I personally consider the Four Beasts arc a favorite of mine, especially considering I watched Fushigi Yuugi. The villains were very well done and fairly interesting, but they had flaws. One or two were too weak a few were too strong. I don't want to spend five episodes on one fight. It gets boring and causes the viewers to lose interest. If a fight goes over two episodes, f*ck you (no offense to anyone who does like it)... It doesn't occur too often in the first season; but it does happen.
I admit to only watching the dub, but the voice acting wasn't too bad, save for a few flaws. Yusuke's English voice actor, Justin Cook, has a fairly recognizable voice and can be easily identified in his roles in other anime as well (Hatsuharu in Fruits Basket and Totomaru in Fairy Tail). For Kurama's voice actor, John Burgmeier, you can't help but laugh when you realize he's the voice of the perverted Shigure in Fruits Basket. But despite inducing several giggles on my part, John gives a wonderful voice to the smart and quick thinking Kurama. Hiei's voice sounded far too manly for the childish looking character, that is until he takes off his cloak and shirt, then it's all but perfect for the angry and battle hardened demon.
This first season gets a fool hardy 3.9 out of five due to an extremely slow start and overly drawn out battles.