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Yu Yu Hakusho (Live-Action) – Analysis



On December 14, 2023, the Netflix premiered the live-action series adaptation of the manga Yu Yu Hakusho. The series had the great challenge of maintaining the flame of good live-action adaptations based on anime/manga that Netflix lit after the successful debut of One Piece.

The live-action series adaptation of Yoshihiro Togashi has as executive producer Kazutaka Sakamotowho is also director of content acquisition at NetflixIt is Akira Morii is producing adaptation in Robot.

The cast of the series is made up of Takumi Kitamura like Yosuke Urameshi, Shuhei Uesugi like Kazuma Kuwabara, Jun Shison like Kurama, Kanata Hongō like Hiei, Sei Shiraishi as Keiko Yukimura, Kotone Furukawa like Botan, Oh Mikami like Yukina, Hiroya Shimizu like Karasu, Keita Machida like Koenma, Meiko Kaji like Genkai, Kenichi Takito as Elder Toguro, Goro Inagaki like Sakyo and Go Ayano as Younger Toguro.

Synopsis of Yu Yu Hakusho Live-action

A series based on the legendary manga by Yoshihiro Togashi, originally published in 1990 and over four years in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump. The story revolves around Yusuke Urameshi, who spends his days getting into fights and dies in an accident while trying to protect a child. When he realizes that he is looking at his own corpse, a woman named Botan appears, who describes herself as a guide from the spirit world. She reveals a shocking truth: no one expected a delinquent like Yusuke to die doing a good deed, and as such, there was no place for him in either heaven or hell. Thus, Yusuke is granted the opportunity to be resurrected and, upon passing his test, becomes an underworld detective, delving into a world of humans, spirits and demons.

live-action Yu Yu Hakusho pv screenshot

Yu Yu Hakusho was created by Yoshihiro Togashi and published in the magazine Shonen Jump between 1990 and 1994. In addition to the anime series, Togashi’s work also included six OVAs, two animated films and several games. This is the first work by the well-known mangaka to receive a live-action adaptation and still in the shadow of the great success that was the live-action adaptation of One Piece. There was clearly a huge challenge to be overcome in this adaptation, the first of which was to condense the entire universe and story of Yoshihiro Togashi’s work into something that was easy to understand by the general public. The second is clearly that the cast functions as personifications of the characters from the famous work. Finally, we have the editing and visual effects of the series working. With these three bases we can have a general idea of ​​what this adaptation was.

With a full season of five episodes, the live-action series adaptation of the manga Yu Yu Hakusho manages to fulfill the goal of working for the general public by showing a story that is cohesive, simple, but that translates well the fantastic universe created by Yoshihiro Togashi. Many of the main items that are part of the manga are inserted into the story and even small direct references to the original work are included in the adaptation. Positively, the series manages to have a good rhythm when telling its story, focusing only on the main arcs that connect the series as a whole. Still, there is a lot that was changed or reformulated within the story to keep its plot at a pace, sometimes hurried, that would fit within the five episodes. Some changes work well, with some bringing a more violent tone to the moment, but others end up failing and taking away some connection or real importance for some characters in the story.

The adaptation manages to competently tell a complete arc for Yosuke Urameshi’s story. At the same time, Kurama’s arc gains an interesting weight within the story, just as Toguro has a very interesting arc at the end. Unfortunately, not everything within the series works in its entirety. Even adapting several important arcs from the original work, Kazuma Kuwabara and Hiei end up not being given due prominence or having a competent arc throughout the season. The villain Sakyo, on the other hand, seemed very shallow to me and without a concrete objective for his goals. Not to mention Botan, Koenma and Genkai, who are nothing more than mere supporting characters throughout the story and have almost no development.

Following a line closer to the Tokusatsu series, the live-action series adaptation of the manga Yu Yu Hakusho managed to bring to the screen a version very close to the characters from the original work. Takumi Kitamura works very well as Yosuke Urameshi, bringing a lot of the cool bratty side that the character has. Kurama from Jun Shison It closely resembles the style of the original character. Unfortunately Kanata Hongō he doesn’t manage to deliver much of the Hiei that is known to the public, making his version of the character seem very generic. The main highlight clearly goes to Shuhei Uesugi like Kazuma Kuwabara and Kenichi Takito like Elder Toguro, who deliver a version very close to the characters in personality and appearance.

The editing of the series’ episodes is very dynamic, often not letting the pace drop during the action moments. The fight scenes work well, but they are closer to fights from a Tokusatsu series, which may seem strange to those who don’t follow this type of series. Still, the live-action series also ends up having a lot of fight scenes that are exaggeratedly extended (almost in the best shonen battle anime style), which made me wonder if some of the 50 minutes of each episode could be cut or best used to develop some characters.

Overall, the live-action series adaptation of the manga Yu Yu Hakusho it Works very well. Even with some problems developing some central characters, the series manages to deliver a good story in five episodes. With a good rhythm and special and visual effects, the series goes closer to Japanese Tokusatsu, which may be a little strange for some people.

screenshot pv live-action series of Yu Yu Hakusho

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