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Yu Yu Hakusho: Everything we know about Netflix’s upcoming adaptation

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Netflix has just revealed the first cast members for their Yu Yu Hakusho live-action adaptation, which is set to release in late 2022.

Live-action adaptations of iconic manga series are somewhat of a mixed bag, but Netflix’s upcoming Yu Yu Hakusho series could be a standout series, come the end of 2022.

The adaptation of Yoshihiro Togashi’s original manga was first announced back in December 2020 and this week, 18 months later, the first cast members have been officially revealed.

So, here is everything that you need to know about Netflix’s Yu Yu Hakusho series, including the release window, cast members and production staff.

What is Yu Yu Hakusho about?

Yu Yu Hakusho is a Japanese martial arts supernatural adventure series that was created by Yoshihiro Togashi, the author of the infamous Hunter x Hunter story.

The series tells the story of Yusuke Urameshi, a teenage delinquent who is killed in a car crash after he tries to save a young boy by pushing him out of the way.

However, a mysterious woman appears called Botan appears and tells Yusuke that neither the Devil nor God expected him to be so selfless and sacrifice himself to save the boy. As a result, there is no space in either heaven or hell for his soul to go to.

“Thus, Yusuke is given a chance to be revived, and after passing his trial, he becomes an Underworld Detective. From there, Yusuke becomes entwined in a mystery that envelopes the human, demon and spirit worlds.” – Yu Yu Hakusho synopsis, via Netflix Media Centre.

The live-action series is expected to be a loose adaptation of the main manga storyline, but the hype is already picking up with director Tsukikawa noting, via Deadline, that “The visual effects we use are quite advanced, as we utilize cutting-edge technology, aimed for the best quality we can achieve.”

“We were strongly aware of creating a series for a global audience. Just like when I first heard about this adaptation, there may be people out there who feel it’s an impossible undertaking, but no matter how many ways I express how I feel, I believe the work will speak for itself and prove it’s possible. I will continue to pour my heart and soul into the project to deliver the best entertainment from Japan to the world” – Director Tsukikawa, via Deadline.

Live-action series reveals first cast members

This week, Netflix has shared the first cast members for their upcoming Yu Yu Hakusho live-action adaptation.

Yosuke will be portrayed by Takumi Kitamura, a Japanese actor, singer and model who is best known for being a member of popular dance rock band Dish.

Kitamura famously played Takemichi Hanagaki in the 2021 live-action adaptation of Tokyo Revengers and Haruki Shiga in the 2017 adaptation of Let Me Eat Your Pancreas. Other notable roles have come in Gaiji Keisatsu (2009), Hello World (2019), Our 30 Minute Session (2020) and Love Me, Love Me Not (2020).

Speaking via Comic Natalie, Kitamura revealed that “At first I thought it was a huge joke because it was a movie, and all I could do was laugh. But I was really excited to be able to challenge myself again with director Gekkawa, this time on Netflix.”

“I am happy to be able to deliver the historical masterpiece “YuYu Hakusho” as a live-action film, as I thought that Japan needs to send out more and more messages to the world. I wish for the further spread of Japanese entertainment and to create a work that people around the world can enjoy.” – Kitamura, via Comic Natalie.

Alongside Kitamura in the upcoming Yu Yu Hakusho will be Jun Shison, who will portray Kurama – a fox demon who becomes one of Urameshi’s closest allies.

Shison is a 27-year-old Japanese actor from Tokyo who is best known for playing ToQ 1Gou in the classic Super Sentai spin-off Sci-Fi series Ressha Sentai ToQger. Anime fans may also recognise Shison as the voice of Hibiki from Netflix’s recent Bubble movie, as well as Mikado in The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window adaptation.

Shison has also played Masa in both the live-action TV and movie adaptation of The Way of the Househusband – the anime version is currently available to stream via Netflix.

Kazuma Kuwabara will be played by Shuheu Uesugi, a 30-year-old actor from Tokyo. Making his professional debut in 2015, Uesugi is arguably best-known for his roles in One Week Friends (2017) as Hajime Kujo, Followers (2020) as Hiraku Noma and My Boyfriend in Orange (2022) as Shinichiro Kazama. He has also featured in the likes of Toto Neechan, Doctor-X, River’s Edge and Kirin ga Kuru.

Finally, we have Kanata Hongo who will be portraying Hiei. Hongo is a Japanese actor, voice actor and model from Sendai, Japan. Fans may recognise the 31-year-old as Envy, Armin or Seikyou from the Fullmetal Alchemist, Attack on Titan and Kingdom live-action adaptations respectively. He has also featured in Kirin ga Kuru (with Kazuma Kuwabara), Love You As The World Ends, Repeat and Inuyashiki Last Hero.

Yu Yu Hakusho: OTT streaming release date

As confirmed by Netflix, the live-action adaptation of Yu Yu Hakusho will release for worldwide streaming in December 2023.

Sadly, a more specific launch window has not yet been shared – but more information is expected to be shared over the next few months as the PR campaign ramps up domestically in Japan.

“When I first heard about Yu Yu Hakusho receiving a live-action adaptation, I honestly wondered if it would even be possible–but after being presented with the producer’s vision and possibilities with Netflix, my expectations grew and I found myself burning with passion to make this project come to life.” – Director Sho Tsukikawa, via Netflix Media Centre.

The production staff for the Yu Yu Hakusho live-action series includes:

  • Director: Sho Tsukikawa
  • Screenplay: Tatsuro Mishima
  • Executive Producer: Kaata Sakamoto (Netflix) 
  • Producer: Akira Morii (ROBOT)
  • Production: ROBOT 

“The appeal of “YuYu Hakusho,” loved for more than 30 years. I think the charm of “YuYu Hakusho” is above all the charm of its characters. I was fascinated by the characters when I was a child, and I am still moved by them today. When I read it again as an adult, I discover new charms. The themes that the stories encompass also never get old.” – Director Sho Tsukikawa, via Comic Natalie.

By Tom Llewellyn – [email protected]

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Tom Llewellyn
@grvadmin

As the resident-geek at HITC Entertainment, Tom covers everything from anime and manga to Korean dramas and World TV. Tom boasts an undergraduate degree in both Animal Behaviour from Aberystwyth University and a postgraduate degree Science Communications from UWE Bristol and has over 5 years’ experience in writing about the weird and wonderful world of global entertainment.

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