In case you were looking for yet more unexpected news to round out 2020, the classic battle manga and anime Yu Yu Hakusho will get the live-action adaptation treatment courtesy of Netflix. The company announced it on its official Twitter account. [Thanks, Comic Natalie!]
When Yusuke dies saving another’s life, he’ll embark on a journey across the world of humans, spirits, and demons to return to the land of the living. Yoshihiro Togashi’s legendary manga Yu Yu Hakusho will be a live action series on Netflix! pic.twitter.com/K4t5eNta9d
— NX (@NXOnNetflix) December 16, 2020
The Yu Yu Hakusho adaptation, which has no release date or broadcast schedule yet, will be based on the legendary manga created by Yoshihiro Togashi. (Togashi also created Hunter x Hunter). Serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump between 1990 to 1994, the series followed teenage delinquent Yusuke Urameshi, who sacrificed his life to save a child in a car accident. Surprised by his heroism, agents of the spirit world offered him a second chance at life, sending him back to the living world as a Spirit Detective. After his return he defeats demons, makes new friends and rivals, and competes in fighting tournaments with his brawling skills and the “Ray Gun,” his special move.
A Yu Yu Hakusho anime adaptation aired in 1992, and localizations of it appeared all over the world. For example, in the Philippines the show was known as Ghost Fighter, and character names were also changed to suit a Tagalog dub (Yusuke was renamed “Eugene”, for example). The show aired in the United States as part of the Adult Swim and Toonami programing blocks. Its enduring appeal even resulted in a 2019 stage adaptation, making the new live-action series the second attempt to get flesh-and-blood actors into the roles of the Yu Yu Hakusho cast.
Netflix content acquisition director Kazutaka Sakamoto will be the show’s executive producer, and production company Robot Communications will help run the show. Yu Yu Hakusho isn’t the first time Netflix attempted to live action adaptations of anime series. The company produced a live-action feature film based on Death Note, starring Hollywood actors Nat Wolff, Keith Stanfield, and Willem Dafoe. More Asian-led attempts include films based on Fullmetal Alchemist, Bleach, a Korean adaptation of Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade, and ongoing production on a Cowboy Bebop series.
The Netflix live-action version of Yu Yu Hakusho is in production. The original anime series is also available to stream on Netflix in some regions and via Funimation, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video in North America.