Last Tuesday Netflix announced that it will be releasing its live-action adaptation of Yoshihiro Togashi’s YuYu Hakusho manga worldwide in December of 2023. Akira Morii and Kazutaka Sakamoto, Netflix’s content acquisition directors, are executive producing and producing this project respectively. Sakamoto recounted his own fond experiences with the intellectual property in question and insisted that Netflix is doing its best to do right by the fans he knows the series has all around the world. The series follows a 14-year-old delinquent named Yusuke Urameshi who dies after throwing himself in front of a car to save a child. Because of his selfless act, Yusuke is allowed to come back to the world of the living as a “spirit detective” tasked with defeating demons. For this project, Netflix and TOHO Studios signed a several-year contract to lease two of TOHO’s stage facilities; stage 7 and stage 10. In addition, ten sound stages, two acting centres, and a production centre of TOHO’s will also be used to create Netflix’s original programming. This deal goes into effect as of April first of 2022.
The popularity of YuYu Hakusho’s 19 volume manga (1992-1995) has led to the creation of an anime adaptation, two live-action films, two animated films, and a stage play that ran from August to September of 2019. Said films and anime have all been dubbed and distributed in various languages and territories by Funimation, Media Blasters and Central Park Media respectively. The series notably acquired fans domestically by way of its airing on Adult Swim’s Toonami block. Further emphasizing the popularity of this property is the fact that new animated material for it has been released as recently as 2018 to celebrate the series’s 25th anniversary.
This article interests me for two main reasons. For one, I’m generally happy to hear that an older property like YuYu Hakusho is getting a Netflix live-action adaptation. For another, I think Netflix’s partnering with TOHO Studios speaks well of the potential for more live-action anime adaptations going forward. This especially in the event that the soon to be released Cowboy Bebop and One Piece adaptations do well.
Erskine, Donovan. “YouTube to Make Dislike Counts Private on All Videos.” Shacknews, Shacknews, 10 Nov. 2021, https://www.shacknews.com/article/127617/youtube-to-make-dislike-counts-private-on-all-videos.