Netflix has cast Takumi Kitamura in the lead role of its upcoming live-action series adaptation of the classic manga, Yu Yu Hakusho. The actor, who gained experience in the magna genre when he played Takemichi Hanagaki in the live-action film adaptation of Tokyo Revengers, will portray Yusuke Urameshi on the upcoming show, IGN is reporting.
“The original work is a universal and unique masterpiece and a reason why Japan is so proud of its strong manga and anime culture. I am happy to share the masterpiece of Yu Yu Hakusho with the world and I hope we can create something people everywhere will enjoy,” Kitamura, who’s the only member of the series’ cast who has been officially announced so far by the streaming service, told IGN.
While Netflix has just publicly confirmed that Kitamura will be playing Yusuke in the magna’s upcoming live-action series adaptation, fans of the franchise have suspected the performer’s involvement on the project for some time. Photos of the actor on the show’s set were circulating on social media for some time before the streaming service’s casting announcement.
Netflix, which first announced it would be adapting Yu Yu Hakusho into a live-action series last year, has released the following synopsis of the manga and show:
The manga revolves around Yusuke Urameshi, a junior high school student, who, after spending his days getting into fights, dies in an accident while trying to protect a young child. As he grapples with the fact that he is looking down on his dead body, a woman named Botan, who calls herself a guide to the spirit world, relays to him the shocking truth: no one expected a delinquent like Yusuke to die performing an act of goodness, and there was no place for him in either heaven or hell.
As a result, Yusuke is given a chance to be revived, and after passing his trial, he becomes an Underworld Detective. From there, he becomes entwined in a mystery that envelopes the human, demon and spirit worlds.
The streaming service is calling the upcoming series a manga adaptation. However, Yu Yu Hakusho has also been adapted as an anime in the past.
“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,” the show’s director, Sho Tsukikawa, told IGN.
“More than anything, I think the appeal of Yu Yu Hakusho comes from its characters, which is why I wanted to highlight the appealing relationships and battles in Yu Yu Hakusho,” the helmer added.
Tsukikawa added that the series will include “plenty of action scenes…The visual effects we use are quite advanced, as we utilize cutting-edge technology, aimed for the best quality we can achieve.
“Lastly, from the very beginning, 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,” the director continued.
“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,” Tsukikawa added.
Netflix will release Yu Yu Hakusho in December 2023. The show will be written by Tatsuro Mishima, executive produced by Kazutaka Sakamoto and produced by Akira Morii. The series’ source material was created by Yoshihiro Togashi, the same mangaka who wrote and illustrated Hunter x Hunter.