Team Urameshi Make Their Live-Action Debut In First Trailer For Netflix’s Upcoming Take On ‘Yu Yu Hakusho’
With the seas of One Piece‘s East Blue behind them, Netflix has officially begun making way for the Spirit World with the release of the first proper trailer for their live-action adaptation of Yu Yu Hakusho.
Unveiled to audiences as part of the 2023 edition of Netflix’s annual Geeked Week preview event, the brief preview opens – much like the original story produced by esteemed mangaka Yoshihiro Togashi – with series protagonist Yusuke Urameshi’s (Takumi Kitamura) discovery that his attempt to save a small child from being hit by a car has instead resulted in his particularly violent death.
From there, both audiences and Yusuke himself are introduced to the series’ version of the afterlife, otherwise known as the Spirit World, as well as his two new ‘handlers’, the shinigami Botan (Kotone Furukawa) and the next-in-life for the job of determining whether souls go to Heaven or Hell, the child-like Koenma (Keita Machida).
Handlers for what, pray tell? As explained by Koenma, “Yusuke Urameshi, I’m sending you back to life. In exchange, you’ll be a Spirit Detective.”
Following a shot of Yusuke being confronted by his first demon-possessed individual, the aspiring deity cheekily adds, “Surely you won’t refuse, since we’re reviving you.”
Then, in arguably its most noteworthy moment, the trailer turns to give fans their first in-action looks of the other three members of Team Urameshi – Kurama (Jun Shison), Hiei (Kanata Hongô), and Kazuma Kuwabara (Shuhei Uesugi).
Cutting to a brief shot of a ghostly Yusuke watching over his friend and later love interest Keiko Yukiura (Sei Shiraishi), the scene shifts to find the hero declaring, “I realized there are people who believe in me, I must protect them with my all.”
After one more shot each of Team Urameshi unleashing their abilities, audiences are then finally introduced to both the series’ ultimate antagonist, the sadistic yet reserved Toguro (Go Ayano), and his demonic, shape-shifting Elder brother (Kenichi Takito).
Summoning the villain, his boss Sakyo (Goro Inagaki) can be heard declaring, “Toguro. I have a new job for you,” to which the towering bespectacled figure replies, “Something interesting, I hope.”
This reveal then gives way to a montage of shots from across Yusuke’s time under the employ of the Spirit World, including a brief glimpse at his eventual Spirit Detective master Genkai (Meiko Kaji), Kurama’s Dark Tournament battle against Karasu (Hiroya Shimizu), and a three-on-one battle between the trio of Yusuke, Kurama, and Hiei and the singular Toguro.
Finally, the preview draws to a close with a flashing of the series’ stylized title card, a reiteration of the series’ December 14th release date, and the very first visual of Yusuke wielding his signature Spirit Gun technique.
Admittedly, the trailer doesn’t look half bad, especially when compared to most other live-action anime adaptations produced in the West.
To Netflix’s credit, Yu Yu Hakusho‘s apparent quality seems to be the result of their previously-declared commitment to “utilizing a unique global one-team production strategy that spanned both Japan and the United States—the same approach to adapt the acclaimed ONE PIECE manga”.
“[We] took the same level of commitment to quality and authenticity in the live-action ONE PIECE to the production of Yu Yu Hakusho,” explained the streaming giant in an October 11th press release.
“An international dream team was also assembled to bring the epic tale to the screen, tapping into the most advanced CG and VFX technologies from around the world,” they continued. “Known as ‘the most innovative VFX studio in the world’ and lauded for their work on major Hollywood productions, Scanline VFX was instrumental in giving life to all the characters, both human and yokai (spirits), while delivering realistic battle action sequences.”
“Taking five years to complete the production of Yu Yu Hakusho, the team painstakingly ensured that the subtleties of every character’s emotions were accurately depicted in the adaptation,” Netflix concluded. “The fusion of state-of-the-art technology and a passion for staying true to the source material promises to make this adaptation a standout in the world of live-action anime.”