I have already seen the new Netflix live-action anime and there are definitely many things to comment on it
We are on December 14, 2023, a date marked on the calendar of fans of “Yuyu Hakusho“for a truly special reason: the premiere of the live-action at the hands of Netflix. Indeed, the company that recently came up with a hit like “One Piece” after failing miserably with “Cowboy Bebop” is back with a new major project. I have already seen all 5 episodes of which the live-action “Yu Yu Hakusho” is made up, and below I will tell you everything that I see necessary to highlight.
(The comments I am going to make have spoilers for the plot of Yu Yu Hakusho in order to better represent the ideas I want to present)
The good thing about live-action Yu Yu Hakusho
First let’s start with the good of the live-action of “Yu Yu Hakusho” which is not exactly little, but is it enough to compensate for the bad? I won’t answer that until later.
- Combat choreography and action scenes: If you saw the live-action One Piece and you already loved the combat scenes, then you might like the Yu Yu Hakusho ones even more. The action is really accomplished and in addition to being tremendously intense at all times, truly varied and spectacular combats are achieved.
- Great job of the actors with the characters: As always, the most difficult thing in adapting an anime to live-action is finding the balance between the cringe and the soul of each of the characters. Well, in this sense it is achieved. There are some things that fall by the wayside, like the ‘baby’ version of Koenma, but in general there is a very good job (some will be liked more and others less) to represent Yoshihiro Togashi’s creations. Personally I’ll stick with Kuwabara and Botan.
- The special effects, up to the task: Why is it so difficult to depict anime in live action? Well, because anime is a super fiction that constantly has elements beyond the human. Come on, Marvel’s wildest movie pales next to Frieza against Goku. That said, the special effects elements, including the CGI, work. And not only do they work, but they positively add to the essence of Yu Yu Hakusho’s battles being perfectly preserved.
The bad thing about live-action Yu Yu Hakusho
As you can see, I have positively been able to talk about everything that is the icing on the cake… and the inside? Has the thing been well cooked? Are the ingredients properly selected?
- Drastic story changes and omissions of elements: If I tell someone that the live-action Yu Yu Hakusho has 5 episodes and covers up to the resolution of the Toguro conflict, the most normal thing is that they start to sweat a little. And normal. The first 2 episodes follow the natural elements of Yu Yu Hakusho’s story fairly closely, but episodes 3, 4, and 5 quickly change course to ultimately skip many circumstances, fights, and characters; I will just say that, for example, the series does not include a single tournament.
- An excessively fast pace: Naturally, what I mentioned as the first negative point goes hand in hand with this second negative point. In the live-action Yu Yu Hakusho, unlike the beginning of the play, everything that follows happens at lightning speed. Imagine the scenario that in just a couple of episodes Yusuke has to meet Genkai, train under his tutelage, inherit his energy and ultimately die at the hands of Toguro. It changes a lot of the packaging, and personally I don’t think it comes together in the same way as when the original series is consumed.
If you put the live-action “One Piece” on one side and “Yu Yu Hakusho” on the other, I will definitely tell you that I’ll take the “One Piece” one. The one of “Yu Yu Hakusho” performs well in terms of aesthetics, action and character representation, but the many alterations to the story mean that the story does not resonate in the same way.. There are great fights and scenes that are lost along the way, such as Yusuke’s process of adapting to the energy that Genkai transmits to him, something that simply happens instantly in live-action. This is obviously just an example, but it is part of the whole: the live-action of “Yu Yu Hakusho” ‘works’, but it is a poor representation of everything that covers the journey of Urameshi and company until the outcome against Toguro.