“Yu Yu Hakusho,” Netflix’s new live adaptation of the manga known in the Philippines as “Ghost Fighter,” has become the biggest global hit ever for a series from Japan, according to the streaming platform.
The new series debuted at #1 in the Netflix Weekly Global Top 10 Non-English TV List with 7.7M views for the week of December 11 to 17. It has also secured the second spot across both English and non-English categories, establishing it as the biggest debut of a Japanese series ever.
Netflix also reported that “Yu Yu Hakusho” made the Top 10 in 92 countries and regions around the world, including Japan, the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Brazil, India, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
Netflix Japan live-streamed an event for the series, and 14,000 people watched it simultaneously. As of December 19, the total views surpassed 4 million, making it the most-watched live event in Netflix Japan’s history.
Takumi Kitamura leads the cast of the live-action manga adaptation that was released globally on December 14. He is joined by Jun Shison, Kanata Hongo, and Shuhei Uesugi, among others.
The live-action series is based on the original best-selling manga “Yu Yu Hakusho” by Yoshihiro Togashi. The manga ran for four years in Weekly Shonen Jump, owned by Shueisha — Japan’s largest publisher of manga.
The story of “Yu Yu Hakusho” revolves around Yusuke Urameshi, a delinquent who spends his days getting into fights. He dies in an accident while trying to protect a young child. While trying to process the fact that he is looking down on his dead body, a woman named Botan who describes herself as guide to the spirit world shocks him with a revelation: Yusuke wasn’t expected to die doing an act of kindness, and he cannot be accepted in either heaven or hell. Yusuke is thus given a chance to be revived. After passing his trial, he gets appointed as an Underworld Detective. He then becomes part of a mystery that encompasses the worlds of human, demon and spirits.
The live action adaptation breathes new life into the story, and fans old and new can encounter their favorite characters in ways that have never been seen before. The five-episode series’ production took five years to complete. A global team was also assembled to bring the epic tale to life, and the most advanced CG and VFX technologies from around the world were used.
Scanline VFX, known for its work on Hollywood blockbusters, created the visual effects. According to Netflix, “the team painstakingly ensured that the subtleties of every character’s emotions were accurately depicted in the adaptation.”
“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,” it said.