Yu Yu Hakusho (2023) – Review and Summary

Netflix’s “Yu Yu Hakusho” may satisfy anime or manga fans, but for those new to Yusuke’s spirit adventures, the live adaptation will be a head-scratching mess.


Community Rating: 88% (2 votes)

Read our Editorial Guidelines regarding how posts are written and rated and our use of affiliate links.


“Yu Yu Hakusho” Plot Summary

Netflix’s “Yu Yu Hakusho” may satisfy fans of the manga or anime series, but for those new to Yusuke’s spirit adventures, the live adaptation will be a head-scratching mess. Netflix and media companies are getting wiser to adapt more anime series, but “Yu Yu Hakusho” moves at a breakneck speed to show off the sound and fury of its action with little explanation of what it all means.

“Yu Yu Hakusho” revolves around Yusuke Urameshi (Takumi Kitamura), a rebellious teen loner who looks out for those who need protection. Yusuke never seeks to help others, but he rises to the call if an emergency presents itself in front of him (like a classmate getting bullied). In one of these instances, Yusuke dies after saving a child from a car accident. But due to the mysterious circumstances surrounding Yusuke’s death, the too-cool-for-school teen is recruited by the spirit world to be a spirit detective.

yu yu 11
Takumi Kitamura as Yusuke in “Yu Yu Hakusho” (Netflix, 2023)

As a dead man, Yusuke is greeted by Botan (Kotone Furukawa) and Koenma (Keita Machida). They inform Yusuke that he’s in the spirit world but that the demon world is infiltrating the human world. Demons are hunting and harming people, and Yusuke is tasked with putting an end to the demon invasion. While initially hesitant, Yusuke finally agrees to help the spirit world and human world when his longtime friend Keiko (Sei Shiraishi) is put in danger. In exchange for Keiko’s protection, Yusuke is resurrected as a spirit detective who has to hunt down yokai, demon spirits, in the human world. 

In these 5 episodes, the Japanese live-adaptation focuses less on the detective work and more on Yusuke’s ability to kick ass. Perhaps this is true to the original source, but all of the CGI and punches in “Yu Yu Hakusho” make it indistinguishable from any other big-action product today. “Yu Yu Hakusho” sets up interesting characters like Kazuma (Shûhei Uesugi), Kurama (Jun Shison), and Hiei (Kanata Hongô), but the show cares more about getting the costume right than getting the character right. 

“Yu Yu Hakusho” Review


Community Rating: 88% (2 votes)


Our Rating: Mixed (Stick Around) 

Notable Performances, Moments, or Episodes

Episodes To Anticipate

Episode 1 creates intrigue and context with the different worlds and Yusuke’s role as a spirit detective. Episode 4 is the first time we see the core team come together and fight. 

Highlights

Great Introduction to “Yu Yu Hakusho” Concept 

yu yu 8

The first episode of “Yu Yu Hakusho” clearly sets up who Yusuke is, his relationship with and care for Keiko, his strength in a fight, and how his stubbornness can lead to his isolation and the world’s destruction. The story is intriguing, the storyworld it sets up is fascinating, and the pacing is well done to tease into the next episode. But all of this is a great promotion for the anime and manga rather than an endorsement of the live-action show.

Low Points

Rushed Storytelling Sacrifices Character Development

The most disappointing part about “Yu Yu Hakusho” is how quickly it tries to tell its story instead of taking the time for the audience to learn about its characters. Covering 60 anime episodes in 5 live-action episodes, there is a lot the show has to explain. It tries to captivate viewers with action instead of the people within the action. We learn little about Keiko, Kazuma, Kurama, and Hiei, and we rarely see these characters bond or share a moment together. Television is meant for characters; otherwise, we just grow numb to the explosions and punches.

On The Fence

Budget Spent on Muddled Action and Not World Building

yu yu 10

There is no doubt that “Yu Yu Hakusho” is an expensive show. The reliance on CGI and action in each episode emphasizes where the show’s priorities are. Unfortunately, whether it be due to the type of shots or time restraints on the show, the actors often look like they are cosplaying at a park. The action is also iffy at best when the scenes don’t take place in the dark, and when they do take place in the dark, the action is muddled. The action may be the focus, but it’s hard to tell what’s in focus. 

Also Worth Mentioning

  • “Yu Yu Hakusho” is rated TV-MA for mild profanity, smoking, and violence.

Who Is This For?

Fans of the manga or anime series might enjoy the Netflix live adaptation of “Yu Yu Hakusho.” 

What I Hope To See

If “Yu Yu Hakusho” continues, I hope it takes more time developing the characters’ relationships with one another and more time explaining the rules and boundaries of the spirit world. 

“Yu Yu Hakusho” General Information

Network Netflix
Genre(s) Action

Adventure

Fantasy

Non-English (Japanese)

Noted Characters
Yusuke Takumi Kitamura
Keiko Sei Shiraishi
Kazuma Shûhei Uesugi
Botan Kotone Furukawa
Kurama Jun Shison
Hiei Kanata Hongô
Koenma Keita Machida 

yu yu hakusho

Renewal Status

As of this writing, there is no renewal yet. 

Recommendations

If you like this show, we recommend:

  1. One Piece
  2. Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead
  3. Knights of the Zodiac

Check out our TV-Series page for our latest recaps and reviews, as well as recommendations.

yu yu hakusho
Yu Yu Hakusho (2023) – Review and Summary
Overall
All of the CGI and punches in “Yu Yu Hakusho” make it indistinguishable from any other big-action product today. “Yu Yu Hakusho” sets up interesting characters, but the show cares more about getting the costume right than getting the character right.
Highlights
Great Introduction to “Yu Yu Hakusho” Concept 
Disputable
Rushed Storytelling Sacrifices Character Development
Budget Spent on Muddled Action and Not World Building
70

Listed Under Categories: ,

Follow, Like and Subscribe



What Would Your Rating Be?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.