Yu Yu Hakusho Netflix Series Review

Yu Yu Hakusho Netflix Series Review: Condensed Nostalgia

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Netflix's live-action adaptation of "Yu Yu Hakusho" manages to capture the essence of the beloved anime series, catering to both nostalgic long-time fans and newcomers. In our view, it was able to properly adapt the essential elements while simplifying the narrative for a broader audience. However, the series' length at only 5 episodes left us wanting more. While commendable for condensing the story effectively and coherently, a longer format - perhaps the standard 8-episode Netflix structure - could have fleshed out character relationships in a more satisfying manner.

Yusuke Urameshi (Takumi Kitamura) is a reckless but kind heared junior high school student who 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, 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. Instead, Yusuke is given a chance to be revived and he becomes an Spirit Detective. From there, Yusuke becomes entwined in mysteries that involve the  the human, demon, and spirit worlds. 

A commendable aspect of this adaptation is its attempt to stand apart from its animated counterparts. Acknowledging the vast time gap and a modern audience at its midst, it wisely avoids mirroring the depth and length of the anime and manga. Despite this compromise, the end product remains compelling and binge-worthy. Each episode brims with detail, arcs, and intense fights, creating an illusion of a longer narrative. However, this condensed approach comes at a cost - the lack of sufficient time to develop secondary characters and their relationships. Apart from Yusuke and a handful of main characters, others feel underexplored, lending a 'one-and-done' impression in the process.

The true strength of this series lies in its exceptional cast and their performances. The actors were able to breathe so much life into the live-action versions of the well-loved animated characters, and delivering performances that stay true to their essence. Each portrayal feels authentic and in line with the original characters, which significantly enhancing the viewing experience. The visuals were not perfect but still praise-worthy. In conclusion, "Yu Yu Hakusho" is a brief but somewhat bittersweet affair. While not flawless, it remains an immensely enjoyable journey while it lasts. 

Rating: 4 reels

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