Netflix has announced that rising star singer-model-actor Kitamura Takumi will star in its live-action series “Yu Yu Hakusho,” based on Togashi Yoshihiro’s smash-hit manga. The series is scheduled to launch on the streamer in December 2023.
Kitamura made his break-through in the hit 2017 romantic drama “Let Me Eat Your Pancreas.” He has since gone on to star in the 2020 Take Masaharu boxing drama “Underdog,” the 2021 Hanabusa Tsutomu manga adaptation “Tokyo Revengers” and the 2022 Matsumoto Hana relationship drama “The End of the Pale Hour.”
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In the series he plays Yusuke Urameshi, a delinquent who dies saving a child and in the spirit world gets a second chance at life. Returning to the world of living, he becomes its defender against supernatural threats.
The executive producer is Sakamoto Kazutaka, who also produced the Netflix hit series “Alice in Borderland” and “The Naked Director,” as well as the Netflix lesbian-themed road movie “Ride or Die.”
The director is Tsukikawa Sho, whose credits include “Let Me Eat Your Pancreas.” “From the very beginning, we were strongly aware of creating a series for a global audience,” Tsukikawa said in a statement. “…I will continue to pour my heart and soul into the project to deliver the best entertainment from Japan to the world.”
In a media event on July 8, Netflix showed assembled journalists how it is changing local production methods to attract that audience, bringing what “Yu Yu Hakusho” producer Morii Akira described as “Hollywood-level capabilities to this project.”
Examples include everything from tech enhancements like color management (minimizing color variations in post-production) and volumetric capture (capturing performances in a 3D environment) to changing industry work practices. “In Japan, the working environment can be very hierarchical and even harsh, with long working hours and an often tense atmosphere,” said Ozawa Teiji, Netflix’s director of physical production. “By changing this, little by little, we hope the industry becomes a better place for the younger generation. When that happens, we will be able to make better content that can inspire the world.”
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