Netflix has traditionally been seen as a force for evil in its long history of live-action films and series. Its many high-profile failures have sparked the enthusiasm of the public, causing a wave of sighs from most hardcore fans whenever their favorite series begins receiving its glossy new posters.
There has always been and will always be a new poster child for live-action anime adaptations. A decade ago it was Dragonball Evolution, half a decade later it was Death Note, and last year it was Cowboy Bebop. Some may be surprised to discover that there are a few good ones.
The first pictures of Netflix's Yu Yu Hakusho have finally arrived on the internet, and reactions have been mixed. With the wounds of Cowboy Bebop's recent adaptation and almost immediate cancellation fresh in the minds of most anime fans, trusting another massive 1990s staple to the company is tough. That series was one of the most heavily documented failures of modern memory, though.
Rurouni Kenshin: The Final was released last year, and it might be Netflix's finest live-action take on a classic anime. Many modern shonen series follow the manga series as an inspiration for modern shonen series that include humor, comedy, and drama.
Himura Kenshin, a gifted former assassin who vows never to give up his life, is living quietly in hiding when a new danger has engulfed his world. Enishi summons a band of colorful warriors to battle Kenshin while remaining true to his peaceful ways.
Rurouni Kenshin: The Final is by no means a perfect film, but it does do a lot of things right that will be crucial for Yu Yu Hakusho. Otomo is open to changing certain aspects of the manga's narrative in order to make it more appropriate for the medium. It's not impossible to change everything that makes Rurouni Kenshin famous.
The Final's action and its theming are simply stunning, from the manga page to anime artwork and live-action special effects. Enishi is one of the best anime characters ever to adapt to a live-action film. Despite his physicality and subtleness, he's a strong villain who is able to convey the key messages easily to hardcore fans and complete newcomers.
Yu Yu Hakusho may have a challenging journey ahead, but its filmmakers could learn from their mistakes. Fans are likely already counting Netflix's entries in the medium out, but there may still be a chance to make a decent live-action adaptation of the 90s shonen classic.