Exclusive: Netflix’s Live-Action Yu Yu Hakusho Casts One Of the Show’s Most Intriguing Antagonists

IGN can exclusively reveal that Kanata Hongo has been officially cast as Hiei in Netflix’s adaptation of Yoshihiro Togashi’s mega-popular manga series Yu Yu Hakusho. Hiei is one of the anime’s main characters and an early nemesis of the show’s protagonist, Yusuke Urameshi.

Hongo is best-known for playing Cheng Jiao in Shinsuke Sato’s adaptation of the popular manga Kingdom. He also played Armin Arlert in 2015’s live-action adaption of Attack on Titan.

“Yu Yu Hakusho is one of Japan’s most popular manga. I believe that we will create a powerful, visually stunning series using the latest modern technology, while respecting the popular original work,” Hongo told IGN. “I am sure that the series will exceed expectations, and I hope fans will get a chance to check it out!”

Kanata Hongo will play Hiei In Netflix's Yu Yu Hakusho. Image Credit: Netflix

Kanata Hongo will play Hiei In Netflix’s Yu Yu Hakusho. Image Credit: Netflix

The series is based on the legendary Japanese manga of the same name, initially serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump starting in 1990. The manga is considered a fan-favorite (we called its anime adaptation one of the best of all time) and has sold over 50 million copies in Japan alone. The adaptation will present a new version of the 1990 manga in which a teenage boy, Yusuke, dies and begins a new afterlife as an underworld detective.

Known as the “Master of the Evil Eye,” Hiei was cast out of the society he was born into and abandoned as a child because he was born male—something strictly forbidden by the matriarchal Koorime race he was born into. After years of developing his powers, Hiei hoped to return to the Glacial Village he was barred from to find his mother. Once there, he learned she committed suicide, guilt-ridden over abandoning her son, and about the existence of his sister, Yukina.

Setting out to find her, Hiei finds himself in the Spirit World, hoping to steal three dangerous weapons from the Reikai—and subsequently becoming the target of Yusuke Urameshi’s first case.

The adaptation is being helmed by director Shô Tsukikawa (You Shine in the Moonlight, My Teacher, My Love) with a screenplay written by Tatsuro Mishima. Already announced in the cast are Takumi Kitamura, who will play Yusuke Urameshi, and Jun Shison, who’ll play Youko Kurama.

Yu Yu Hakusho will be premiering worldwide and only on Netflix in December 2023. For more news about the adaption, stick to IGN.

Diego Ramos Bechara is a Freelance Writer for IGN, and he’s a fan of all things Star Wars, Rockstar, Naughty Dog, and Batman.

You can follow him on Twitter @DRamosBechara.

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Author: Trina Lanning

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