Through a complex balance between anime allure and the Netflix version of Yu Yu Hakusho, the differences show up as a variety of story changes. Screenwriter Tatsurō Mishima creates a symphony of changes by navigating the maze of a heritage of 112 anime episodes squished into a short five-episode live-action show. This investigation pulls back the layers, breaking down the big differences and the possible subtleties that beg to be improved. Here are the 10 major differences between Yu Yu Hakusho Netflix adaptation and Anime.

10 Differences Between ‘Yu Yu Hakusho’ Netflix Adaptation & the Anime Series

1. Makai Insects

You won’t see Suzaku or any of the other Four Saint Beasts in Netflix’s version of Yu Yu Hakusho. But a part of the Maze Castle storyline makes it into the live-action version, and it has to do with the Makai insects. 

Unlike the anime, where Suzaku uses the bugs to take over the human world while Yusuke and his friends break into the castle, the live-action Yu Yu Hakusho shows the demon parasites coming out of a portal that connects the human world to the Demon World. If you watch the anime, the Makai insects show up late in the Spirit Detective story. But in the live-action version, they are the main threat in the first episode.

2. Yusuke’s Death

The difference doesn’t show up in how Yusuke Urameshi dies—by car in the anime/manga or by a powerful truck in the live-action performance. Instead, the vehicle change seems to have been planned to add dramatic weight by linking Yusuke’s unexpected death to Sakyo’s evil plans. 

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

The live-action show says that the truck driver’s death was caused by a lower-level yokai taking over him. This yokai was an agent of the underworld using Sakyo’s interdimensional portal to get to Earth. This change was made on purpose to make Yusuke’s death look like an unintended result of Sakyo’s evil plans. It’s a hint at the damage that will be done by the underworld’s invasion.

3. Yusuke’s Expedited Return

The story moves faster in the Netflix show because Yusuke comes back to life faster than in the anime and manga. The “spirit detective” idea is also explored more deeply in those shows. Botan and Koenma deal with an unexpected death in the holy halls of the future, which is different from the complicated web of cases Yusuke takes on in the original stories. 

In the live-action version, Yusuke is thrown right into the crucible of resurrection without having time to learn about his tasks as a spirit detective first. At the same time, another layer appears, tying together the fight between a demon-possessed kid and Kuwabara and making the latter decide to step up his training.

4. Beasts of Maze Castle Arc

In Episode 1 of Yu Yu Hakusho, the Makai insects are the main focus, but the Beasts of Maze Castle arc is noticeably missing. In its place, the story flows smoothly from the search for the Artefacts of Darkness to the escape of Yukina. It makes sense that some anime stories are left out of the live-action version. 

However, the Beasts of Maze Castle episodes are left out, which is sad because they are so important to showing how Yusuke, Kuwabara, Kurama, and Hiei are connected. The four friends become close for the first time in the Netflix show, right before they go on the trip to the island where Yukina and Keiko are being held captive.

5. Missing Tournament: Genkai’s Changed Role

A noticeable absence appears in the live-action version as Genkai’s competition is notably left out of the story. Instead of the complicated rules of the competition, Genkai changes into a mentor figure who helps Yusuke and Kuwabara use their hidden skills, which are the Spirit Gun and the energy sword, respectively. 

Genkai’s death is more important in the live-action series, and it’s not because Toguro is looking for the Spirit Wave Orb. Instead, it’s because he wants to hurt Genkai.

6. Genkai and Toguro’s Different Dynamics

Genkai and Toguro have an ethereal meeting in the live-action series, which is a unique way to show the mystery of the afterlife. In contrast to the original stories, this meeting happens earlier in the live-action version, which is fun for fans who have seen it before. Genkai’s cellular regeneration is a plot twist that is explored in more detail later in the anime and manga. It’s also a nod to fans.

7. The Dark Tournament Arc

In the live-action version, the veil is only hinted at in the Dark Tournament arc, which is different from how it is fully explored in the anime and manga. Fans are wowed by the live-action show’s four fights going on at the same time, which are similar to the anime versions but involve Yukina’s rescue. As Season 1 comes to a close, fans are left wondering about how a possible Season 2 would handle this tricky point in the story. This leaves fans in the mysterious realm of possibilities.

8. Yu Yu Hakusho’s Main Villain

In the anime, Sakyo is one of the main villains in the Dark Tournament story, but he only appears in a few important scenes during the Yukina rescue arc. The live-action version, on the other hand, goes in a different direction, making Sakyo the main villain in all five shows. According to this version, Sakyo plans Yukina’s abduction because he wants to get enough money for his scientists to buy the tools they need to make a bigger hole in the Demon World.

The high-stakes bet that Sakyo sets up is also different from the comic story. As an alternative to betting on the outcome of the Dark Tournament, Sakyo takes a risky stance and bets his very life on the result of a fight between Younger Toguro and Yusuke. This big change gives Sakyo’s character in the live-action series a new level of drama and depth.

9. Yusuke and Toguro’s Fight

It looks like Yu Yu Hakusho was made to be a self-contained story that can be read on its own, especially since Younger Toguro has died. In the original story, Yusuke’s first fight with Toguro is just a taste of how complicated the story is about to get. The surprising truths about Toguro’s mysterious past, the sad death of Genkai at his hands, and the fierce fight against Yusuke were all important plot points that could have been explored in a possible Yu Yu Hakusho Season 2.

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

On the other hand, the live-action series moves quickly and includes all of these story features right away. In a change from the original plot, Yusuke quickly kills Toguro when they first meet, which means that these complicated plots will not be developed in a possible second season.

10. Genkai’s Death

In Yu Yu Hakusho Episode 3, Younger Toguro kills Genkai. This is a major event that happens at the same time that Genkai is teaching Yusuke. Putting these two things together really brings out how much shorter the live-action story is than the anime one. 

The original series doesn’t end with Genkai’s death during the Spirit Detective story. Instead, she joins Yusuke’s team and fights in the Dark Tournament. The complicated past that Toguro and Genkai share isn’t explored during their first fight in the anime. This is very different from the live-action series, where Yusuke’s quest for revenge on behalf of his dead mentor is the main plot point.

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