The Yu Yu Hakusho live-action series made its global premiere on Netflix back on December 14. Within the first week of its release, the series garnered an impressive result of 7.7 million views. Its popularity also extended far beyond its native country, landing the series in the Top 10s in 76 countries at one point. The streaming service recently dropped a making-of video to spotlight some of the behind-the-scenes into how they brought Yu Yu Hakusho’s most challenging and viscerally provoking scenes to life through VFX.
The video puts a particular focus on the scenes that revolve around the Toguro Brothers, the main villain of the show. Whether in the original manga by Yoshihiro Togashi or the ‘90s TV anime adaptation, these two characters were identifiable for their frightening presence and unsettling proportions. To tackle this, the show had the help of Eyeline Studios and its volumetric capture technology.
In highlighting the technical difficulty in delivering compelling results for the depiction of these two characters, the series’ VFX Supervisor, Ryo Sakaguchi, explains, “We had to put a facial performance with the dialogue onto a shape-changing creature body. When you want to try to put a real actor’s facial performance onto a CG creature, that blend is also very difficult.”
Go Ayano and Kenichi Takito, who play the Younger and Older Toguro respectively were also the first Japanese actors to do volumetric capture. Ayano notes “I think this technology basically forms an imaginary world where new realities are created and things that never existed can be depicted.” When it comes to the actual performance itself, the process was a lot more different as well. “When I act, I’m conscious of everything, even my fingertips, but acting with just my face was like a luxury to me. In fact, my range of expression expanded greatly,“ said Ayano.
“We’re extensively utilizing cutting-edge technology, but we’re not doing it to show off,” notes director Sho Tsukikawa. While the show is imbued with a heavy dose of VFX, Tsukikawa hopes that the audience can become immersed in the world of Yu Yu Hakusho without noticing what’s CGI and what’s not.
Watch the making-of video above. Yu Yu Hakusho’s live-action series is currently available to stream on Netflix in all regions.