/News 30.05.24

Alt.vfx brings the creature magic to Netflix’s smash hit Yu Yu Hakusho

One of Netflix Japan’s biggest ever productions, Yu Yu Hakusho is based on the manga series of the same name by Yoshihiro Togashi.

This Netflix live action adaptation of unprecedented scale is brought to life by an all-star cast that includes Takumi Kitamura, Jun Shison, Kanata Hongo, Shuhei Uesugi, Sei Shiraishi, Kenichi Takito, Goro Inagaki and Go Ayano. The show was produced by Japanese company, The Seven, in collaboration with Netflix Japan.

Yu Yu Hakusho centres on Yusuke, a teenage delinquent who can usually be found getting into street fights. Things take a turn when Yusuke is struck and killed by a car after pushing a young child out of its path. Yusuke is subsequently resurrected as an “Underworld Detective.” He is tasked with investigating supernatural activity within the land of the living. Along the way, he gets some help from unlikely allies Kazuma, Kurama, and Hiei.

In some key scenes, some of our heroes are attacked by a sinister monster creature named Helen, a powerful four-legged animal never seen before, whose powerful jaws and snarling teeth bring horror and peril in equal measure.

With a creature pedigree that has been built up since the company’s inception in 2011, there was only one vendor that the production team could trust to bring Helen to life onscreen – Australia’s Alt.vfx.

For Alt co-owner and co-founder Takeshi Takada, a Japanese Australian, this project represents a special moment, as the global VFX company he helped build finally got the chance to bring their skills to a very important Manga property from his homeland.

Yu Yu Hakusho is such a well-loved story, both in Japan and internationally, so it was a real honour for us to collaborate with Netflix, bringing the very best creature skills and animation to a very important sequence for the live-action adaptation.”

Takeshi Takada, Founder/Executive Producer, Alt.vfx

Alt’s creature specialists worked alongside concept designers New Holland Creative to first craft the dastardly Helen, working with show director Shō Tsukikawa and the show’s VFX Supervisor Ryo Sakaguchi to find the right look and overall gait of the monster’s frame.

Alt CG Supervisor Jordan McInnes said: “Taking that original design, we worked on building up the different muscle systems and animation rigs to really let Helen move in a realistic way for a monster of that size. We developed a new internal skeleton, muscle and skin system, most of which was procedurally built. Through our simulation process we had stages of being able to dial up or down the simulation, allowing us to really trigger different muscles and key beats for the show.

“Our favourite sequence is when Helen gets literally punched in half, which was an interesting challenge. We ended up cutting the rig in two, animating both side pieces, adding additional FX between those pieces and making the skin like a tearable piece of cloth. When we layered that with a bunch of blood of guts – including a wobbling piece of snapped spinal column – it made it all the more fun!”

“It was such a pleasure to work with Alt.vfx, and even during the toughest phases of our delivery, we always looked forward to our meetings with their team. Throughout the project, both quality and schedule-wise, I trusted the Alt team a hundred percent due to their professionalism and management.”

Tomofumi Akahane – The Seven VFX Producer, Yu Yu Hakusho

“In addition, the Queensland government’s tax incentives have allowed us to be more creative and improve quality,” Tomofumi Akahane continued.

You can watch Yu Yu Hakusho Season 1 on Netflix worldwide.