Live action Like a Dragon: Yakuza series gets release date

  • Amazon Prime Video is bankrolling an adaptation of SEGA’s Like a Dragon series.
  • It will release the six-part live-action crime drama Like a Dragon: Yakuza on 24th October this year.
  • The series will be based on the early Yakuza games, with Kiryu Kazuma confirmed as the main character.

Following the enormous success of its Fallout series, which quickly became the most-watched show on Prime Video a week after releasing on the streaming platform, Amazon is looking to cash in on another videogame adaptation.

This time a live-action adaptation of SEGA’s crime action RPG Like a Dragon, previously known as the Yakuza series. This series has emerged from cult status in recent years thanks in part to its eccentric characters going viral and its fun, frenetic combat. However, it is beloved by long-time fans for its interweaving and emotional storylines above all.

The live-action series will hit Amazon Prime Video on 24th October 2024, the company confirmed via an X post, which pays homage to the box cover of the original title for PlayStation 2.

According to Variety, the Like a Dragon series will be a six-part crime-suspense-action series, with production handled by a nearly all-Japanese team. This includes direction from Take Masaharu and Takimoto Kengo.

Masaharu is known for his edgy dramas like 100 Yen Love, while Kengo is a veteran director of action TV series like Kamen Teacher.

Playing the role of Yakuza hero Kiryu Kazuma, the guy with the dragon tattoo, is Takeuchi Ryoma, known for parts in multiple Kamen Rider series. Like the games, the series will follow the life and times of Kazuma, set in two time periods – 1995 and 2005.

Here we will get to see “the life, childhood friends and the repercussions of the decisions of a fearsome and peerless Yakuza warrior with a strong sense of justice, duty, and humanity.” This sounds incredibly like Yakuza to us, which has often seen jokes that despite it being about gangsters, the main characters never really do anything illegal.

Prime Video says it “showcases modern Japan and the dramatic stories of these intense characters, such as the legendary Kazuma Kiryu, that games in the past have not been able to explore.”

“While Prime Video Japan continues to offer a variety of content across genres, adapting an internationally popular game franchise that has such deep resonance and layered characters presents a unique charm and makes for an extremely compelling watch,” said James Farrell, head of international originals, Amazon MGM Studios, quoted by Variety.

“The unfettered appeal for Japanese content from within Japan and other parts of the world has been growing exponentially,” he added. At the beginning of the year, FX and Disney+ saw critical and commercial success with Shogun, which although from a Western production company, is entirely in Japanese with a Japanese cast.

It seems Amazon could be hoping for a similar phenomenon with the new videogame adaptation.

Like a Dragon: Yakuza will be uploaded to Prime Video in two three-episode parts, with the first to go up 24th October, and the second on 1st November. The show is in Japanese, but Amazon will provide subtitles and dubbing options in over 30 languages.


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