Like A Dragon: Yakuza is coming to Prime Video (Everything to know about upcoming live-action series)

Like a Dragon: Yakuza is coming to live-action so here's what to know about the latest video game hit coming to TV!
Courtesy: Prime Video
Courtesy: Prime Video /

One of the hottest video game franchises is about to make the jump to live-action via Prime Video! Here's what you need to know about Like a Dragon: Yakuza! The show is set to premiere this fall with the first three episodes dropping on Oct. 25, 2024 and the last batch on November 11. The show is set to have six episodes with two batches of three episodes each. It will be in Japanese language with subtitled and dubbed versions available. 

For years, video game adaptations have been seen as "cursed." Despite how natural adapting video games may be, the few hits (Mortal Kombat, Resident Evil) have been overshadowed by the numerous flops (Street Fighter, Super Mario Bros, Hitman). However, that's been changing in recent years. 

The Sonic movies got it started, and it's been followed by The Super Mario Bros Movie being one of the biggest hits of 2023, while Prime Video's Fallout series has been a winner with fans. Now, Prime Video is following it up with Yakuza: Like a Dragon, drawing on one of the most popular video game franchises in the world. 

What is Like a Dragon: Yakuza series about?

Launched by SEGA in 2005, the Yakuza series draws inspiration from Japanese crime films to tell an expansive storyline involving the crime world of the nation. The games mix role-playing aspects with frantic action and some terrific storylines. The games were exclusive to Japan before finally reaching the U.S. 

Since then, the franchise has grown spanning over 20 titles and spinoffs that sometimes go back into the past of the 1990s. The main character is Kazuma Kiryu, known as "The Dragon of Dojima," who rises from street thug to gang leader. The games have spawned tie-ins of comics and anime so it's no surprise a live-action adaptation is among them. 

The show is written by Sean Crouch and Nakamura Yugo, with a Japanese screenplay by Yoshida Yasuhiro and Yamada Kana and developed by Take Masaharu and Takimoto Kengo. We shared the synopsis below:

"Released in 2005 by SEGA, the ‘Yakuza’ game series was positioned as an entertaining game for adults, which found massive fanfare amongst its target audience. The series depicts the lives of fierce yet passionate gangsters and people living in a huge entertainment district, Kamurochō, a fictional district modeled after the violent Shinjuku ward’s Kabukichō, that acts as the backdrop of the gameplay. Like a Dragon: Yakuza 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."

Like a Dragon: Yakuza - Title Treatment
Courtesy: Prime Video /

The series is set between 1995 and 2005 in Kamurochō, a fictional entertainment district modeled off Kabukichō, the game's setting. While there will be similar themes between the show and the game, the creators are trying to give it a unique identity, according to Yokoyama Masayoshi, Yakuza writer, head of Ryugagotoku Studio, and executive producer. Here's what he said in a press release:

"Since the day I first put pen to paper on the original 'Yakuza' script, I've never once thought about revisiting any of my work on the series. It's because I understand all too well the challenges and hardships that come with remaking a finished title. However, if I were ever sent to the past through some kind of cosmic joke, this is the experience I'd want to create. If I had to go through the wringer anyhow, I'd want to make the most engaging versions of Kamurochō and Kazuma Kiryu I could —and this show has it all. While the games let you experience their world through the subjective lens, this adaptation will be the ultimately objective way to enjoy the show. I have no doubt that fans of the series will be drawn to how it brings the games to life and adds new surprises. Newcomers, I'm sure will find themselves invested simply in the gritty realism of the show. If anything, I'd love to watch this version alongside audiences all around the world — experiencing all of its intensity and soaking in every single second.""

Much like Prime Video's Fallout series, it looks like the show will be crafted so both gamers and newbies can enjoy it in equal parts. 

Ryoma Takeuchi
Dior Homme : Photocall - Paris Fashion Week - Menswear Spring/Summer 2024 / Marc Piasecki/GettyImages

Who stars in Like a Dragon: Yakuza?

Taking on the key role of Kazuma is Takeuchi Ryoma, already a famous name in Japan as star of several seasons of the landmark Kamen Rider series. Kento Kaku plays Nishikiyama, and Munetaka Aoki plays an unspecified role. The rest of the cast hasn't been detailed yet, but no doubt packed with Japanese actors to bring the saga to life. 

With its history to the iconic games and a top cast and creators, Like a Dragon: Yakuza should continue the trend of surprisingly good live-action adaptations of video games.

Like a Dragon: Yakuza premieres October 25 on Prime Video. 

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