Saturday Review: Afro Samurai

Here is Saturday review number 2 and this will quite a transition from last week’s review as we will be going to the blood soaked world of Afro Samurai. What makes Afro Samurai different to other anime is that style that the world is set, yes it has what yo would expect from stories about a samurai in feudal Japan but throw in some futuristic features, old school hip hop from the likes of RZA and Wu-Tang Clan then you get something different (and awesome). Written by Takashi Okazaki who made his debut through Nou Nou Hau Manga magazine with the Afro Samurai mangas, the series would be turned into an anime in 2007 by Gonzo studios with voices provided by Phil LaMarr, John Di Maggio, Terrence Carson and of course Samuel Jackson.

The story is that there are two mythical headbands known as the number 1 headband and the number 2 headband (imaginative I know), what makes the number 1 headband special is that the wearer of the headband is granted the powers of a god. Even though the demand for this headband is high most of fighting in the series is over the number 2 headband which gives the wearer the right to challenge the number 1 fighter to become the best fighter in the world. The protagonist named ‘Afro’ spends most of the series wearing the number 2 headband with the obvious goal for the number 1 headband whilst having to fend off thousands of warriors causing the massive amounts of bloodshed to give the 18 rating some justice. What makes Afro different to any other warrior (apart from the afro hairdo with distinct green tint) is that as a child he witnessed the murder of his father who was the previous number 1 by a demon looking cowboy named Justice who is now the number 1, after he murders Afro’s father he apologizes for killing him in front of Afro and he tells him to challenge him when he’s ready. The story of Afro Samurai isn’t just about a quest to get on top of mount Shumi to avenge daddy, there is also a deeper story about Afro training himself to face Justice and the mistakes that he made which would haunt him.

There are also memorable scenes, characters and sub plots that accompany the main story brilliantly. From the Sam L Jackson voiced banter of Ninja Ninja, some steamy love making (it’s anime, what do you expect) to a battle with Darth Vader’s teddy bear named Kuma. I like the smooth animation of such detailed still art, but I love it because  of the Hip Hop music with a bit of Soul and it comes from some of the pioneers of REAL Hip Hop that are worth buying their albums. Overall it’s a series worth watching and it’s ideal to watch providing the blood doesn’t put you off cause I might have forgotten to mention there is lot’s of blood, otherwise enjoy.

DC

P.S. Before you comment there will be a review on Afro Samurai: Resurrection in the near future.

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