Afro Samurai is one of the rare pieces of Japanese anime that reciprocates to a fusion of American hip-hop and Asian pop culture.
Japanese anime isn’t just about high school love and supernatural powers. Though having run through a few episodes, Afro Samurai never failed to leave a name for itself in the world of action-oriented anime series.
After encountering his father being murdered for a headband, Afro sets his quest to train as a samurai, only to avenge his father’s death. Reclaiming the headband becomes his second-most target in life.
Written by Takashi Okazaki and Directed by Fuminori Kizaki, Afro Samurai hit the screens on January 4, 2007, and ran until 1st February that year.
The plot is built on the belief of the legends who stick to their conviction that the strongest warrior who owns the number one headband is equal to Almighty. And the belief follows that the eligibility to challenge the mighty warrior vests with the number two warrior.
Being the second warrior, Afro is shown to beset by a series of challenges put forth by his rivals. As he works his hardest ways to win the title, he strays himself from love and happiness.
Afro Samurai is a perfect amalgamation of revenge, zeal, and energetic action sequences that keep the audience rolling on the chair!
The Cast of Characters Set in Feudal Japan
The first part of Afro Samurai is set in feudal Japan. The anime series is nothing less than a futuristic world filled with sword fights, Mexican standoffs, and gunslingers.
The Japanese anime was quite a treat to fans who typically consider themselves to be more on the “ninja” side! Nevertheless, the anime didn’t limit its success to the TV screens.
Afro Samurai was followed by the “Resurrection” series and was later adapted into a video game.
Afro Samurai: Resurrection is the sequel to the original series that was broadcast in 2007.
The second version is quite different from the initial blood-avenging theme. In Afro Samurai’s Resurrection, the protagonist is depicted as a calm person who spends his time making wooden sculptures of ancient people.
He is determined not to avenge or kill anyone. But as the plot grows, the twist of the tale is given a mind-boggling touch with Afro’s reincarnated warrior characterization.
A Bit into Afro Samurai’s Characters
Afro plays the protagonist who’s bejeweled for revenge and victory in his quest to become the number one samurai. Voiced by Samuel L. Jackson, the character is given a hell-bent touch to a sword fighter who avenges his father’s murder.
His fight for justice through the hard ways of life brushes Afro Samurai’s character and is, fortunately, cast with the entertaining element it deserves.
Rokutaro is Afro’s father and the bearer of the number one headband.
His cast in the Japanese anime is shown to be an unfortunate journey where the protagonist’s father is ultimately killed by Justice, the anime’s antagonist. Rokuaro’s character resurrects in the anime’s sequel.
Afro Samurai’s antagonist is featured with shades of an ambiguously evil character that appears in all the series of the anime.
Cast as a gunslinger and the number two warrior, Justice succeeds to become the number one warrior after killing Afro’s father, Rokutaro.
The cunning and evil-minded character of Justice is the pivotal element that sets the anime’s plot on fire throughout all the seasons.
The heart of the warrior family, Otsuru is an adopted orphan who is always shown with a teddy bear in her hands.
Though she only appears as a child in the entire anime series, the manga version of her is depicted to sink with Afro’s True Companions.
The village healer character is on her secret mission to kill Afro while she nurses the young samurai back to health.
She eventually probes his dreams to learn his skills in Empty 7’s Afro Droid.
Okiku is killed later in the series for her betrayal and hidden affection towards Afro.
Afro Samurai’s Sword Master is an old warrior who owns and operates a small dojo. He trains the orphans he adopts in the art of sword fighting.
He finds Afro after Rokutaro’s death and takes him along in an attempt to distract the young lad from his quest of revenge.
Reincarnation of the Video Game Series
The brief 5-episode anime series didn’t have an immediate sequel to follow. But it rather engaged its fans with the Afro Samurai 2 video game.
Titled as “Revenge of Kuma”, the game was published by Versus Evil and released by Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 4.
The action-adventure game is a single-player entertainer and this strategy was quite well received by the fans who craved for Afro Samurai’s sequel.
But all was not well with the panel of critics who poured their negative reviews on the game.
The game was originally planned to be released in three volumes, but Versus Evil canceled Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma from all its platforms.
This was followed by refunds and cancellation of the other two volumes including the Xbox One version. Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma is the anime’s game follow-up to the 2009’s well-acclaimed series.
The game portrays a world that embodies a strange blend of samurai and American hip-hip cultures. The soundtrack is composed of strong beats and bold rhymes that set the mood with an explosion of energy as soon as you begin to clash your swords.
The game also features Jinno who is rebuilt as the artificial warrior, Kuma, who dons the look of a stuffed teddy bear.
Revenge of Kuma has the potential element that is more machine than human!
And to top it all, he is depicted as a warrior who is unaffected by the dark and evil temptations of the world.