It’s nothing personal, just revenge- there can only be ONE winner! Have you ever seen an afro blow in the wind? If the answer is no then Afro Samurai is definitely a show to watch. This cold dark tale is set in futuristic, yet feudal Japan. The story follows the journey of Afro as he tries to avenge his father’s murder.
Great legend has it that (in the world of Afro Samurai) he, who becomes “Number One”, will rule the world, wielding powers only possessed by that of a God.
The only problem is, every one wants to be number One but only Number Two can fight Number One which in turn means everyone wants to kill poor old number Two (complicated I know!)
The tale begins when Afro Samurai’s father Rokutaro Number One was challenged by a gunman, Justice (number Two), to become the new Number One. Afro then a child had to bear witness Justice assassinating his father and beheaded him right before his eyes.
Now an adult and a master swordsman, Afro has assumed the title of number Two. He travels far and wide seeking revenge on Justice, the current number One: who challenged him just after chopping off his fathers head while laughing about it!
Afro always manages to defy probability by doing things that no other would dare. Fighting with a sword is one thing; but fighting with a sword in one hand, a sheath in the other while smoking at the same time – is just amazing!
Ninja Ninja, Afro’s imaginary friend or should I say alter ego is always speaking out of term, saying things which Afro cannot. Afro refuses to acknowledge Ninja or anything he says.
Ninja is Afro’s vulnerable side who only shows himself when Afro is confused or in combat, so it’s unclear at times weather Ninja Ninja is real or not. What I can reveal, is that in the collectors edition DVD set, interviews with the staff and writers revealed that Ninja Ninja is in fact imaginary.
In the end Afro defeats Justice and becomes the new number One. But the drama does not stop there. Allegedly there are plans to make a live action film of Afro Samurai although filming has not yet begun. Gaming giant Namco have also revealed that they will be releasing a high budget video game in 2008.
The sound track “The RZA Presents: Afro Samurai OST” produced by RZA is classic old skool Wu Tang and features an all star line up with names such as Big Daddy Kane, Talib Kweli, Q-Tip, RDA and many more. Even if you don’t like the show the sound track is live.
All in all the show is great for those who love manga cartoons and in fact for those who don’t, as it is clever and witty topped off by some of the best animation that I have seen in a long time. The slender but deadly character of Afro played by Samuel L. Jackson as well as Ninja Ninja is definitely one not to miss. Supporting stars such as Ron Perlman (Hellboy, Blade II) as the voice of Justice and Kelly Hu (X Men II, The Scorpion King) as Okiko this could possibly be the biggest smash hit of the year. But as I always say you’ve got to watch it for yourself to appreciate what I’m saying.
Obviously this anime cannot challenge the like of Akira, Ninja Scroll and Ghost in the shell but I don’t think it was meant to! For me it was just Japanimation for all to enjoy; innovative, witty with bundles of imagination.
Released 15th October 2007.
By: Jemma Capleton