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Afro Samurai(Jan 4, 2007 – Feb 1, 2007)
Director: Fuminori Kizaki, Jamie Simone Written by: Tomohiro Yamashita, Derek Draper, Chris Yoo
Chanbara, Sci-fi, Fantasy, Black Comedy, Drama, Action,
Key Words: Avant-garde, Gore,
Studio: Gonzo Licensed American Publisher: Funimation Entertainment
Tumblr Link: http://angelsreview.tumblr.com/post/24679256514/afrosamurai
Reviewtopia Link: http://reviewtopia.net/community-reviews/entry/anime/angelsanimerev...
In the futuristic feudal Japan, whoever holds the Number 1 headband is seen as the fiercest fighter in the world, possessing godlike powers. In order to defeat and obtain the headband is to defeat him in combat but in order to do so, you must defeat the holder of the Number 2 headband first.
Long ago, Afro’s father was holder of the Number 1 headband and was defeated by a man known as Justice who had killed him in front of his son. Now Afro, the current holder of No. 2 wants revenge for what had happened. Unfortunately, as he searches for his father’s killer, many wish to take the headband for themselves.
My Thoughts: Going into this, I thought it may be something similar to Samurai Champloo, with rap done tastefully with normal samurai. And in this case, I was sadly mistaken. It follows a black samurai with a very large afro. Now I am not against black people, but I do feel that this sort of breaks into a rather stereotypical area since it seems that almost every black person in this show has a rather large afro.
I feel rather odd watching this seeing as how it should be feudal Japan and yet not at the same time. It throws me off how so close it is to the Japan of the past and yet just as I get comfortable in my surroundings, I see a large robot or something off in the background. I would have thought that there would be at least a little more to the futuristic part to this story.
Afro is very silent, strong, and pretty brave. He is almost like the perfect idea of a samurai. Now talking about him, I also have to talk about Ninja. There are many things you can debate about this character. Some may call him a different character, following Afro around and watching from the sidelines. I like the later idea that he is sort of the Hyde to Afro’s Jekyll. He is the side in which he will never let out and possibly the link to a childhood he might of felt was cut short after his father’s death. He is the one that pretty much says anything that Afro will not say himself, whatever he actually thinks or doubts. I think in a way, he may be the only one keeping Afro sane to a point where Afro keeps going on no matter the cost. Ninja also seems to be the comedy that brakes up what would be a very dull or boring anime sometimes.
The art style is rather nice although a little stiff, chiseled, and very detailed; and yet when we get into the movement, everything seems to go rather runny egg but what would you expect from Gonzo? It becomes one of those stories where it just looks so much better when it’s standing still. A lot of times, we have something trailing off a character, weather it is ribbons that trail from their headbands rather stiffly, or even the afro flies all over the place which I have never seen a afro do in real life. It is also very dark, making it sometimes hard to see what is going on; a lot of it is thrown into shadows near dusk or at night.
Some of the voice actors are pretty good in the English dub (Couldn’t find the Japanese dub online) and then some of them feel very out of place. It’s hard to say anything about Afro since he doesn’t talk very often, in fact, most of the time, he is very silent. Although, when he does speak, it’s to the point and rather good. I actually liked the idea of Samuel L. Jackson (yes, The Samuel L. Jackson) playing him even if his voice seems a tad to deep once in a while. On the other side, Ninja is a rather interesting voice, also done by Samuel as well. It surprises me that Samuel was able to play both characters rather well even if they have different personalities.
It is a good anime, just felt rather boring for myself.
Link to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afro_Samurai
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