Updated: Jun 29, 2021
When I first heard of Netflix making an anime about a black samurai, I was intrigued. When I later found out that it was loosely based on the real-life African Samurai Yasuke, and that actor Lakeith Stanfield was voicing the role, it was on my list immediately! Yasuke is now on Netflix for streaming. The main premise is a black Samurai, now a boatman is charged with protecting a young girl with strange powers from an evil warlord who wants to absorb her abilities. Along the way, we get flashbacks of how Yasuke ended up in Japan and how he served under Oda Nobunaga in 16th Century Japan. Some spoilers present, so read at your own risk!
Ok, let's get to the good! First off, the composer Flying Lotus should get a pay raise because the music is FIRE!!! From the opening theme to the ending credits all the music sounds really good. Definitely need an album release, ASAP! The action was also pretty wild, from swords slashing through demons to magic and huge Mechs blasting laser beams. It's a blend of old-school sorcery and futuristic tech, that can sometimes be off-putting due to the time period. Stanfield himself does a good job, with his voice-over work. He can be a little stoic at certain moments, but overall he gets the job done. The character design of Yasuke is also done well, thankfully forgoing the tired and racist caricatures that are found in anime.
Now for the bad. To be honest, there's not much worse in this series, other than some plot points not really making much sense. Yasuke protects girl Saki, there's this band of warriors hired to kidnap the girl for the evil warlord. Most of them are actually very cool, but we have very little idea who they are and how they have these strange abilities. They're just mercenaries with strange powers, who work for the evil priest Abraham. And towards the end, only one of them survived the battle between Saki's doctor Morisuke, and the Daimyo! I got kind of a Seventh Samurai vibe from them. I wish we got more of them. There's also this character, Abraham, who's a priest of the Catholic Church, who associates Yasuke with less than kind words. (Was GLAD when he got his just due!) And the episodes' runtime is kind of short, with only about 25 minutes and just six episodes!
Overall, I enjoyed Yasuke and gave it a 7.5 out of 10! What did you think!? Post your thoughts below and till next time fellow blerds!!!