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Netflix shares first look at African samurai anime ‘Yasuke’

Netflix has shared the first look at Yasuke, the latest anime series coming to the streaming platform and, arguably, one of the most hotly anticipated anime releases in recent years. The teaser images and a brief storyline can be found below to really whet your whistle.

The six-episode series will land on the streaming platform on April 29th and will do so with a hefty backing of creatives. Yasuke was a real African samurai warrior, the first, in fact, but this series will be set in a fictional and fantastical version of feudal Japan.

The story will see Yasuke be drawn back into his violent past as he strives to protect a mysterious girl from evil. The show is created by LeSean Thomas and has been animated by the geniuses at MAPPA.

“There is a serendipitous nature about this project,” recalled Thomas upon releasing the first look images, “how an African-American man goes to Japan to live and work amongst the very best in Japanese anime to create an anime about an African who goes to Japan to live amongst the Japanese elite and become a warrior. Part of me deep down feels I was meant to create this adventure series with MAPPA, Flying Lotus, LaKeith & the rest of this talented team.” The series’ music will be provided by musician and producer Flying Lotus, adding an extra touch of class to the proceedings.

The creative director continued: “Yasuke is a fascinating, mysterious figure in Japanese history that’s drawn a growing interest in today’s media over the decades. I first learned of Yasuke’s role in Japanese history over a decade or so. The children’s book, Kuro-suke by Kurusu Yoshio, featured images that piqued my curiosity. To eventually learn that he wasn’t just a fictional character, but a real person, was exciting material for an adventure story.

I’m so excited for both longtime fans and newcomers to enjoy our reimagined take on this historical figure.”

Yasuke will arrive on Netflix on April 29th.

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Jack Whatley

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