G-4rce Anime Reviews: Afro SamuraiMcgillacuddy McG back on the mic. So I'm actually recovering from this emptiness inside me, but things got really complicated in the past few days that it actually made me rethink my life as it is. Don't want to go into details of that, but personal life aside, I wanted to get this review in before the last episode of Mob Psycho 100 drops, which I am DEFINITELY going to do a review on, and I'm excited as a motherf*cker to do it...
7.41 on MyAnimeList
My Thoughts and Review:
"It's nothing personal. It's just revenge." - Afro Samurai
"Your little anger is just a sea-spray of blood in the endless ocean of this world's killing. It's got no end and no beginning." - Justice
So last year, I walked down to my nearest Wal-Mart (without my parents knowing lol) to find some good DVDs. I saw that they had Afro Samurai in stock so I decided to pick that one up. I didn't know much about Afro Samurai, but I've definitely heard of it. Afro Samurai is a Japanese manga written by Takashi Okazaki and was soon promoted and adapted into a 5-episode Western anime miniseries by RZA. Yes, THE RZA. The Wu-Tang Clan RZA. The guy who made the terrible Man With the Iron Fists movie bullsh*t. That aside, Afro Samurai is a different experience. One thing I must say about this one is that it's very overlooked. Not many people look into this one, and I must say that they're missing out.
The very first thing I undoubtedly must point out is that Afro Samurai contains some of the sexiest and cleanest animation I have ever seen in any anime, period. Hands down. With the team spending millions of dollars on the animation alone, you can see why the anime is only 5 episodes long. The art design, drawings, and details in every aspect is freaking gorgeous. The colors are also very unique. There's an exaggeration of blacks and whites used in a daytime setting; like everything looks bleached, and other colors are mostly dark, like dark reds and blues. This also mixes in with strong orange, yellow and solid black colors for a sunset setting. The colors make the anime look violent and menacing, something you don't see everyday in an anime. I have to say that whoever did the art for this anime deserved every anime animation award for 2007. That's saying a lot. What the animation also ties into is the quality of the fights and combat in the series. In my opinion, I think more anime need to have action scenes as good as the ones here. One of the primary aspects of this anime that you will definitely not overlook is the high amount of blood violence and gore used. I don't care how squeamish you are, blood in fight scenes is a plus for me. The violent kills are heavily concentrated and detailed, giving a unique style of awesomeness to every sword-ridden murder. The feel of the kills are so raw and solid that they're pretty insane and overdone. Each battle has a different feel to it, but one of these is one of the greatest 1v1 fight scenes I have ever seen in any anime, and that fight was between Afro and a robot clone of himself where they fight each other while skydiving with lowrider gangsta rap music bumping in the background. Wonderful, wonderful execution in every area of that scene. Simply a masterpiece. The soundtrack is also produced by RZA, and it's definitely a good Amazon pickup with strong guest appearances.
Novelty areas aside, let's get into the plot of the series. Afro Samurai is the story of, I sh*t you not, Afro Samurai, who is voiced by the one and only Samuel L. Jackson. When he was a child, Afro's father was killed right in front of him during a duel against the main villain of the anime, Justice, who's voiced by Ron Perlman. Perlman did a fantastic job voicing this character, by the way, but the whole idea of the duel was for Justice to take the "#1 Headband", which is said to give the wearer god-like abilities (most notably vitality), and become the god of the world. After Afro Samurai matures into an adult, he finally takes the #2 Headband which is needed in order to be worthy of challenging the #1, but before he can fight Justice, he has to go through a lot of sh*t. Tons of other people are after the #2 as well, and all Afro has to do is slice his way through them. Afro Samurai, as a character, is one of the most silent and heartless protagonists you can find. He simply just doesn't give a f*ck. You get in his way, he'll kill you. Simple as that. That's a real gangsta for you. He's OP as f*ck and he seems like a pretty lifeless character but the anime also includes a little backstory on how Afro developed this demeanor and it was actually a pretty interesting and dark story. Along with Afro on his journey is another character voiced by Jackson named Ninja Ninja who did most of the talking a provided a majority of comic relief, which is actually quite necessary for an anime as dark as this one. Maybe Ninja Ninja did come off sketchy as far as his design, but Samuel Jackson's voice acting really brought this character to life. Ninja Ninja was really someone that you didn't have to take seriously no matter how annoying he was, which resulted in some decent execution. One of Afro's childhood friends named Jinno was a pretty well-executed character, as well, and who was a major part of Afro's backstory. Other characters in the anime were pretty much just extras for Afro to shank his way through, but my major concentration was on Afro's story since he is the main character. I feel that backstory was a huge necessity in the movie, as it would've felt wrong to make Afro just an empty character. The story as a whole was questionable that it felt like it was paying homage to classic revenge movies in terms of something like the classic Foxy Brown film. As a matter of fact, I believe that's exactly what the creator was aiming for, as this anime has a blaxploitation vibe to it. If you don't know what blaxploitation is, it's basically an African American subgenre of exploitation films, which were meant for a black audience in the 70s and 80s. So, this would include classic (and cheesy) films like Foxy Brown, as I just mentioned, Shaft, Sugar Hill, Trouble Man, and Super Fly, and yes I have seen all of these movies.
All in all, Afro Samurai remains as one of the most important anime in my book. It's very overlooked and underrated, and I believe it's because of the blaxploitation theme to it. The plot is also a simplistic revenge story, but Afro's backstory really saved it from flopping in terms of much needed depth.
Overall 8/10 Great:
You may love it and you may not love it, but Afro Samurai is definitely worth watching. It brings something new to the table; with its godlike animation, insane violence, and unique style, I consider this anime a cult classic gem. Sadly, I don't think we're gonna be seeing anymore of this series, all thanks to the release of a god-awful game known as Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma, which was so bad that it's even included in Angry Joe's list of Top 10 Worst Games of 2015. Although, the soundtrack to the game is very solid and it's on YouTube, thank God, because the game is no longer being sold due to how freaking bad it was. That being said, it's not everyday we can get an anime with this kind of entertainment value. Yes, the story is somewhat amateurish, but it concentrates more on novelty aspects than story, and it works most of the time with me. It contains beautiful animation, amazing art design, and some of the best fights in any anime, so it's easy to see why this anime won itself a few Emmys. If you want to see some real awesomeness that you can't find anywhere else, go check this one out.
I can't wait for the final episode of Mob Psycho 100 to drop. Be prepared. My review for it may surprise you :)
Good review, I wish CVF would come back on his backup account though (he deleted his account a few days ago), I started thinking that now when I saw the link to his angel beats review. - Skullkid755
Nice review. I really might check this anime out, sounds really dope. - SwagFlicks
Afro samurai sounds awesome!
^_~ - leafstar
That's an elab. review. I'll watch the anime next since you've r8ed it an 8/10 - visitor
Nice review - ProPanda
This is my next anime. - visitor