Words by: Sentwali Holder
Netflix has just dropped the trailer for Yasuke, a dope anime series starring Judas and the Black Messiah star, LaKeith Stanfield. The six-episode season will drop on April 29, 2021, and I’m geeked up to see what the method actor has in store for fans from a voice acting standpoint.
Executive producer and director LeSean Thomas, is the series creator, with animation being lead by Japanese animation studio MAPPA. Animator and director Takeshi Koike, and Flying Lotus are also on board.
Yasuke is the gritty but visually stunning reimagining of the story of the first African samurai.
Here’s the official logline: In a war-torn feudal Japan filled with mechs and magic, the greatest ronin never known, Yasuke, struggles to maintain a peaceful existence after a past life of violence. But when a local village becomes the center of social upheaval between warring daimyo, Yasuke must take up his sword and transport a mysterious child who is the target of dark forces and bloodthirsty warlords.
“There is a serendipitous nature about this project, 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,” said Thomas, in a previous statement. “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.
“Yasuke is a fascinating, mysterious figure in Japanese history that’s drawn a growing interest in today’s media over the decades,” he continued. “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. “