Netflix has released some first-look images from Yasuke, the streaming giant's highly-anticipated anime series based on the first African samurai.
The six-episode show is set in an alternate war-torn feudal Japan filled with mechs and magic and will follow the story of Yasuke, an African samurai who struggles to maintain a peaceful existence after a past life of violence. But the greatest ronin "never known" must take up his sword again and transport a mysterious child when a local village becomes the center of social upheaval between warring daimyo.
"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," series creator and executive producer LeSean Thomas said in a blog post. "Part of me deep down feels I was meant to create this adventure series with MAPPA, Flying Lotus, LaKeith and the rest of this talented team."
Thomas also explained how Yasuke, an actual African samurai warrior who reportedly lived nearly 500 years ago, became an inspiration for the upcoming anime series.
"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," he added.
Renowed Japanese studio MAPPA (Attack on Titan: The Final Season) is handling the animation of the anime series with director and animator Takeshi Koike (Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fukiko Mine). LaKeith Stanfield (Get Out) will provide the voice for the series' main character.
Yasuke will premiere globally on Netflix on April 29, 2021.
(Images courtesy of Netflix)