Netflix hopes to redefine anime with a new series called Yasuke.
The streaming giant united LeSean Thomas (Cannon Busters) as creator, executive producer, and director with Japanese animation studio MAPPA (Attack on Titan: The Final Season, Jujutsu Kaisen), and designs from the world-class director and animator Takeshi Koike (Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujio Mine). Also, they brought onboard award-winning actor LaKeith Stanfield and Grammy Award-nominated artist Flying Lotus for the reimagined story of the first African samurai.
Here’s the synopsis:
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.
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“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. 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,” said LeSean Thomas in a statement.
Yasuke will be a six-episode anime series. It is described as a project that “transcends borders, cultures, and languages.”
“Yasuke is a fascinating, mysterious figure in Japanese history that’s drawn 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 continued. “I’m so excited for both longtime fans and newcomers to enjoy our reimagined take on this historical figure.”
Yasuke comes to the Netflix streaming service on April 29.
Check out some of the first look images below. Let us know what you think.