Published in black, white and RED, Takashi Okazaki's Afro Samurai is hip-hop gone feudal, is a flood of blood and is just plain bizarre, but that doesn't stop us from enjoying it. Think of Okazaki as the manga version of Quentin Tarintino, where the violence runs deep, but the characters are paper thin.
Admittedly, this manga cannot compare with the non-stop roller-coaster action-extravaganza that is the anime series ('though the videogame is fun too!), but, not every one of us is fully equipped with a 200 gigabyte video iPod to carry all our favorite anime around with us.
Thus, for those of us who can enjoy the series without the need for electricity, batteries, and the never ending hunt for a USB charger, there is the manga, which, though lacking the series' punch, has a considerably more in-depth plot, more dialogue (if you can believe that!), and more time to savor the flavor that is the weirdest, wackiest thing to ever come through Japan since Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo.
Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, March 2009
Afro Samurai: Resurrection
Anime DVD Review
File this one under "Oh yeah".
Super bad-ass of the world Samuel L. Jackson returns to reprise his role as the ass-kicker of all ass-kickers in a production that can only be described as 'totally over the top', with lavish production values and more than enough action to satisfy even the most die-hard of action fans.
Also included to up the ante is Lucy Lui, playing Sio, a beautiful seductive and sadistic mastermind plotting to destroy Afro Samurai. As if that weren't enough, additional casting includes Mark Hamill as Bin, Sio's manservant and protector, and Yuri Lowenthal (the voice of Sauske in the hit anime series Naruto) as Kuma, the teddy bear-headed warrior from the original Afro Samurai series.
If you liked Spike's first Afro Samurai (and really, who didn't?), then you'll find plenty to admire about this re-visited re-romp of re-venge. More is better and this has got more of everything.
Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, December 2008
Anime DVD Review
Statement of Bias — I'll watch *anything* with Samuel L. Jackson in it - even Snakes on a Plane! So, it should come as no surprise that I found this pairing of Jackson, anime, and the Spike TV network to be a real hoot. And in no way whatsoever does it disappoint — costing an obscene $1 million per episode, this Gonzo-created, over-the-top extravaganza is loaded with bloody carnage, action-on-top-of-action, and fight scene followed by fight scene — heck, we don't even get to the beginning of the plot until well into episode two!
What plot there is — Afro Samurai is the story of a Black samurai in a futuristic yet feudal Japan who is on a mission to avenge the wrongful death of his father. Afro is a warrior who travels a solitary path encountering a myriad of enemies, friends, and challenges beyond imagination. To become "number 1", you have to kill "number 2" and then the current "number 1". It sounds easy, but it's not.
Afro Samurai blends traditional Japanese culture, funky technology and hip-hop to create a brutally fresh entertainment experience. Nothing is what it seems, and in a bizarre twist right out of a Satoshi Kon film, Afro even has to battle a Ninja teddy-bear (with really disturbing eyes).
Additionally, this "Director's Cut" release include never-before-seen footage (stuff too hot even for Spike!) as well as "behind the scenes" looks into the music production, voice acting and animation creation. While none of the extras are terribly deep, they are informative.
The only question to ask here is — what took them so long to get this out? I mean, duh, Afro Samurai was only *the* biggest event of last year for anime fans, and Spike TV delivered an excellent, high-octane, tour-de-force of butt-kicking awesomeness.
We can only assume this is being geared to prep us for the second TV series or the movie, but nevertheless, we're happy to have it, as the game is an excellent, high-octane, tour-de-force of butt-kicking awesomeness.
The most amazing aspect of this game is the look, which is actually more painterly and artistically styled than the anime series itself was, with an almost airbrushed, watercolor, designer-marker feel, which is quite attractive and really shows off the graphics capabilities of the Xbox360 and PS3.