I would like that thank Netflix for allowing me to watch and review this series.
Director & Writer: Lesean Thomas
Stars: LaKeith Stanfield
Composer Co-Director & Writer: Flying Lotus
Episode Count: 6
Release Date: April 29th
The story: 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. The story of Yasuke, the first African samurai who actually served the legendary Oda Nobunaga, will be released to the world.
Let me start by saying that this series was good, not great. The two main draws of the show for me were a new aged Afro Samurai and Lakeith Stanfield voicing the main character, Yasuke. This is a title that flew under my radar to the point where I wasn’t even aware of its existence until its promotion run began. Like I said this show is good, not great but I think with time it can turn into something surprising.
As I have mentioned in various articles I am a cosmic fan of animated projects. I feel like this series left me craving to want more from this universe. Yet I am not sure if that is a positive or negative statement. There are six episodes in total and yet I sense we only received half a story. Not only that it appears that this plot felt rushed, like Game Of Thrones Season 8 rushed. I adored the characters I was introduced to but at the same time, I feel like the story escalated so quickly that It was difficult to keep up. I know that might sound rash but I felt like if I blinked I missed something. There’s a lot of time jumping in the series so be prepared.
The star of the show for me as will be for many others will be Lakieth Stanfield. I gotta be honest I didn’t know how well his voice would transcribe in the anime space but it worked. His mannerisms of Yasuke were incredible. He didn’t sound like a generic English anime voice actor. He was distinct and I would see him appear in future English dubbed projects in the future. The show does a great job of what it means for it means to be an outsider during feudal Japan and the hardship it comes with characters who follow the old way.
I thought that majority of the side characters were pretty forgetful the farther you get into the season. The intro song has a nice lo-fi tone that gets you in the mood. Flying Lotus did a phenomenal job with the score of this series. It’s something that anyone can appreciate. Yasuke reminds me of Castlevania. This was an animated show that had a rocky start but has now been renewed for its fourth season and has progressed with time. I’m sure that Yasuke will get renewed for another season.
Yasuke is a rushed series with staggering potential. With time it could rival series such as Castlevania. It’s Lakieth’s world we are just living in it.
The series is set to debut on April 29th via Netflix.
My Score: C+
Christian is a film critic and founder of the Film Optix Podcast. He is a member of the Music City Film Critics’ Association. You can find him on Twitter @Musiccitynerd