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Afro Samurai is a Japanese dōjinshi manga series that was written and illustrated by Takashi Okazaki. It tells the story of a young boy named Afro who witnesses the death of his father and seeks revenge by trying to kill his killer. Growing up to be an adult, Afro Samurai sets out on a journey to hunt down his father’s killer, Justice. What makes Afro Samurai unique is the blend of Japanese manga and American media that Okazaki used to bring the story to life.
The Afro Samurai dōjinshi was serialized irregularly from 1998 to 2002 in the manga magazine Nou Nou Hau. Okazaki was inspired by his love of soul and hip hop music and American media, which led to the creation of the character of Afro, who wears a headband similar to those worn by rappers and a samurai outfit. The fusion of hip hop and samurai culture is also evident in the soundtracks produced by the RZA of Wu-Tang Clan for the television series and film.
The Afro Samurai anime adaptation was produced by Gonzo in 2007 and starred Samuel L. Jackson as the voice of Afro. The miniseries was also followed by a television film sequel, Afro Samurai: Resurrection, released in 2009. The anime gained two Emmy nominations, winning one for Outstanding Animated Program. One significant aspect of the anime is the character designs by Okazaki, which are recognizable for their clean lines and stark simplicity.
The popularity of Afro Samurai led to a video game adaptation in 2009 called Afro Samurai, which was released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game follows the story of the anime and features similar aesthetics to the show, including the voice acting of Samuel L. Jackson. In 2019, it was announced that a live-action adaptation of Afro Samurai was in development.
In addition to the anime series and video game, Okazaki remade the original Afro Samurai dōjinshi into a two-volume manga. Tor Books and Seven Seas Entertainment licensed the title, and it was published under their new Tor/Seven Seas imprint, exclusively in North America.
With the blend of Japanese manga and American media, Afro Samurai has become a beloved story for many fans. The striking visuals and unique character designs created by Takashi Okazaki draw viewers and readers alike into the world of Afro Samurai. Samuel L. Jackson’s voice acting in the anime has also added to the popularity of the show, as well as the soundtracks produced by the RZA. The upcoming live-action adaptation will undoubtedly bring a new level of excitement to fans of the franchise. Afro Samurai has proven to be a significant addition to the worlds of manga, anime, and video games, and it doesn’t look like its popularity is going away anytime soon.