Last month, Netflix released Yasuke, the newest release from its anime studio. LeSean Tomas, who has also worked on The Boondocks, Black Dynamite, and Legend of Korra, created the 6 episode series. It incorporates mysticism, mecha warfare, a little historical drama, and major action. The series is honestly a huge win for Black excellence. Award-winning actor Lakeith Stanfield voices the protagonist, Yasuke, and phenomenal producer Flying Lotus provides the soundtrack. The series takes on the legend of the first samurai of African descent, Yasuke, and incorporates magic, mecha warfare, and boatloads of action. If you have not seen it yet, I definitely encourage you to.
Now, after you watch Yasuke you should definitely get into these other anime with Black protagonists!
Some may disagree, but I will die on this hill: THE BOONDOCKS IS AN ANIME! The show creator, Aaron McGruder, himself even calls it an anime. But debate aside, the show is a classic nonetheless. A show many Black millennials have grown up with, it tackles many Black staples with crassness and humor. Honestly, this is a show one can watch over and over again. Not for the faint of heart, its approach to capturing Black America is both clever and creative. That coupled with anime-inspired fight scenes, it has earned its spot as a top-tier anime for all ages.
Now, if you like gore, amazing fight scene graphics, and a tragic back story, you’ll love Afro Samurai. Artist Takashi Okazakirai started the series as a manga until it was adapted into an anime in 2007 and a movie in 2009 by animation studio Gonzo. Samuel L. Jackson was chosen to voice the protagonist for both projects and was the perfect fit.
The story follows Afro who sets out on a journey to face and defeat his father’s murderer, the bearer of the Number 1 headband. As the bearer of the Number 2 headband, he is granted the privilege to challenge the Number 1. But his position comes with a deadly caveat: he must also face countless others who seek to have the Number 2 headband for their own. Only 5 episodes long, the series is packed with impressive artwork and a detailed storyline. Paired with the movie sequel, it is a great watch for old and new fans alike.
LeSean Thomas just does not miss. Originally a comic, Netflix released it as animation in 2019. The series follows the robot Sam who flees a kingdom under siege from foreign invaders. She seeks the assistance of outlaw and immortal being Philly The Kid. They set out on a journey to locate Sam’s friend, Prince Kelby, and free her kingdom from bondage.
The show is 12 episodes long and is a wild ride of mecha battles, humorous quips, and serious undertones of loss and self-development. It brings so much to the table while also leaving a massive wonder of what’s to come next. Although there are no confirmed talks on a sequel, Thomas’s relationship with Netflix proves it may not be far off.