The legend of Yasuke, the real-life Black samurai has been dancing around the edges of pop culture for years now. In an era where studios are more open to telling diverse stories, one based on an actual historical figure who was the first Black samurai in Japan’s Sengoku era is fascinating. It’s actually kind of crazy that Yasuke’s story hasn’t been told several times over already.
Netflix is ready to right that wrong with its upcoming anime series Yasuke, executive produced and starring LaKeith Stanfield. The anime was created by LeSean Thomas (Cannon Busters) who also serves as executive producer and director. Japanese animation studio MAPPA (Attack on Titan: The Final Season, Jujutsu Kaisen) and director and animator Takeshi Koike (Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine) are responsible for character designs, with music by Grammy Award-nominated artist Flying Lotus.
The trailer looks incredible, with lots of action and fantastic animation. This is obviously not a historical reenactment or targeting authenticity. It’s a fantasy story with magic, epic battles and even a good old, trusty prophecy.
It’s interesting that they went the savior prophecy route, with Yasuke apparently being a “chosen one” who has to save Japan. It gives me a bit of hesitation to see another foreign hero story, but because of the nature of this story, I’m definitely eager to learn more.
Check out the trailer below as well as additional creatives involved in the project. Yasuke premieres on Netflix on April 29th!
Netflix Unveils Teaser Trailer and Teaser Art For
YASUKE, All-New Original Anime by LeSean Thomas and Studio MAPPA;
Starring and Executive Produced By LaKeith Stanfield, With Music by Flying Lotus
The tale is set 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.
Yasuke is created by LeSean Thomas (Cannon Busters) who also serves as executive producer and director, revered Japanese animation studio MAPPA (Attack on Titan: The Final Season, Jujutsu Kaisen), with director and animator Takeshi Koike (Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine) responsible for character designs, music by Grammy Award-nominated artist Flying Lotus and award-winning actor LaKeith Stanfield serving as executive producer and the voice of Yasuke.
Additional staff announced today includes:
· Chief Animation Director: Satoshi Iwataki
· Chief Technical Director: Takeru Sato
· Sub-character Design: Kenichi Shima
· World Art Design & Art Settings: Minoru Nishida
· Art Director: Junichi Higashi
· Color Setting: Azusa Sasaki
· 3D CGI Director: Yuki Nomoto
· Photography: Park Hyo-gyu
· Editing: Mutsumi Takemiya
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Ron is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of POC Culture. He is a big believer in the power and impact of pop culture and the importance of representation in media.