Sunday, August 7, 2011

Afro Samurai Director's Cut Anime Review

Afro Samurai Director's Cut
Afuro Samurai
Funimation
Complete - 5 episodes
125 mins. - 2 discs
$29.98 (2008) Director's Cut Blu-Ray
$24.98 (2007) Director's Cut
$12.98 (2007)
ISBN 704400079801
English Audio
Directors - Fuminori Kizaki & Jamie Simone
Studio - Gonzo

Synopsis: The Number 1 headband is worn by the greatest fighter in the world and can only be challenged by the fighter with the Number 2 headband.  Number 2 can be challenged by anyone and is under constant attack.  In a battle on a snowy mountaintop the Number 2 decapitates the Number 1 and claims his headband.  The former Number 1's son is witness and vows revenge.  His name is Afro.
Afro is one bad mofo
Fast forward many years and Afro is under constant attack as Number 2.  He's on a collision course with Number 1 and cuts down all opponents in his path.  We learn the details of his heart-breaking journey.  Can he defeat the unkillable Number 1 to claim revenge for his father and the friends he sacrificed on his unrelenting journey?
Ninja Ninja is always hanging around Afro, but no one else can see him
Pros: Great packaging and lots of extras - including 15 minutes of additional footage, hip hop/samurai theme is slick, Samuel L. Jackson is the voice of Afro, some nudity, great visuals and tons of hardcore action
Afro is final battle with Justice, the man who killed his father!
Cons: Storyline is flimsy, one trick pony filled with one-liners and scenes with two macho guys staring each other down, Afro's sidekick Ninja Ninja is really annoying, Afro has no personality
Let it not be said a path to revenge does not include a sexy detour
Mike Tells It Straight: Revenge! Pure and simple. This show (movie if you want to call the episodes chapters) is an unflinching revenge tale with gruesome deaths and betrayals galore. Not very deep and singularly focused, but the visuals are pretty good. Mindless entertainment if you're in the mood.
Afro's former childhood friend - a samurai who wears a bear head
Based on a manga (doujinshi) by Takashi Okazaki it's basically a Japanese blaxploitation film.  Samuel L. Jackson adds a little street cred, but he was in the Shaft remake.  RZA of Wu-Tang Clan produced the soundtrack which is pretty good.  The melding of hip-hop, feudal Japanese culture, and futuristic technology is unique to the series.  The fact many high level stars (Jackson, RZA, Lucy Liu) attached themselves to the property is a testament to the author's concept.
This guy...is super annoying
Gonzo does great animation and visuals, the character designs are cool, and the soundtrack works really well.  It's a slick show, but the plot is really simple and Afro's imaginary friend Ninja Ninja is incredibly annoying.  I guess he's supposed to be comedy relief, but he quite possibly ruins the entire show (along with Afro's complete lack of personality).  I tried to like this show, but it was more flash than substance.  Not much replay value for me and I recommend it if you're looking for something cool to play in the background.

TO BUY and Recommendations: