Netflix has unveiled the first trailer for Yasuke, an anime based on the real-life historical Black (African) samurai who served under Oda Nobunaga. The streaming service originally announced the Yasuke anime back in 2018 and now it will premiere on 29 April 2021.
Featuring six episodes, the official synopsis reads:
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.
There will be several original fictional characters like a young girl (whose name hasn’t been revealed). Yasuke is forced to pick up his sword once more when he’s tasked with transporting a mysterious child who has become the target of dark forces and bloodthirsty warlords.
The Yasuke anime is produced and directed by LeSean Thomas (Cannon Busters) and animated by MAPPA (the studio behind Attack On Titan The Final Season and Jujutsu Kaisen). The anime’s character designs come from director and animator, Takeshi Koike (Lupin The Third The Woman Called Fujiko Mine)
Meanwhile, Yasuke will be voiced by LaKeith Stanfield (Sorry To Bother You, Judas And The Black Messiah) and Grammy Award-nominated artist, Flying Lotus, is composing the music for the anime.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Thomas said:
“I pitched three (anime) and Yasuke was one of them.
I didn’t want to do what everyone else was going to do, which was most likely a hardcore biopic.
I didn’t want to be trapped by the elements of history, so to speak, and I wanted to add a sense of fantasy, a sense of romanticism to it, much like the Japanese do with their historical figures.”
He also added:
“I’m a Black man who moved to Japan to work with the Japanese making an anime about a Black man who moved to Japan to live with the Japanese and become a warrior.
That’s kind of cool.
I don’t know if there’s anyone else who could actually say that as a TV animation show creator, but I wouldn’t say it was an intensely personal experience.
It made it more fun.
I am not a Japanese person.
I am not an expert on Japanese culture, but I do know the craft of television animation and am able to navigate the waters between the West and Japan, and understanding what makes both of those exciting.”
In the meantime, check out the official poster and trailer for Yasuke below: