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Anime Review: Afro Samurai

Natalie is a writer who works at her local library. She enjoys writing reviews, watching anime and TV shows, and playing video games.


Quick Info

Directed by: Fuminori Kizaki
Distributor: Funimation Productions
Written by: Tomohiro Yamashita
Release Date: August 26, 2008
Runtime: 125 Minutes
Availability: On DVD and Blu-Ray, streaming on Hulu, Tubi TV, and FunimationNow

Story Summary

In a distant, yet feudalistic future, a young boy watches in horror as his father is decapitated by a man seeking the “Number 1” headband. Whoever wears it is the strongest samurai in the world and can only be surpassed by the one who wears the “Number 2” headband. After his father’s death, a boy known only as Afro sets out on a Journey to reclaim the Number 1 headband and avenge his father’s death.

Thoughts On The Plot

The story is interesting, not really amazing or spectacular, but it's an interesting story. It is basically a Hollywood story animated by Japanese animation studio Gonzo, but it's a decent story that was fun to watch, just not particularly amazing or anything like that.

It is amusing that Samuel L. Jackson wanted to make an anime, but I also enjoy that he's an anime fan, even if I don't agree with him politically, I can enjoy his work, whether it's a movie or an anime.

Afro, wounded in battle.

Afro, wounded in battle.

The Animation Is Good, but the CGI Is Weird

The animation by Gonzo is really good, the fight scenes are interesting to watch and there’s plenty of action in this short series. The fight scenes are clever and interesting and it is a decent-looking anime, with some conspicuous CGI in it, but it’s not too bad. But the design style makes this anime a little different than other anime.

Gonzo Studio's either makes amazing animation, or it can be decent to downright terrible animation. Afro Samurai falls under the decent animation, it's not terrible, but it's not their best work either.


English dub Only


The English Dub Is Good

This anime is very unique, it’s a different type of story and it’s very interesting because it’s one of the few anime, outside of Hayao Miyazaki movies to have a Hollywood celebrity, Samuel L. Jackson, in it. He voices Afro, the lone warrior who wants to avenge his father’s death. He also plays Afro’s strange traveling companion Ninja-Ninja in a quirky fashion as well.

Other members of the cast are also very good to listen to. Yuri Lowenthal as Kuma is a great voice actor and he gives a great performance as Kuma. The dialogue between him and Samuel L. Jackson is terrific, even though his character Afro doesn’t talk much. The other character that does a lot of talking is Ninja-Ninja. Yuri Lowenthal and they both are excellent, especially during their fight scenes against each other.

Kelly Hu is very good despite her one-time appearance in the series; she does a good job too. Ron Perlman is spectacular as Justice, he’s a truly evil villain and Ron plays his part perfectly. He hasn't done a lot of voice acting because he's been in Sons of Anarchy and other movies But he's still a terrific voice actor.

The English dub is good, but not one of those mind-blowing dubs that sets the bar for anime, it's just Samuel L. Jackson wanting to have fun and be in an anime.

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Your Thoughts:

Afro Samurai Blu-Ray Trailer

There Is No Real Depth, Just Mindless Action

Is the plot good? Yes, but it’s not particularly deep or anything, it’s mainly a fun hack and slash sword-fighting anime, but there is no Afro Samurai, only Samuel L. Jackson with an afro and a sword. The plot is fun, and that’s the main draw to Afro Samurai, besides having Jackson in it.

It's a popcorn anime that's just mindless action and fight scenes. But if you enjoy that kind of thing and you're looking for something to watch, you'll probably enjoy Afro Samurai.

If you're looking for a deeper anime, you should look elsewhere, but if you just want an action anime, this is the one for you. It's just a mindlessly fun action series.


Parental Warning

The strange futuristic setting might not appeal to all audiences, along with the strong profanity, a sex scene, and bloody, gory violence gave this anime a TV-MA rating when it aired on Spike TV, Afro Samurai is definitely for the adults and not for kids, this is meant for ages 17 and up.

It's Got a Great Voice Cast With a Decent Story

While the setting and story might not appeal to everyone, if you like Samuel L. Jackson, Yuri Lowenthal or Kelly Hu, you should definitely rent Afro Samurai from Netflix or your local library, it’s a mindless Acton anime, but that’s what makes it fun, along with a good musical score, Afro Samurai is an anime that should be watched at least once, whether or not you want it in your DVD or bllu-ray collection is up to you. But bloody swordfights never looked so awesome. The entire anime of Afro Samurai, including the movie Afro Samurai: Resurrection is available from Funimation Entertainment.

Overall Grade: C-

Afro Samurai is a novel anime, it's not the best anime I've seen, but it's decent. It's not particularly memorable either.

Afro Samurai is mindless fun, just another action series for adults. It's not particularly memorable unless you like Samuel L. Jackson, Kelly Hu, or Ron Perlman. It's an anime you watch and then move on to the next one. It's only memorable for using celebrity voice actors and decent animation from Gonzo, but not much else.

It's a mindless action, popcorn anime that's a time-waster if you're bored and you can't think of anything to watch. It's mainly fun if you're a fan of Samuel L. Jackson and want to watch something different that he's in compared to the typical live-action movies that he's usually in.

It might be worth your time if you're a fan, but it's not really worth the money unless you really feel you have to have it in your anime collection.

It's worth streaming on Hulu, Funimation, or TubiTV's website, but only diehard fans of the anime will buy it. It's worth your time maybe, but not necessarily your money.

My Rating:

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