Review of 'Afro Samurai'

afro_samurai.jpg In a world where the best Samurai wears a “1” headband and the second best wears “2”, Afro Samurai as “2” is challenged by all comers and, as such, is bathed in blood. As a matter of fact the whole picture is bathed in blood with limbs flying throughout as well as fountains of blood across the black and white style of the animation. Afro is a man who witnessed his father (who was “1”) killed by an evil maniac (who was “2”) in a dramatic fashion at the beginning of this five-1/2 hour-episode series.

I think the style of this animation is more than a bit full of itself and is dripping in tropes of this genre: Acres of blood, the eye-candy ladies, ultra-evil baddies, and a super-cool “hero”. As a matter of fact, this is an animation of only style with little substance (the ending was particularly disappointing). A typical quote: “It's not personal, it's revenge”. Quite.

With “Samuel L. Jackson” on-board of this production I suppose some of this should have been expected but at least with Pulp Fiction there was at least something to be said beyond the violence and style (well, a bit of something). It could have been so much more but ends up being a bit more of the same…disappointing. Where is the rock soundtrack? Where are the memorable characters? Where is the conscience of, well, anyone? On the plus side: The animation is superb.

Rating: “Not great, but not the worse”

Review Date: 2007-12-31

Directed by: Fuminori Kizaki

Studio: Funimation

Year: 2006

Length: 110 minutes

Genre: Japanese Animation