Afro Samurai

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SeiyaManG's avatar By SeiyaManG on Oct 30, 2009

Afro Samurai is a very solid show. It's got all the combinations for success and yet sometimes it still manages to be a bit boring. Which is why it didn't score higher for me.

The Story gets an 8 for being somewhat original, it definitley takes the idea of the Ronin seeking revenge and gives it's own stylistic flares.

Animation gets a 9 because Afro really does look pretty. It always sticks to a pallete of very dark, vivid and saturated colors to give it that rough edge the show definitely goes for.

The Sound gets a 9 because this show is not only voiced by a great actor (i.e. Samuel L. Jackson) but it also contains beats by The RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan. Put those 2 together and it's pretty much as good as it gets.

The Characters only get a 7 not because they didn't have much depth, it was because despite the attempts to make the characters round a lot of them were just unlikeable or very very uninteresting. Afro himself doesn't really say much, but that is made up by his ghostly alter ego who is always filling the conversational void.

Overall I really like watching this show and would recommend highly for anybody to watch.

8.5/10

8/10 story
9/10 animation
10/10 sound
7/10 characters
8.5/10 overall
fosmic's avatar By fosmic on Oct 29, 2009

afro samurai is a world where you cant survive without being a killer.

Theres on goal in life and thats to become the number one and to do that you have to become the number 2 and go all the way up a mountain while fighting through loads of people trying to do the same thing your doing beat the number 1.

If i was him i would have died of old age before someone actually challenged me id be what the heck took you so long ive been sitting on this friggin mountain for years and now you expect me to fight you

i mean the storys all well and good but this is just redicolous but the comedy makes up for it and its neo-fuedal japan style but the way people talk brings it to a mix between samurai ghetto

6/10 story
8.5/10 animation
7.5/10 sound
9/10 characters
7/10 overall
Fullmetalgeass's avatar By Fullmetalgeass on Dec 14, 2009

STORY: 7/10

Basic story structure per episode- Afro Samurai walks through a wonderfully drawn landscape completely ignoring his also afroed cohort who is ranting on and on about some random subject that the viewer cares just about as much as the Afro himself. About 50 people show up out of the blue and Afro predictably slashes through these 50 people. Body parts and other random sh*t flies into midair along with enough blood to fit Gluttony from FMA [the manga]'s stomach. Then a touchy flash back comes on the screen. Lastly, the big warrior dude comes on the screen to challenge Afro. As they fight, the sidekick rants on and on again, saying stuff like, "Yo, Afro! Be careful, man!" or "This guys one bad motherf*cker", and of course, "He's got a gun! A gun!". So, each of these parts have there great moments and not so good. Action scenes are exciting, if a little confusing because of weird camera angle or lighting, or a bit unrealistic because many characters should have died but didn't. i.e. Gino, Afro, and #1. I mean who gets their limbs chopped off, their head lobbed off, and their entire chest completely cut wide open and f*cking lives?! I mean, as long as you put a giant teddy bear over your head, you'll be all right with those few missing limbs! Flashbacks provide nice backstory. But overall, the story is a little too simple, stupid, and cliched. But I stand by with my 7/10 because of touching flashbacks and exciting action scenes.

Animation: 9.5/10

Beautiful landscapes, wonderfully flowing hair and headbands, and gorgeously animated action scenes await in this feast for your eyes.

Sound: 7/10

Opening is rather boring. Ending is more boring. While the background music was decent hip-hop, it felt very held-back and almost half-assed beats.

Characters: 6/10

While some characters were relatable like Gino, I felt others like Afro Samurai were just un-relatable assholes driven by revenge. Also, the villains like #1 (not including Gino) had absolutely nothing else to there character other than "they are the bad guys". I really wish I knew more about #1 and why he won't f*cking die!

Overall: 6.5/10

If you had a long day at work and you want to watch some heads fly off their bodies, go ahead and watch this. Also, since this is only 5 episodes, you might as well come and stay for the kicks. But if you're looking for something deeper, skip over this one.

Here's some pics :)

7/10 story
9.5/10 animation
7/10 sound
6/10 characters
6.5/10 overall
EBunny13's avatar By EBunny13 on Apr 16, 2010

THE STORY:

The Afro Samurai series is action packed to the brim!  So much so that it’s story line seems to be a bit stifled. I watched it all in one go, as I’m sure many have, since the five episodes flow more like a movie than your traditional series. Like in many movies, I was watching our hero enter odds far against him, and him coming out unscathed, which gets old, fast.  Afro enters a plethora of engagements with enemies pouring out of every corner, like a bad termite infestation, and Afro is the last scrap of wood. To be honest, when Afro was having a hard time with things, I found myself to be far more entertained than with the surrounding dominance and genocide that the series offers.  Story is a must for me and in Afro Samurai I found myself following another revenge plot.  To break it down: Someone our main character loves dies.  He fights to avenge them.  That’s it.

Alright Afro Samurai fan club, I’m sure I’ve got you all gunning for me at this point but before you pull the trigger hear me out.  Incredibly over-used, the loved-one revenge plot in Afro Samurai was well executed, and I will not be the first or last to admit being entertained by the series.

THE ANIMATION:

Afro Samurai embodies the pure action, lust, and gore to satiate all masculine viewing pleasures. From the beginning I found myself absolutely fixed on the brutality and fluid motion action that it had to offer.  Every blow glistens with excruciating precision. There are few anime that can stun with visuals as clear and flamboyant as this one does.  I still enjoy showing this series to friends simply because it is a filling course to sate any animation hunger. The dark bland scenery contrasted in a sort of Sin City style with the red blood, the sunset backgrounds, and the fiery explosions.  Visual captivation is one of the few things (aside from the incredibly short length of the series) that kept me going through it. Also I hate leaving anything unfinished! :)

SOUND:

What to say?  The smooth beats that occur throughout the show accent the visual style in a very complimentary fashion although I must admit getting a bit bored of it after a short time.  In some series the repetitive sound structures work for the series. Afro Samurai's, in my opinion, did not do so very well, but in all reality I'm more of a video-phile than audio-phile per se.  As such my criticism here is probably not to be taken with great validity.  The sound wasn't a total loss though when moving from music to the shear effects.  Every single cutting blow can be felt within the nice bass that the sub-woofer sends vibrating throughout the room. Throw in the shrill treble of slicing flesh and it makes for one amazing sound fest.

CHARACTERS:

Finally we come to the next thing that allowed me to grin and bear it all, the characters. I fell in love with Samuel L. Jackson’s work behind the character Afro and adore the quiet, powerful, badass that Afro is as the main protagonist. Afro’s imaginary friend, Ninja Ninja, is a great break in the tension, always voicing the thoughts, insecurities, and over-confidences that Afro is having before, during, and after each intense fight.  Ninja Ninja brings the series’ dark mood out to catch some sunlight and shed’s some of the encumbering baggage that accumulates with each fight. I’m sure many are waiting for the mentioning of Justice, and Justice will indeed be served!  Ron Perlman voices our main antagonist Justice, and he does this incredibly well.  Justice, twisted as he is, is my favorite character in this series simply because of the great voice behind him.  When I catch Ron's vocal talents behind characters in any series, I find myself liking them more and more at an exponential rate. Ron was certainly an unforeseen treat and I was very excited to hear him.

OVERALL:

As for myself, I don’t like the series enough to pay good money on it, but I still HIGHLY recommend it.  It is a great watch if for nothing but the characters and visuals, and I don’t think anyone will be thoroughly disappointed.

4/10 story
8/10 animation
6/10 sound
8/10 characters
6.5/10 overall
VivisQueen's avatar By VivisQueen on May 4, 2009

Story

Set in a world where everyone’s desire is to beat up the bigger, tougher guy in order to become the biggest, toughest guy in the ’hood, Afro Samurai serves a plate of standardised plotting. Much of the development comprises a lot of macho standoffs followed by gruesome resolutions; furthermore, the protagonist has no other motive for his deplorable actions except revenge against the nasty guy who killed his beloved father when he was barely old enough to remember it.

So what? Well, there are three notable points which, despite Afro Samurai’s simplistic premise, make it worth following. The first thing is style. The second thing is style. And the third thing is… style. As Afro predictably hacks his way through one unfortunate challenger after another, the creative design continues to retain its fascination – consider a kind of irreverent world setting where rocket launchers are used in close-combat as easily as daggers; sex and violence are equally gratuitous; and the main character wears a pair of 18th century oriental bell bottoms. Heck, even the chief antagonists are a kind of menacing Pentecostal sect with fervent sermons drawn directly from the gospel preacher stereotype.

Generally, Afro Samurai consists of smooth, groovy, funky stuff and borrows its hard edge from African American culture in a way that brings to mind a bloodier, brawnier, but less original Samurai Champloo.


Animation

Alongside visual feasts like Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Afro Samurai is at heart a long sequence of set pieces intentionally arranged to wow viewers who like pretty shiny fast things. Afro dodges crossbow bolts, parries double swords, and carves flying bullets with the unnerving precision of a murderous master chef, all to an eerie backdrop of deep shadows, sinister greys, and hot splashing reds.

More than that, the show offers some excellent stylistic ‘comic book’ touches, from the majestic way hair floats to the ethereal fluttering of bandannas and other loose material. Afro Samurai also makes the best use of smoke I’ve seen anywhere, including claustrophobic shots of steaming gun nozzles and cigarette fumes pumping out of nostrils, which adds to the intense hellish atmosphere.


Sound

Unfortunately, stylistic excellence doesn’t extend to the soundtrack. Comparisons with the hip-hop themed Samurai Champloo are unavoidable once more: unlike Samurai Champloo’s memorable OP and catchy ED, Afro Samurai’s equivalents are respectively generic and bland. Many of the scenes avoid music altogether, opting for natural sounds, but when there is music, it consists of nondescript instrumentals or vague hip-hop-ish beats.

As a pleasant surprise, the English dub consists of street lingo to match the show’s urban flair. It’s novel but it’s also rather corny. At worst, there’ll be Samuel L. Jackson’s monosyllabic deadpan performance as Afro, which adds nothing to the feel of the show except to render his scenes flat and uninteresting.


Characters

The men are ‘badass’, the women purely decorative, and the ham-fisted villains fall to Afro’s sword at the drop of a dismembered head. As for Afro himself, viewers need only know one thing: he’s hard. He’s so hard he could break rocks by just sitting on them. He’ll fuck a brother up quicker than he can utter ‘Yo momma’. Etcetera. In short, Afro is vacuous and only entertaining while he’s killing people; in fact, his blinkered, unrepentant lust for revenge even at the cost of allies is wholly unattractive without the necessary background substance to make it understandable.

Afro is not the worst of them, though. No, that award belongs to his invisible sidekick, who presumably is some crude external representation of Afro’s inner self and whose incessant blabbering is meant to fill Afro’s stifling silences. His rapid-fire statements of the bloody obvious (‘We’ve got a stalker and I think he wants to fight you!’) are annoying as hell; moreover, he’s redundant as a foil since Afro’s glacial personality never wavers or develops in response to him. I’d much rather those precious minutes wasted on the sidekick had instead been used to flesh out Afro.

5.5/10 story
8.5/10 animation
6/10 sound
4/10 characters
6/10 overall