Netflix’s new original anime “Yasuke” not only makes one of the best new shows, but also takes a huge step forward when it comes to black representation in the medium.
The anime is set in an alternate fantasy Japan during feudal times. Created by LeSean Thomas, the story is about the black samurai warrior Yasuke (LaKeith Stanfield) who must return to his life of sword and violence to protect a mysterious girl from the dark forces.
I recently got back to the anime after coming back to it during the depths of lockdown in 2020 with, “Seven Deadly Sins,” on Netflix and I fell down a rabbit hole and finished “Attack On Titan (AOT ) “,” Tiger & Bunny “,” Black Clover “and” Demon Slayer “recently.
And while he’s one of the most underrated mediums for storytelling in the West, he’s one of the biggest audience shooters in the East and enthusiasts of the medium elsewhere.
However, with more and more media becoming more and more inclusive, cartoons are still lagging behind – especially since the number of POC / Black, female and queer fans has increased.
Last year, “Cannon Busters,” also premiered by Thomas, was extremely well received with an all-POC / Black lead cast.
“Yasuke” takes you on an exciting ride and it’s clear that the show-runner and the writers are black, with the way racing is handled in the series.
Yasuke is a well-written character with Stanfield who brings our tortured hero to life along with the rest of the English voice cast.
The animation is spectacular, which is not surprising since the studio behind it is MAPPA, who is also responsible for “AOT”. Similar to AOT, ”“ Yasuke ”strikes a perfect balance between merging 2D and 3D elements without feeling forced or out of place.
One small detail that many POC / Black fans have asked about black characters, especially dark skinned ones, in the animation as a whole is the depiction of Type 4 hair and the fact that the palm and soles of the black character’s feet are not identical. shadow like the rest of their body.
This is not at all correct. “Yasuke” doesn’t have this problem. And it’s these little things that make it so nice to watch as POC / Black.
The storyline is well paced and we understand that Yasuke is an alien in the fictional world set in Japan, as he is the only black samurai.
And while it might seem short at 6 episodes, the series is an average of 30 minutes – excluding openness and credit – which is way above the average length of anime shows.
The musical score also mixes traditional Japanese music with hip hop, house and R&B elements that highlight how darkness is incorporated into everything on this show.
It’s a fantastic show from start to finish and if you are a fan of POC / Black anime it will be even nicer to watch.
“Yasuke” starts broadcasting on Netflix April 29.