When one thinks of the history of feudal Japan, certain images usually come to the imagination of the public, one of which is the samurai, famous warriors who served the shogunate for almost eight centuries. These samurai, however, are almost always depicted with Japanese characteristics, as most were in fact Japanese. However, there was one, in the 16th century, whose history stood out: ex-slave, Yasuke arrived in Japan in 1579 with a missionary service; There he honed his fighting skills and became a samurai in the service of daimyō Oda Nobunaga, during the Sengoku era. Her story now arrives in an original Netflix anime series format.
Yasuke (LaKeith Stanfield) spent a period serving as a samurai in the Empire, however, no more. Today, he wants to live peacefully, with his hidden identity as a boatman in a country town. One day, the boy Haruto (Darren Criss) asks for his help, to take the young Ishikawa (Frampton Day) and her mother to the doctor, because she is very ill. What Yasuke didn’t know was that the young woman’s mysterious illness was, in fact, special powers that the girl was hiding that she didn’t know how to control, and this arouses the greed of very, very people. dangerous.
In short, the anime ‘Yasuke’ is a big mess. Everything in production seems to compete with itself. Created and directed by Lesean Thomas, the idea of adapting the story of the African black samurai to the classic anime format is great, because in addition to showing that this real story really took place, it brings contemporary young audiences to a good reference. from the non-hegemonic past. However, this becomes somewhat impractical from the moment the production is initially spoken in English. In addition, Lesean Thomas made a risky choice by choosing to recreate this episode as a dystopian past. The result is a feudal Japan with giant robots, people with superpowers, and characters that resemble well-known pop culture characters, such as “ Doctor Strange ” and “ Dragon’s Cave ” – an aesthetic to appeal to western audiences.
The trait of “Yasuke” resembles that of “Castlevania,” a hit on Netflix, but the similarity ends there. Nick Jones Jr.’s screenplay tells two stories in just six episodes of thirty minutes each: Yasuke’s present moment, taking the girl to the doctor, and the warrior’s past, building his samurai trajectory. The point is that, with little time and starting with the scenes from the past, the series is constantly moving back and forth in time, stunning the viewer especially in the first episodes, when we are still familiarizing ourselves with the plot. As if that wasn’t enough, the anime even got a completely out of place soundtrack with its theme, similar to motel lounge music. Nothing to do at all.
“Yasuke” is a great idea put in the wrong hands, as it tries to please two sides of the world whose cultures are completely opposite: the west and the east. In the end, it ruined more than it rained. Too bad, because the legendary black samurai deserved more for his legacy than a fanciful animation that places him as a sort of Seya eternally protecting Saori. Yasuke was more than that and deserves an anime to live up to.
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