You’re either going to love Yasuke or you’re going to hate it. I mean, that can be said for anything really. However, in the case of this new Netflix original series, opinions are quite polarizing for one reason; how familiar you are with anime as a genre.
Anime as a term isn’t just used to refer to the medium (animation), it also refers to an on-screen culture that covers absurd and challenging themes, coupled with visual stunts that any newcomer to the genre will have a hard time wrapping their head around. Anime is by definition over the top.
Enter Yasuke–a mid-tier (at least) Netflix anime series animated by MAPPA Studio, a top Japanese animation studio.
Let’s talk about the good. The fight scenes in this … whew! Although there’s a fair share of glowing lights in each fight scene doing glowing light stuff and blowing shit up, the actual swordplay in Yasuke is masterful and just the right amount of bloody to be discomforting.
As far as voice acting goes Japanese audio with English subtitles feels more natural than the English dialogue in some ridiculous situations.
As far as the story goes, you would expect any media about the first black samurai to be impacted at least a bit by the color of his skin. However, except in flashbacks, the story ends up being more about a samurai and his honor, themes anyone familiar with any samurai anime ever should be familiar with.
Yasuke is a story about a foreigner who rises to the highest rank of warrior: Samurai, and his journey to protect a child destined to rid the land of it’s greatest evil.
Yasuke is now streaming on Netflix.