*Director LeSean Thomas has announced his new anime series “Yasuke” starring LaKeith Stanfield will debut on Netflix next month.
The streaming giant has revealed the first look images and the premiere date for the six-episode series, featuring the voice of Stanfield in the lead role. The series is a reimagining of the story of the first African samurai. Here’s the logline:
In a war-torn feudal Japan filled with mechs and magic, the greatest ronin never known, Yasuke, struggles to maintain a peaceful existence after a past life of violence. But when a local village becomes the center of social upheaval between warring daimyo, Yasuke must take up his sword and transport a mysterious child who is the target of dark forces and bloodthirsty warlords.
“There is a serendipitous nature about this project, how an African-American man goes to Japan to live and work amongst the very best in Japanese anime to create an anime about an African who goes to Japan to live amongst the Japanese elite and become a warrior,” said Thomas in a Netflix blog post. “Part of me deep down feels I was meant to create this adventure series with MAPPA, Flying Lotus, LaKeith & the rest of this talented team.
“Yasuke is a fascinating, mysterious figure in Japanese history that’s drawn a growing interest in today’s media over the decades,” he continued. “I first learned of Yasuke’s role in Japanese history over a decade or so. The children’s book, Kuro-suke by Kurusu Yoshio, featured images that piqued my curiosity. To eventually learn that he wasn’t just a fictional character, but a real person, was exciting material for an adventure story. I’m so excited for both longtime fans and newcomers to enjoy our reimagined take on this historical figure. “
Witness the legend like it’s never been told before. LeSean Thomas joins with anime hit-makers MAPPA for Yasuke, a new series following the legendary African samurai premiering on Netflix April 29th. pic.twitter.com/MVB0T2yUXO
— NX (@NXOnNetflix) March 9, 2021
Thomas will direct and produce the series with Japanese animation studio MAPPA, director and animator Takeshi Koike and Flying Lotus.
“From Tokyo to Los Angeles to New York, we’ve brought together the very best global talent to make this show — creator, producer and director LeSean Thomas (Cannon Busters), revered Japanese animation studio MAPPA (Attack on Titan: The Final Season, Jujutsu Kaisen), designs from world class director and animator Takeshi Koike (Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine), award-winning actor LaKeith Stanfield, and Grammy Award-nominated artist Flying Lotus have reimagined this story of the first African samurai,” John Derderian, Netflix, Vice President of Japan & Anime said in a statement.
“Yasuke is a six-episode anime series created by LeSean Thomas, set in alternate fantastical Japan during the feudal era. The story follows a samurai warrior of African descent who must return to his life of sword-fighting and violence in order to protect a mysterious girl from dark forces. The story, just like the passionate creative team, transcends borders, cultures and languages and is one that we’re so proud to tell at Netflix and share with the world,” Derderian continued.
“Yasuke” will drop on April 29.
Check out the images below: