Netflix reveals first look at new African samurai anime from MAPPA


Yasuke is the newest anime coming to Netflix, and on Monday, the streaming service released the first few images from the show. Along with a few teaser images and a preview of the story, Netlfix also revealed that the anime will have six episodes and is set to release on April 29.

In the real world, Yasuke was the first African samurai warrior. While Yasuke is a real person, the story of the anime series will be set in an alternate and fantastical version of feudal Japan. The anime will follow Yasuke as he’s pulled back into his violent samurai past, in order to protect a mysterious girl from some kind of evil forces.

A small child tries on Yasuke’s helmet in an still from the Netflix anime Image: Mappa/Netflix

Helping bring this story to viewers is a star studded creative team that comes from all around the world. The show is created by LeSean Thomas (Black Dynamite, The Boondocks) and has been animated by MAPPA, a premier anime studio whose most recent work includes Jujutsu Kaisen. With the images and release date out in the world, Thomas took a second to reflect on the show in a statement.

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. 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. 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.

Also working on the show is director Takeshi Koike (Lupid the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine), and LaKeith Stanfield (Get Out, Atlanta, Sorry to Bother You) who will provide the voice of Yasuke. Finally, the series’ music will be provided by musician and producer Flying Lotus.

Yasuke will debut on Netflix on April 29.