On Monday, anime series creator, producer, and director LeSean Thomas (Cannon Busters) and Netflix unveiled first-look images for the highly anticipated anime series Yasuke. Set to hit the streaming service on April 29, the 6-episode series is under the guiding hands of revered Japanese animation studio MAPPA (Attack on Titan: The Final Season, Jujutsu Kaisen) with designs from director and animator Takeshi Koike (Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine). Award-winning actor LaKeith Stanfield voices Yasuke, the first African Samurai- while Grammy Award-nominated artist and executive producer Flying Lotus supply the music.
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. In a blog post entitled "Redefining What Anime Can Be with 'Yasuke'" (which you can check out here), Thomas and John Derderian, Netflix, Vice President of Japan & Anime, offered details on the series as well as released the three preview images you're seeing in the article.
"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," Thomas wrote. "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."