Prior to the anime's release on Thursday, Netflix and creator, producer, and director LeSean Thomas (Cannon Busters) released the opening theme to the highly-anticipated Yasuke. Set in alternate fantastical Japan during the feudal era, Yasuke is the story is about a samurai warrior of African descent who must return to his life of sword and violence in order to protect a mysterious girl from the dark forces. Award-winning actor LaKeith Stanfield voices Yasuke, the first African Samurai- while Grammy Award-nominated artist and executive producer Flying Lotus supply the music.
With Japanese animation studio MAPPA (Attack on Titan: The Final Season, Jujutsu Kaisen) handling the 6-episode series with designs from director and animator Takeshi Koike (Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine), viewers were given a preview of the anime's opening theme. Take a look and we will share our thoughts after the video "Black Gold," written and produced by Flying Lotus and performed by Thundercat:
After having seen the trailer for Yasuke, I have been excited for the anime to premiere. The animation looks great and so amazingly crips and sharp, reminds me a lot of Demon Slayer so far. Not to mention I freaking adore seeing people of color in anime done well… excuse me while I go cry because representation is so damn important. That said, the intro song reminded me more of an outro instead. It was a chill vibe, and to be honest, I am so used to opening theme songs being more on the jacked-up end of the spectrum. It was a good song and kinda made me look forward to the anime coming out even more so. That is a big expectation though, once I like the intro song I expect to like what comes after. Time to cross our fingers- we'll be diving into the anime today and tomorrow for a weekend review.
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. The story of Yasuke, the first African samurai who actually served the legendary Oda Nobunaga, will be released to the world.
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 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."