On Monday night, Flying Lotus shared the first images and release date for the upcoming Yasuke anime series. The three images shown of the forthcoming show include two of Yasuke, the titular character that the series is centered around. Along with the images, FlyLo revealed that Yasuke is dropping on Netflix April 29.
According to a press release for the show, Yasuke is a six-episode anime “set in alternate fantastical Japan during the feudal era,” and “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.” He will be voiced by actor LaKeith Stanfield.
Yasuke was a real-life figure, reputedly the first black samurai to serve a warlord in Japan. According to various sources, he was likely from Portuguese Mozambique and served Nobunaga from 1581 to 1582. When Valignano arrived in Japan with Yasuke, the latter’s presence reportedly caused some commotion. Black people at that time were not discriminated but admired, with many depictions of Buddha being portrayed as black in Japanese temples. Yasuke’s skin color became of interest to Nobunaga, who thought Yasuke was covered in black ink (and even made him scrub himself to prove he was black).
“Yasuke is a fascinating, mysterious figure in Japanese history that’s drawn a growing interest in today’s media over the decades,” LeSean Thomas, the creator, executive producer, and director of the series, said in the press release. “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.”
Flying Lotus serves as an executive producer alongside Thomas, as well as the show’s music producer.
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