Oscar-nominated actor LaKeith Stanfield will voice history’s first Black samurai in the Netflix anime series Yasuke.
According to IndieWire, the series will feature six episodes and takes place in “war-torn feudal Japan filled with mechs and magic.”
Created by LeSean Thomas, Yasuke will premiere on Netflix on April 29 and feature music from Flying Lotus.
— Strong Black Lead (@strongblacklead) September 3, 2019
The main character, voiced by Stanfield, is based on a real warrior active in the late 1500s.
The real Yasuke is known as the first African samurai in history.
According to BBC, Yasuke was a man who reached the rank of samurai under the rule of Oda Nobunaga, the 16th Century Japanese feudal lord.
Thomas told Entertainment Weekly that he considers this a great way to get people into the anime genre.
“The stuff that I tend to make I consider gateway anime,” he said. “These are projects that have a combination of ingredients that you wouldn’t normally get from the Japanese industry because of the history, the regional differences, and our cultural approaches. There are people who I’m pretty sure will say something like, ‘Well, I’m not really into anime, but man, it has LaKeith,’ or ‘Wow! Flying Lotus. I want to check that out.'”
He came across the story of Yasuke when he found images from a Japanese children’s book that referenced the Black samurai.
— YASUKE (@flyinglotus) March 9, 2021
Yasuke was animated by Japanese studio MAPPA and animated by Kaeshi Koike, Complex reported.