Netflix on Thursday released “Yasuke,” an anime series based on a real historical figure believed to be the first Black samurai.
The trailer, which was released on Monday and dubbed in English, shows Yasuke exhibiting his fighting skills against enemies who use swords, magical powers and mecha weapons.
According to historical accounts, Yasuke is the first non-Japanese samurai who served under the Japanese ruler Oda Nobunaga during the 14th century. Yasuke may have been a Muslim who originated from Mozambique, Portugal, Angola or Ethiopia, as NextShark previously reported.
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Being the first Black person most people in Japan had ever seen, his arrival caused a commotion wherever he went and eventually captured the attention of the warlord Nobunaga.
Netflix’s new anime takes on a fantastical approach to Yasuke’s story and features the protagonist trying to live in peace after a violent past. He will be forced to pick up his sword again to protect a mysterious child being targeted by warlords.
Directed by LeSean Thomas, the six-episode series is produced by Studio Mappa, the Japanese animation studio behind titles such as “Jujutsu Kaisen” and “Attack on Titan: The Final Season,” among others.
Thomas calls the series a “gateway” for those who might not have ever watched anime before, reported Wired
. The American animation producer was “impressed” by the story of Yasuke after reading a children’s book 10 years ago.
“Japanese anime has become very popular among Americans and in particular the African American community,” he said. “And there’s a lot of back and forth among fans about, you know, individualism and xenophobia in Japan. I felt like, who can refute this guy who actually served one of the most important figures in Japanese history?”
Netflix’s “Yasuke” stars LaKeith Stanfield in the titular role, alongside Ming-Na Wen, Takehiro Hira, Maya Tanida and others, reports Gizmodo
The series is set to premiere on the streaming service on April 29.