If the Shaolin Cowboy ever makes it into the anime arena, he totally needs to duel with Afro Samurai. That comic’s been published sporadically, so it’s not especially well-known even in comics circles, but I’d say it could slot into the same set of revolver chambers as this. Ultra violence and rampant anachronisms in an indeterminate wasteland that could just as easily be the Old West or feudal Japan… all wrapped up with a tone that’s at once self-ridiculing and deathly serious. Yeah, judging by these two’s similar background, I figure they’d make perfect drinking buddies.
I’d comment on how this show would seem like the natural end product of hip hop and anime’s mutual fascination, but if the RZA’s doing the score, then the point was already made a long time ago. Actually, I’ve been meaning to get into this for a while, now. I caught some portions of it on Adult Swim or Spike or whomever had broadcast rights to it, but held off because I wanted to watch it from the beginning. Joke was one me though - - I actually caught the last half of the first episode!
Hearing Sam Jackson do the voices is simultaneously cool and distracting. Dude’s great in whatever he’s in, but since this is a dub (right?) the lips don’t “read” exactly to what he’s saying and, because he’s such a recognizable personality, I can practically see him in front of the mic in the recording studio when I’m hearing Afro and his “sidekick” speak. Guess it’s simply unavoidable with a star like him.
Straight up, this is some of the most baroque and expressive animation I’ve seen outside of anything Peter Chung’s done. Every single cel is just saturated with style and, beyond the familiar questions of style and substance, I can’t help but wonder if this was an experiment to see how minimalistic a revenge tale could get away with being. They set up the wrong-to-be-righted in the very first scene and all the blood and slashing and tough talk will take us to a comeuppance that litterally comes down to a matter of who's wearing a particular bandanna.
There’s no point in arguing with any of that.
Watch this episode "Revenge" here and decide for yourself.