After a bad review of Afro Samurai: Resurrection
that somehow got front-paged, I decided to go back and look over the original series again, and ask myself why I liked this show in the first place. I guess I can start out with the obvious stuff: Samuel-motherfuckin-Jackson, Ron Perlman, Kelly Hu, soundtrack mostly spun by The RZA, awesome sword-swinging samurai action and awesome animation by Gonzo.Afro Samurai
(Samuel L. Jackson) is a kid who saw his father get decapitated right in front of him by the gunman named Justice
(voiced by Ron Perlman). So naturally, this horrible tragedy slowly turned Afro into a crazy motherfucker where he slaughters or leads to the death of pretty much everyone he comes across for the sake of revenge on that one man. With nothing more than a sword and a wisecracking split personality that manifests iteslf in the form of Ninja Ninja (also voiced by Samuel L. Jackson), Afro takes on everything from cybernetic ninjas to a large man armed with an RPG in his single-minded quest for revenge.
One thing I liked about this series was that it actually kind of explored the backstory of Afro Samurai. We got to see through a series of flashbacks spread over a couple of episodes how Afro turned from a scared little boy into a badass samurai. We got to see Jinno
attempt to try and bring Afro away from the path of the headbands, up to the point where Afro chose revenge over a relatively peaceful life at the dojo, leading to a rather gut-wrenching scene in the fourth episode. There wasn't too much of a plot here, but what little existed was greater than the amount portrayed in the sequel.
I think this series was better overall because the fight scenes were much more awesome. True, the elements of the story actually made sense in this anachronistic world that relies more on the Rule of Cool
than any other tangible storytelling device, and Afro Samurai is not the most likeable or identifiable of protagonists, but he kicks so much ass in this show that you won't even care. At one point, he even gets into a swordfight with a robot clone of himself, and then later fights at high altitude with the same robot. How much cooler can you get?
Perhaps I was a bit too harsh in judging the sequel, but I still definitely liked this series better than Resurrection. Resurrection might have had better art and sound quality, but the fight scenes here were better and more plentiful and the story actually made a crazy bit of sense. Just make sure there aren't any children in the room while you watch it: plenty of blood and gore, and even one sex scene (in the uncut version) can be found in this series.