Well, this is a rather interesting take on sci-fi and action. Granted,
the whole 'revenge' storyline has been done to death in countless other
action titles I've seen, both in anime and American live-action films.
But, I'll give this movie credit for trying to offer something different
with its action. But all said and done, much within this movie will get
kudos for the style with its detailed character designs and fluid and
intense battle scenes. As for the substance though, there is limited
character depth and development as well as plot elements that are
typical of the 'revenge' storyline approach. Not to mention there's
enough gore, blood, 'F' bombs, and even some sexual content to give you
plenty of shock value.
In terms of the plot, Afro Samurai
switches back and forth between past and present. The present shows his
journey as he takes out the Empty Seven and continue his journey to
persue Justice, the Number One. The past shows how Afro acquired his
skills and became the Number Two. These flashbacks also show how his
actions affected those close to him at the dojo as they find themselves
associated with Afro's enemies or dead from the war for the position of
But, the whole problem with this storyline approach
is that only the past storylines show signs of character development
while the present is non-stop action. Enemies lack any depth as they are
only around to hinder Afro only to get effortlessly hacked apart in
gory fashion by the guy. Present Afro's just a quiet, emotionless,
deadpan fellow who I couldn't find connecting with at all. Ninja Ninja
was the saving grace of the present storyline as his smart-mouthed
attitude added some humor to this dark environment and even shown some
symbolism into the path of Afro's character. As for the past storyline,
it was the strongest bit in terms of plotting as it does give you a good
sense of how Afro and those he cared for get affected by the headband
But even Samuel L. Jackson's talents alone aren't enough
for me to consider liking Afro Samurai if all there is to it is style.
I've seen enough 'revenge' themed anime and American movies. Only the
visuals stood as the strongest element to Afro Samurai for me.