The Dream Reader

The Dream Reader is an anime episode of Afro Samurai that was released on 01/11/2007

[Ed. note: this episode constantly switches between flashbacks from Afro's past and the wounded Afro Samurai of the present. I've tried to make distinctions between "Afro" of the present and "young Afro" of the past, but it may get confusing at times to explain in words. Just watch the episode and see for yourself.]

The episode starts out with a mostly black-and-white flashback of the young Afro Samurai running away from a small group of thugs who want to take the Number Two headband tied around his waist. Afro is carrying his father's decapitated head on his back along with his sword. However, the thugs easily overpower him, take the headband, and leave him to die with his father's rotting skull. The scene then switches to the present, where a heavily-bandaged Afro Samurai lies unconscious on a mat while a black-haired woman stands over him. Back in the Afro's past, Jinnosuke and a young girl find the wounded Afro hanging in a small shrine. Jinno finds the sword of Afro's father lying nearby and uses it to free him.

Afro wakes up in the present, but the woman is telling him he was badly wounded and poisoned from his last battle. She calls herself Okiku, and tells Afro to get some more rest. Okiku claims that she knew Afro was a samurai, because he was clutching a large sword as he washed up, badly wounded, in a riverbank. Ninja Ninja reappears, calling him a "lucky dog" before he falls back into dreaming about his past. The young Afro is being cared for at a dojo by a master who expresses solidarity with him, while the young girl from before tries to cheer him up. However, young Afro seems depressed.

The bandaged Afro tries to eat a meal that Okiku prepared for him, while Ninja jeers at him from the rafters, telling him that Okiku was "checking [Afro] out," and tries goading Afro into making a move on her. In the past, young Afro simply stares at the meal his sensei prepared. Jinno and the little girl end up convincing him to eat it before going to catch fish by the river. In the present, Okiku wonders if Afro had a pleasant dream, but Afro says nothing. She gives him another salve for his wounds and promises to cook a "special" fish dinner for him.

Young Afro is seen practicing basic sword strikes at the dojo, and then tries to sell fresh vegetables with Jinno, but no one feels like buying them. Jinno decides to give up and go home, but young Afro overhears one of the passersby talking about the Number Two headband and its wearer supposedly being in town. Young Afro follows the man into a house and tries to make him cough up the location with his sword, and even cuts him up, but the man tells him nothing, even taking his own life while Afro watches. Young Afro stumbles home, but keeps seeing his dead father's face.

In the present, a ninja watches Afro Samurai from above the rafters, promising to kill him. But Afro notices and quickly kills him before having supper with Okiku. Afro then tries to pay Okiku for her services, but she refuses, instead wanting to spend one more day with Afro. In the past, young Afro is chastised by his sensei for asking about the Number Two headband, claiming that Afro should "break the chain" of violence that surrounds it, not perpetuate it. However, the friends of the man that young Afro stabbed come seeking revenge. Young Afro manages to use their own weapons against them, and manages to defeat them when his friends provide backup. As he cuts off the neck of the last thug, the man mocks young Afro, telling him that there's a new Number Two, and Afro will never find him.

A naked Okiku stands naked by a waterfall, talking to someone and claiming that she has saved important data to her cell phone, but that she needs more time as Afro accidentally finds her bathing spot. The person on the other end of the phone turns out to be Brother #1 of the Empty Seven Clan, who then decides to call Brother #2. Back at the house, Ninja Ninja continues goading Afro into making a move on Okiku, asking him if he doesn't sense "something familiar about that girl". After watching the fireworks together, Okiku and Afro end up having sex. But afterwards, Afro has more flashbacks, but this time involving an angry Jinno covered in blood and shouting, "It's all because of you!"

As Okiku transmits some data on her cell phone, cybernetic ninjas quietly begin to surround her house. Okiku then destroys her phone as Afro approaches her from behind, claiming that she was siphoning his memories for the Empty Seven Clan to provide "source code," but she couldn't continue doing it. Afro then stabs a ninja sneaking by a wall behind him, and calls her "Otsuru," realizing that she was that same young girl with the teddy bear from his flashbacks. She tries to help Afro fight back, but Brother #2 stabs her through the chest as his ninjas take the data from her dead body and #6 torches the house with a flamethrower. Ninja remarks that every time Afro's getting his groove on, something gets "killed, burnt down...whatever." However, Afro walks out of the flaming house unscathed, continuing his journey to fight Number One.

Characters & Voice Actors

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Otsuru ( x ) ( x ) ( x )
Tara Strong ( x ) ( x ) ( x ) (English)
Jinnosuke ( x ) ( x ) ( x )
Yuri Lowenthal ( x ) ( x ) ( x ) (English)
Ninja Ninja ( x ) ( x ) ( x )
Samuel L. Jackson ( x ) ( x ) ( x ) (English)
Afro Samurai ( x ) ( x ) ( x )
Samuel L. Jackson ( x ) ( x ) ( x ) (English)

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