Yasuke series creator LeSean Thomas (Cannon Busters) and Netflix VP of Japan & Anime John Derderian just announced the series’ premiere date and released the first three images from the much-anticipated anime series. The six-episode first season will be released globally on April 29, 2021.
The series combines the talents of Japanese animation studio MAPPA, character designer Takeshi Koike (Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine), and composer, co-director and executive producer Flying Lotus. Series creator Thomas also writes, directs, and executive produces, and executive producer LaKeith Stanfield provides the voice of Yasuke.
The series is set in what’s described as an “alternate fantastical Japan during the feudal era.” In this alternate world, a samurai warrior of African descent is charged with protecting a girl from dark forces.
“The story, just like the passionate creative team, transcends borders, cultures, and languages and is one that we’re so proud to tell at Netflix and share with the world,” stated Derderian.
“There is a serendipitous nature about this project, how an African-American man goes to Japan to live and work amongst the very best in Japanese anime to create an anime about an African who goes to Japan to live amongst the Japanese elite and become a warrior,” explained LeSean Thomas. “Part of me deep down feels I was meant to create this adventure series with MAPPA, Flying Lotus, LaKeith & the rest of this talented team.
Yasuke is a fascinating, mysterious figure in Japanese history that’s drawn a growing interest in today’s media over the decades. I first learned of Yasuke’s role in Japanese history over a decade or so. The children’s book, Kuro-suke by Kurusu Yoshio, featured images that piqued my curiosity. To eventually learn that he wasn’t just a fictional character, but a real person, was exciting material for an adventure story.”
Thomas added, “I’m so excited for both longtime fans and newcomers to enjoy our reimagined take on this historical figure.”
The Plot, Courtesy of Netflix:
In a war-torn feudal Japan filled with mechs and magic, the greatest ronin never known, Yasuke, struggles to maintain a peaceful existence after a past life of violence. But when a local village becomes the center of social upheaval between warring daimyo, Yasuke must take up his sword and transport a mysterious child who is the target of dark forces and bloodthirsty warlords.