In 2021, another exciting anime will be coming to you. Arriving this April is LeSean Thomas’s latest project, Yasuke, the tale of Japan’s only Black Samurai. We’re keeping track of everything you need to know about Yasuke season one, including the plot, new trailers, cast news, and the Netflix release date.
Yasuke, an anime series that Netflix will be streaming on Netflix Original is based upon the legend of Yasuke. He was the first Black Samurai to have been recorded in Japanese history. LeSean Thomas, creator, director and executive producer, shared his excitement about the project.
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. 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.
I’m so excited for both longtime fans and newcomers to enjoy our reimagined take on this historical figure.
LeSean’s most recent project on Netflix was the anime series Cannon Busters. LeSean worked on many animated films over the years:
Working on the project is animation studio MAPPA, the legendary production that’s animated for other incredible anime such as Kakegurui, Attack on Titan: The Final Season, and Jujutsu Kaisen.
Netflix will release the first season Yasuke on April 29, 2021.
Yasuke will have six episodes. The episodes will run approximately 30 minutes each.
Netflix has provided the official synopsis:
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.
LaKeith, Yasuke's voice actor at the moment of this writing, is the only cast member confirmed.
LaKeith Stanfield's roles are most prominently known for their parts in Selma, Knives Out and Sorry to Bother You. He was previously the voice of Guy, the Bison in Bojack Horseman.
According to historical records, Yasuke was the only known Black Samurai of Japan’s feudal era. He was also acknowledged as the only known non-Japanese retainer to serve daimyō Oda Nobunaga.
Although his origins are a matter of great debate, Yasuke arrived in Japan as a missionary Jesuit from Italy. Upon meeting Oda Nobunaga, the daimyō was fascinated by Yasuke’s skin and was convinced he was covered in black ink.
Yasuke eventually joined the Oda Nobunaga service and was there to support him in his quest for unification of Japan. His service to Nobunaga ended after the Honnō-ji incident, which resulted in the death of Nobunaga. He had tried unsuccessfully to stop the attackers while the warrior was present at battle.
He would immediately join the service of Oda Nobunaga’s son, Oda Nobutada. Yasuke was soon captured while fighting for the Nobutada forces and was presented to Akechi, the man responsible for Nobunaga’s death.
Historical records indicate that Yasuke was handed to the Christian church of Kyoto, but historians are often skeptical about this. Yasuke was captured and no other records of him were found.
Do you plan to watch the Yasuke first season on Netflix? Comment below to let us know!