LaKeith Stanfield is legendary Black samurai Yasuke in new Netflix trailer

The highly-anticipated anime, scored by Flying Lotus, is based on the lost tale of a real-life Black samurai.

by Jenna Mahale
|
27 April 2021, 11:29am

Still from Y

LaKeith Stanfield may have stolen the show this weekend at the 2021 Oscars in a ridiculously sultry Saint Laurent look, but now the actor -- best known for his roles in Sorry To Bother You, Uncut Gems, Someone Great, Get Out (the list goes on) -- is taking on the eponymous main character in Netflix’s flashy new historical fantasy anime, Yasuke. Get you a man who can do both! Or, in LaKeith’s case, everything.

Premiering on the streamer this Thursday 29 April, Yasuke takes us to a feudal Japan where wizards, monsters, demons, and robots roam the land. When we meet Yasuke, he is living as a servant, trying to escape his violent past as a ronin. “But when a local village becomes the centre of social upheaval,” reads the show’s official Netflix synopsis, “Yasuke must take up his sword and transport a mysterious child who is the target of dark forces and bloodthirsty warlords.”


As well as being blessed with a score from Grammy-nominated music producer Flying Lotus, the series is animated by the renowned Japanese animation studio MAPPA and created by LeSean Thomas, whose credits include The Boondocks and The Legend Of Korra. Each of the six episodes will run for 30 minutes, leaving ample time to pack in lots of gore, tense looks, and fiery drama. The voice cast includes The Mandalorian’s Ming-Na Wen, Darren Criss (of chaotic Glee fame), Takehiro Hira, Maya Tanida, Paul Nakauchi, Julie Marcus, William Christopher Stephens, Dia Frampton, Don Donahue, Amy Hill and Noshi Dalal.

According to a recent article on Quartz Africa, the real-life Yasuke -- Japan’s first foreign samurai -- is believed to have been abducted from his home (likely present-day Mozambique), auctioned off during the 16th century to an Italian Jesuit priest, arriving on the shores of Kyoto in his mid-twenties as a slave and personal bodyguard. The anime picks up where the real Yasuke’s story leaves off, thanks to a dearth of historical record, but with added magic and monsters, of course. Get a first look at the action in the trailer below.


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