In 2007 Samuel l. Jackson brought the violent, blood soaked world of Afro Samurai, with its lone, avenging wander, known either as “Afro”, or as number 1, and his quest to kill the owner of the number one headband – and the killer of his father, the original number .
Now Seven Seas brings us the manga adaptation of the series – ironically based on the original doujinshi [fan made comic] that spawned the animated series.
To describe the setting of Afro Samurai is a complex puzzle in itself – the world has the hallmarks of samurai era Japan, a setting know to many in the west, yet from time to time in this, the first volume, we see anachronisms pop up – from mobile phones to even [in a later chapter] towns people dancing to a Disc mashing DJ – yet these don’t interfere with the flow, and in some cases provide a dynamic spin to the book [in the same chapter we have a man wielding a Gatling gun!].
Be warn though – although he volume is drawn and coloured in black and white, these are regularly [ and graphically] interspersed with the distinct red of blood as people can [and will] get sliced and dice with a alarming regularity by either number two or his opponents.
The volume is rounded off with not only a translation of some of the sound effects and some of the more obscure references, but we are also given a chance to see the original doujinshi that started the ball rolling [nice touch seven seas!]
My only complaint though [if that] is that the first volume pretty much follows the plot of the first couple of episodes of the original animated series perfectly – suffice it to say if you didn’t enjoy the anime, this manga isn’t going to change your mind!
In the end if you enjoyed Afro samurai, are a fan of Samuel l Jackson, or liked Samurai Champloo, then this should be on your reading list.