Netflix reimagined the story of Yasuke for it’s animated series release. Upon seeing the trailer that focuses on a Black samarui to fights in Japanese battles, many were stoked. Viewers were immediately eager to catch the show, Yasuke episodes on netflix. However, what was found is that the show strays from the already interesting real story of Yasuke. Instead, the anime added elements of robotic machinery, magic, and fantasy. Also, frustrating was the lack of focus on the character of Yasuke that the show was built around. He shows up in pieces but his story is in the background instead of leading.
The viewer gets glimpses through the first 3 Yasuke episodes that are strongly done, of Yasuke’s history. Flashbacks show a talented sword fighting Yasuke as he rises through the ranks. This is where the historical accuracy ends. However, the main story of Yasuke is abandoned when it is discovered that instead he will be escorting a magic girl named Saki to bring power to the fight ahead.
The additional elements brought into the period action, drama serve to distract from an already interesting story and bring more confusion than add to the story. That said, the final two Yasuke episodes are action packed battle where all of the pieces meet. It is possible that they were trying too hard to meld all these different pieces that they forgot the story they wanted to tell. It isn’t clear and to those who were are eager with excitement, are left with disappointment.
Note: the soundtrack is amazing and some say the show is much better when watched in Japanese. It is an option on Netflix so it may be something to consider.
A brief history of Yasuke’s real roots
The real story is set in1467-1516, during the Sengoku period, plagued by war. In 1579, Yasuke, an African slave arrived with his master, an Italian explorer. By way of destiny, Yasuke was found by a Japanese leader, Oda Nobunaga, seeking to unify Japan. Nobunaga assumed Yasuke was a diety due to his black skin that wouldn’t wash off and many dipictions of dieties in black, dark skin. Immediately, Yasuke was honored and taught to be a samurai in hopes that he may help against a depleted army. Oda wanted to bring about political stability to Japan and finally had an edge to do so. Yasuke was the first Foreign Samauri in history.
It was rumored that Chadwick Boseman was attached to this project. Unfortunately, Boseman died before it came to furition. There is no doubt that Boseman would have elevated the role as he was such a talented man. On the contrary, the main character is voiced by Lakieth Standfield. Just because Boseman has a strong presence in minds of fans, doesn’t mean we should dismiss Stanfield, altogether. Stanfield does a really good job in the role, providing emotion and substance to the character in the Yasuke episodes that really helps him stand out. And, that just makes it more disappointing of the story that could have been.