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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

SPOTLIGHT: “Afro Samurai: Volume One”, Story and Art by Takashi Okazaki

Read An Excerpt HERE

Afro Samurai: Volume One”, Story and Art by Takashi Okazaki. Release Date: September 2, 2008. Published by Tor/Seven Seas.

In the futuristic yet feudal world of Afro Samurai, people wield cell phones and katanas, cyborgs battle ninjas, and blood flows freely—and literally on the page. In this world, it is said that he who acquires the No.1 headband shall gain enough power to rule the world. It is also said that only the No.2 warrior may challenge No.1. And in the shadows lurks a multitude of assassins eager to kill No.2 and take his place as top contender:

Years ago, the last No.1 was brutally slain by a power-hungry gunman called Justice. No.1’s son, who witnessed the murder, has grown up to become the cold-hearted warrior known as Afro Samurai. He has honed his skills with a single purpose in mind. With the No.2 band now around his forehead, Afro sets off to give Justice his due. But with scores of assassins and two-bit swordsmen on his trail, will Afro survive long enough to avenge his father’s death?

Takashi Okazaki’s dark and edgy manga—which resonates with revenge, cool characters and gorgeous illustrations—inspired the
Spike TV anime series which premiered in 2007 and featured the voices of Samuel L. Jackson, Ron Perlman (Hellboy) and Kelly Hu (X-Men 2), as well as a phenomenal hip-hop soundtrack created by the Wu-Tang Clan’s Rza. The storyline and artwork inspired Samuel L. Jackson to not only voice the titular Afro and his sidekick, Ninja Ninja, but to also take on a major role as producer for the anime series. A second season, titled “Afro Samurai” Resurrection”, has been announced for 2009 on Spike TV.

Additionally, there is an Afro Samurai videogame for the
Playstation3 and Xbox360 which is slated for a January 27, 2009 release, and plans for a live-action film starring Samuel L. Jackson.


About Takashi Okazaki:

Takashi Okazaki has been illustrating and performing for some time. He has provided concept and character designs for director
Katsuyuki Motohiro, and contributed to the artwork for the DVD release of Spider-Man 2. “Afro Samurai” is his first work published in the US.

NOTE: I know I just included this title in the September 2008 Spotlight, but I believe its worth a closer look :) The anime is a lot cooler in my opinion, but it’s pretty neat to see where the story and characters originated from. I can’t wait for the new season of Afro Samurai and I just might have to check out that videogame too :D

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