This review is for the Blu-ray release.
Afro Samurai: Resurrection is the second part of the Afro Samurai saga. The first being just Afro Samurai season 1, with just 5 episodes. The series was created by Takashi "Bob" Okazaki, Resurrection was directed by Fuminori Kizaki, as was the first Afro Samurai. The tracks in the movie have been produced by "The RZA" of "Wu-Tang clan" fame.
"There's no such thing as final vengeance", this is the theme of the Afro Samurai series. The running theme in the series is of vengeance resulting in more vengeance. In series one, Afro cuts a devastating path of blood to avenge his father, regained the famed "Number 1" headband.
In this movie, the viewers are introduced to the other side of the story, to Lady Sio (Lucy Liu), who will stop at nothing until she has schooled Afro in the consequences of the brutality of his revenge seeking path.
On first look, Resurrection seems like just another hack and slash samurai flick, but beneath the surface, we are introduced to the quintessential truth of life, vengeance begets more vengeance. Afro Samurai: Resurrection does have a more fleshed out storyline than Afro Samurai. However, there is only so much one can play around with the same theme.
I do applaud the efforts taken by the director to explore the theme from Lady Sio's perspective, and as a result, showing us an entirely different side to Afro, good take, but a little more would be nice.
Video Quality: 3.5/5
There's a visual difference between season 1 and Resurrection. In season 1, the entire idea was to render the series as close as possible to the original manga, which is in black and white. The colour set was almost monochromatic.
In Resurrection, director Kizaki has decided to deviate from the first series. The scenes and settings here are clearly differentiated via different colour themes, the colours are vivid and well used. Contrasting colour sets for each scene signals very clear scene cuts and changes. It is a much welcome change and better colouring. However, as the Afro universe is essentially a manga universe set in post-apocolytic Japan, you probably will not be seeing a lot of scene that allows you to appreciate the level of clarity and contrast that Blu-ray is truly capable of.
I have never been a big fan of Hip-Hop, nor The RZA, I have to say the tracks and beats that The RZA has produced for Resurrection are amazing. The raps are catchy and amazingly do not appear out of place in the Afro universe.
The background music is apt, but really stands out when the beats and raps come in. The quality of the audio is good, with the balance between sound effects and background music well done.
Afro and Ninja-Ninja's voice really benefits from the talents of Samuel L. Jackson. Lucy Liu also stands out as Sio's voice, lending to it an Asian quality very much suited to the character.
Afro Samurai comes with the normal frills and thrills in the extra features.
- Afro Samurai: The Game.
This part showcases some of the aspects of the Afro Samurai game. Interesting to note is the physics of the game. Unlike most hack and slash games, Afro the game actually allows you to slick and dice - for lack of a better word - realistically. The game physics allow you to slice off parts of an opponent's body, "if you so choose, you can slice the nose of an enemy". Most other games show the enemies falling apart the same way no matter if you're slicing them lengthwise or breadth, not Afro the game.
- Enter the RZA.
This section features the RZA of the Wu-Tang clan talking about his part if producing the soundtracks and beats in the movie. I would have like it to be longer, but this part is pretty short and you do not get to hear a lot of the different beats in the movie.
- Afro In-depth
This section features the creator of Takashi "Bob" Okazaki telling viewers about the story of Afro. He explains his inspiration for the headbands, why Afro is designed the way he is and the Afro universe.
- Afro Samurai: East meets West. Part 1
The development of the movie from the Japanese side. Some interesting stuffs here, you can see how they actually plan out the movie and develop it.
- Afro Samurai: East meets West. Part 2
The production of the movie on the American side. Samuel L. Jackson and Lucy Liu talk about voice acting for Afro and Sio and some parts on how the movie was tweaked for the American audience. Note that the movie is spoken in English, not Japanese dubbed with English subtitles.
- Afro Samurai at San Diego Comic-Con 2008.
The scene at Comic Con 2008, featuring the interviews of Samuel L. Jackson, Takashi "Bob" Okazaki and the RZA. Also some candid frames of the attendees at Comic Con.
- Part A video commentary
Nothing much here but the commentary by director Kizaki, creator Takashi and the chief animators. The funny bit here is how they gave tribute to creator Takashi "Bob" Okazaki in the movie by having a movie version of him in it, along with 2 half naked girls.
Afro Samurai: Resurrection is a pretty good anime movie. A strangely good mix of Japanese samurai sword fighting and western Hip-Hop culture. The animation is well done, the colours are great and the action is elegant. In my book, it rates as a Good Buy.
For the "Special Edition Director's Cut" version, the disc comes with a limited edition art book featuring forwards from the RZA, Bob Okazaki (creator) and Fuminori Kizaki (director) as well as never before seen images from the anime and the original manga. It's not a full artbook, but it does feature image boards and concept arts used in the development of the movie. There is also a brief write up for each of the characters in the book.
For more on Afro Samurai, check out the official afrosamurai.com.
Where to find it
Visit the links below to read more reviews on Amazon. There are other disc formats available also. Do note the region code for the disc and your player before buying.