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DVD Review: Afro Samurai director’s cut

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Afro Samurai was something that was bound to happen, ever since Japanese animation has been exported to different parts of the world and to different cultures. It is the child of this exportation, Japanese animation infused with black culture and American business. But what did it become, a Japanese anime? An Amercian cartoon? Or something else entirely? That answer is not easily answered, but I will do my best. My full review of the director’s cut Afro Samurai box set is waiting for you after the jump. First off, let me say that the box art is beautiful. It has a transparent cover that displays all the text for the DVD. When removed the box looks something like a book without text, and possess a texture that is akin to a vinyl-record’s sleeve. It opens like a book, though there is a third vertical flap that must be lifted in order to view the two internal DVDs. Each flap is decorated with high-quality black and white artwork. It is nice to see that Funimation spent a lot of time designing this box, knowing that the fans really do appreciate the extra work spent on something that most consider secondary. The first disc hold all five episodes, while the second disc has the special features. Which are: ‘a making of’ documentary, a look at the music and how it was produced, and character profiles with audio commentary. They do what’s expected of them, and elude on how this was created and about how all these unusual people met and worked together. There is not much going on with the story; but I think that is the point of it all. Afro Samurai is a story about revenge, and the path that one must take in order to achieve this goal. Instead of using narrative, Afro Samurai uses visuals, music, and fighting to convay a story. It reminds me of old Kung-Fu flicks from the seventies. Back then no one cared about the story of the movie; all they were interested in was the action. And I believe Afro Samurai is doing the same thing; furthermore, I would have to go out on a limb and say they are doing this on purpose. The music goes from hip hop, to soul, to rock, and is all thanks to the RZA; who also did the music for Kill Bill. Sometimes the music almost takes on a sort of video game like quality to it. Not that it sounds digitized, but slightly separated from the visual aspect of the animation; not that it is a bad thing. Overall, I was impressed with the entire package. It’s entertaining, posses wonderful packaging, and has memorable music. But when everything is said and done I think there is something more to it, something bigger. Afro Samurai, among other titles is a combination of art between different cultures. I believe this is just the start of this trend, and there is a lot more to come. So if you enjoy, mindless-action, hip-hop, or samurais in general, then this DVD box set is definitely for you.

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reviewed by God Len

 

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