screening of Afro Samurai in Santa Monica

Chris Wood wordthecat
Wed Aug 8 05:06:50 EDT 2007

Hi - samurai imagery and hip hop actually have several points of confluence
- the most obvious I can think of being the Samurai Champloo anime series.
The hip hop influence here is mostly on the soundtrack which was composed by
Tokyo's 'Force of Nature' - the influence of hip hop, also occasionally
extends to content (samurai who rap, an episode centred around graffiti, one
character - Mugen - whose fighting style takes in breakdancing moves) and
form (the first episode has the frame being scratched back and forth several
times). The series is loosely set in Edo-period Japan, I say loosely
because, as the 'Champloo' in the title suggests, the series is conciously a
mixture of different signifiers and time-periods. It was directed by
Shinichiro Watanabe of Cowboy Bebop fame.

Elsewhere an episode of the (US) animation of the 'Boondocks' cartoon series
playfully imagines a local blind man as super-swordsman Zatoichi and
contains sequences of him running through a bamboo grove cutting people

In the sense that Kung Fu and Samurai culture are often lumped together in
the US - another figure who has been influential (as an image) is Bruce
Lee's student - the NBA player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. At 7' 2" and sporting a
big afro when he fought Lee in 'Game of Death'.

Just seen the conversation updated so I'll stop there.


On 8/7/07, jesty at <jesty at> wrote:
> This is a really interesting phenomenon. The sound track for
> Ghost Dog was also done by the RZA, and I heard a fantastic
> interview with him on NPR's Fresh Air where he talks about
> how influenced he was as a youngster by kung fu films and
> the samurai mythos.
> Does anyone know more about this phenonmenon (ie. Hip Hop
> remixing of the samurai character)? I guess the gangsta and
> samurai ethic are quite similar in the end, but who else is
> doing the actual cultural translation work?
> Justin Jesty
> ---- Original message ----
> >Date: Tue, 7 Aug 2007 12:42:02 -0700
> >From: Anne McKnight <annekmcknight at>
> >Subject: screening of Afro Samurai in Santa Monica
> >To: KineJapan at
> >
> >   An interesting test run of the first 5 parts of the
> >   upcoming anim? series Afro Samurai--seems like
> >   ninja movie + Afro-futurism, starring Samuel L.
> >   Jackson's voice. Apparently there is a live action
> >   film in the works. Screening is being held at the
> >   Aero, the Santa Monica outpost of the American
> >   Cin?math?que, as part of their horror sci-fi
> >   series. From the Egyptian's website:
> >
> >   Sunday, August 12 ? 7:30 PM
> >
> >   Los Angeles Premiere!
> >
> >   AFRO SAMURAI, 2006, Takashi OKazaki, Gonzo/Samurai
> >   Project/FUNimation, 125 min (5 episodes). This
> >   classic samurai story, with a revolutionary
> >   animation style and hip-hop flavor, tells the tale
> >   of a black swordman set in a futuristic, yet feudal,
> >   Japan who is on a mission to avenge the wrongful
> >   death of his father. Samuel L. Jackson voices the
> >   title role of "Afro," a mysterious warrior who
> >   travels a solitary path encountering a myriad of
> >   enemies, friends and challenges beyond imagination.
> >   Renowned rap artist & producer RZA provides the
> >   original soundtrack for the series. The cast also
> >   includes Ron Perlman as "Justice," a lightning quick
> >   gunfighter, responsible for the death of Afro's
> >   father and Kelly Hu as "Okiku," a seductively
> >   beautiful girl and healing arts expert. The concept
> >   was created by graphic designer/illustrator Takashi
> >   "Bob" Okazaki, and the series is a creative
> >   collaboration between Jackson (executive producer),
> >   Okazaki, and Japanese animation company Gonzo.
> >   Discussion following with producer Eric Calderon.
> >
> >
> Horror_SciFi_Aero_2007.htm#AFRO%20SAMURAI,
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the KineJapan mailing list