Flying Lotus is scoring Yasuke – African Samurai anime for Netflix

Everybody could use something to look forward to these days, right? How about Flying Lotus plus African samurais, mechs, and magic?

This one was too good not to share. Flying Lotus has been a perpetual advocate of both great music and innovative visuals, including ongoing collaborations with visualists and animation (including with Adult Swim), too many to mention. His Brainfeeder parties took over an oversized cinema for a reason. But mixing this masterful Grammy winner with anime holds more promise.

Yasuke has historical source material – he was a retainer of African origin who served in Sengoku period Japan (late 16th century). For Netflix, the creators ran with that to produce a fanciful world in which he is “the greatest ronin ever known” and medieval Japan has some mechs and magic thrown in.

Full credit to dr. Mathys on Twitter for picking up on this one; I totally slept on the news.

Here’s what LeSean Thomas, creator, exec producer, director, and showrunner says in a statement released by Netflix:

There is a serendipitous nature about this project, how an African-American man goes to Japan to live and work amongst the very best in Japanese anime to create an anime about an African who goes to Japan to live amongst the Japanese elite and become a warrior. Part of me deep down feels I was meant to create this adventure series with MAPPA, Flying Lotus, LaKeith & the rest of this talented team.

Yasuke is a fascinating, mysterious figure in Japanese history that’s drawn a growing interest in today’s media over the decades. I first learned of Yasuke’s role in Japanese history over a decade or so. The children’s book, Kuro-suke by Kurusu Yoshio, featured images that piqued my curiosity. To eventually learn that he wasn’t just a fictional character, but a real person, was exciting material for an adventure story.

I’m so excited for both longtime fans and newcomers to enjoy our reimagined take on this historical figure. 

Mr. Thomas of course is also a legendBlack Dynamite, The Legend of Korra, The Boondocks, Children of Ether, Cannon Busters, plus a mind-bogglingly long resume as a comic artist and animator. You’ve seen his work unless you have been avoiding anything drawn for the last twenty years. Born in the Bronx, now based in Tokyo (previously LA, so closer to FlyLo’s haunts). But whereas you might have needed Crunchyroll to get access to some of his original shows, now it hits new accessibility on Netflix.

All I can say is, Steve, I am seriously stoked for this. 6 episodes are due on April 29. It’s refreshing just to see new imaginative series and not just big corporations endlessly mining the same IP. (Ahem. I mean – don’t get me wrong, I’ve been watching Disney Wars: Return of the Franchise Universe. But we need new stuff, too.)

And at a moment when electronic music is feeling a bit rudderless and cut off without live performance arenas, it’s great to see a venue other than only, uh, Bandcamp.

Stay tuned on this. Images courtesy Netflix – sorry, they’ve all I got, so you can imagine for now what FlyLo’s score will sound like.

For some actual music, you don’t have to look far. There was so much going on in 2020, but the deluxe Flamagra from FlyLo is well worth picking up if you can – an epic saga of the artist at the peak of his powers.

No one is going to have herd immunity anywhere in April, so I’m personally glad we’ll have something to watch and a new score to discover.

https://about.netflix.com/en/news/redefining-what-anime-can-be-with-yasuke

https://www.netflix.com/title/80990863

Not really directly CDM related, but here’s also an interview with LeSean Thomas that makes some great listening, just because:

The Pegbar and Grill Podcast · Series 2, Episode 4: Lesean Thomas (Pt.1)