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Afro Samurai is back! After avenging his father it seemed like the badass warrior with the funky hairdo could settle down to a peaceful life, but alas when you have gone through life slaughtering people the sins of the past are likely to come back to bite you in the posterior. Whilst chilling one day he gets ambushed by his former friend, turned rival, Jinno and his sadistic sister named Sio. They snatch Afro's number one headband and his father's remains (how gruesome.) You know what that means? Yes another blood spewing adventure featuring the swordsman voiced by Samuel L Jackson.
This movie follows the events of the five episode series I have previously reviewed. If you want to watch this animated film you will have to watch the series or you will have a tough time understanding what is going on. That is a shame as I rather liked Resurrection despite finding the original series to be disappointing (which may surprise you given that both the movie and series are alike.) Both the original series and this movie are just a simple story giving Afro an excuse to terminate opponents in the most bloody ways possible.
I think the running time helps. As I mentioned back when reviewing the series, five episodes (over two hours) of mindless action can get boring. This movie on the other hand is just ninety minutes long so the action doesn't saturate to the point were you start to lose interest. I also find that a good villain can make a movie much better and in this regard Resurrection does a better job than the series which only briefly featured the big bad guy at the beginning and at the end.
Sio the villainess voiced by Lucy Liu (Kill Bill, Charlie's Angels and Ally McBeal) was a far better baddie in my opinion. We see in a flashback that she used to a sweet little girl who has become twisted by revenge. Yeah that can happen when your dear brother gets turned into a teddy bear headed cyborg due to Afro's past deeds. Unlike Justice (the antagonist from the series) she features throughout the film scheming on how best to torture Afro. I enjoyed every scene she appeared in and not only because she is such a babe (as far as animated women go at least.)
Another thing I feel the movie did better than the series was the action. Definitely quality over quantity. The series had a lot of fights, but it was pretty much Afro owning fodder in a matter of seconds. This time round Afro doesn't face that many opponents, but the ones he does meet give him a run for his money resulting in spectacular battles which the viewer can get engrossed in. It is however disappointing that after some good duels, the final fight turns out to be an anticlimax. I don't want to spoil who the opponent is and how it played out, but you better not blink or you may miss it.
What I didn't like about Resurrection is the main character. Just like in the series I find it hard to like Afro. He doesn't say much so you can only go on his actions which involve him giving his all to achieve his objective, even if it means that good people end up suffering. At least this time round they did a better job at showing that Afro feels guilt for what he ends up doing. This is best dealt with prior to him challenging a samurai named Shichigoro for the number two headband he needs. Shichigoro has an adopted son and comes across as an all round nice guy, even treating Afro to free meal before they fight. If Afro kills him he will leave an orphan boy. Wouldn't that make Afro just as bad as the guy who killed his father in the first film?
So overall I recommend Afro Samurai Resurrection even if you will have to watch the series first. My advice would be to watch the series over the course of a week as opposed to one marathon session which will burn you out (that's what happened to me.) The film ends well, but they seem to hint at a sequel once the credits roll. I hope they abandon that idea because I don't feel the story has anymore legs. Please just end on a high. Hollywood is guilty of money grabbing sequels which lack quality, we don't need to see the same thing with anime.
Afro Samurai Resurrection is the sequal to the anime series that broadcasted in 2007. It shows the story of Afro (voiced by Samuel L Jackson) who is on a mission to stop his father being resurrected. Afro is forced to find the number 2 headband that he previously lost which leads him to a small village where he has to battle a noble samurai. With the number 2 headband in his grasp his next mission is to set out for the number 1 headband at the top of a mountain while battling off bandits who are after the number 2 headband. Afro faces countless dangers on his journey and also faces mental battles as the death of his father still haunts him. When he reaches the top of the mountain he faces his old childhood friends who are set on revenge for the death of their sensei and also the resurrected form of his own father! Definantly worth watching a great anime adaption from the manga, holds very similar style to the Samurai Champloo series and a real funky/bad ass performance from Samuel L Jackson 9/10
As you may have guessed from my other two reviews, I have a bit of thing for Afro Samurai. What can I say; Afro-sporting swordsmen make me feel fuzzy all over. Afro Samurai Resurrection is the sequel to the 2007 anime, reuniting the old cast for another gore-splattered adventure.
Some years after the events of the first season Afro has found peace deep within the Japanese mountains, where he seeks solace and inner forgiveness for his brutal past. Unfortunately someone like Afro just can't disappear. Suddenly he receives a surprise visit from the bear-headed cyborg Kuma, along with his vengeful sister Sio, who steal the remains of Afro's father in order to resurrect and torture him, as punishment for Afro's previous crimes. Now badly beaten and the memory of his father defiled Afro has no choice but to take up his sword, and walk the demons path of vengeance once again. It's either that, or his father dies...again.
Afro Samurai Resurrection is a brilliant follow up to the 2007 success, seeing Samuel L Jackson reprise his role as the gruff sword slinging samurai and his loud-mouthed companion Ninja Ninja, as well as host of equally entertaining characters. The show is still as gruesome as ever, and RZA once again have created the perfect soundtrack. The show still maintains it's unique perspective on the concept of revenge, showing how you can never completely walk away from your past, and how vengeance has a nasty habit of stabbing you in the back.
Although anime sequels, like most sequels, tend to be pathetic shadows of their forbearers, Resurrection is both a homage and an epic follow up to the first series, with several minor characters returning for small cameos and helping to tie up a few loose ends, whilst leaving the anime open for a trilogy. Even though I worry that yet another instalment might be pushing the creative threshold, and the creators are running the risk becoming yet another soulless franchise, the success of the first two instalments gives me hope that a third one will be just as spectacular. With rumours of a live-action movie coming up I wonder exactly how far this series is going to go, but remain faithful that whatever is produced will be cinematic gold.
Afro Samurai: Resurrection is the sequel to the fantastic 2007 film Afro Samurai. The general premise of the Afro Samurai films is that fighters kill each other to obtain the sacred #1 headband. However, there are headband rules: only the owner of the #2 headband can challenge to fight the owner of the #1 headband, therefore every fighter in the land is out to kill the owner of the #2 headband.
In the first film, Afro's father used to own the #1 headband and when he is killed, Afro avenges the his death by killing everyone in his path and becomes the Number One himself.
Samuel L. Jackson is the voice of Afro and also the voice of his alter-ego who manifests itself as the exuberant character Ninja Ninja. He is the complete contrast to Afro's bad-ass character: his hair is white to Afro's black, he's loud and Afro is a man of few words, and Ninja Ninja gets easily distracted by sex, fun and paaartaays, whilst Afro just wants to get down to business.
Most notably, Ninja Ninja is a complete coward and scarpers whenever Afro gets into a fight, which emphasises Afro's lack of fear and why he has the reputation for being a ruthless, cold-blooded killer. The appearance of Ninja Ninja gives the film humour and light relief, as Samuel L. Jackson really excels as this fast-talking, witty character.
The sequel begins with Afro still having the #1 headband, but he doesn't wear it and is now living a life of peace. That is until an evil and twisted killer called Sio (voiced by the delectable Lucy Liu) breaks the headband rules and ambushes Afro and takes the #1 headband from him, along with the buried remains of his father. Lucy Liu is the perfect voice for Sio, with her sultry but menacing tone, she exudes her ability to kick-ass. Of course her character has the obligatory anime/manga humungous cleavage, so she inevitably looks sexy, as her tight outfit barely conceals her ample bosoms.
She challenges Afro to find the current owner of the #2 headband and then come after her. Afro is only lured into this by Sio's claim that she will resurrect his father, with the help of a mad scientist, only to torture and kill him so that Afro will feel some of the pain that she has endured.
Despite Afro being heartless and vicious, he does have honour and plays by the headband rules and seeks out to kill the owner of the #2 headband. If he succeeds then this gives him the right to challenge Sio, as she now owns the #1 headband. This in itself sets off another chain of events, which sees history repeating itself and emphasises the fact that fighting to obtain these headbands brings nothing but misery to everyone.
As the film progresses we find out why Sio wants to kill Afro so badly, but to be honest, the story is pretty lacklustre and you really need to see the first Afro Samurai film to appreciate her need for revenge, as it involves characters from the first film. I haven't seen the first film in ages, so I'd forgotten some of what had happened and was watching this sequel wondering what was going on.
This film is pretty violent and graphic right from the beginning. In the first few minutes of the film, the amount of body parts being chopped off and the blood spurting out everywhere is on the same scale as Tarantino's Kill Bill. But at the same time, it is beautiful to watch. As with the first film, the animation is fantastic, quite similar to Samurai Champloo, but much darker. During the fight scenes the animation is lightning quick, as Afro slices up anyone who dares to challenge him and the battles are very close to the camera and in your face. I love the comic book style shading as it gives great depth to the scenes.
The RZA produced hip-hop soundtrack is as equally as good as the first film and compliments the action very well against the backdrop of pseudo Japan.
However, the plot made this is disappointing sequel and not one I'd recommend buying, but it would be good to rent if you liked the animation of the first Afro Samurai film.
Directors: Fuminori Kizaki
Number of discs: 2
Studio: Manga Entertainment
UK DVD Release Date: 27 April 2009
Run Time: 100 minutes
This is a film only review so I'm afraid I can't comment on the bonus features on the second disc.