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Afro Samurai

Afro Samurai (アフロサムライ Afuro Samurai), stylized as ΛFRO SΛMURΛI, is a Japanese seinen dōjinshi manga series written and illustrated by manga artist Takashi Okazaki. It was originally serialized irregularly in the avant-garde dōjinshi manga magazine Nou Nou Hau from September 1999 to May 2000. Inspired by Okazaki’s love of soul and hip hop music and American media, it follows the life of Afro Samurai who witnessed his father Rokutaro (owner of the No. 1 headband) being killed by a male gunslinger named Justice (owner of the No. 2 headband) while he was a child. As an adult, Afro sets off to kill Justice and avenge his father. The Afro Samurai dōjinshi was adapted into an anime miniseries by Gonzo in 2007, along with the television film sequel Afro Samurai: Resurrection in 2009, which gained two Emmy nominations, for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation, which it won and Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Hour or More). After the release of the anime series, Okazaki remade the original Afro Samurai dōjinshi into a two-volume manga. To be only released in North America, Tor Books and Seven Seas Entertainment licensed the title and published it under their new Tor/Seven Seas imprint. In addition to the success of the anime series, Afro Samurai has also been adapted into a video game and an upcoming live-action feature film. For the TV series and the film, two soundtracks by the RZA of Wu-Tang Clan have been released as well as a profile book in Japan.

Plot

In a feudal yet futuristic Japan, it is said that the one who wields the Number 1 headband is the fiercest fighter in the world and shall possess god-like powers. The only way to obtain the Number 1 headband is to challenge and defeat the current wearer in combat. However, only the Number 2 can challenge the Number 1 whereas anyone can challenge the Number 2. Thus, whoever wears the Number 2 headband risks constant attack. The Number 2 headband's current owner Justice fights and kills Rokutaro, Afro's father and owner of the Number 1 headband. Afro Samurai witnesses the fight and vows revenge against Justice who tells him to seek him out when he is "ready to face a god." Years later, Afro is the Number 2 master swordsman. He kills the Empty Seven Clan and various assassins, recalls his past memory, and goes to Mount Shumi. He also confronts his vengeful childhood friend Jinno. Afro discovers that there are other headbands in existence, ranging to an unspecified higher number and sees that the corpses of those who wore them are skewered throughout Justice's safe house. Afro kills Justice and takes the Number 1 headband, and all of the headbands disappear. Afro returns and lives in the mountains to confront Jinno, who is adorned with every headband in existence and seeking revenge. The final scene shows that Justice has returned from the dead. However, the story changes in Afro Samurai: Resurrection, when Jinno takes Rokutaro's corpse, while Jinno's sister Sio takes the Number 1 headband and asks Afro to find the Number 2. After taking the headband from Shichigoro, Afro confronts the resurrected Rokutaro, who kills Jinno and Sio. Afro defeats Rokutaro, gives the Number 2 headband to Kotaro and continues to wear the Number 1.

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