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Afro Samurai: Resurrection
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Afro Samurai (Academy Award ® nominee Samuel L. Jackson) avenged his father and found a life of peace. But the legendary master is forced back into the game by a beautiful and deadly woman from his past. The sparks of violence dropped along Afro’s bloody path now burn out of control – and nowhere are the flames of hatred more intense than in the eyes of Sio (Lucy Liu: Kill Bill). She won’t quit until Afro is schooled in the brutal lessons he dealt those who stood in his way. There’s no such thing as final vengeance. The cycle of bloodshed spinning around the Number One Headband must roll on. Featuring the voice of Mark Hamill (Star Wars) and fresh production from The RZA (Wu-Tang Clan), the saga that began in the best-selling anime DVD of 2007 continues in AFRO SAMURAI: RESURRECTION.
Stills from Afro Samurai: Resurrection (Click for larger image)
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Plot and Characters: (minor spoilers) The story takes place after the Afro Samurai TV series, Afro is dreaming of getting attacked by two samurai who want his number 1 head band, when he defeats the two he wakes up. Then he is attacked in the real world, where the attackers defeat Afro Samurai, take his #1 headband and leave him the #2 headband then they dig up Afro's fathers Rokutaro's grave and steal his body. The the leader of the attackers tells Afro they will resurrect Rokutaro from the dead to punish Afro even more. So Afro goes on the adventure with his inner self Ninja Ninja (voiced by Samuel L Jackson!) to defeat the stealer of his headband and defeat the evil version of his father then recalim the #1 headband to show he is the most badass fighter ever!
Pros: The story is first rate again! good as always! If you loved the music from the TV show then rejoice! RZA does the music to make it feel even better. Because this is the Directors Cut version of the show, this version shows the Japanese version which is 10 minuets longer than the edited American version. Also because this is Directors Cut this version is UNCUT and UNCENSORED so you hear all the swearing, the action, the blood and everything else regular tv would censor! yeah uncensored!!! :D . This version also comes with an art book to show sketches from the creator of the show which is nice.
Cons: None, this is one hell of a great series!!
Over all: Buy this series!! I love you and if you loved the Afro Samurai 5 episode TV series then this is the perfect combo for the both of them!!
Accompanying Afro is his imaginary friend Ninja Ninja which Samuel Jackson plays both of these characters well. He annoys and yet keeps Afro sane. I've heard some people don't like him in this version, but I really didn't see any major changes to that character. This one part Afro is at a festival searching seriously for the headband and all Ninja cares about is the music and drink. Afro in this sequel has to get the number 2 headband first before getting back the number 1 just like he did before.
Afro doesn't know who has the headband yet so he questions different people to find out who has it. Sio tracks his progress with a few minions and cameras. When he finds out who has the number 2 headband it really ends up being the best battle in the movie. Reseurrection has good action sequences but they are fewer than the first movie. Which is unfortunate that they don't have more. The 4 cyborg battle was very fast, and intense; giving Afro lot's of trouble fighting them teaming up on him.
Counting down the clock is Afro's father being remade and programmed to go against Afro unless Afro can get there in time to stop it. Professor Dharman is back and is the one working on Afro's father as well as being in love with Sio. It's not a pretty thought with Sio being very sexy looking and the doc being a sphere. He's also behind making her 4 friends being made into cyborgs. When Afro gets there your expecting a fantastic last battle. It really is disappointing that it is not. It's very brief and unsatisfying. Jinno who was popular in the first movie remains a puppet throughout almost all the movie, and they didnt' do him justice at the end either.
Resurrection is not a bad sequel to the first. The sequel doesn't do well with a few of the characters. With the few battle sequences, they do good on 2 of them that last long. There are some other brief action sequences that don't have to do much with Afro's main story. The story ends very strangely without Afro being shown right at the end. I only have guesses as do alot of people on this. There might even be a possible sequel by the ending I'm not sure.
In the second part of Afro Samurai's saga, we're brought back to the violent world of samurai sword fighting. The theme here is still revenge. This time round, we have Lady Sio, voiced by Lucy Liu, looking to kill Afro for destroying her life, and her brother's.
The trail of violence starts with Lady Sio and her brother stealing the number 1 headband, as well as the remains of Afro's father. A semi-retired Afro isn't match for them, surprising. Her plan is to resurrect Afro's father to fight Afro.
In this movie, we have several fight scenes, all animated very stylishly. What really saves the movie is the animation and art. The occasional flashbacks doesn't add much depth to the characters.
There's one part where I really cringed and it's not a fight scene. It's when Afro is asking one of the Brothers on the whereabouts of the Number 1 headband. So the Brother challenged Afro to a dice game, which if he wins, he will get the information. Afro did play the game and lost. But seriously? Why won't Afro hold his sword and threaten for information in the first place? It just makes no sense. This movie is not about making sense and because of that, it suffers from lack of depth.
So did we get the Afro vs Afro fight in the end? There is, sort of. Well, I was very disappointed at the ending but I won't spoil it for you. Let's just say that it's not epic enough.
Video & audio quality
The HD version is visually beautiful. The line art is crisp, colours are strong.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 quality is great too. The soundtrack complements the movie well. Note that this is an English speaking movie, not a Jap movie dubbed with English subtitles.
Afro Samurai comes with the normal frills and thrills in the extra features.
* Afro Samurai: The Game.
This part showcases some of the aspects of the Afro Samurai game. Interesting to note is the physics of the game. Unlike most hack and slash games, Afro the game actually allows you to slick and dice - for lack of a better word - realistically. The game physics allow you to slice off parts of an opponent's body, "if you so choose, you can slice the nose of an enemy". Most other games show the enemies falling apart the same way no matter if you're slicing them lengthwise or breadth, not Afro the game.
* Enter the RZA.
This section features the RZA of the Wu-Tang clan talking about his part if producing the soundtracks and beats in the movie. I would have like it to be longer, but this part is pretty short and you do not get to hear a lot of the different beats in the movie.
* Afro In-depth
This section features the creator of Takashi "Bob" Okazaki telling viewers about the story of Afro. He explains his inspiration for the headbands, why Afro is designed the way he is and the Afro universe.
* Afro Samurai: East meets West. Part 1
The development of the movie from the Japanese side. Some interesting stuffs here, you can see how they actually plan out the movie and develop it.
* Afro Samurai: East meets West. Part 2
The production of the movie on the American side. Samuel L. Jackson and Lucy Liu talk about voice acting for Afro and Sio and some parts on how the movie was tweaked for the American audience. Note that the movie is spoken in English, not Japanese dubbed with English subtitles.
* Afro Samurai at San Diego Comic-Con 2008.
The scene at Comic Con 2008, featuring the interviews of Samuel L. Jackson, Takashi "Bob" Okazaki and the RZA. Also some candid frames of the attendees at Comic Con.
* Part A video commentary
Nothing much here but the commentary by director Kizaki, creator Takashi and the chief animators. The funny bit here is how they gave tribute to creator Takashi "Bob" Okazaki in the movie by having a movie version of him in it, along with 2 half naked girls.
If you're a fan of the Season One, then you'll probably like this one as well. It's also great for audience who just want some action not minding the story.
I didn't like this as much as as Afro Samurai Season One, which I've given 4-stars. So I've to rate this 3-stars. Nevertheless, it's still enjoyable.