Jan 21, 2017
[I would not recommend watching this pilot until you have finished the main Afro Samurai media (as it does spoil what villains will be in the show and a few key plot points). That being said, on with the review:]
The original 2003 Afro Samurai pilot from Studio Madhouse is only around three minutes....but oh, what a three minutes it is! Before anime studio Gonzo took the production of the anime to final product four years later, Takeshi Koikei directed and animated this promotional under the Madhouse banner. If you have seen the Spike TV miniseries and thought it was extremely stylized, this
pilot promo cranks it up even more so.
Plot-wise, this pilot really has none (as to be expected for short promotional created for funding purposes). It is basically a three-minute fight scene of Afro dueling his way through all the major antagonists of the main series and sequel film.
The art of this promo is gorgeous and flowing. The finished project was ultimately very well-done, but this pilot leads me to believe if Madhouse had followed through with the production, it would and could have been even better (in the art department anyways). Unfortunately, Takeshi Koikei became busy with the production of the delayed anime film Redline and Afro Samurai fell by the wayside before changing studio hands and becoming a Gonzo production as it is known as today. Ultimately, the most this pilot does is show what potentially "could have been" if Madhouse had made the show.
In short, enjoy this artifact if you want a few more drops of Afro Samurai before you've exhausted the related media. If you're going through withdrawals at the fact you have ran out of hip-hop samurai goodness, wander on over to Shinichirō Watanabe's Samurai Champloo and get a solid (less gory) extension to soothe your craving a little longer.
What did you think of this review?