Afro Samurai

Common Sense Media says

Stylish animation can't mask extreme violence and language.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The primary message is simply "You have to kill to get what you want." Characters use violence to achieve their goals, never once attempting to discuss problems with their adversaries. Verbal communication not a priority in this world.

Positive role models

Afro is a killer, no two ways about it. The fact that he's ultra-cool certainly sends a mixed message, but in the end, he's definitely not someone you'd want your kids to emulate.


Even by anime standards, this show reaches extraordinary levels of violence. Beheadings, rivers of blood, body parts flying -- you name it, and someone's likely going to slice it off.


It may be animated, but there's still nudity -- bare breasts, as well as some pretty steamy sex scenes.


Lots of gritty, adult-level cursing, including "f--k," motherf--ker," and "s--t."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Many characters smoke, and no one shies away from any of the major vices.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although Afro Samurai is animated, it's not a cartoon for kids. There's extreme violence (including beheadings, rivers of gushing blood, and more), sex (including some bare breasts), and adult language ("f--k," "s--t") throughout.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

As a child, young Afro (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson) witnesses his father -- the "number one" samurai -- being murdered by the number two samurai, Justice (Ron Perlman), who then usurps the title. Afro spends his whole life in training, and, upon adulthood, goes after Justice. He defeats one foe after another in increasingly violent fights before reaching the mountain where Justice lives -- where he prepares for the most important battle of his life.

Is it any good?


While it's decidedly not for children, AFRO SAMURAI is surprisingly well made. Its primary strength is in its art, which is lush and detailed. Many critics have argued that the story is somewhat generic, which is probably true. But fans of anime and martial arts likely won't be swayed by such concerns.

Teenage boys will love this one -- if they're mature enough to handle its themes of violent retribution and sexual conquest. The awesome soundtrack by The RZA (of legendary hip hop group The Wu-Tang Clan) is just icing on this (very bloody) cake.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what it means to seek revenge. Why is Afro so single minded in his pursuit of Justice? Do the ends ever justify the means?

  • If this is a show for adults, why do you think it's animated? Should cartoons only be for kids?

  • How does the violence compare to that in other shows you've seen? Does it have the same impact that it would if it were filmed in live action? Why or why not?

TV details

Cast:Phil LaMarr, Ron Perlman, Samuel L. Jackson
TV rating:TV-MA
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Afro Samurai was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written bythatanimechick July 13, 2011

Annoyance at how anime is generally treated.

I agree that this particular anime is NOT for young children but i have a beef with people who think that anime which isn't watered down bullspit is horrible. My Sis-in-law was shocked when she saw that i had a great collection of japanese media. She said how can i allow Bellatrix and Vash (Yes my fangirlism is that bad. I named My Daughter Bellatrix after the Harry Potter charter and My son after Vash the Stampede) to see such filth. She, like most people, believe that unless its shown on 4kids or on Cartoon Network's morning block it is pornographic and violent. I highly reccomend parents screen such shows before d***ing them.
Kid, 11 years old June 5, 2012

Violent but highly entertaining animation!

First thing you should know: This is very violent and bloody with beheadings, guns, and the like. Language is frequent and strong (f-ck, sh-t, motherf-cker) etc, mainly by the hilarious 'ninja ninja'. Funny and entertaining as this show is, it's not one for kids. Okay for teens if they are mature enough. I, being only 11, did like this one though.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Adult Written bychristian2011 August 11, 2013

Dark and edgy anime series loaded with graphic violence and profanity.

Afro Samurai is truly one of a kind with it's interesting characters with a flamboyant "swag" attitude, including Afro, whom is a professional killer highly proficient with a samurai sword and quite calm/collected throughout. After the unfortunate death of his father right before his eyes as a child, he swore an oath to bring the killer to justice (which the antagonist's name is Justice) with the iron will of revenge. Even though this is an animated series, it's definitely not for children or young teens, due to the pervasive amount of graphic bloody violence (people are explicitly beheaded, dismembered, sliced in half, torn apart, beaten to death). Language is strong and frequent - uses of f**k, motherf**ker, c**ksucker, sh*t, b*tch, and other crude name-calling. There's a couple graphic sex scenes between characters (breasts, buttocks, thrusting) is shown. Multiple characters are seen smoking and drinking in most scenes, even when fight scenes occur. Mature older teens whom are very familiar and used to this sort of violent and crude content should be fine with it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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