By Scout Davidson,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Stylish animation can't mask extreme violence and language.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
It may be animated, but there's still nudity -- bare breasts, as well as some pretty steamy sex scenes.
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Lots of gritty, adult-level cursing, including "f--k," motherf--ker," and "s--t."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Many characters smoke, and no one shies away from any of the major vices.
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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.
Where to Watch
Based on 5 parent reviews
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Dark and edgy anime series loaded with graphic violence and profanity.
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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.
Talk to Your Kids 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?
- Premiere date: January 4, 2007
- Cast: Phil LaMarr, Ron Perlman, Samuel L. Jackson
- Network: Spike
- Genre: Drama
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Last updated: September 9, 2022
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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