Afro Samurai

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Nothing personal, it's just revenge.

Set in a Schizo-Tech version of something that may or may not be feudal Japan, the story revolves around the titular character's (played by Samuel L. Jackson) quest to defeat the strongest warrior in the world. The idea goes that whoever wears the "Number One Headband" is the unquestioned biggest Badass on Earth, but he (or she) can only be challenged by the person with the Number Two band -- which is, at the moment, Afro. Making Afro's life a lot more complicated is the fact that any regular schlub can challenge for the Number Two (and with it, the right to try for the big prize).

The first movie was shown as a five-episode-long series that ended February 1, 2007, and the second movie, titled "Afro Samurai: Resurrection", premiered on January 25, 2009. Tired of all the killing, Afro has retreated away from the world. Unfortunately, Kuma and his sister, Sio, find him and take the Number One Headband. Sio plans to resurrect Afro's father, and force Afro to fight him to atone for all the lives he's ended. Afro must once again find the Number Two Headband, to earn the right to challenge her before she's able to do so.

There's also a manga version, currently in its second volume. It uses elements, characters, and events from both movies, while changing many things. According to the creator, it's the closest to the original doujinshi the series is based on.

A video game adaptation of the first season was released in February of 2009.

Not to be confused with flash game developer Afro Ninja.

Tropes used in Afro Samurai include:


  • Adaptation Distillation - The anime, manga and game are all slightly different, intentionally so. The manga is a mix between the first anime season with a few specific parts of Resurrection thrown in.
  • Afro Asskicker - Afro himself
  • A God Am I - Anyone who gets the Number 1 Headband can make this claim.
  • Anti-Hero - At his BEST he can classified as very loose Type V. Revenge is pretty much all that on Afro's mind. Especially evident in the manga verison of the series in which a story features Afro using two innocent bystanders (a boy and his handicapped sister later on) as shields to avoid attacks, showing no remorse in causing their deaths. That he killed his master to reclaim the No. 2 further establishes him as one.
  • Art Major Physics - Two monks jump out of a backpack, a huge RPG fits inside a back pack, bullets are cut in half by swords, Wire Fu style jumps and more artistic breaks from real physics happen regularly.
  • Attack of the Town Festival: In Afro Samurai: Resurrecton, Afro battles the new Number Two during the town festival. At the same time, the Big Bad sends a bunch of assassins to ambush him. Everyone but Afro, the DJ, and the Number Two dies. Then Afro kills the other two.
  • Back From the Dead - Afro's father, the entire point of Resurrection. In addition, Afro himself near the end.
    • Happens to Jinno and Justice in the first season.
  • Badass - Afro Samurai, played by Samuel L. Jackson to boot.
  • Berserker Tears - Due to injuries, emotional trauma, or both, Jinno never stopped crying after the battle under the Bodhi tree. They briefly turn to Tears of Blood during a flashback.
  • Best Served Cold - Afro has spent his life since childhood getting revenge on the man that killed his father for the Number One headband.
    • You mean this isn't about "Lemonade, ice cold."
    • Justice even lampshaded this trope.

Justice (To Young Afro): "It's unfortunate you had to see this, boy. This moment'll always haunt you. You will be consumed by hatred for me. Challenge me...when you're ready to duel a god! * cue Evil Laugh* , YEE-HAW!!"

  • Blood From the Mouth - Frequent, but most often used when someone's about to die.
  • Broad Strokes - All three versions of the story have a few differences, but the general plot is the same-- Justice kills Afro's father, Afro becomes the Number Two to kill Justice and avenge his father's death, battling the Empty Seven and Kuma before he gets to him, and so on.
  • Clean Cut
  • Cycle of Revenge - In his quest to kill Justice, who killed his father, Afro kills The Swordmaster to get the #2 headband. This causes Jinno to attempt to kill Afro.
    • Resurrection continues this theme. Not only are all of Sio's actions based on revenge, but in the second major battle, all Afro's opponents have lost a loved one due to Afro's actions.
      • And then there's the hinted-at future of Kotaro, who saw his adoptive father killed by Afro. At the end of Resurrection, Afro, accepting how destiny is going for him, drops the #2 headband in Kotaro's hands and tells him, "Anytime you're ready."
      • Kotaro's case goes further in the manga, near the end of the second volume Kotaro, now an adult, blasts at The Number One's (Afro) fortress and openly states that he is the little boy who saw his father getting killed in front of him, the enraged current Number Two takes on a seemly crazed Afro, it was to no avail as even in a depressive state Afro managed to kill Kotaro, apparently even if Afro didn't really want to fight anymore his skills were still sharp enough that he countered the offender with muscle memory alone.
  • Decapitation Presentation: Justice does this with Afro's father in the first episode. In Resurrection, Sio does this in reverse, bringing the newly-regenerated head to show Afro that she means business.
  • Designated Villain: Justice. Both stated by Word of God and lampshaded by Justice himself during his Hannibal Lecture in the Video Game.
  • Determined Expression: the young protagonist takes this expression very shortly after seeing his parents killed. This is the moment he is truly destined to become a badass.
  • Diagonal Cut
  • Doomed by Canon: Okiku, she dies in all versions.
  • Dramatic Wind - Both the Headbands and Afro's hair are constantly billowing dramatically in the wind.
  • Doujinshi - The series started off as one of these
  • Emergency Transformation - Jinno is turned into a cyborg, after losing an arm, a leg, and falling off a cliff.
  • Evil Genius - Dharman
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": We never find out if "Afro" is his real name or simply what everyone calls him because of his hair. Ninja Ninja lampshades it by saying "Who names their kid Afro Samurai anyway?", but a boss video games state's the name is "what they are calling him now", saying it's "Uninspired, but accurate."
  • Eye Lights Out
  • "Failure to Save" Murder - When Kuma calls out Afro for what happened the night their True Companions were slaughtered, he says that Afro is the one who killed them. Though he does this in both the show and the books, Afro didn't actually kill anyone that night except the Sword master.
    • In fact, he wasn't even so much as indirectly responsible for their deaths.
  • Fan Service - The second episode as well as Sio.
  • Foreshadowing - In a flashback in the first movie, Jinno explains to Osturu why he uses two swords rather than one. At one point, he says "...and even if I got one of my arms cut off, I'd still be able to fight..." At first, this seems like a Fauxshadow, as he makes it through all of the first movie with both arms. Late in Resurrection, however, he does get one arm cut off, and is in fact able to continue fighting.
  • Funny Afro - Take a wild guess.
  • Gratuitous Japanese - "Oishii!" , "Hachimaki kudasai"
  • Grey and Gray Morality: So many people are motivated by revenge (Especially in Resurrection) that no ones actions could be considered pure good or pure evil. Even Justice had a good reason for killing Afro's father to take the Number One-- He wanted to use the headbands' ultimate power for ultimate peace.
  • Greek Chorus - Ninja Ninja to Afro
  • Hachimaki - The series' plot revolves around attempting to get one of these.
  • Harmful to Minors - The child who would grow up to be Afro Samurai saw his father, at the time the Number One, get decapitated by Justice. The head was then tossed to the ground at his feet and tried to speak. It didn't get much better for him afterward.
    • In Resurrection, Afro cuts down Kotaro's adoptive father right in front of him, with scenes of Justice killing Afro's father flashing as he does so. In his defense, he didn't know the kid was there.
  • Hero Antagonist - Several of the "villains" are at least as sympathetic, if not more so, than Afro.
  • He Who Fights Monsters - Afro is reminded of this often, by good and bad guys alike. This doesn't stop him from continuing on his path, however. If Afro struggles with becoming the monster, he does it quietly.
  • Headphones Equal Isolation - Brother Three of the Empty Seven wears headphones throughout the entire series, and sits with his back to the rest of the group when they're all shown together. He serves Afro food and tea when he arrives at their lair, and is the only one to survive, possibly implying he knew they'd fail and wanted no part of it.
    • In addition, While serving the tea, he simply says "Headband, please." in Japanese., rather than fight him. During the game, he appears in one scene, kisses his hand, thumps his chest, and gives Afro the peace sign while walking out.
  • Hey, It's That Voice! - Other than the obvious, Justice is voiced by Ron Perlman, Jinno is Yuri Lowenthal, Sio is Lucy Liu, and Okiku is Kelly Hu.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja - Ninja Ninja is loud-mouthed and ridiculously visible (although he's somewhat stealthy in the second episode of Season One, hiding in the rafters of a house), especially considering that he's hanging out with a samurai who kills everyone he meets. But then, he's a hallucination anyways. The manga version hints that he may be something more, as there is a similar character who only Ninja Ninja can see or be seen by.
  • Human Shield - In the manga, the boy and his sister in the Anti-Hero example-- In Resurrection, he uses the DJ for the same effect.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers
  • Inner Monologue - Ninja Ninja functions as this, as he says whatever Afro is thinking, but no one else pays attention to him. Or indeed, can hear him at all.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: yes, kids, they can deflect bullets, cut rockets in half, crush rocks and, should the need arise, split laser beams!
  • Kick the Dog - Afro himself, multiple times, so much so that he's nearly a Villain Protagonist.
  • Kill'Em All - Nearly everyone Afro meets dies, even the two people who survived after the battle under the Bodhi tree are killed after Afro meets them again.
    • This holds true even in Resurrection, as All major characters, including (briefly,) Afro himself die.
  • Large Ham: bordering the World of Ham (with the remarkable exception of Afro himself, who is the only one sticking to the honest-to-God silent asskicking), but Brother 1 is just...a ham to behold.
  • Losing Your Head - Justice kills Afro's father this way, then tosses the head at the young boy's feet.
  • MacGuffin - The Number One headband.
  • Meaningful Echo - In Afro Samurai, Afro's father tells him "Fear not, it will all be over soon," before getting his head chopped off. In Resurrection, Afro says "Shut up. It'll soon be over[...]Fear not... Father." before trying to kill his freshly-resurrected dad.
  • Meatgrinder Surgery - When Jinno is turned into a cyborg. This might qualify as Black Comedy, or the catoonish nature of the scene might make it worse.
  • Nice Hat - Justice's hat, which he wears the Number One Headband around.
  • No Name Given - Afro Samurai is just known as "Afro".
  • Nothing Personal - "Nothing personal. It's just revenge."
  • Off with His Head - Afro's father, and eventually, Justice, who did the honors for Afro's father. Eventually, they both get better.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You - It's actually the rule of the headbands: The only one allowed to fight the Number One is the Number Two. Anybody can fight the Number Two, though.
    • In Resurrection, this rule was subverted when Sio could take the Number One headband from Afro at the start because he wasn't wearing it at the time, even though she didn't have the Number Two required to formally challenge him.
  • Punny Name - Dharman
    • Hell, "Afro" sounds like the Japanese word "Afuro" - "overflowing". Which is what the afro does to the headband.
    • As noted in the manga.
  • Rival Turned Evil - Oddly enough, Afro himself. While all Jinno ever wants is to protect those at the Swordmaster's dojo, Afro chooses to continue along his path of revenge.
  • Rule of Cool - A series absolutely built on this, up to and including afros that billow dramatically in the wind.
  • Scarf of Asskicking - Afro and Justice pull this off with the headbands.
  • Schizo-Tech - Feudal Japan? Check. Cell phones? Check. Robots and Cyborgs? Check.
  • Sidekick- Ninja Ninja to Afro
  • The Stinger - At the end of the first season, Justice is seen coming back to life. At the end of Resurrection, he's seen talking with Takimoto, a character from the manga.
  • The Stoic - Afro, in contrast to Ninja Ninja
  • Talking to Himself - Afro and Ninja Ninja are both played by Samuel L. Jackson. And Ninja Ninja is Afro's imaginary buddy. Interestingly, while Jackson spoke with two separate voices for the two, during Ninja Ninja's dying scene in the first series, he reveals Ninja Ninja's imaginary nature by slowly changing his voice to sound more like Afro's.
    • Furthermore, Ninja Ninja introduces himself whenever Afro feels truly alone and with doubt(First time being after the fight with his master and him deciding to wither or not to continue on with his revenge). However, he repeatedly interacts with the environment and has been noticed before
  • Trademark Favorite Food - Afro has a preference for lemonade. His first drink of it was a high point in his generally crappy childhood.
  • True Companions - Young Afro has these at the dojo, Until nearly all of them are killed at the battle under the Bodhi tree. In Resurrection, Sio's vassals function as a set.
  • Two Guys and a Girl - Afro, Jinno, and Otsuru, especially in the manga, though Jinno mentions that even if Otsuru asked to marry him, he'd turn her down.
  • Unwanted Revival - The creator commentary mentions that Jinno would have rather died than come back as a cyborg.
  • Villain Protagonist - Afro falls somewhere between this and Anti-Hero-- He's not evil, but he's a pretty dark character.
  • Walking the Earth - The series actually comes at the end of this, when Afro is about to end his journey.

"This pissed you off so much that you gon' hit the road again, to find the Number Two Headband again, just so you can kill the Number One, again."

  • We Can Rebuild Him- Jinno was nearly killed the night of the battle at the Bodhi tree. After he stumbled backwards and fell off the cliff, he was found by the Empty Seven, and brought to Dharman to be made into a cyborg.
    • A bit worse in the manga - He still nearly got killed in the fight, but instead got caught in the burning dojo while trying to rescue Afro and the Swordmaster.
  • You Killed My Father - Justice killed Afro's father right in front of him, to take the Number One headband.
    • In Resurrection, Afro does this to both Kotaro's adoptive AND real fathers.

Season One-Only

  • Automatic Crossbows - One character wields one of these, with an attached Grenade Launcher.
  • Beam-O-War: Afro and the Droid cause this with a laser beam and a SWORD.
  • Billing Displacement - Kelly Hu gets second billing in all the promotional materials. Her character shows up halfway through the story and dies about twenty minutes after her introduction.
  • Cyborg: Jinno, or at least when he is reintroduced in episodes 3-4. He has certain human parts, like his head, arms, and legs, but has to rely entirely on a mechanical body for his strength, breathing, and possibly his vision. Oh, and it completely erases any sense of morality he had as a human.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience - Afro wears a white shirt, while the AfroDroid wears black. All of the silver accents on Afro's clothes are gold accents on the AfroDroid equivalents. As well, Afro's sword and scabbard are red; the Droid's are gold.
  • Death by Sex - "Okiku". This subsequently causes Afro to break out of his usual stoic nature and show (in a rare occasion) that he truly does care.
  • Disposable Woman - Otsuru/"Okiku"
  • Does This Remind You of Anything? - One of the Afro Droid's weapons is a very... suggestively-shaped laser cannon. As it charges, Ninja Ninja states "we came all this way just to stare down the barrel of that thing?" After he fires it, he states ecstatically: "That felt good." And then it goes flaccid, and then Ninja Ninja states "I think he blew his load".
  • Drink Order - "Lemonade. Ice cold."
  • Evil Gloating - Lampshaded

Ninja Ninja: Whoa, whoa, wait, wait... can't we talk about this? You ain't gonna monologue or nothin'? Give a bad guy speech?

  • Evil Knockoff - The Afro-Droid, which took it's fighting style from Afro's memories, was 20% stronger, and had a laser cannon.

Brother One: It took millions of dollars and thousands of man hours, just to build his head.

  • Guns Akimbo - Justice
  • Hypocritical Humor: During their showdown, Jinno mocks Afro's passive resistance before saying that he can't even take him seriously because of his ridiculous hair. Jinno seems unaware of the hypocrisy of saying this while wearing a big, silly looking teddy bear helmet.
  • Informal Eulogy - Ninja Ninja pulls one of these:

"Add one mo' body to the body toll, may god rest this po' bastard's soul!"

Justice: The world is lost. All this chaos, and pain... it's time for someone to take control. It's time for a man to use absolute power for the cause of ultimate peace. It's time to rid the world of conflict, and all men and women, young and old, to live in tranquility. It is time for Man to become God, where God has failed.


Sio: "You truly are the world's most wicked, shit-faced, genius scientist. You'll burn in Hell for your crimes against nature."
Dharman: "You praise me so wonderfully, Lady Sio! I am not worthy of your poetry!"

  • Battle in the Rain - Though it's damn near a Curb Stomp Battle in the rain, Afro gets the Number One Headband taken from him in one of these in Resurrection.
  • Bad Dreams - Afro has a couple of these near the beginning, featuring such things as teddy bears with brains leaking out, and his father's half-rotted skull talking to him.
  • Beard of Sorrow - Afro sports one of these in the beginning, after having been the Number One for quite some time
  • Car Motorcycle Fu
  • Cameo - Creator Takashi "Bob" Okazaki briefly appears in the gambling house fondling two strippers.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul - Implied by Sio to have happened to Kuma. She tells Dharman that he'd been repaired so many times, there's no human left at all, just a mindless "samurai doll."
    • At the end, this turns out not to quite be the case, and he rushes to protect Afro during the battle with his father.
  • The Dragon - Afro's father once he's resurrected.

Evil Is Sexy - Sio is acknowledged as such in-universe. Ninja Ninja actually describes her as a "crazy, sexy, bitch"

  • The Faceless - Tomoe - Her real, pre-cyborg face is never seen - In all the flashbacks and the Sio's photograph, it's always either hidden by her hat or a glare on the screen.
    • Almost. We do get an unobstructed view of her face when Afro has his series of still-image flashbacks before taking her and the rest of Sio's Quirky Miniboss Squad on at the ruins of the swordsmen's school--she's the woman with the shamisen and green kimono. However, we never, ever see her open eyes at any point.
  • A Friend in Need-Twice. Once when Afro cuts down a kidnapper on a bridge (though, the guy pointed a gun at him first,) later when Jinno protects his "brother," Afro
  • Good Costume Switch - Kuma. During the fight between Afro and his father, half his teddy bear mask is knocked off, and he begins struggling with his conscience. When he decides to protect Afro, he tears the other half off.
  • Heel Face Turn/Face Heel Turn - It's somewhat hard to tell exactly which one it was, since Kuma's Good Costume Switch occurs when he decides toprotect Afro, who is either a Villain Protagonist or Anti-Hero.
  • I See Them, Too - Bin shoots a dart at Ninja Ninja when Afro meets Sio's vassals for their showdown; he's saved by his oxygen tank. Ninja Ninja just does not have any luck when it comes to cyborgs.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard - Afro's Resurrected father ends up killing Afro, then Jinno, and finally, Sio herself.
  • I Will Fight No More Forever - At the beginning, Afro has given up being the Number One, sitting in a hut, carving statues of those he killed in the first movie. Then he get the crap stomped out of him...
  • Kill Us Both - Used by Tomoe towards the end. Unfortunately, Michael hesitates long enough for Afro to turn the tables and make a Human Shield.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything - After Afro, Jinno, and Sio are killed by Afro's resurrected father, the electricity from Jinno's cyborg parts brings Afro back to life.
  • Machine Monotone - Averted. Bin's voice is dry and raspy, and Tomoe's is coarse, but despite having only a small amount of their old bodies left (excluding their necks), they still speak in relatively human voices and show emotion. Michael's the only one whose vocal chords have been destroyed entirely, but even then his vocalizations are simply the whine of a speaker.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown - Afro versus his father.
  • Offing the Offspring - Afro
  • Poisonous Friend - Sio's vassals, Bin, Michael, and Tomoe. At one point, Bin says this:

"We will not allow [Sio] to fall from grace. Instead, we will be the sinners."

    • That said, it's not like Sio would have had too far to fall...
  • Redemption Equals Death - Near the end of Resurrection, Jinno runs to keep Afro's father from killing him, and is killed (again) in the process.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning - Afro's resurrected father's eyes glow red, as does Jinno's cyborg eye.
  • Red Sky, Take Warning - The final battle takes place under a red sky.
  • Remember the New Guy? - Sio is Jinno's sister, though there was no reason to mention her in the first movie, Afro'd met her before...
  • Removed From the Picture - Sio has a photo of herself, her vassals, Jinno, someone else, and Afro, with Afro's face burned out entirely.
  • Sequel Hook: One ending has Justice apparently coming Back From the Dead, and Takimoto makes his appearance. Only time will tell if there will be a sequel or not.
  • Sequel Reset - Afro is back to self-doubting his actions even though he made peace with them at the end of the first series, Jinno now has a previously unexplained sister plotting revenge against Afro Samurai, and Ninja Ninja returns even though his entire purpose in the first movie was to be Afro's repressed emotions and his death symbolized Afro finally making peace himself.
    • Heavily lampshaded by Ninja Ninja, who has a hard time believing all of the above and repeatedly mocks Afro over it.
  • Stock Subtitle - Resurrection.
  • Ten-Minute Retirement - Afro has to revert to his killing ways, though he doesn't do it right away.
  • The Stinger - "I been waiting a long time for him" followed by a swift shot of Justice.
  • Time Skip - One of unknown length has happened between this and the first movie. One background character remarks that Afro hasn't held his blade in years, and Ninja-Ninja says that Afro's starting to look old, but exactly how many years is never stated.


  • Anticlimax - In volume two of the manga, Afro finally makes it to the top of the mountain, ready to confront Justice. When he finally makes it to him, he attacks and Justice turns to dust and falls apart - Apparently, he'd been dead for quite awhile. Ninja Ninja even remarks that "Afro finally got his revenge, even if it doesn't feel like it."
  • Boisterous Bruiser - Big Boy.
  • I See Them, Too - Ninja Ninja getting seen by Takimoto.
  • The Messiah - At the end of the second volume the world has turned into a endless warring chaos as Afro didn't rule as Justice did, meaning he spent years in a depressive state instead of being a great figure of worship and respect like Justice, but at the very end Afro managed to pull himself back together and as Ninja Ninja and Takimoto suggested he must begin his journey to put the world back in order.
  • Motor Mouth - Kazuma.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness - Kazuma again.
  • Shaggy Dog Story - See Anticlimax above.


  • Battle in the Center of the Mind - Two- the first, with Ninja Ninja prior to his Split Personality Merge, the second with Justice
  • Blade Below the Shoulder- The Android Ninja enemies have these
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall - Ninja Ninja does some serious tapping on the fourth wall during the game - among them, calling the player a "Button mashin' motherfucker", and suggesting that just because you watched the TV show doesn't mean you know what's going to happen here.
  • Enemy Within - Ninja Ninja discusses with Afro what he represents, and forces Afro to fight him to take on the burden again.
  • A God Am I- Justice makes this speech to Afro:

"My desire was to become a god. In the pursuit of revenge, you made me yours. Searching for me. Obsessing over me. Killing for me.[...]Each life you took was a tribute to me. Your actions gave me substance, let me live. You've been doing my good work."

  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels - Number Two Headband and Number One Headband.
  • Lemony Narrator - Ninja Ninja. "You think I should be watchin' his back!? FUCK you!! I've been watchin' I've seen ev-rything!"
  • Luke, I Am Your Father - Justice makes a speech to this effect, although it's explicitly metaphorical.
  • New Game+
  • One-Hit Kill - Focus Slashes, against most Mooks, if done perfectly, will kill them in one shot, literally chopping them apart.
  • One-Winged Angel - Justice, after his arms are sliced off
  • Revised Ending: Much like the Manga, Justice is already dead by time Afro meets him. Instead of going into despair though, Afro is instead forced to deal with his mental demons, facing Justice in his mind. After defeating him, Afro finally comes at peace with himself and his past, and decides to throw both the #1 and #2 headbands away.
  • Walk It Off - Afro heals by killing people. (In Number One Headband, though, he has to pick up Otsuru's bears in order to get his health back - making it much more difficult. It's still possible to heal by killing enemies, but only if you can pull off a perfect decapitation).