Netflix's Yasuke Has a Character Issue That's Bugging Me

Image from Yasuke Series on Netflix
Image from Yasuke Series on Netflix
Image: Netflix

The new Netflix show Yasuke chronicles the life of the African Samurai after his tenure with the Nobunaga clan. The show starts years after the death of Lord Nobunaga. Yasuke (Lakeith Stanfield) lives in a local village and works as a boatman. At the core of the story, Yasuke is a man who feels disconnected from his former life—a life he used to take pride in serving Lord Nobunaga. The warrior held high rank and was respected by his peers despite being an outsider.

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Writer Nick Jones Jr. laid a nice foundation for Yasuke’s story, but since watching the show, there’s an issue that’s bugging me. While the story set up is nicely done, Yasuke as a character comes off as soulless, with no personality. His facial expressions rarely change, and his voice is so monotonous. I know many will disagree with me, and it pains me to say it, but—he’s boring while being surrounded by characters that are much more engaging. It often feels like worldbuilding took precedence over the main character.

Despite this, there are good moments and things to like. The score by Flying Lotus and Krishna Bissessar and the intro music by Thundercat is great, and the art and visuals in the intro are beautifully constructed.

Hopefully, by season two (if there is one), fans know more about Yasuke outside of his trauma. Sure, I have my gripes with the show, but I can also admit that this is a decent first attempt at continuing the legacy of a historical figure that is too often forgotten.

What did you think of the show? What did you like or dislike? Let me know in the comments!


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DISCUSSION

Okay, i haven’t watched the series yet but took in the trailer—and I didn’t comment on it then, but have just watched a bit of the show because it sounds related...the mouth dubbing looks bad and off for everybody. Not timed well and just kind of flappy, often just the bottom of the face? Am I being picky and is anime always like this but I didn’t notice?