This isn't a review about Afro Samurai. Everybody knows the story --Sam Jackson voices a black samurai who's on a quest to avenge his father's murder-- this is about a STUPID review of Afro Samurai given on Amazon.com by Charles Solomon.
He wrote, without offering a shred of evidence to support it, that this series marked a "shift in Japanese depictions of African-Americans."
Whenever I see some reviewer or other try to accuse the Japanese of being rabid anti-black bigots it always smells of some asianphile who's trying to salve his bruised and busted ego after just seeing yet another stinging anime portrayal of whites, like say the Americans or Europeans in either Ghost in the Shell: SAC or Samurai Champloo, or the governing council in Blue Gender.
Hope Solomon didn't knock anything over as he raced to his computer to vomit out a characterization of Japanese attitudes that would help him re-establish in his own mind that "No, the Japs still adore US. You want to see hate, look at how they view BLACKS, now that's really bad!"
Apparently Mr Solomon has never seen Dutch from Black Lagoon, who's not only an honorable rascal, but the leader of the group. Nor I suppose has he seen Miles from Cowboy Beebop. In fact you can go all the way back to Claudia Grant on Robotech, that's over twenty years ago! But it would appear Solomon has only just discovered anime and thinks it was only invented yesterday.
In a particularly remarkable bit of idiocy Solomon tried to say that hip-hop is responsible for the Japanese deciding to do a cartoon with a black as the lead. Poor Charles, I suppose he never heard of something called "jazz" and how the Japanese have loved it for decades, or how every Japanese anime music composer has HEAVY jazz influences in their pieces, whether it's Yoko Kanno's work in Ghost in the Shell SAC, or Toshihiko Sahashi's stuff in Full Metal Panic or ANY other anime you can name. Jazz and anime are inseparable. Hip hop hardly opened the door for Japanese societal acceptance of black culture. It's been going on a LONG time. But it does seem to be the first time Solomon's ever noticed.
Naturally Mr Solomon says absolutely nothing about the works of Warner Brothers or Walt Disney, both of which have yet to make an animated feature in which blacks aren't portrayed as some sort of disgraceful stereotype. Who can forget "Coal Black and the Sebben Dwarves?" WB is STILL trying to live that one down. How about the minstrel-talking crows from "Dumbo?" They can't even show that film on the Disney channel because of that. If Mr Solomon wants to talk about a shift in how blacks are portrayed in animation perhaps he'll do a review of American animation sometime.
But it seems he can't even be bothered to educate himself on that. Remember that Solomon guy's name. When you see it, just go ahead and ignore whatever he scribbles. It's already hard enough to choose good anime without some half-wit offering an opinion more foolish than a retarded goat on crack.
BTW, Afro Samura's animation is incredible. It's worth the ride just for the eye candy alone.