Afro Samurai (アフロサムライ, Afuro Samurai?) is a Japanese dōjinshi manga series created by Takashi Okazaki, originally featured in the NOU NOU HAU dōjin magazine. It was adapted into a 5-episode anime miniseries directed by Fuminori Kizaki and produced by Japanese animation studio Gonzo. The first episode was shown online on January 1, 2007 and premiered on Spike TV on January 4, 2007 on at 11:00pm EST. The anime series has since gone on to air in the UK, where it premiered on Adult Swim on May 4, 2007, and Japan, where it was broadcast on Fuji Television. It also premiered on MTV in Australia in August 2007.
The anime series features noted American actor Samuel L. Jackson as the voice of the titular character and his sidekick, as well as one of the co-producers, and also features Ron Perlman and Kelly Hu as character voices. Wu-Tang Clan member RZA produced the original hip hop musical score, which was released on compact disc by Koch Records on January 30, 2007 in both uncut and edited versions. The series was also licensed for North American distribution by Funimation, who released two versions: a SpikeTV version and an unrated director's cut on DVD and Blu-ray Disc. Both DVD versions were released on May 22, 2007 with the Blu-ray Disc version being released on August 26 of the following year. In the United Kingdom, a Bravo Numbered Limited Edition, equivalent to the US Spike TV edition and featuring the same red themed artwork was released on 2 July 2007. A Directors’ Cut Edition Box Set, featuring new artwork, was released later on 12 October 2007. A second Bravo edition featuring artwork similar to the UK Director’s Cut was released on 21 March 2008. A Blu-ray disc version is yet to be released. In August 2005, Japan-based game developers Namco announced they would be releasing Afro Samurai related video games.
The cost of each episode is estimated at one million dollars, which is a record for Gonzo.