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.
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 an excellent first attempt at continuing the legacy of a historical figure that is too often forgotten.