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Afro Samurai with his sword at the ready

Afro


Context

Afro Samurai (アフロサムライ) was a 1999/2000 manga , later adapted as an animé . It was an intriguing attempt by mangaka Takashi Okazaki to combine Japanese action story tropes with African-American musics tropes. Mostly ronin  stories and hip-hop narratives.

This unlikely experiment was well-received and successful in both formats. It does have a distinctive world-building and atmosphere.

These notes are primarily based on the TV series.


Background

  • Real Name: Afro.
  • Other Aliases: The Number 2.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Rokutaro (father, deceased).
  • Group Affiliation: The Sword Master’s Dojo.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 6’0” Weight: 155 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black


Powers and Abilities

Afro is a remarkably talented sword fighter. He is driven with an unquenchable, bloody thirst for revenge. He is highly skilled in close combat. Afro can take on more than a dozen armed thugs and even highly skilled opponents with modern military weapons.

Afro Samurai poster

He also demonstrate mastery in paired melee weapons. Howbeit he uses a katana/scabbard style, where the scabbard is normally used for defense. This is particularly notable in his fight with Jinno.

That said that’s really his only talent. He pretty much lives a very strict life of a warrior hellbent on the path of revenge. Afro has little interest in anything else.


History

Afro takes place in an unclear future in Japan. There, many traditions and societal features are reminiscent of the medieval era. The titular hero, a samurai and cinematically  skilled swordsman, is on the road to avenge the death of his father.

In this setting, it is said that the one who becomes “Number One”, will rule the world, wielding powers akin to a god. Someone becomes Number One by killing the previous Number One and taking his ceremonial headband. But this is only possible if one wears the headband of Number Two.

Afro Samurai smoking a blunt

Afro’s father was the old Number One. But he was killed by a gunman named Justice, who had the Number Two headband. The killer then became Number One. This occurred when Afro was but a child.

Years later, as a highly-trained and determined fighter, Afro obtained the Number Two headband and went on a long quest to find Number One.


Description

Afro is a tall, slender, athletically built African man. He sports a wild, animé-style, physics-defying “afro-puff” hair style. He usually has a stern expression on his face.

Afro Samurai eyes closeup

As far as clothing goes he wears a simple gi in basic earthy colors that is well worn from his travels. He also, course carries a large katana and always proudly displays the Number 2 Headband.


Personality

Afro doesn’t exhibit much of a personality. He is absolutely driven to avenge his father and take back the Number 1 Headband. He walks a very lonely road indeed.

Just as his master taught him, the road to revenge is indeed lonely and full of sorrow. Afro rarely has much of anything to say. He is usually content to use the minimum amount of words to communicate.

Afro Samurai cover

Afro has hardly any distractions from the path of the warrior he’s on. He seems to enjoy lemonade, I guess. He just barely reacted to Otsuru blatantly throwing herself at him.

About the only thing that he ever does that contradicts his path of the true warrior (aside from sex with Otsuru after days of her propositioning him) is smoke hand rolled cigarettes. It is unknown if the cigarettes contain tabacco or another substance. Although one gets the general feeling that they were just something tacked in there as a pop culture reference to make him seem like a tough guy.

Ninja Ninja, his constant sidekick, seems to, more or less, be his voice of reason. Yet Afro pays him little or no heed.


Quotes

“The only direction I move is forward.” (kills his opponent)


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Afro

Dex: 09 Str: 04 Bod: 06 Motivation: Anti-heroic Seeking Justice
Int: 06 Wil: 04 Min: 05 Occupation: The Number 2
Inf: 04 Aur: 02 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 002
Init: 023 HP: 075

Powers:
Jumping: 02, Reflection/Deflection: 05

Bonuses and Limitations:
Reflection/Deflection is a Skilled Power and Minor Marginal.

Skills:
Acrobatics*: 09, Martial Arts: 07, Weaponry (Melee): 11

Advantages:
Attractive, Intensive Training, Iron Nerves, Lightning Reflexes, Schtick (paired katana and scabard), Sharp Eye.

Connections:
None. Like he needs them. No seriously, anyone who befriends Afro is likely to wind up dying a gruesome death in short order.

Drawbacks:
Enemy (The Empty 7, powerful), CIA (killing Justice and becoming the Number 1), MPI (his imaginary friend Ninja Ninja), Minor Rage.

Genre:
Gritty.

Equipment:

  • Katana [BODY 08, EV 05 (08 w/Martial Artist)].
  • Number 2 Headband [BODY 02, Advantage: Fearsome Reputation ; Drawback: Enemy (rable and assorted would be warriors looking to make money or a name for themselves) ; Invulnerability: 02. Limitations: Invulnerability is only usuable to halt the effects of aging against the headband. After all the sacred headband is supposedly ancient and we wouldn’t expect any normal piece of cloth to last that long now would we ?].

By Tom Eilers.

Source of Character: Afro Samurai on Spike TV.

Helper(s): Sébastien Andrivet, Wikipedia.

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