Netflix’s Yasuke Wasted Its Best and Most LETHAL Army

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Yasuke, now streaming on Netflix.

In Netflix's Yasuke, the grief-stricken Black samurai has a dangerous quest to see through: taking the godlike Saki to Morisuke so the teacher can hone her supernatural abilities. Along the way, however, Yasuke encounters mercenaries who want his head as Saki likewise has a bounty on her. But as we get to know this crew more and more as the show's best and most lethal army, the series wastes their potential with quick deaths.

These bounty hunters are Nikita (the were-bear), Haruto (a steampunk robotic version of Iron Man), the sickle-wielding Ishikawa, and the Benin shaman Achoja, who can generate spirits to help him in battle. With an entertaining intro, they attack Yasuke to take Saki back to the evil priest, Abraham.

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Nikita's speed and power, Haruto's missiles, heat and freeze rays, Ishikawa's speed and accuracy with her retractable blade, and Achoja's haunting ghouls create a powerful dynamic. The war results in Saki's mom, Ichika, being killed. The mercenaries would later finish their beatdown of Yasuke and carry him to Abraham, but the priest's monstrous form causes them to turn on him.

The bounty hunters become allies later, arriving at Morisuke's camp to help Saki and Yasuke take on the Daimyo, the Dark General and their army. After being propped up as equalizers, it's at this point that things go drastically downhill as the hunters become cannon fodder. Ishikawa is quickly shot in the head by an arrow as reinforcements arrive, with Haruto activating his self-destruct button as he's depressed over losing a friend. He nosedives into the general's first wave, blowing them up.

However, it's hard to connect with the loss emotionally as viewers saw nothing to cultivate a genuine bond. Yasuke should have shown more of their friendship via an origin story over how such an eclectic, diverse group came together under Nikita. Proper backstory would have added nuance and informed why they came to the light seeking atonement over money, similar to Han Solo in Star Wars.

It gets worse as they flee to Morisuke's feudal temple, with Nikita staying at the gate to die a hero's death. She mauls some of the soldiers but the shaman warriors crush her using telekinesis. Meanwhile, Achoja doesn't even get proper retribution by killing these attackers specifically, which would have been a visceral moment.

Yasuke misses out on giving Achoja proper revenge as he instead joins Morisuke in sending giant spirits out into battle. The icing on the cake comes at the end when victory is achieved and Achoja celebrates with his payment, never mourning his allies at all. Yasuke and Saki (who telepathically reached out to them) don't even bring up a funeral, making these bounty hunters expendable props after initially positioning them to be the best warriors around.

Created by LeSean Thomas, Yasuke stars LaKeith Stanfield as Yasuke, Takehiro Hira as Nobunaga, Maya Tanida as Saki, Ming-Na Wen as Natsumaru, Paul Nakauchi as Morisuke, Darren Criss as Haruto, Julie Marcus as Nikita and William Christopher Stephens as Achoja. The series is out now on Netflix.

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