The Afro Samurai manga is finally returning to store shelves, just in time for the series' 15th anniversary.
Titan Comics announced that it is re-publishing the bloody samurai classic as the first release under its new Titan Manga imprint. The new edition of the manga will be released in a larger, graphic novel format and will feature new cover art and a foreword by creator Takashi Okazaki, who also designed the characters for 2018's Batman Ninja. The entire series will be collected into two "Director's Cut" volumes, the first of which will be released in both physical and digital formats on July 26. Titan also released new images of the cover art and panels from the Director's Cut.
"Not only did the AFRO SAMURAI manga have a huge impact on me personally at the time,” said Titan’s Duncan Baizley, "the aftershock from Okazaki-san’s stone-cold classic is still being felt in today’s anime and manga cultures. Effortlessly cool with beautifully choreographed bloody mayhem – like Kurosawa exploding through a Tarantino lens – it was always going to be our number one choice to launch Titan Comics' spectacular new Titan Manga imprint."
Okazaki, who has since worked on acclaimed anime such as Mamoru Hosoda's Summer Wars and the first episode of Star Wars: Visions, still says that Afro Samurai is "out of all my work, it is my best project." The manga was previously long out-of-print and in recent years has commanded drastically marked-up prices on the secondary market.
The series was inspired by Okazaki's love of hip hop culture and is set in a futuristic version of feudal Japan. After witnessing his father's death at the hands of gunslinger known as Justice, the eponymous Afro Samurai sets off on a bloody quest for revenge. Okazaki's manga was originally published from 1998 - 2002, and was adapted into an anime series by studio Gonzo (Last Exile) in 2007. The anime adaptation starred Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction, Deep Blue Sea) as the title character and featured a soundtrack by Wu-Tang Clan's RZA. A sequel anime, Afro Samurai: Resurrection, was released in 2009. The sequel added the talents of Lucy Liu (Charlie's Angels) and Mark Hamill (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) to the cast. Bandai Namco also published a series of Afro Samurai games, the first of which was released for the Sony Playstation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360 in 2009.
The Afro Samurai anime is available for streaming on Hulu and Funimation.
Source: Titan Manga