Yasuke tells of the story of a black samurai in a psychedelic alternate history of Japan full of magic and mecha. If you enjoyed the six-episode limited series, here are my recommendations for more anime that take place in an alternate history and remix cultures.
Afro Samurai is an Emmy award-winning anime produced by and starring Samuel L. Jackson. The Afro Samurai must slice and dice his way through a SciFi-infused feudal Japan to the sound of hiphop music.
Seis Manos is a Mexican anime, inspired by Kung-Fu and Grindhouse cinema. The series makes great use of supernatural horror and delivers a surprisingly emotional narrative considering its B-movie inspirations.
Another anime by Yasuke creator, LeSean Thomas, Cannon Busters follows a group of unlikely allies on their journey across a SciFi western landscape. If you enjoyed the world-building in Yasuke, you can expect even more magic, mechs and Afrofuturism in Cannon Busters.
Samurai Champloo is set in an alternate version of Edo-era Japan that mixes hiphop with wandering swordsmen. The series director, Shinichirō Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop) was a clear influence on LeSean Thomas. This East meets West cross-pollination always yields interesting results.
Fate Zero is about wizards summoning heroes from history and mythology to battle each other over the Holy Grail. Each hero has a superpower based on their legend. With complex world-building, eye-popping animation, and deep philosophical exploration, Fate Zero is a true Epic.
Drifters takes legendary figures from Japanese history, traps them in a violent Tolkien-esque fantasy world. This series has a unique take on Yasuke’s master, Oda Nobunaga, who uses cutthroat tactics from true historical battles on the opposing army of monsters.
Sword of the Stranger
Sword of the Stranger also depicts foreigners becoming warriors in feudal Japan. Our mysterious swordsman is caught in a struggle between Japanese and Chinese forces as he reluctantly agrees to take a raggedy boy and his dog to a remote, Buddhist temple.