STUDIO GONZO, 2007
© 2006 TAKASHI OKAZAKI, GONZO / SAMURAI PROJECT
Ask your students to look at this image for a few minutes. Remind them that they do not
talk about it.
Look at the character’s face. Describe the emotions you see expressed. What visual clues
What facial features stand out to you? Describe. Notice the figure’s proportions. What is
big? What is small? Why do you think the artist made those choices?
Is the figure male or female?
Does the gender of the character affect your feelings about it? Would the gender of the
character change the story? Discuss.
What clues does the outfit potentially give you about the story?
Is it dressed for a specific activity? What types of activities could you perform in this
Look at the background.
What kind of place is this? Describe.
Notice the choices the artist made in terms of color, depth suggestion, the size of the
figure in relation to the background, scale, perspective.
What kind of mood does the scene have? How does the artist create mood?
If you wanted to change the mood of this image what choices would you make?
Adapt for 3
grade level students
Develop an original story (do not re-tell the Afro Samurai story) about this character, 2-
this scene. How did your character get to this place? What is this place like? Why is your
character here? Provide details. The reader of your short story should learn many things
about your character, its emotions, motivations, thoughts, sensory experiences, etc.
Create a beginning, middle and end for your story, introduce other characters if you like.
sometimes is also called Kuma. Kuma means bear in Japanese. He wears a black keiko-gi
and hakama, (an outfit usually worn by martial art practioners) and geta sandals.
About the artist:
is a founding member of the collective, NOU NOU HAU, which published a magazine of
independent and experimental manga. His Afro Samurai manga was featured in the
inaugural issue of NOU NOU HAU. In 2007 the Gonzo studio produced an anime version
for American television on the Spike Network.
Interview with Takashi Okazaki
Afro Samurai, 1994–ongoing, is set in a futuristic world—with robots, mechanized
weapons and lasers—that paradoxically looks a lot like common images of “feudal”
Japan. The principal character, Afro, is on a quest to avenge his father, whose killer,
named Justice the Gunman, is the holder of a spiritually powerful headband that makes
him “Number One” and can only be acquired by killing the previous holder. Afro’s father
held it until Justice killed him, and Afro, now holder of the “Number Two” headband,
must fight off those who seek to usurp his position while hunting down Justice. A secret