Saturday, January 9, 2016
The Secret Origin of Ogin (aka Afro Lady) from Afro Samurai Resurrection – A Sad But True Hollywood Story
The Secret Origin of Ogin (aka Afro Lady)
The beautiful character of Ogin (shown in the screenshots* above) was featured in the gambling house sequence of Funimation's Afro Samurai: Resurrection. Her unexpected presence was a pleasant surprise when she appeared in this part of the Afro Samurai tale, and it really made me wish that there had been more of her. When I watched the extras on the DVD, I was shocked to discover that Bob Okazaki, the creator of Afro Samurai, and director Fuminori Kizaki had actually planned to do more with this character. Much more.
According to Kizaki, the Ogin character (or Ogin-san as they affectionately referred to her) was originally conceived to be the villainous adversary of Afro Samurai in this second animated story of the titular character, voiced by Samuel L. Jackson. But, in the words of the director, "The American side said 'no.'" Oh, that's right folks, in an anime feature called "Afro Samurai," it seems the idea of also having a black woman prominently featured triggered melanin-motherfucking-overload for the shot-calling US-based side.
After learning of the slight, my beautiful black mind promptly began to ponder what if Ogin-san had been voiced by the blaxploitation legend Pam Grier, or Academy Award nominee Angela Bassett! That shit would have been bananas, and it could have been the talk of San Diego Comicon (Funimation hosted a panel there in '09 to promote Resurrection). Oh, the friggin' fun the people at Funimation could have had with such a production, if only they didn't have their heads shoved so far up their culturally henpecked asses.
Instead, the Funimation folks went the pseudo culturally sensitive safe route with a non-black female villain voiced by actress Lucy Liu. Now, I really adore Ms. LL, so it's really hard to bitch about that. And so I won't. But the Ogin-san idea that I've tossed out here would have been dyn-o-mite, out of sight, and super...fucking...cool. If only Funimation had just taken a moment to think outside the box, the studio could have made something really special and absolutely unprecedented.
*Shout out to citedsilence at Tumblr for posting these beauties.