As a man in the ways of the samurai, Afro Samurai is a representation of the pathway of hatred and revenge that will coincide in bringing pain and sorrow in one's life.
As with the mental image of a Samurai, there is always one defining feature on the character, in this case, it has to be the Afro. As a memory of his Father, Afro dons the similar fro (what a coincidence) after watching his father who was No.1 murdered by the then No.2, Justice. As a frightened young boy who was left to die, he was taken in by Sword Master and taught the ways of the samurai along with other orphans under the Sword Master's supervision. Within though, Afro was suffering remembrances of his father's murder and the fueling revenge in finding the one with the No. 2 as only the one with the No. 2 headband may challenge the one who yields the No. 1. This decision comes after a raid on whether to pursue the No. 1 and continue in a life with pain and no kinship or continue a normal life. Mentally, it was taxing enough to deal with the thought of one's father's death before their own eyes and hands, but to then turn on one's adoptive family for revenge. Now, pathologically, how does that come out to be that in discovering that your adoptive father was the No.2 and the only gateway to ascend towards the No.1 who murdered your father? The fact that Afro was willing to take that step to drop everything for a chance to fulfill revenge is what an average human mentality would be unable to process and gain the courage to take that step. What steps were taken to go to these lengths to put revenge in front of everything else around him?
Afro Samurai's appearance consists of the signature afro (though slightly different from his father's who had a ponytail included), a martial arts white gi (pronounced Gee), along with long baggy gray pants. The symbolic headband of his ranking (primarily No. 2 throughout the television series) rests on his forehead, bringing a foreboding look. Despite the menacing looks, Afro Samurai use to be joyful child full of vigor. Though, probably seeing your own father's head come off his body and the murderer telling you to come back one day to defeat him when you're ready would change the outlook of life. In addition, to his image, Afro is usually seen smoking as most characters within the series did, including his companion, Ninja Ninja. This smoking imagery may be a sign of being cool or maturity, but it is seen often of Afro smoking a joint or disfigured cigarette (Disclaimer: Smoking is still bad for your health.) Furthermore, his voice is very low and stern, usually at a muttering sort of sound, portraying him to be a man with attitude. (Official website: www.afrosamurai.com)
Along side his attire, Afro is always with his father's samurai sword with the sheath, which is always in his hands. As a samurai warrior, never letting go of your weapon holds true with Afro with each sword fight, each one becoming progressively much more difficult and sometimes, under overwhelming odds.The manga and animated series follows the formula towards the rise of a samurai (as read in Chapter 8 of Bushido: The Way of the Warrior) of fulfilling the shoes where the father could not fill. In fact, in the beginning after his father's death, Afro took the rotting head of his father and weapon with him, which is a sign of devotion and remembrance. In spirit, he maintained his father's fighting style and proving resilient in most circumstances. Perhaps it is the sheer determination for vengeance or drive for justice (ironic since the No. 1 in the series was named Justice). To quote from the Hagakure: "Lord Naoshige said, 'The Way of the Samurai is in desperateness. Ten men or more cannot kill such a man. Common sense will not accomplish great things. Simply become insane and desperate.'" Though insanity is defined by society and the modern interpretation, desperateness and the desire of revenge fuels Afro's ascent to No.1. (This does remind me a lot of the video game of No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle.) In addition, Afro's past kept coming back to haunt him, especially with his childhood friends trying to get revenge of their own to avenge the destruction of their clan and adopted family, specifically Jinno. The past have always returned to haunt those who have left them in vain.
What drives a man over the edge of what is normally perceived as sane? How do we relate to such pain and suffering that Afro has endured since watching his father, clan, and master slain in the name of the No. 1 headband throughout Japan? In the path of revenge, as Afro's character shown, is crazed with pain and sorrow while meeting with those who catch up from the past. Despite this, Afro's character portrays him as a force to be reckoned with and capable of filtering his mind from emotions that would fog one's decisions. Living by the code of the samurai, Afro comes off as the ultimate samurai capable of pulling off what many others (with the No. 2 headband) have failed. Of course, he takes it to the extremes of hatred and revenge, but obtains the ultimate reward against all odds.