AFRO SAMURAI has made the rare reverse commute: the American-produced manag-adaptation anime in now popular in Japan:

Okazaki’s strange tale initially failed to attract attention in Japan, where mainstream cartoons feature cute wide-eyed heroines or fighting robots.

He sold just a trickle of his Afro Samurai comics in the 1990s, peddling his work to specialized bookstores in Tokyo.

“Okazaki’s work was too weird for most mainstream manga fans, who love cutsey characters,” said Atsushi Sugino of Japanese animation company GDH K.K., which is co-producing the TV series and movie.

It was only in 2001 – after an American executive at anime studio Gonzo, Eric Calderon, learned of Okazaki’s work – that Afro Samurai finally headed to the screen.

Samuel L Jackson as the voice also helped.