As anime began to invade the Western mainstream in the early 2000s, several Japanese studios and creators started to tailor their projects with an overseas audience in mind. Although creators like Hirohiko Araki pioneered the trend in the late 80s by routinely naming characters after popular Western bands, the practice of constructing characters and plots with universal appeal in manga and anime practically became standard by 2003. With its heavy use of hip-hop elements, the groundbreaking Samurai Champloo(2005) helped anime and manga gain further traction in the West. It wouldn't be too long before the Samurai and hip-hop fusion would inspire other awesome series.
One of the biggest anime projects of the 2000s was Afro Samurai, which employed the talents of the Wu-Tang Clan's RZA for its soundtrack. Despite its intense popularity in the era, Afro Samurai has become slightly forgotten over the years. However, thanks to a new director's cut book written and illustrated by the manga's creator Takashi Okazaki, a new generation of fans can become acquainted with the character. In the video linked above, you can check out the trailer for the new collection.