cannon busters netflix review featured

Cannon Busters Review: Netflix Anime

Cannon Busters released today (August 15th 2019) on Netflix from the creative mind of LeSean Thomas (notable works on the Boondocks, Black Dynamite, Children of Ether, Yasuke and more). Black anime characters are rare, so I was especially excited and woke up early to watch it.  This is a non-spoiler review on the 12 episode series as you absolutely must watch this. My first reaction was that it reminded me of a black Cowboy Bebop (one of my favorite animes and the creators as well.) The main character is Philly the Kid and his similarity to Spike in Cowboy Bebop is undeniable.  

philly the kid cannon busters
Philly The Kid via
sam cannon busters netflix
S.A.M. via
casey cannon busters
Casey via

S.A.M. (special associate model) is a cannon buster and becomes Philly’s sidekick early on in the series.  Casey is the exuberant other sidekick (If you are a Star Wars nerd, think C-3PO and R2-D2).  If you are a 90’s kid you are going to lose it, as there are Power Rangers and Mega Man influences very early on.  The combination of Western and Eastern culture throughout the show is extremely interesting.  You will notice this immediately during the intro, as the production was completed in Japan (even with Japanese credits) with traditional Japanese style animation, but the intro music is a hip-hop / R&B track and features African American characters.  You’ll also notice mashups of black culture, japanese, and even middle eastern culture in some of the animation scenes.  Combine that with cowboys, robots, afrofuturism and steampunk and you’ll understand what Cannon Busters is about.  

lesean thomas japan times
LeSean Thomas via Japantimes

Anime productions with cross-cultural workforces have been a thing for over 35 years. This isn’t a new phenomenon to me. The U.S. Japan, France, China, India, Canada have been collaborating for decades. This is just becoming relatively common knowledge because of the advent of growing interest for the marketplace to expand business in a ubiquitous space like the web. The information about studios, directors, talent, etc is all more and more known because the information is there to share online now. But I’m used to it and encourage it. It’s vital for the medium to grow. It’s not about replacing the current model, it’s about expanding on it.

LeSean Thomas via Forbes

Quite simply, Cannon Busters is immediately a staple of blerd culture.  The characters are represented in such a positive way without any strange stereotypes and adds additional diversity to the anime genre.  I expect to see a ton of S.A.M. and Philly The Kid cosplays at upcoming conventions and these characters to start hitting our cosplay stream.  I won’t say anymore as it’s hard to write this review without dropping spoilers.  If you watched it, let us know what you think in the comments. 

CEO & Founder // Blerds out about: Video Games, Tech, Anime & Sneakers // He has a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Social & Economic Justice from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill


  • August 25, 2019

    Incredible show and what an honor to witness LeSean dream come true. Where ever he goes we will follow because cats like this come once in a lifetime like a comet.

    • August 25, 2019
      Blerd Team

      We are excited to see what else he accomplishes

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