Django: Unchained was Quentin Tarantino's explosive, racially-charged contribution to the cinematic world in 2012.
Starring Jamie Foxx as the titular character, Django-- a slave that teams up with a white bounty hunter by the name of Dr. Schultz (played by Christopher Waltz)--the story is a roaring rampage of love, blood, and good ole' fashion revenge, set to the background of the darkest era in America's history (no pun intended).
Django: Unchained was inspired by the hyper-violent 1966 spaghetti western, Django, starring Franco Nero as the titular character. Nero also made a brilliant blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo in Django: Unchained:
The cultural impact of the 1966's Django was so profound that it's even referenced in one of the world's most beloved and successful anime, Cowboy Bebop. The episode Mushroom Samba features a Black character that is a shoutout to the legendary 1971's badass Shaft, who drags around with him a coffin (a direct reference to Franco Nero's original Django):
This particular element of the original Django made it into Tarantino's remake in the form of Rick Ross's song, 100 Black Coffins:
What many people don't know, however, is that Tarantino's Django: Unchained was also largely inspired by another largely unknown Japanese comic which can only be described as "Django: Unchained With Vampires and Werewolves".
I'm talkin' bout a little-known manga by the name of Blaster Knuckle, of which without Tarantino's Django Unchained wouldn't have been the success it was.
Written in 1992 by Shizuya Wazarai, Blaster Knuckle is set in the 1800's, and follows the story of a Black, Heavyweight boxer, Victor Freeman, as he takes on werewolf-hybrid KKK members, who've gone from raping and killing Black people to eating them.
We'll pause the article here so you can go back and read that last sentence about ten times.
It is utterly inconceivable to believe this series did not have a direct influence on Tarantino for Django: Unchained. Tarantino himself has stated that he is as big of anime and manga nerd as any of us. His other commercial success, Kill Bill, was heavily inspired by one of my top five, all-time favorite manga, Lady Snowblood.
Along with the fantastical, over-the-top blood and gore that can be found in any of his films, other shared elements between Blaster Knuckle and Django: Unchained are particularly noticeable in the similarities between Victor Freeman and Jamie Foxx's Django, right down to the characters' shared penchant for wearing green and beige, and the famous facial scars (augmented for the addition of a beard):
If you're still skeptical, the first volume of Blaster Knuckle is available to read on Archive.org. It's a bloody, vengeful and twisted tale that will absolutely appeal to you if you're a fan of Berserk, and weaves one hell of a tale that will keep you wanting more.
We're taking all bets on which obscure manga and anime series Tarantino bases his next movie off of, thinking we won't notice.
(Spoiler Alert: We totally will.)