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Blue Eye Samurai - Netflix's best original in years, update: renewed for a second season


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I have no idea if this show actually qualifies as "anime", but it's animated, set in Japan, and about a samurai so that's close enough for me  :p

 

WWW.NETFLIX.COM

“An Edo-period tale of revenge — Kill Bill meets Yentl.” Watch a feature on the animation style here.

 

WWW.NETFLIX.COM

“We really let the historicity drive story rather than trying to impose modern outlooks.”

 

 

 

 

 

It's gotten some pretty damned good reviews and I've very much enjoyed the first two episodes!

 

 

WWW.THEGUARDIAN.COM

Kenneth Branagh, George Takei and Maya Erskine star in this gorgeous, gory tale of a warrior hellbent on revenge in edo-era Japan. It’s a fun, cinematic epic

 

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Creators Amber Noizumi and Michael Green have conjured a thrilling world that has more than a hint of Game of Thrones to it. Mizu is seen as male by almost everyone around her, which is the way it has to be, and also, you suspect, the way she likes it; Erskine delivers Mizu’s lines in a droll, deep rasp. In parallel, we also follow the story of Princess Akemi, whose powerful father is trying to sell her, in marriage, to other powerful men. Both women are fighting the patriarchal constraints of the world they are in, though each takes a different, and often conflicting, path to what might be considered freedom.

 

It takes itself seriously, then, but rarely gets bogged down by earnestness. In the end, Blue Eye Samurai knows that its main selling point is as an epic, violent tale of honour and revenge. Mizu is an outsider in many respects, making it easy to root for her in the seemingly endless series of fights that look, at first, to be unsurmountable. There are betrayals, double-crossings and plenty of moral compromises. This is smart, cinematic entertainment and it is an awful lot of fun.

 

 

 

 

WWW.POLYGON.COM

A lone swordsmaster seeks revenge

 

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This is all further elevated by the show’s animation. A historical drama is not necessarily the genre one thinks of when imagining a story made stronger by animation, but Blue Eye Samurai is as spectacular as it is because of the medium. It allows for dynamic visuals, and for the storytelling to be pushed to higher levels. One particular evocative episode uses traditional Japanese bunraku puppets to tell a story that juxtaposes both the action within the current day and a flashback. The hybrid 2D-3D animation, with a distinct, soft painterly quality to the visuals, is a style rarely seen in mainstream animation, let alone in adult animated television. It feels like Arcane in the way it elevates the visual expectations of television animation. The result is breathtaking, from the distinct character designs to the gorgeous backgrounds and setting.

 

The art especially shines in the show’s fight sequences. I am not someone who usually looks forward to long fight sequences, but I could not look away from Blue Eye Samurai, even during those lengthy battles (and sometimes, especially during those). The fight choreography is vibrant and fresh. Part of it is the animation, certainly, and the way that each battle is new and exciting. But it all comes back to Mizu, and what a strong, compelling character she is — and how she would not exist without the world around her being what it is. Her fighting style is a hodgepodge of different techniques that she picked up from her unorthodox childhood, blending various schools of training together. She knows the in and outs of each one, and how fundamentally there is no actual superior combat method.

 

Every part of Blue Eye Samurai synchronizes together in perfect harmony. I was initially drawn to the show because the main character, like myself, is mixed race. But I began to love Mizu for just how unlike me she is, shaped so totally by her world and her own story. She and the rest of the characters are very human and real, but carve their own paths. It makes the show both familiar and unique; though I’ll never live in Edo-era Japan or challenge someone to a duel for my honor, through the writing and the acting, I understand the greater stakes of the world the same way Noizumi spun her personal experience into something much bigger. It uses animation and action to help push that story along to something broader and more fantastical, but never loses sight of the main character’s central conflict amid the spectacle and expanding cast. It’s the best show I’ve watched in years.

 

 

 

WWW.HOLLYWOODREPORTER.COM

A mysterious swordmaster cuts a path of revenge through 17th-century Japan in an adult animated series created by Amber Noizumi and Michael Green.

 

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If death is an art, as sword maker Eiji (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) tells his erstwhile assistant Mizu (Maya Erskine), it’s one Netflix’s Blue Eye Samurai renders particularly beautiful. The adult animated series savors the peal of clashing swords like it’s music, frames blood spatters like brush strokes, twirls around battling warriors like they’re dancers.

 

This graphic, gorgeous violence is what grabs a viewer’s attention first, long before we understand who Mizu is or what she’s after; one of her first acts, a few minutes into the premiere, is slicing off the fingertips of a man with the deftness of a master chef. But what sustains the series in the long term is its knack for crafting compelling characters and engaging drama, even if the end results land as more fun than profound.

 

 

 

COLLIDER.COM

This breathtaking action series lives up to its promise.

 

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One of the first things that stands out about Blue Eye Samurai is its vibrant and distinct animation style. It's like a mixture of Genndy Tartakovsky’s Samurai Jack with Arcane yet still something we haven’t seen on TV before. Not only does it perfectly fit the tone of the series, but it makes the series’ action that much more exciting. The fight choreography and action are among some of the best setpieces you’ll see on TV all year (live-action or animated), fluid and paired perfectly with the animation. There are samurai sword fights, epic battle sequences, and training montages, all of which are consistently exciting. It's easy to become lost in the spectacle of it all, even for viewers who aren’t as into animation.

 

The environments are never boring or tedious as there’s always something visually interesting happening on the screen. Blue Eye Samurai boldly takes full advantage of its TV-MA rating. The violence is brutal, full of blood splatter, decapitations, and limbs being cut off. While it has become common practice for certain adult animated titles to use their mature rating as a gimmick, acting as if showing animated sexual content is something nobody has seen before, or trying to get the audience to giggle at cartoons cursing, everything in Blue Eye Samurai feels warranted and stays true to the series’ overall vision. Western adult animation has been on an exciting upswing in recent years, as it continues to branch out from just comedy as series such as Invincible, Castlevania, Primal, Arcane, and The Legend of Vox Machina have proven. Blue Eye Samurai can now also be added to this exciting list as one of the best new animated shows of 2023.

 

 

 

WWW.THEGAMER.COM

Bloodshed, heartbreak, and style combine to create a truly brilliant animated tale.

 

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Blue Eye Samurai is Mulan meets John Wick. A tragic examination of womanhood in 17th century Japan amidst a nation that has shut itself off from the rest of the world. From the creative pairing of Michael Green (Blade Runner 2049, Logan) and newcomer Amber Noizumi comes an animated tale of revenge, femininity, and coming to terms with one’s own existence in a world that has forever branded you as an outsider. While it can lean into cliché on occasion, Blue Spirit and Netflix have produced a stellar original series that is equal parts beauty and bloodshed. Those without warm hearts and strong stomachs need not apply.

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  • Commissar SFLUFAN changed the title to Blue Eye Samurai (Netflix) - a revenge tale about a mixed-race woman samurai in Edo Period Japan from a co-writer of Logan and Blade Runner 2049 (first episode available on YouTube)

This weekend I started going through Netflix's new adult oriented animated show "Blue Eye Samurai" and I was instantly hooked. Created and written by husband-and-wife team Michael Green (Blade Runner 2049) and Amber Noizumi, this is a Samurai revenge tale with a twist that is executed beautifully.The story is not ground breaking, but puts the many tropes that it employs to good use. The show is littered with classic over the top violence and surprisingly doesn't shy away from sex, which I think is handled quite well. The animation is beautiful and is really well directed. The voice cast is stacked and turns in some excellent performances.

 

 

There are 8 episodes available now, and I suspect many on this board will really enjoy it.

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On 11/4/2023 at 11:38 PM, Keyser_Soze said:

It does not and also made in North America. You'll see your first Anime one of these days though.

 

Pretty sure @Commissar SFLUFAN has seen at least some of Way of the House Husband.

 

I've been meaning to watch this series when it came out. It isn't really an anime, but it looks like it should get a pass for being spoken about in the same breath.

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Just finished this a few minutes ago and all I gotta say is:

HURRY UP AND ANNOUNCE THE NEXT BLOODY SEASON ALREADY!

 

That was unquestionably some of the most compelling visual media that I've engaged with in ages!  I genuinely can't think of anything truly significant that I'd want to see improved up on at all!

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I think this show does a really good job maintaining the appropriate level of nuance and complexity for an animated series. They balance themes of revenge, guilt, racism, misogyny, bullying, shame, disability, and many more without ever being too heavy handed, dithering too much, or being overly platitudinal. 

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Finished off Gen V and decided to give this a go, and I really like. Has a Zatoichi and obvious Kill Bill (music and all) vibe to it, but also reminded me of a Canadian show called Cybersix. It only lasted a season, a bit weird, but had the same main character vibe going. Even with hiding them peaches and living a double life.

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Fantastic series and I live the choreography. It's been a good while since we got a great samurai series like this. Well worth binging over a single weekend, and it's not often I binge something this long, especially something I don't want to watch around that kids.

 

This was a Netflix original and I hate that I don't trust Netflix to renew for a second season. Here's hoping. They're usually better about giving animated series a chance.

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  • 2 weeks later...
1 hour ago, ort said:

Is this another tale about a westerner who inexpicably becomes the greatest warrior in a strange foreign land, better even than the thousands of locals who have all been training in the same combat arts for generations?

It's about a German swordsman that comes to the shores of Japan as a young man. Everyone makes fun of him because of his white skin and blue eyes, so he gets bitter.  He picks up a sword on display in a Dojo and starts playing with it, disrespecting all the Japanese customs. He laughs and spits on the local Japanese students when they tell him to stop. He is instantly badass with it and kills 10+ trained students. They nickname him blue eye Samurai because his eyes are blue and he's white. Everywhere he goes, they attack him and he kills. He goes from town to town undefeated, taking the women he wants. Finally the master of the Dojo from episode 1 challenges him to duel at the end of the season, but blue eye ignores the rules and slits the master's throat in his sleep. He winks at the camera and the credits roll. 

 

Seriously though, it plays to certain tropes in a way, but it's a good spin on it and it feels different enough to work. It's so well paced and executed that whether it plays out like other Samurai stories or not is is almost irrelevant. 

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11 minutes ago, Massdriver said:

It's about a German swordsman that comes to the shores of Japan as a young man. Everyone makes fun of him because of his white skin and blue eyes, so he gets bitter.  He picks up a sword on display in a Dojo and starts playing with it, disrespecting all the Japanese customs. He laughs and spits on the local Japanese students when they tell him to stop. He is instantly badass with it and kills 10+ trained students. They nickname him blue eye Samurai because his eyes are blue and he's white. Everywhere he goes, they attack him and he kills. He goes from town to town undefeated, taking the women he wants. Finally the master of the Dojo from episode 1 challenges him to duel at the end of the season, but blue eye ignores the rules and slits the master's throat in his sleep. He winks at the camera and the credits roll. 

 

You forgot the part when he whips out his penis and starts clubbing people with it in the bathhouse fight scene

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3 minutes ago, Spork3245 said:

 

You forgot the part when he whips out his penis and starts clubbing people with it in the bathhouse fight scene

I love the innovation in that scene; it starts as a sex scene(he doesn't mind public sex), but it ends in one of the best penis fights ever animated. 

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3 hours ago, ort said:

Is this another tale about a westerner who inexpicably becomes the greatest warrior in a strange foreign land, better even than the thousands of locals who have all been training in the same combat arts for generations?

 

I was worried this would be the case, but no, it's not like that. Without giving much away (since what I'll say is explained very early) the main character is the child of a westerner who traveled to Japan and a Japanese woman. The MC has been Japanese since birth, but their split race has made them an outcast.

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12 hours ago, ort said:

Is this another tale about a westerner who inexpicably becomes the greatest warrior in a strange foreign land, better even than the thousands of locals who have all been training in the same combat arts for generations?

 

It's actually a dirty Disney (complete with annoying sidekick) version of Kill Bill about a native born Japanese person of mixed race that through sheer observation becomes the greatest warrior, impervious to pain and injury fueled only by rage to get revenge on their father for being born. A show that tries to be so cool by showing you they can have ultraviolence and tons of nudity and how Japanese the show is even though it's completely in English (but voiced by Asians) but they love to name drop Japanese phrases all over the place including a very cringe needle drop later in the show (of which there are many). Predictable writing every step of the way and a hideous art style.

 

For everyone wondering about "season 2" I'm sure there will be one. Netflix "seasons" are basically one show cut up into parts so I'm sure the next 8 episodes are already in the can.

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  • Commissar SFLUFAN changed the title to Blue Eye Samurai - Netflix's best original in years, update: renewed for a second season

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