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Blue Eye Samurai is the new Netflix show that is making huge waves in the streaming community. From the husband-and-wife team, Michael Green (Alien: Covenant, Logan, Blade Runner 2049), and Amber Noizumi, is a TV series about revenge, death, moral ambiguity, and debauchery. Along with some of the most amazingly animated sequences of all time.

Which mostly consists of hyperactive and stylized choreography, with blood-pumping action set pieces. Blue Eye Samurai is an animated series from a French production that has hit the high bars for its ability to tell a gritty vengeance story without relying on too much flash, and easily phoning it in when that could have been the easiest thing. Despite all that, however, some inconsistencies are found.

Blue Eye Samurai is far from perfect, but this would be a list of a few nitpicks I have. It doesn’t overall detract from the enjoyable experience with the high production value, of such a high caliber of storytelling. Season 1 ended on a whimper to such a big build-up but building a big foundation for where it’ll go next time. And, the animation style certainly reminded me of the recent hit, Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse.

Blue Eye Samurai | Official Trailer

Blue Eye Samurai Early Conceptualization

The idea caught on when both the couple had a child with blue eyes, by this time she’s now a teenager, but for years, they’ve gone back and forth with researching, trying to learn cultural heritage and understanding their racial identity for her sake. It’s where they stumbled onto 16th-century Japanese history, learning that mixed races were illegal around the time Japan stayed close to the outside world.

From here on, everything came to place. It’s just a matter of how they could turn it into a working concept which wasn’t working for a live-action project until they decided to pull it as an animated drama series now, we know as Blue Eye Samurai.  From there, they create the main character as someone with attachment issues, a half-breed (the derogatory term used in the series to describe children born from interracial mating).

Due to being isolated and discriminated against for being different, our protagonist Mizu aka The Blue Eye Samurai goes on a quest to kill the “white devils” who brought her to this land, leaving her to live such a grim life before taking sword lessons from a highly renown blind swordsmith. The impetus which leaves blood trails.

Blue Eye Samurai - Poster - Deshi Geek
Blue Eye Samurai – Poster – Deshi Geek

Netflix Production

And so, after Kill Bill’s Beatrix Kiddo, we got Mizu. A somewhat taller-than-average woman disguised as a man, hell-bent on serving blood on a dish colder than the winter weather in Hokkaido. And before she lights that fire, an amputee cook follows her wanting to embrace his dream of being a samurai. That is how we see the curtains open on the majestic revenge tale of Blue Eye Samurai.

The cook becomes the dichotomy of Mizu’s darkness, shining light and helping her to morally reflect on her actions. All the while he learns through her journey of what it means to be a Samurai. She also meets Taigen, a bully from her early childhood who challenges her continuously on a dual to regain his honor. The series focuses on many things, including different storylines created around other side characters.

I got to learn about each character’s motivations, including the antagonists, how all of it was connected to Japan’s culture at the time, the isolationist mentality, and the cultural gatekeeping that went on for centuries with the Shogunate being in charge. The backstory, characterizations, and recurring themes carried the show very well in helping to understand beyond the revenge plotting and scheming.

Blue Eye Samurai | NSFW | Official Trailer #3

A French Touch

French studio, Blue Spirit captured the essence of the show, using a mix of stop-motion and fluid 3D animation, mostly inspired by ‘Spider-Man into The Spider-Verse’. The veritable color palette and creating a rich atmosphere reflecting Japan’s inner beauty that is still present today.

They are known for making kids’ programs but deviated from that after working on Marvel’s What If. Making Blue Eye Samurai their third project from an outside producer, and their first adult-rated show. I speak for myself when I say this, the mature content here is displayed on a grandiose scale.

Blue Eye Samurai - Scene - Deshi Geek
Blue Eye Samurai – Scene – Deshi Geek

Blue Eye Samurai Not-So-Good Parts

I will still hold Blue Eye Samurai in high regard, among the great many shows that came this year and the ones before. But it needs to be said that the issues I’ve noticed have sort of drawn the show back a bit. Starting off with a few of the choices Mizu makes. She’s well-trained, but not the sharpest tool in the shed.

There are points in the story where the samurai manages to get away, even when the odds are greatly and realistically stacked against her. This isn’t a biopic drama or based on any true story. But when you tell it in a gritty premise based on a historic setting, the immersion sort of easily breaks off. Points in the story where she should have realized better and chose more logical outcomes to work through.

After all, going out for revenge means you usually dig up two graves. She made her pact with the devil in a way that disregards the Samurai code of honor. One she constantly refutes against even if she accepts being recognized as an Onryu. However, it shows her more as morally conflicted, not morally ambiguous.

Blue Eye Samurai | Official Trailer #2

Enjoyable Nonetheless

I had a lot of fun watching Blue Eye Samurai, putting so much finesse into the action, drama, story, characters, and setting creates this rich 8-episode journey of non-stop jaw-dropping moments. It does remain to be said that the story is not over and that they’re fishing up for part 2. Where we get to see the other 2 white gaijins that came to Japan and could be relatively her father/mother.

The ending certainly puts the oddness in the cliffhangers of storytelling. Out of her 4 targets, one died off-screen, and now after defeating Fowler, she goes on a cruise to the other side of the world, hinted at being London to finish her quest. While the rest of the characters pick themselves up.

It’s not entirely clear who got their closure or not. For sure, this series is going to be bigger, with many different stories to tell. It could be a multi-season odyssey. We’ll know once we get more details about season 2, I am hoping to see more, but also them learning from what they have worked up here so far.

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Video games aficionado, movie geek, and a bit of fictional reading at times keeps me quite distracted, not even if the end of the world is near will I stop.

7 Comments

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