Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Blue Eye Samurai (2023-)

Streaming Service: Netflix
Series Name/Year: Blue Eye Samurai (2023- )
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure, Drama, History, Thriller
Average Episode Length:  45 min (1 Season, 8 episodes)
Rating: TV-MA
Production/Distribution: 3 Arts Entertainment, Blue Spirit Animation, Netflix Animation, Netflix
Creators: Michael Green, Amber Noizumi
Directors: Earl A. Hibbert, Ryan O'Loughlin, Jane Wu, Michael Green, Sunny Sun, Alan Taylor, Alan Wan
Writers: Michael Green, Amber Noizumi, Yana Bille
Actors: Maya Erskine, George Takei, Masi Oka, Brenda Song, Darren Barnet, Randall Park, Kenneth Branagh, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Gedde Watanabe, Patrick Gallagher, Eric Bauza, Clyde Kusatsu, Ming-Na Wen, Keone Young, Marcus Choi, Ann Harada, Orli Mariko Green, Judah Green, Harry Shum Jr.,  Mark Dacascos
IMDb Blurb: Driven by a dream of revenge against those who made her an outcast in Edo-period Japan, a young warrior cuts a bloody path toward her destiny.
Cat’s Point of View:
I heard a few good things about Blue Eye Samurai, and the description on Netflix intrigued me so I couldn’t help but to dive right in. Let me tell you, once I got started it was hard for me to stop. It was one of the easiest binges I’ve ever done. I did have to take a break in the middle because adulting requires that now and again, but I couldn’t wait to jump right back into this revenge saga from the Edo era of Japan’s history.
I have always been fascinated by Japan’s history and culture. Of course, anime has helped fan those flames over the years. This is one such animated film that has checked all of the proverbial boxes for me; which is why I couldn’t wait to offer my review for this series.
There are so many aspects of Blue Eye Samurai that I adore. It makes it hard to choose a place to begin. Let’s start with visuals – the artistic style and cinematography. 
There were points where I forgot I was watching something animated rather than live-action. Those moments were generally during action sequences – but I’ll get to that here in a moment. Otherwise, I felt like I was watching an animated painting at times. It was, frankly, breathtaking. I loved the way the water flowed, how snow fell, leaves blew on the wind, and even how embers fell from the sky amid dancing flames. There was a skillful play between 2D and 3D animation so that my eye was drawn in, and it didn’t feel flat.
The attention to detail was immaculate in every way. I could tell a lot of care was put into even simple things such as character hair, clothing, and movement. This especially translated into the action sequences. The fight scenes were brilliant. I really felt like I was watching a live swordmaster on screen fighting. 
The use of “bullet time” and the different camera perspectives really added to the story rather than feeling like they were just effects thrown in to be flashy. There was flashing going on – but it was of the steel variety as swords and other period-accurate Japanese weaponry clashed on screen.
Another solid point in Blue Eye Samurai’s favor was the character development. While the main character’s goal was ever present, the story of how Mizu collected their compatriots and reached this particular life-path unfolds organically and invested me in the story. Flashbacks were to the point and built the foundation of the back-story in moments that made sense, rather than haphazard cut-scenes.
I do feel I need to mention, as I have before, that the fact that this is animation does not make this “safe” for kids to watch. The TV-MA rating for Blue Eye Samurai is absolutely accurate to reflect its content. The series is full of bloody violence, sporadic (but not gratuitous) nudity, and a few sex scenes. Nothing stands out as being thrown in for fan-service. Everything has its place within the story – but it is there.
I’ve actually watched this series twice now – once on my own, and once with my adult daughter. We were both very sad that there were only 8 episodes to this season. We are holding out hope that Netflix orders another season to keep the story going. In the meantime, it’s possible that Blue Eye Samurai might just become one of my go-to comfort series to watch when I need something familiar. Its high critic and audience ratings alike are well warranted. I would recommend anyone even remotely interested to give it a shot. 
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 100%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 96%
Metascore – 88%
Metacritic User Score – 8.3/10
IMDB Score – 8.9/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 5/5
P.S. - If you're interested in a little bit of "behind the scenes" of how Blue Eye Samurai was made, Netflix made a featurette! Just be warned that it might contain some spoilers to plot, etc. 

Series Trailer:

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