Blue Eye Samurai

Blue Eye Samurai

TV-MA

netflix

A breathtaking animated sword wielding revenge saga set in Edo-period Japan

The Very Best

8.6

TV Show

France, United States of America
English
Action & Adventure, Animation, Drama
2023
Brenda Song, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Darren Barnet

TLDR

Maya Erskine has such a perfect voice for her role.

What it's about

A young swordmaster, whose blue eyes made them an outcast, seeks revenge in Edo-period Japan.

The take

Starting off the series with slicing off fingers, Blue Eye Samurai is a thrilling action series that brings back samurai sword wielding in such a gorgeous fashion. Reminiscent of the classics, the animated series is centered on its titular warrior, whose blue eyes set them apart from society. She dedicates herself to a lifelong revenge journey, with gruesome sword fights, all to kill the four white men who could have been her father. And while she takes some side quests to her journey, missions that make her question the path she took, these seemingly straightforward fights slowly uncover the woman she became, and the pain inflicted upon those who can’t help but be different. It’s an action-packed spectacle, but it’s also an unflinching examination of trauma, and possibly one of the best animated releases from Netflix this year.

What stands out

Blue Eye Samurai isn’t anything you’ve ever seen, literally. The story might be set in Japan and animated, but the series’ art style doesn’t have the wide-eyed 2D style common in Eastern anime. Instead, Blue Eye Samurai employs a 2D-3D hybrid that is said to be inspired by Japanese bunraku puppets, according to director Jane Wu. Of course, Netflix has delved into hybrid animation before, notably in titles like Entergalactic and Arcane. However, Wu uses this dynamic animation style for some of the streamer’s most breathtaking scenes to date– from downright gruesome sword fights, masterful sword crafting scenes, to unexpected but fitting nudity that reflected Edo period’s sexual openness. It makes for a gorgeous and respectful depiction of Japan’s culture, on top of its layered themes of revenge, honor, and discrimination.

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