Imagine the enchanting allure of animated Mulan colliding with the visceral brutality of Shogun Assassin, and you get the intoxicating concoction that is Blue Eye Samurai.
Netflix’s latest mature-audiences animated series, crafted by the dynamic duo Michael Green (co-writer of Logan, Blade Runner 2049) and Amber Noizumi, emerges as a stunning masterpiece that defies expectations.
From its mesmerizing opening to the head-scratching yet compelling finish, the eight-episode saga immerses you in the lone ronin’s relentless quest for vengeance. The series seamlessly blends the artistic sensibilities of two universes, offering a feast for the eyes and a jarring yet enthralling experience for mature audiences.
While a Japanese audio track is available, the English audio dub boasts a powerhouse cast, featuring voices like George Takei, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Ming-Na Wen, Randall Park, Mark Dacascos, and Masi Oka. The talented ensemble, led by Maya Erskine, Darren Barnet, and Brenda Song, adds depth to the narrative.
Erskine voices Mizu, the half-breed swordsman on a quest to avenge the intrusion of four white men in feudal Japan during the Tokugawa Shogunate. The lush visual aesthetic remains consistent as Mizu carves a bloody path through samurai, assassins, and nobles, all leading to Fowler (Kenneth Branagh), a reclusive arms dealer with sinister intentions for Japan.
Each episode maintains a thematic coherence while exploring different narrative styles. The fifth episode, “The Tale Of The Ronin And The Bride,” stands out as a haunting combination of puppet show, love story, morality fable, and tragedy. It serves as a testament to the show’s ability to captivate with its diverse storytelling techniques.
However, as the narrative tightens and the anticipation builds for a sensational finale, the series takes an unexpected turn. The apparent conclusion morphs into a potential setup for a second season, leaving viewers with unanswered questions and a cliffhanger that hinges on Netflix’s decision.
Despite this narrative twist, ‘Blue Eye Samurai’ remains a flawless and spellbinding tale, where the creators’ passion for the setting and themes radiates in every frame.