‘Blue Eye Samurai’ on Netflix: This version of ‘Kill Bill’ is the best anime series of 2023

‘Blue Eye Samurai’ on Netflix: This version of ‘Kill Bill’ is the best anime series of 2023

Mini series Blue-eyed samurai It has established itself in recent weeks as a new little gem of animation. Like its main character, its origin is mixed: American for production, Japanese in spirit and appearance and partly French for animation (provided by Blue Spirit studio).

We owe this series for adults and young people to married couple Michael Green and Amber Noizumi. The first to produce the series Heroes Among other things, he wrote scripts for films Logan And Blade Runner 2049. We learn that her partner is Japanese-American and was initially inspired by their daughter’s experiences.

Mizo arrives in Kyoto: The series is well documented. ©2023 Netflix

In the footsteps of four Westerners

Blue-eyed samurai It takes place in the Edo era of Japan in the 17th century. The archipelago was off-limits to foreigners after initial contacts with Portuguese, English and Dutch traders until 1639. As we quickly discover, the blue eyes of the character who gives his name to the series reveal a mixed ancestry. Mizu also must hide another peculiarity: she is a woman, disguised as a boy in order to fulfill her quest.

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When he was born, there were only four Westerners in Japan. The young woman, who has become a skilled swordswoman, decides to find them all in order to take revenge on those who made her a “monster.” His path crosses with that of Ringo, an apprentice cook with amputated hands who decides to put himself at his service after seeing him correct bullies. She also finds and confronts Taigen, a boy who bullied her when they were children. The outcome of their duel leads Taigen and his former fiancée, the noble Akemi, to Mizu’s wake.

The series benefits from careful art direction inspired by traditional Japanese arts. ©2023 Netflix

Being a woman in the Edo era

Mizo’s choice to cross-dress as a man can be explained by the status of women at the time. Whether they are nobles and come from the people, they are subject to the good will of their father or husband. Therefore, they cannot travel alone. The only way for Mizu to achieve her revenge is to become stronger than the man.

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Based on a simple and well-known saying – the fallen angel – Blue-eyed samurai Uncovers a story that explores themes of racism, gender, and abuse of power. Through the episodes, we discover the young woman’s past and how she gained her mastery of the sword. Her journey echoes that of Akemi who, despite the ease of her origin, also discovers the limits of her independence imposed by her gender. Mizu’s quest is like a descent into hell, the outcome of which remains uncertain until the end.

The bunraka acting, which serves as the common denominator for Episode 4, is the masterpiece of the series. ©2023 Netflix

Episode 4 is in itself a masterpiece of this genre and the essence of the qualities of this series. The show begins with a performance of bunraku, a traditional puppet theatre. Added to this are two story levels: the confrontation between Mizu and the Hundred Claws, a horde of killers, interspersed with flashbacks that explain how she became a ruthless killer. The Mizu Dantesque confrontation recalls the famous fierce battle that took place within it Kill Bill: Volume 1which is actually a tribute to the classic of Shanbara, the Japanese sword film.

Bloody battles but brilliantly executed. ©2023 Netflix

Stylized aesthetic

The series’ stylized aesthetic, without being radically innovative, is at odds with the standards of Japanese anime. The art direction is rigorous, with attention paid to the smallest architectural or architecture details.

The choice was made in favor of autumn and winter atmospheres, conducive to a less stereotypical representation of Japan. The characters are brilliantly animated, both in intimate scenes and battles. Numerous and violent, their choreography has nothing to envy the best films of this genre.

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The artists who worked on this exceptional series also excel in representing the places of serenity where Mizo heals his physical and spiritual wounds.

Blue-eyed samurai An animated series created and written by Michael Green and Amber Noizumi. Directed by: Jin Woo, with English voices: Maya Erskine, Masi Oka, Darren Barnett, Kenneth Branagh, George Takei,… 8 episodes from 35 to 62 minutes. For ages 16+ – Netflix.

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About the Author: Aldina Antunes

"Praticante de tv incurável. Estudioso da cultura pop. Pioneiro de viagens dedicado. Viciado em álcool. Jogador."

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