Blue Eye Samurai Review – An Epic Drama That Brilliantly, Beautifully, Elevates the Animation Medium

Blue Eye Samurai.

Blue Eye Samurai, a masterful creation by Amber Noizumi and Michael Green, stands out as a pinnacle of adult animation, intertwining a riveting narrative with a breathtaking visual style. This eight-episode Netflix original series not only takes us on a journey through a reimagined Edo-period Japan but also delves into the profound themes of identity, vengeance, and redemption. It’s a story that is as emotionally resonant as it is visually stunning, a rare gem in the realm of animated storytelling.

Mizu’s Odyssey: A Tale of Revenge and Discovery

Blue Eye Samurai.
(L to R) Maya Erskine as Mizu in Blue Eye Samurai. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2023

At the core of Blue Eye Samurai is the enigmatic Mizu, voiced by the exceptionally talented Maya Erskine. Her portrayal is a tour de force, encompassing the full spectrum of Mizu’s complex persona – her fierce determination, her concealed vulnerability, and her unwavering quest for retribution. Erskine’s performance brings a depth to Mizu that transcends the animation, making her a character of flesh and blood, haunted by her past yet unyielding in her pursuit of justice.

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The series is bolstered by a stellar supporting cast. Brenda Song’s Akemi is a revelation, bringing to life a character caught between duty and desire. Masi Oka’s Ringo adds a layer of heartfelt loyalty and innocence, while Darren Barnet’s Taigen offers a nuanced look at honor and redemption. Together, they create a tapestry of characters that are as flawed as they are endearing, making their journey through this fantastical world all the more engaging.

Artistic Prowess and Kinetic Choreography

Blue Eye Samurai.
Maya Erskine as Mizu in Blue Eye Samurai. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2023

Visually, Blue Eye Samurai is nothing short of extraordinary. Each episode is a canvas where traditional Japanese aesthetics blend seamlessly with modern animation techniques. The meticulous attention to detail in the animation by Blue Spirit is evident in every scene, from the bustling streets of Edo to the serene landscapes that provide a backdrop to the unfolding drama. The action sequences are a particular highlight, choreographed with an exhilarating precision that brings each duel and skirmish to vivid life.

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The world-building in Blue Eye Samurai is executed with meticulous attention to detail. The series takes us through intricately designed cities and breathtaking landscapes, each brimming with a sense of history and culture. The show respects its historical setting while infusing it with a fantastical edge, creating a world that is both familiar and wonderfully alien.

Complex Themes Woven into a Rich Tapestry

Blue Eye Samurai.

Beyond its visual splendor, Blue Eye Samurai excels in its exploration of deeper themes. The story transcends a simple tale of vengeance; it is an introspective look at the costs of such a journey. Mizu’s path is fraught with moral quandaries and emotional turmoil, reflecting the series’ nuanced approach to its central themes. This narrative depth ensures that the series resonates on a level deeper than its action-packed surface.

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The cultural authenticity of Blue Eye Samurai adds another layer of complexity to the series. While taking creative liberties, the show demonstrates a profound respect for the historical and cultural context of Edo-period Japan. This authenticity enriches the narrative, adding a layer of realism to the fantastical elements of the story.

A Story of Personal and Collective Struggles

The series also delves into personal struggles against a backdrop of larger societal conflicts. Mizu’s battle against her demons, both internal and external, mirrors the tumultuous era she inhabits. This juxtaposition of personal vendettas against a backdrop of broader societal shifts adds a layer of relevance and relatability to the story.

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Furthermore, Blue Eye Samurai handles its exploration of identity with a delicate sensitivity. Mizu’s mixed-race heritage and her struggle for acceptance and self-realization are portrayed with a depth that speaks to broader conversations about race and identity. This theme, intertwined with the narrative, adds a contemporary resonance to the story, making it pertinent to modern audiences.

A Must-Watch Animated Epic

Blue Eye Samurai.
Blue Eye Samurai. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2023

Blue Eye Samurai is an exemplary achievement in the world of adult animation and visual storytelling in general. Combining a captivating story with stunning visuals and a remarkable voice cast, it sets a new standard for animated storytelling. It’s a series that not only entertains but also invites viewers to ponder deeper questions about identity, vengeance, and the nature of evil. Whether you are an animation enthusiast or a lover of rich, character-driven stories, Blue Eye Samurai is an unmissable series that promises to leave a lasting impression.

For fully embracing and elevating the animation medium, for being unafraid to be a full-on epic drama, and for being just an incredible example of storytelling, I give Blue Eye Samurai a 10/10.

Blue Eye Samurai is currently streaming exclusively on Netflix.

About Blue Eye Samurai

Blue Eye Samurai

Launch Date: November 3, 2023
Format: Limited series; 8 episodes
Created by: Amber Noizumi & Michael Green
Supervising Director/Producer: Jane Wu
Executive Producers: Michael Green, Amber Noizumi, Erwin Stoff
Written by: Amber Noizumi & Michael Green, Amber Noizumi, Yana Bille-Chung
Directed by: Jane Wu, Ryan O’Loughlin, Earl A. Hibbert, Alan Wan, Michael Green, Sunny Sun, Alan Taylor
Cast: Maya Erskine, George Takei, Masi Oka, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Brenda Song, Darren Barnet, Randall Park, and Kenneth Branagh

BLUE EYE SAMURAI is created by Amber Noizumi and Michael Green, who also serve as executive producers and writers. Erwin Stoff is executive producer. Jane Wu is supervising director and producer. Blue Spirit is the animation studio. Voice cast includes Maya Erskine (Mizu), George Takei (Seki), Masi Oka (Ringo), Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (The Swordmaker), Brenda Song (Akemi), Darren Barnet (Taigen), Randall Park (Heiji Shindo), and Kenneth Branagh (Abijah Fowler). Supporting voice cast includes Stephanie Hsu (Ise), Ming-Na Wen (Madame Kaji), Harry Shum Jr. (Takayoshi) and Mark Dacascos (Chiaki), among others.

What are your expectations from an animated series that blends historical elements with fantastical storytelling? How do you think the themes of identity and revenge will resonate with you? And finally, which aspect of Blue Eye Samurai – be it the intricate animation style, the complex characters, or the blend of action and drama – intrigues you the most? Share your thoughts with us on social media!

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Kevin Fenix

Kevin Fenix

Professional Nerd | Amateur Human | Creative/Content Director The best way to describe Kevin Fenix is the kid you never tell what the buttons do in video games so you have a chance to win. Being 6’ 4” and Asian, he never really fit in, so he got comfortable standing out. Not only is it easy to find him in crowds, he dabbles in the culinary arts, does a little stand up and improv, and can honestly say Spider-Man is the Jesus-like influence of his life. Kevin Fenix loves dogs, movies, television, comics, comedy, and to shoot people… with video.