Check Netfllix’s Top 10 list at any given time these days and chances are that most of it will be made up of True Crime documentaries or reality shows, but despite the glut of not-great content on the platform, there are still a few gems.
And one of them, what I would consider potentially the single best Netflix show I’ve seen this year, at least best debut show, is Blue Eye Samurai, which just was released last week. It made a blip on the Top 10 chart, then fell off, but I’m here to resurface it and recommend it to anyone and everyone.
Blue Eye Samurai tells the story of a young samurai with, you guessed it, blue eyes, signifying that they’re half-white in an era of Japan where that was considered demonic. Their quest is to find four hidden, evil white men in the country that may or may not be their rapist father, and kill them.
This is Mizu’s journey, but they’re joined by a colorful supporting cast of characters that try to sway them from the lone wolf path of revenge. The road to find even just one of the four men takes the entire season, and involves some of the bloodiest, most impressive combat you’ve seen in the genre, along with some exceptional writing.
This is not anime, technically, and it’s not an adaptation of any graphic novel or manga. It’s just “adult animation” as we call it, and it probably shares the most DNA with Avatar: The Last Airbender I’ve seen, at least in terms of its overall quality, though with a lot more blood, guts and nudity involved. This isn’t a kids thing that can also be enjoyed by adults.
If you like the animation and think it may look familiar, that would be because it’s from Blue Spirit, who also worked recently on Marvel’s What If…?, but I’d argue this looks even better. It’s stunning start to finish.
It’s extremely hard to get further into the show without revealing spoilers. Even talking about the voice cast (which is fantastic) would start to ruin a few things. Blue Eye Samurai has an unusually long runtime. The first of eight episodes is an hour, and most others are 45-50 minutes, pretty strange, but by the end you will be begging for more. And really, that’s the only fault with the show, that it has set itself up for probably 3-4 seasons when we all know it’s pulling teeth for Netflix to even give something two. Netflix does, however, seem to be more generous with a lot of its adult animation projects these days, so perhaps there’s hope and the cliffhanger here will go on to be resolved. If not, yeah, that would damage the series as a whole.
I say have faith and give it a watch. It’s extremely well written, animated, voiced and legitimately one of the best genre entries I’ve seen since Avatar. Not saying it tops that but well, I think you’ll see the similarities if you give it a shot. Oh, and did I mention you can watch the entire first episode, that full hour, on YouTube for free below?
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Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy.