BLUE EYE SAMURAI: SEASON ONE
Starring: Maya Erskine, George Takei, Masi Oka, Brenda Song, Darren Barnet, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Randall Park, and Kenneth Branagh
Creators: Michael Green and Amber Noizumi
Blue Eye Samurai is certainly a unique take on the oft-animated trope of the lone samurai-ronin beset by perilous misadventures. Its success lies in its willingness to go to extremes, but is hindered by a somewhat disjointed narrative regarding its primary protagonist and odd gratuitous sex scenes that add little to the story. Audacious thematically, it masterfully broaches the subjects of gender roles, mixed-race, class-system hierarchy, greed, and much more. Overall, the bingeable series is beautifully violent, and the interspersed points of levity bring together a strategically cohesive ensemble cast. I am already looking forward to Season Two!
As a person who doesn’t typically like anime, I came into Blue Eye Samurai with some trepidation. While it certainly hasn’t driven me to reassess my feelings about the entire genre, it delivers enough Tarantino-esque vibes to make for a worthwhile experience. The thematically and gratuitously adult story (there are heavy doses of nudity, sex, and violence) and the engaging animation that looks like a mix of Akira’s traditional style, the vibrant colors of Archer, and the 3D-effect of the Spider-Verse movies, more than make up for some lackluster pacing and sometimes stilted vocal performances. If nothing else, it made me interested in Season Two.