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TV shows we love: Blue Eye Samurai

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I have never even considered watching an anime series, let alone love it. Well, that’s now the old me! Netflix’s Blue Eye Samurai completely changed my mind, as it did, from what I gathered, for thousands of viewers around the world.

Set in 17th century Japan, the series portrays a secluded nation which has managed to bar all outsiders, save for four Western arms and slave traders. Among them, one parented a biracial child with striking blue eyes, Mizu, a societal outcast branded by racial impurity. The fact that Mizu is also a woman adds to the negative stigma around her.

Across eight episodes, Blue Eye Samurai follows Mizu, who grows up to be a skillful, enigmatic and fiercely independent samurai seeking vengeance against one of her potential fathers, intertwining her quest with the Shogun’s narrative.

While the premise feels familiar, the series excels in its intricate storytelling, character depth and animation technique. Meticulously depicting mediaeval Japan, Blue Eye Samurai captivates the audience with vivid details of the characters’ daily lives against urban backdrops, palace interiors in Edo – now Tokyo – and rural landscapes.

The animation seamlessly transitions from 2D to 3D, delivering a visually striking impact, feeling refreshingly innovative. On top of that, the characters’ evolving personalities, diverging unexpectedly across episodes, reflect an exceptional writing quality, which overshadows many higher-budget productions, not just in animation.

Although the series heavily features battles, swords, Tarantino-esque bloodshed, and some sexuality, the narrative is never secondary and the series never feels like a videogame, bar a few scenes where it actually works.

Spoiler alert, so stop reading here if you wish, but witnessing Mizu making her way up to the palace by slicing the guards is alone worth the entire series. A visual masterpiece!

An ambitious production, with a superb Kenneth Branagh giving his voice to the antagonist Fowler, Blue Eye Samurai truly offers high-quality, original and striking content. Its intricate storytelling and remarkable visual quality make it a must-watch. Mark my words, it’s definitely worth your time!

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