Bright Samurai Soul Review

posted October 25, 2021 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Jon Mead

Netflix hits back with a spinoff of one of their most negatively received works - the 2017 film “Bright.”“Bright: Samurai Soul,” revives the series, instead, taking on the form of a 3D Japanese animation directed by Kyohei Ishiguro.

This newest entry sticks to that fantasy world, one in which humans, elves and orcs co-exist, but sets it back to the 19th century, an alternate reality of the Meiji Restoration.

Izou- a human ronin and now bodyguard of a brothel- is forced to team up with a hitman orc, Raiden, to protect the life of a young elf girl named Sonya.

Ishiguro delivers a far more interesting concept in “Bright: Samurai Soul,” in comparison to the original, a mediocre flop reviewed poorly by both critics and audiences.

Coming from the man who directed “Your Lie in April,” a highly praised anime series, with the screenplay written by Michiko Yokote (writer for “Cowboy Bebop”), hopes were somewhat high with the release of the film’s trailer.

Audiences will notice at first glance the large and beautifully animated world, characters and textures displayed throughout the movie- this comes as a major surprise, as Netflix’s decision to use 3D animation in their anime series has received a lot of heat.

The fight scenes are brutal, bloody and well done. For those action junkies and action movie buffs this is one aspect of the film to like.

This is a significant step forward from the source material, as each voice actor/ actress delivers an amazing and unique performance.

Taking a more negative turn, this film didn’t do enough to redeem the original movie, nor were there any people asking for a spinoff.

The main issue with “Bright” retains itself in “Bright: Samurai Soul,” and that would be the writing.

The pacing of the storyline felt rushed and the background behind the characters was something that needed to be fleshed out more.

The structure of the movie was almost identical to the live-action version.  A handsome, lone-wolf human going on a journey with an ugly and brutish, yet kind and misunderstood orc. Sounds oddly familiar…

In addition to all of that, we know almost nothing about Sonya. Her fear of water, where she came from and how she ended up getting captured by the brothel owner was left completely unknown.

It’s almost like her character came out of nowhere. The attachment between her and the main characters was there but felt underdeveloped.

It also expects viewers to immediately pick up on the lore and history of the world, an aspect of the movie that makes some details rather confusing.

It’s never explained who the Inferni are. Also, why are they trying to resurrect the “dark lord?”

It seems like these plot holes were made on purpose, almost like the movie was made just for a sequel to follow it, an incredibly bold move.

Any fan of anything animated will see that “Bright: Samurai Soul” had a lot of potential, with a well-liked director and screenwriter, including a unique art style.

Was this enough to rekindle the entire series? Nope. Are there much better Japanese animated films viewers could be watching? Yep.

Rating: 2/5

Jon Mead is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jkm6040@psu.edu.

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