Bright: Samurai Soul on Netflix, a Beautiful, But Pointless Anime Spinoff of ‘Bright’

4 years have handed since Bright was a Netflix smash — for audiences, anyway, who streamed it in then-record numbers, whereas critics viciously curbstomped it. A few of these critics may really feel a shiver up the backbone with the mere point out of a Shiny Cinematic Universe: A sequel is within the works, and anime spinoff Shiny: Samurai Soul is now streaming. Samurai Soul marks a departure into motion for director Kyohei Ishiguro, whose most notable initiatives, the movie Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop and sequence Your Lie in April, are comparatively mild. The anime movie takes the unique fantasy idea — orcs and elves and such stay amongst people on Earth, the place magic exists — and drops it into Nineteenth-century Japan. Now let’s see if it really works.

The Gist: TOO MANY TITLE CARDS: Hope you may learn quick! It’s mid-Nineteenth-century Japan. As soon as upon a time, a giant battle was stopped proper in its tracks when an enormous column of blue-white light-energy shot into the sky. A number of years therefore, they are saying every part’s modified, not that we are able to inform? We meet some characters in a high-end Kyoto brothel: Izo (voice of Yuki Nomura) is the ability’s samurai yojimbo, a brooding kind who retains a shock of emo-bangs hanging low, to cowl up facial scars and his lacking eye. A bitey-scratchy-feisty younger elf lady named Sonya (Shion Wakayama) is snatched and thrown in a cage on the brothel, and one assumes this can be a type of human trafficking. Good place you bought there!

The Excessive Courtesan, Chihaya (Maaya Sakamoto), takes Sonya beneath her wing to be her private assistant, and issues appear OK for a minute. We be taught that Chihaya was the supply of the world-altering pillar of sunshine, which occurred as a result of she’s an elf with a magic wand, generally known as a “vibrant.” No one else can use a wand, as a result of I believe it’ll immediately explode your pancreas or soften your backbone or one thing. Abruptly, a raid! Orcs and goblins bust in and smash peoples’ heads to bloody gloop. Izo slashes a number of to gory loss of life earlier than dealing with off in opposition to a brute of an orc named Raiden (Daisuke Hirakawa). Fireplace begins consuming the brothel. Chihaya is killed. Raiden is moved to give up being a foul man by Sonia’s plight, they usually kind an uneasy alliance with Izo. The three of them escape, Sonia carrying Chihaya’s magic wand, and don’t fairly understand that the evil jerks need the lady, one assumes for that very motive.

Raiden promised to take Sonia to a particular elf land the place she will stay free. Seems, Raiden is a delicate soul in a giant, smelly brute of a physique. Izo, nonetheless, remains to be a glum ol’ poop, and we be taught why in a few moody flashbacks. Their plan to go to elf nirvana doesn’t go as deliberate, in fact, as a result of like a chook must fly and a fish must swim, violence must occur in motion pictures like this. Issues occur, a lot of them violent in fact; we additionally meet a number of extra characters, most significantly some white males who appear to manage every part, as a result of don’t they at all times, in addition to a fellow who’s finest described as The Exposition Centaur. Oh, and there have to be thematic ties to the Shiny film, so one thing one thing Defend of Gentle and so forth. and so forth. the Darkish Lord, and I’m unsure how many people are going to be invested on this.

Picture: Netflix

What Films Will It Remind You Of?: The Animatrix begat Blade Runner Black Out 2022 begat Altered Carbon: Resleeved begat The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf begat Star Wars: Visions begat Shiny: Samurai Soul begat, hopefully, Hubie Halloween within the Age of Enlightenment.

Efficiency Value Watching: Raiden’s big-and-dumb-but-actually-sweet-and-smart dynamic is the film’s most intriguing closest-thing-to-a-character-arc arc, I assume.

Memorable Dialogue: “I did not die. Due to that, I’m on borrowed time.” — Izo isn’t a lot of a person of phrases (and the screenwriter might not be both)

Intercourse and Pores and skin: None.

Our Take: Samurai Soul seems to be terrific — its flattened 2-D CG animation is crisp and detailed, with pretty coloration shading and fluid, virtually floaty motion. And it’s higher than Shiny, which isn’t saying loads, as a result of that film is just about the other of chocotastic.

Past that, I want I had some extra good issues to say. The plot clods alongside like chunks of the screenplay are lacking, and comes along with the annoying hand of future (learn: the screenwriter) feeding us contrivance and coincidence; see additionally, Roger Ebert’s Regulation of Economic system of Characters. The dialogue is klutzy. It’s extraordinarily gory for a TV-14 ranking. Bland sketches are handed off as characters. Izo’s man-of-mystery story is a dud, and we by no means really feel emotionally concerned with any of those folks. Its better relevance within the Brightiverse — nicely, is anybody involved about its better relevance within the Brightiverse? All that visible artistry within the service of a giant fats Who Cares? I scratch my head.

Our Name: SKIP IT. The movie’s eye-pleasing elements can’t overcome its narrative issues. They forgot to place the soul in Shiny: Samurai Soul.

John Serba is a contract author and movie critic based mostly in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Learn extra of his work at or comply with him on Twitter: @johnserba.

Stream Bright: Samurai Soul on Netflix | Stream It or Skip It?


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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