Protect and Serve – notions that connect a modern-day police officer and a Meiji-era samurai, as well as a narrative bridge between David Ayer’s 2017 live-action Netflix movie. Shiny and the brand new animated spin-off from Kyohei Ishiguro, Brilliant: samurai soul.

While ShinyDaryl Ward (Will Smith) is a rough cop in a modern world where humans live alongside orcs, fairies, elves and other magical creatures, Brilliant: samurai soul‘s Izou is an emotionally hardened, one-eyed samurai who has lost both his master and his will to live, and now works as a bodyguard in a Kyoto brothel. Also living among many fantastic beings, the ronin is shaken with his melancholy when he suddenly finds himself the protector of a fiery elf child named Sonya, who is brought to the brothel and secretly charged with a wand that holds immense power.

Ishiguro is directing the animated feature, which will premiere today on Netflix; it is produced by studio Arect, with a screenplay by Cowboy Bebop the writer Michiko Yokote and the characters of Abducted as if by magicis Atsushi Yamagata. The English dubs feature Simu Liu as Izou, Fred Mancuso as Orc Raiden and Yuzu Harada Sonya. The Japanese cast includes Yuki Nomura, Diasuke Hirakawa, and Shion Wakayama.

“To be honest, I hadn’t seen the original film until I got this assignment,” says Ishiguro, who was approached to direct the reimagined film by Netflix. “But when I saw him, I became a fan. I have great respect for the original and the message that the “shining” ability is very special. “

Although the plots of both films center on the power of the “brilliant,” unique individuals with the ability to wield a wand that can create miraculous life or generate horrific death and destruction, the beating heart of these films is there. exploration of self and the power that resides within us all.

The original film’s conceptual approach used a dive into racism, forcing the human and orcish characters of Smith and Joel Edgerton to learn to trust those deemed untrustworthy by society. In Brilliant: samurai soul, the spots of segregation are still present as Izou travels with Sonya and a former orc thug Raiden, in search of redemption from a life of flight, to protect the wand of the elite elves who aim to revive the Lord of the Darkness. But the themes of the anime are much more rooted in loyalty and unboxing what it means to betray a master to be true and loyal to yourself.

“I had a lot of creative freedom and my own creative ability and power in this derivative version,” Ishiguro notes. “The theme of loyalty and loyalty to the master is a unique aspect of samurai or feudal culture in Japan. But in this movie, it’s not just about loyalty to the master, but also about a character’s loyalty to himself. Because this character, as well as other characters, is betrayed throughout the story. And the way they behave when something like this happens is very important to the larger message of what it means to be a “bright.”

And it was Ishiguro’s belief in the ability of Japanese culture to further enhance the message of the original film that led the director to his chosen animation style: to merge the art of Japanese printmaking with 3DCG technology. .

“Recently, I’ve been getting more and more inspired by Japanese culture and this art of woodcutting,” says the director, also known for leading the storybook-style watercolor anime. Children of whales. “I don’t want to portray a West vs. East dichotomy. But with this broadcast on Netflix, I wanted to have the chance to portray unique Japanese culture to an international audience. “

From the red light districts of the film to the green and orange forests, Brilliant: samurai soulThe s art features incredible detail and texture, with a pop-up book atmosphere that makes the characters feel like they are stepping out of the pages of a manga. The effect is driven home by 360 video cinematography that takes viewers on a full tour of a room during the action sequences. Despite intensely dark and bloody themes, the film still captures the art of fighting the samurai in the midst of violence.

“All the action in the original was very appealing,” says Ishiguro. “And I kept that concept of the original in the animated version.” Trading shootouts for sword fights, the soul of the samurai, even in the design of the animation, remains unchanged; the movement in the action scenes highlights the artistic flow of the smooth and stylized combat of a samurai.

In addition to presenting Shinyrelevance of the message in Japanese culture and Meiji period contexts, Ishiguro also hopes Brilliant: samurai soul pays homage to the original live-action film both through the Easter eggs he planted and the human, orc and elf trio that he said was one of the blockbusters he really didn’t want not change.

And everyone has the chance to discover their inner samurai soul.

“I had the chance to interact a lot with the Netflix staff members who were involved in the production of the original version, and they gave me the approval and told me that I could use my free imagination. to create the animated version, ”he said. Explain. “But the trio model is a winning model for these stories. One is a very macho and strong guy, another is a little more sensitive guy with a certain background, and then there is Sonia, who is very vulnerable and the person to protect. But it is also the one with the most abilities. There is a lot of diversity between the three and it creates a success story. “

While a live action Shiny The sequel is currently in the works at Netflix, nothing has been confirmed regarding a sequel to the reimagined animated version of Ishiguro. Even though the director says he would be ready to create some more Shiny stories based on Japanese history, at the moment it is only focused on showcasing the best of the original Shiny film with this anime.

“Ultimately,” he said, “I hope the original version and the derivative version can rise to each other.”

Victoria Davis photo

Victoria Davis is a full-time freelance journalist and part-time Otaku with an affinity for all things anime. She has reported on many stories ranging from activist news to entertainment. To learn more about his work, visit

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