Bright: Samurai Soul is set in feudal Japan, a setting that doesn’t contribute anything to what made the original film interesting to begin with.
While it didn’t live up to all the hype, Shiny was still a hot topic when it debuted on Netflix, if only for its lack of glamor. The film was a decidedly literal take on the urban fantasy genre, sharing a glimpse into how fantasy races like orcs and elves would function in a world like ours. This, to say the least, was an interesting approach, with the potential for a new perspective on the concept of fantasy as reality. This potential has unfortunately been wasted by Shinyits own plot, of all things, but the hope that a sequel or spinoff could fix it endured.
Unfortunately, ShinyThe new follow-up to the anime seems to completely miss the point of what should have made the movie work. Derivative series Brilliant: samurai soul follows the journeys of an orc warrior with a human samurai and an elf in feudal Japan, a setting that essentially dooms the anime to be just another generic fantasy story. Here’s a look at the upcoming anime and why it doesn’t quite take advantage of the ownership premise.
Why Bright (should have) worked
The strength of Luminous premise was featured in the movie poster alone. The image of an orc, a member of a fantasy race popularized by the works of Tolkien, as a police officer in an LA like today was a signal that the film was making an effort to be different. Instead of tapping into the well that Tolkien dug so many years ago and putting the same races and species in the same old places and positions, it seemed like Shiny wanted to write a new canon.
Seeing an orc and other fantastic concepts in a decidedly modern setting, especially one that takes into account modern issues and current events, was a reversal of what fans expected. Of course, the movie itself didn’t really take advantage of that and is generally considered a pretty lukewarm movie. Nonetheless, on paper, it brought whimsy into the modern world more than almost any other property, attracting viewers who might not generally appreciate whimsy. Sadly, the anime spinoff series seems to be going in a totally opposite direction.
Why Bright: Samurai Soul doesn’t sound exciting
If the modern framework of Shiny attracted those who generally give up on fantasy, the upcoming Netflix anime Brilliant: samurai soul certainly not. The story features an orc named Raiden who helps a ronin escort an elf girl to the northern elven lands. The premise removes the hook from the film, which involved modern society and issues around the police and prejudice, instead relying on the actual plot of the film, which is distinctly identical to the premise of the anime.
Luminous the original concepts are immediately rendered irrelevant by virtue of Samurai soul set in 1800s Japan. Likewise, this setting is incredibly common in cartoons, with stories of sword-wielding samurai battling fantastic creatures around every corner. Likewise, even the issues of the time don’t seem to matter to the series, without any mention of the political intrigue or day-to-day conflicts that often make stories set in feudal Japan interesting.
A better way to extend the Shiny the universe would have been to capitalize on the modern urban setting that initially attracted so many people. If the setting were Japan, the 40s or 80s, for example, would have been perfect, iconic eras to turn around with fantastic aspects while avoiding repeating the first movie. Even putting the series at the same time as the movie might have worked, modern Japan being perhaps even more unconventional for a fantasy of this nature than Los Angeles. Unfortunately, the whole affair seems like a missed opportunity, and it will depend on how the series is handled to see if it actually gets on display on the Shiny world or cement the franchise as a failure.
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