It seems that the advent of streaming has led to an unexpected resurgence in anime spin-offs of live action series, with Netflix using the animated route to fill the gaps left by those pesky live action series and movies that just take so much time and money. The latest addition to this group is Bright, the critically mauled Will Smith and Joel Edgerton vehicle which was directed by David Ayer and did have a sequel green lit back in 2018, but while that has yet to materialize, we are getting an anime adventure called Bright: Samurai Soul, which features the vocal talent of Marvel’s Shang-Chi star, Simu Liu.
The trailer for Bright: Samurai Soul announces an October 12th release date for the Kyohei Ishiguro directed anime release that sees Liu playing Izou, a samurai with one eye who enlists the help of Raiden, an orc, and an elf who owns a magic wand that could change the world. While still anime, the movie is listed as using a new style of animation that “fuses the characteristics of Japanese woodblock print art with 3DGC technology.”
The trailer appears to work on a level that assumes those watching have seen Bright and know something about the universe it is set in, which involves humans and magical creatures co-insisting in the world. The original movie contained within its fantastic effects a story that spoke a lot about the real world and how different groups of people are treat differently based on background and appearance. It would be surprising if this was as heavily apparent in the new film.
While Bright 2 has fallen into the doldrums for a few years now, plagued by issues including the loss of Ayer as director, Will Smith being mostly unavailable due to his schedule, a new writer was brought in and last year Louis Leterrier signed on to direct and both Smith and Edgerton were said to be on board, but so far there has been nothing else heard. However, you would expect that if there is an effort being made by Netflix to keep Bright in the public’s mind with this new animated film, then there is surely a reason behind it. So we could still see that live-action sequel arrive somewhere down the line.
The official synopsis of Bright: Samurai Soul reads: “In the time between the fall of the Shogunate and the rise of the Meiji era, a powerful bright light emitted from a wand brings an end to the long Shogunate period to avoid further bloodshed as Japan begins to shift toward a new era. Amid these circumstances, a one-eyed wandering ronin named Izou, who has lost his reason to live, and Raiden, an orc who detests murder and hopes to leave a life of thievery behind, separately meet a young elf girl named Sonya around the same time. Together, they go on a journey along the Tokaido road to bring her and the wand she holds safely to the land of the elves in the north. Standing in their path is the mysterious organization Inferni, which aims to obtain the wand and revive the Dark Lord, who intends to rule all of creation. Inferni also uses the new Meiji government in its attempt to steal the wand from Izou, Raiden and Sonya. Traveling along the Tokaido road from Kyoto to Yokohama, Izou and Raiden begin their journey to protect the wand.”