Remember Bright? The 2017 Netflix movie directed by Suicide Squad’s David Ayer that starred Will Smith as a human cop in an alternate-universe Los Angeles full of fantasy creatures likes orcs and fairies? It was the biggest movie in the world for a time, back when streaming was seen as a refuge for the common man against “highbrow” critics (as star Joel Edgerton argued), and it’s a franchise-waiting-to-happen that Netflix has periodically promised will happen eventually. Well, the company finally made good on those threats: Next month, a new Bright spin-off movie called Bright: Samurai Soul will premiere on Netflix. Unlike the original, though, this one is an anime that “fuses the characteristics of Japanese woodblock art print with 3D CG technology” and takes place in Meiji-era Japan. That means no Will Smith, no LA, and not cops. Instead, it has a one-eyed ronin named Izou (played by Simu Liu from Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings in the English dub), an Orc thief named Raiden (played by Fred Mancuso), and an elf girl named Sonya (Yuzu Harada). The plot involves the three of them trying to keep a magic wand out of the hands of some bad guys who want to resurrect their Dark Lord. It seems like you probably could’ve told a story like this without attaching it to Bright, but that thing’s clearly not going to become a major film franchise on its own.
This trailer for the anime special shows off its intermittently interesting art style, which sometimes looks kind of rotoscope-y in a cool way and other times looks like every other anime-type thing on Netflix. Will highbrow critics hate it while real fans love it as much as the original Bright movie? We’ll know when it premieres on Netflix on October 12.