Steeped in an all-consuming revenge plot, Netflix’s ‘Blue Eye Samurai,’ the animated action-adventure show, is marked by its raw and thrilling narrative of self-actualization embodied in compelling characters. The show follows its namesake protagonist, Mizu, a female samurai in a man’s clothing on a deadly path of vengeance. In Japan’s Edo period, where the closed-off nation has banned foreigners within its borders, Mizu remains a mixed-race individual with piercing blue eyes. As a result, she has been shunned from society her entire life. Thus, as payback for her hardships and their crimes against her nation, Mizu seeks out the four white men still remaining in Japan to bring them their deaths.
While the show centers around skilled swordsman Mizu and her oftentimes self-destructive need for retribution, it also brings other characters, Ringo, Taigen, and Akemi, into the loop, each with their own ambitions. Armed with invigorating character arcs and intriguing storylines, each character undergoes their own transformative path that leaves the viewers curious to know more about their fates.
Blue Eye Samurai Recap
After Japan closed off its borders in 1633, half-white children became a subject of dehumanization. During this time, one warrior, Mizu, emerges with blue eyes hidden behind tinted spectacles and a sword forged from a rock of the heavens. Passing through a town, the warrior seems interested in finding the source of European guns that few carry and learns about its connection to Heiji Shindo. Thus, Heiji becomes Mizu’s target.
However, as Mizu travels to the next town over, Ringo, the born-amputee son of a soba shop owner, follows after the warrior seeking an apprenticeship. Still, Mizu, with secrets to keep, including her identity as a woman and darkness to confront, turns him away. Nevertheless, as she arrives at the Shindo Dojo, where Heiji’s brother is the Master, Ringo sneakily remains on her heels. At the Dojo, Mizu tries to reach the master, but many trained samurais challenge her along the way. Yet, she cuts through every single one of them, matching them attack for attack.
Although Mizu never had any formal training, she was raised under the guidance of Master Eiji, a renowned swordmaker who is blind. As such, she had trained herself by mimicking Eiji’s high-profile customers. Consequently, even when the best of the Shindo Dojo samurais, Taigen, who has never lost a duel, fights her, she defeats him. The two warriors also recognize each other from childhood, when Taigen used to bully Mizu ruthlessly for her race.
While Mizu’s fight with Taigen draws The Shindo Master out and earns Mizu Heiji’s location, it also sets a new target on her back. Taigen, engaged to marry Princess Akemi, loses his honor after his loss against Mizu. As such, Akemi’s father calls off their engagement, to his daughter’s horror, given she manipulated the entire ordeal in the first place. Therefore, Taigen decides to go after Mizu to restore his honor, leaving Akemi alone and vulnerable to future marriage prospects.
However, Akemi refuses to allow her father to give her away to some older brute of a man for his own benefit and runs away from the palace. Meanwhile, Mizu reluctantly agrees to take Ringo as her apprentice after the eager man proves himself useful and consistently keeps Mizu’s gender a secret as per her wishes. Mizu is seeking Heiji because the man is known to have one of the only four white men left in Japan, Abijah Fowler, hidden under his protection.
Since Mizu has been treated as a monster all her life because of her father and lost her mother due to the same, she has taken a vow to defeat all four men who could be her father, each marked by their corrupt ways. Along the way, Mizu faces many obstacles and even crosses paths with Taigen, who demands a rematch once she’s back to her full strength. The two form an alliance for a short while, each respecting the other’s skill when they face off against Heiji and learn of the secret Palace where Fowler resides.
Afterward, Mizu continues on her journey and runs into Akemi as well, who recognizes Taigen’s scarf around the warrior’s neck. The two meet in a brothel, known for peculiar tastes, where Mizu arrives to inquire about a secret passage into Fowler’s stronghold. Although the trip is a success, since Mizu gains the knowledge she seeks, it also comes with a brutal confrontation against Boss Hamata.
Furthermore, Ringo abandons Mizu after losing respect for her once Mizu wordlessly allows Akemi’s father’s guards to drag her back to the Palace despite the other woman’s call for help. Nonetheless, Mizu remains on her tunnel-visioned revenge path. Yet, once she sneaks into Fowler’s palace and even makes her way through the multiple floors, each laced with distinct deadly defense systems, she still loses out against Fowler in her broken and bruised state.
Ultimately, Mizu has to accept her failure and escape from the Palace with Taigen, who was taken hostage by Heiji long ago, saving their life by allowing herself to falter. As the pair drown in icy water, Ringo saves their lives despite his anger at Mizu and takes them to Eiji for healing.
Blue Eye Samurai Ending: Does Mizu Get Her Revenge?
After her near-miss with death, Mizu remains conflicted as she rests at Eiji’s, allowing her wounds to heal. When Mizu was only a baby, people tried to kill her due to society’s hatred toward half-white children. Nevertheless, no one could bring themselves to end her life. Instead, her mother ran away with her and kept her hidden from the outside world in a small, isolated wooden house, with Mizu disguised as a boy.
Shortly after, when Mizu was only a child, men burned her house to the ground, leaving Mizu an orphan mourning the death of the only person who had ever cared for her. Therefore, Mizu vowed to avenge her mother’s death by bringing destruction upon her father and the other three white men. These men had only snuck into Japan because of the opium, weapons, and sex trafficking that they offered.
Still, Mizu’s need for revenge stemmed from her personal hatred against her unknown father. Over the years, Mizu continues to face hardships one after the other, all due to her identity. Therefore, she has forsaken a happy life and only seeks the satisfaction she might get at taking revenge on the man to blame for her misery.
Therefore, Mizu’s self-perception falters when she abandons a fight against Fowler to save her and Taigen’s skin. While the argument can be made that Mizu cannot get her revenge dead, she doesn’t live for self-preservation. As such, fleeing from the fight feels like a betrayal against her cause, which she has dedicated her life to.
Consequently, during Mizu’s time at Heiji’s, she tries to mend her broken blade and, with it, her sense of self. Her master helps her realize that while a one-track mind is helpful in pursuing one’s life’s art— be it swordsmaking or life-long devotion to revenge— it’s essential to know when to allow others into her life as well.
Near the end, Mizu decides to travel to the Edo Castle, where Akemi is set to marry the Shogun’s son. While at Fowler’s lair, Mizu learned about his plan to attack the castle and overthrow the Shogun. As such, she decides to serve her life’s mission of killing Fowler while also rescuing Akemi. For the same reason, Ringo also returns to her side.
At the Edo Castle, several politics are playing out, with Fowler already having a few alliances within the royal court. The man easily cuts through swaths of soldiers who fall victim to his army and their advanced firearms. In comparison, Edo’s men only have their swords and arrows. Eventually, Fowler confronts the Shogun at the center of the town, guarded by his close personnel, including Taigen. Fowler simply puts a bullet in the Shogun’s head.
Yet before Fowler can kill the princes, Mizu finds him, and the two engage in combat. Their fight is brutal and cathartic, each receiving deadly blows and dealing them out. Soon, the former realizes Mizu is a woman when his bigger frame grants him an advantage over her as he tries to choke the woman bodily. Nonetheless, Mizu bests him, fueled by her anger, and holds a knife to his neck.
Although Mizu could’ve easily killed Fowler right then, the resourceful man proposes her an offer she cannot refuse: the location of the other two white men who could be her father. Mizu’s revenge plot won’t only end with Fowler’s death, and she cannot rest until she has killed his other two friends. Therefore, she spares Fowler’s life and takes him hostage to guide her toward the other men. Nonetheless, Mizu is extending Fowler’s life until the man can give her what she wants. Afterward, Mizu will likely draw his blood as she did one of the other four white men who could be her biological father.
Who Is Mizu’s Father?
The mysterious identity of Mizu’s father looms over her character and, subsequently, the story’s narrative throughout the show. Yet, Mizu doesn’t seem interested in discovering the man’s identity in the least. Since there were only four white men in Japan at the time of Mizu’s birth, she knows one of them has to be her father. Thus, as far as the warrior is concerned, she simply needs to kill all four of these men to finish her business with her father.
Mizu’s non-existent relationship with her father is purely antagonistic. She has only ever wanted revenge in her life and has bent her morals to hell and back to achieve the same. Having submitted herself wholly to her need for vengeance, Mizu has long bid goodbye to any emotionality regarding her life’s purpose.
As a result, Mizu only cares to track down the other two men who could be her father when Fowler shares his knowledge about them. It is likely that either Violet, the first of the white men Mizu kills in her quest, or Fowler can be her father. Likewise, the other two men, Skeffinton, similar in Mizu’s tall frame, or Routley, with blue eyes, could be her father as well. Given these men’s tendencies and numerous illegitimate children, chances are no one even remembers who fathered Mizu in the first place.
Nevertheless, Mizu embarks on her journey to take out Skeffinton and Routley after learning about their location from Fowler. Since the men have left Japan and returned to London, Mizu takes Fowler with her, caged in a ship after the attack on Edo Castle, to employ his help in navigating the new city and hunting the other men down. As of yet, Mizu’s lineage remains a secret, with Mizu discovering that even the woman she thought was her mother was only a maid paid to keep her safe. Furthermore, while it is likely that one of the four men— Violet, Fowler, Skeffinton, and Routley, is Mizu’s father, there always remains a possibility for an unexpected, different truth for potential future seasons to uncover.
Do Taigen And Akemi End Up Together?
Taigen and Akemi began the show as the central romantic pairing, with the individuals in love and engaged through the latter’s manipulative meddling. Akemi’s father wants to marry his daughter to a rich and powerful man to strengthen his rule’s alliances. As such, he has little regard for how Akemi’s future husband may treat her and is prepared to surrender her to brutes whose wives have previously died due to their violent desires.
However, Akemi refuses to surrender herself to such a fate. As a result, after Taigen leaves her to regain his honor, she follows after him to have him take her hand in marriage. In her quest, she pretends to be a courtesan since a wife or a prostitute are the only options society affords women at the time. Consequently, she meets Madam Kaji, owner of a brothel, who has numerous women under her care.
Kaji knows her line of work is dreadful, and her girls suffer for it, but she also recognizes that it is the only way they can make their way in the world, given their situation. Furthermore, she encourages Akemi to use her station and sexuality on her own terms to manipulate powerful men’s games to her own benefit.
This transformational journey makes Akemi realize that she has been chasing after the wrong thing her entire life. As a princess without a mother, Akemi was raised by her father’s close advisor, Seki, who taught Akemi everything she knew. He always wanted Akemi to pave her way into the world despite her disadvantages. However, he often tried to make decisions for her.
Near the end, during the attack on the Shogun, Seki realizes he should have never made decisions for Akemi and allowed her to choose her own path. Therefore, he helps her escape the palace as Fowler’s men attack it. Ultimately, Seki meets a bitter end outside the palace gates after getting shot by one of Fowler’s men, whom he and Akemi trapped inside the burning castle.
In his last moments, Seki urges Akemi to live life in her conditions and seek what she truly wants, sharing his dream for her to rule the nation one day. As such, Akemi realizes she has never wanted a happy life but rather a great one. Although Taigen comes for her and asks her to run away with him as the royal court burns behind them, Akemi turns him down. Where Taigen’s low station as a skilled samurai, but nothing else, was previously appealing to Akemi, she realizes she can do much more as a wife to the spare prince, Takayoshi.
Akemi already got married to him days ago and discovered he’s a timid man with insecurities due to his stutter, who lives under his mother’s rule. Furthermore, her own father is injured, with Akemi as his only next of kin. Hence, at the moment, Akemi can hold immense power if she only puppets the situation correctly.
Even though there had been a spark between Akemi and Taigen, it was never anything more than convenience for either of them. Akemi needed a good man to fall in love with to avoid the bad ones, and Taigen saw an ideal dream of a princess who made him feel better about himself. Thus, it’s better for them to find their happiness elsewhere. Ultimately, the two don’t end up together, and Akemi returns to the Shogun’s family, whose sons and wife have managed to escape with their lives.
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