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Netflix orders Game Of Thrones-esque samurai docu-drama

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Netflix is launching a show billed as Game of Thrones for feudal Japan, covering the conflict between kingdoms led by power-hungry warlords.




Age of Samurai is described as a docu-drama, co-produced by Smithsonian Canada. So while we can expect plenty of battles and backstabbings, it will also be educational and historically accurate.


One of the lead characters will be Date Masamune, a warlord nicknamed “the One-Eyed Dragon” because he supposedly plucked out his own eye to combat a smallpox infection. By 17 he was in charge of his family’s clan, and he is an iconic figure from Japanese history, inspiring numerous fictionalized depictions including a TV series starring Ken Watanabe. As Deadline‘s announcement points out, his samurai helmet is thought to have influenced the design of Darth Vader.


While Western audiences are familiar with the concept of samurai, most have minimal knowledge of the real historical figures. It sounds like Age of Samurai will correct some misconceptions while also featuring epic drama and action scenes. Filming in Japan, Canada and the U.S., the show will arrive on Netflix later this year.


Meanwhile, if the term “docu-drama” sounds a little dry, Age Of Samurai is going to be a “stylized drama that will pay homage to the noir of graphic novels and Japanese art.” The show is also being co-produced by Smithsonian Canada and Cream Productions, and it’s supposed to air at some point later this year. That seemingly quick turnaround implies that it won’t be as lavishly expensive as Game Of Thrones was.

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