Saturday, June 11, 2016

ORIENT CITY, A Hand Drawn Samurai-Western Animation

There is just something about the combinations of the western and samurai film genres that can produce some real movie magic. They have complemented each other over the decades and history is rife with great examples of influences (Seven Samurai to Magnificent Seven) to mashups (Sukiyaki Western Django and Red Sun(?)). Even when they do not work spectacularly (The Warrior’s Way and Bunraku) there is no denying that the themes, imagery and plot devices complement each other like few genres can.

So when the creators of the graphic novel R.E.M. Ryan Colucci and Zsombor Huszka announce the launch of a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to complete their hand-drawn animated film Orient City: Ronin & The Princess, then deliver an impressive opening scene, displaying their talents and vision for the titular city, then I feel that we have only to paraphrase that bastard Calvin Candie for this.

Gentlemen, you had our curiosity, now you have our attention.

Orient City: Ronin & The Princess is a samurai spaghetti western that features gorgeous hand-drawn animation mixed with white-knuckle action. It mixes the characteristics of the American Wild West with the architecture of Feudal Asia, inspired by the styles of steampunk and anime. Traditional western haunts such as bars, brothels and barbershops feature characteristics such as Chinese rooftops, dragon gargoyles, Chinese lampions and bamboo construction stands.
Towering up through the clouds, Orient City was built vertically on top of four rocks connected by the channels of water at their base. A city whose poor dwell at the bottom, quite literally. They live in favela-like neighborhoods, carved into the rock walls but featuring a distinct oriental-style. As the city rises up, connected by stairways and cable cars, so do the classes and high society lives an opulent, wasteful lifestyle above the clouds.
At the center of it all is Boshi, a fallen samurai who has sworn to protect a young girl whose family has been assassinated. Together they head to Orient City for one thing… revenge.

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