Netflix’s Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan Review: History, Katanas and Flying Heads

Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan is a 6-part docuseries directed by Stephen Scott.

For people who love history, samurais and, well, Game of Thrones, Netflix has a treat this week. Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan, a 6-part docuseries, delves deep into a tumultuous time in Japan when warring clans were the norm and people just really loved shedding each other’s blood. If Game of Thrones is something that calls to you, then this series is the perfect dive into another bloody history lesson, the difference being that this actually happened.

Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan starts off in 1551. The death of Oda Nobuhide, the leader of the Oda clan, pushes the people into turmoil. You see, he has appointed his oldest son, Oda Nobunaga, to lead the clan. At that time, there’s a civil war going on and a battle among the different factions, with power-hungry warlords at the helm, has absolutely ravaged the country. Nobunaga is a leader like no other – he’s brutal and unpredictable, true. But he’s also brilliant – he unifies war-torn Japan with his brilliant strategies and introduces firearms into the mix.

Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan
Netflix’s Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan Review: History, Katanas and Flying Heads 3

For people who love bloodshed and people swishing katanas around, Age of Samurai is absolutely great. There’s a lot of action and the re-enactments are absolutely amazing. It feels like the battles are taking place right in front of your eyes. However, there are not just battles here and director Stephen Scott brings forth the politics that drive the bloodshed to the forefront brilliantly. There are blood and gore (read: disembowelments) but what’s brilliant is how much strategy and politics went behind these wars.

And Age of Samurai does not kid around with its facts and figures. The show brings forth various academics and historians to get its facts straight and there’s a nice balance between retellings and re-enactments and the facts brought forth by the historians. In classic Netflix docuseries style, we get these as a way of filling our minds with a visual representation and the facts to go along with it. Honestly, I am not someone who is privy to the facts of Japanese feudal history and the series does a brilliant job of telling me that while keeping me engaged.

The re-enactments were a blast to watch and the actors have done a good job. The historians who put perspective to the “mindless” bloodshed do so with ease and the 6 episodes fly by without much thought or difficulties.

Summing up: Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan

Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan
Netflix’s Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan Review: History, Katanas and Flying Heads 4

Age of Samurai is a fun and informative watch that keeps you hooked till the end. The series does great re-enactments that don’t look cheesy and the historians’ accounts provide sufficient perspective to make it feel real and true. The politics, history as well as traditions of the time are told beautifully and there’s a realness to it that’s mind-blowing. Oh, and the blood and gore are great to watch as well. It’s a satisfying and entertaining package that does not fail to deliver and makes for a good binge-fest if history is something that fascinates you.

Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan is streaming on Netflix.

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Netflix's Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan is a fascinating retelling of a tumultuous period in Japan's history with the help of historical facts and re-enactments.


  1. just watched it and i agree with the review. it’s a perfect blend of live action and input by historians. I did more research into this time period in Japanese history because of this documentary series.

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