Almost 2 years ago, I featured a short Kenyan martial arts flick directed by Robby Bresson, starring Ryan Mbatia, titled “Simiyu Samurai,” which told the story of a Kenyan, named Simiyu, trained in the martial arts in Japan, who is forced to return to Kenya, after Japan suffers a terrible tsunami. The unassuming Simiyu loses his parents in the tsunami, and leaves Japan to go live with his grandmother, who happens to be his only surviving relative in Kenya. Life in rural Kenya proves challenging for Simiyu, when he comes in direct conflict with a group of thugs who control the local market.
The 22-minute short film was actually the first part of an episodic series, which was meant, in part, to gauge audience interest, which would determine whether there would be successive episodes, and what the content of those episodes would be.
What was, in effect, episode one, was posted on this blog over a year ago. It ended with Simiyu (who’s boldly described as “Africa’s latest superhero”) faced with a choice, when he’s confronted and outnumbered by the chief villain and his many henchmen. Audiences who watched that first episode were asked at the end of it, what they’d like to see happen to Simiyu in the next episode.
Apparently, the audience spoke up, as episode 2 of the series is now complete and available to be seen over a year after episode 1 was released. The filmmaker uploaded it to his Vimeo page yesterday, as I learned today.
I haven’t watched it in its entirety just yet; but I did get through about half of it (I’ll watch the other half later), and, I must say, while still lacking in terms of production technicals notably, it’s superior to episode 1 on all fronts, which is obviously a good thing.
So while it could certainly be even better (I don’t know what the budget for the franchise is); I do appreciate the effort. It’s not exactly everyday that I come across Kenyan martial arts flicks. In fact, I couldn’t name another one. And I’m sure after I publish this, I’ll receive an email or two alerting me to others, which I certainly welcome with open arms.
Episode 1 won several awards at the Kalasha Film and Television Awards in Kenya in late 2012, presented by The Kenya Film Commission.
Episode 2, titled “Clayton’s Ghost,” picks up where episode 1 left off, as Simiyu struggles to protect his family from the chief villain and his thugs, who confronted him at the end of episode 1.
Watch episode 2, “Clayton’s Ghost,” below, which is 27 minutes long (and if you’re just joining us, catch up by watching episode 1 underneath):
Here’s episode 1: