Ninja Scroll (1993)

Genre: Animation, Action/Adventure, Romance

Cast: A bunch of voice actors that aren’t really well-known

Synopsis: A travelling ninja gets roped into a mission to stop an evil group of supernatural ninjas from doing something that they shouldn’t be doing. It has something to do with gold. I know that’s vague but I don’t really want to give the whole plot away.

It’s weird to think that this anime is almost as old as I am. As far as anime history goes, Ninja Scroll isn’t really considered one of the hallmarks of Japanime in the same way that Akira or Ghost in the Shell are. However, the film has a special place in my heart because it was the first anime I ever watched, at the tender age of 11 or so. That’s right: at age 11 I watched one of the goriest and most graphic films around. Thank you mother, for your wonderful censorship skills. In a way, I’m glad she didn’t dictate what I should and shouldn’t watch otherwise I would have missed out on some real gems, this film included.

Ninja Scroll follows the misadventures of Jubei Kibagami, a vagabond ninja who travels feudal Japan doing odds and ends…kind of like a friendly handyman that can decapitate you with a sword. One day, Jubei comes across a young female ninja getting her lady garden orally tended to which subsequently leads to him being the target of all kinds of crazy assassins. The backstory to the film is rather complex and it involves a lot of babble about retainers and chamberlains so a knowledge of Japanese history might be of use although it is by no means necessary, however, as a Japanese history lesson won’t prevent you from enjoying the fucked-uppery that’s going on on screen through the medium of robust and angular animation. Brutal fight sequences, inappropriate sex scenes, scheming homos, vagina snakes, this movie has it all!

The plot progression is predictable, to say the least, as it follows a standard ‘man vs. demon and then another demon and then another demon’ formula but it avoids being boring by having the supporting characters be so God-damn interesting. The 8 devils of Kimon, the central antagonists, all have their own quirks and peculiarities which makes for very entertaining viewing. My personal favorites are the lady who keeps a snake up her vadge and the twink who’s jealous of the woman with the snake up her vadge…I bet you never thought you’d ever see those kinds of words in one sentence. Whilst the villains are certainly entertaining, the heroes themselves are all really likeable and I have to give my praise to the writers who were successful in creating a complex and strong female lead. Kagero is a female ninja who is immune to all poisons. Unfortunately, that means she can’t get no play play without killing her suitor. Her sex is her deadliest weapon but also the key to her heart. Kind of like Rogue in X-men…but with more exposed boobs.

Action junkies will love this movie but I think it can also appeal to other crowds as the film has a soft romance interweaved throughout. Just make sure you have a strong stomach there’s a lot of explicit material in this…in case I wasn’t clear earlier, there is a scene where a snake comes out of a lady’s cooch. God damn it, Japan. Why you so cray?

High-lights:

  • Compelling action scenes, characters with depth, and a touching romance. Great combination.
  • Some beautiful animation. I kind of want to go to old timey Japan.
  • “Now he’s the queen of the devils!” GUUURRRLL, he was always the queen of the devils…and you were the hag.

Downers:

  • Is the squelching noise vaginas really necessary?
  • SNAKE. COMING. OUT. OF. THE. VAGINA.

Summary:

A well kept secret that more people should be aware of. Ninja Scroll isn’t the best anime out there but it’s definitely worth a look. Enjoyable with friends or on your own, this movie would work well with all kinds of strains: animation enthusiasts may prefer something that will focus their attention on the artistry whereas others may want to simply relax and enjoy the movie as it unfolds.           

7.5/10

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Filed under Action/Adventure, Animation, Good, Romance

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