7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Ninja Scroll (the movie) ranks up there with Akira and Ghost in the Shell in terms of gateway-drug anime. I remember, in the mid-90's, being blown away by Akira. But Ninja Scroll is what got me hooked on anime and prompted me to scour the world looking for more. This series resembles nothing of the film. I'd be okay with a fresh approach, but this is an uninspiring product and takes its place as a leader in low-quality anime. I won't crap on it too hard. I believe there's an audience for everything. My goal is to help steer away those who are bothered by low quality, regurgitated themes, plastic characters, and thin storylines. Here we go:
There are some ninja battles. They are poorly drawn, lousy with two-frame movements and one-hit-kill lazy choreography, and not reminiscent of the vicious style showcased in Ninja Scroll (film). The action is still there, but doesn't hold a candle to 90% of other anime. Jubei swings his sword once a battle (sometimes twice) to kill his foes. His single swing is also a long-range attack, so it doesn't matter where the villain is, they're dead. If that satisfies you, then great! They try to amass a crew of villains, each with a unique power (much like the 8 Devils of Kimon from the movie). A few of them are intriguing, but are used unimaginatively. The story resembles the thinnest of video game quests. Let's find the Dragon Stone. You can follow the plot from the kitchen while you cook and never miss a thing. (That can be a plus.)
The darkness of the film is nowhere to be found in this series. The visuals are abrasively bright with vivid colors from the Pokémon palette. There's only one level of shading used in most scenes, which makes the characters look like two-dimensional cutouts. Jubei's clothes are missing detailing, which makes him look a bag of potatoes. Two-frame movements, choppy animation, and pathetic gimmicks attempt to make fights feel epic, but only succeed in letting animators avoid drawing out battles. A slash cuts the screen, then a body lies there to inform the viewer that the attack was successful. I expect a lot more from Japanese animation, and I think most fans do, too.
The cast of this show is for ages 14 and below. While Jubei is not bad, he is joined by a token tough female who needs help but won't admit it and a punk street thief who carries about as much charm with him as Jar Jar Binks. The master villain is a Doctor Robotnic Buddha mixed with a Harley Davidson.
Single track, basic storylines can work if executed with purpose. This story, however, is about as intriguing and thought-provoking as playing a game of Candy Land sober. Find the Dragon Stone, stop the bad guys, and stumble all over a bland world while engaging in side quests to satisfy the worst of regurgitated fables. Fine for kids, but not for Ninja Scroll.
Horrible grunge/rock that has no place in feudal Japan. Jarring and pushy.
This show is just a mis-marketed piece of work. The title needs to be replaced. Call it "Dragon Stone" and park it next to Bleach and Naruto. Just don't confuse it with Ninja Scroll, because this series is its opposite. If you want a ninja series that's adult, full of fantastic battles, gore, and twisted ninjas endowed with special abilities, watch Basilisk. If you like a series that's colorful, action-packed, adult, and funky, watch Samurai Champloo. If you want a youthful, fun ninja adventure with some plain characters, watch Bleach or Naruto. There are better versions of EVERYTHING. This is the lowest doppelganger of them all. If you haven't seen it yet and are bothered by what I've described above, then save your money and the health of your neck; if you get this, you'll be shaking your head for hours.
LIST OF BETTER NINJA/SAMURAI TITLES:
- SAMURAI CHAMPLOO
- SENGOKU BASARA
- SAMURAI X: TRUST AND BETRAYAL
I'm an animator and writer, so I frequently pour through stacks of anime. If this was helpful or our tastes seem to align, follow along. I'll try to steer you straight.