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on 22 June 2005
Ninja Scroll is usually one of the first anime films people see along with Akira and Ghost in the Shell, and with good reason too as it's fantastic!
I can normally take or leave most ninja anime, I love mecha and enjoy most sci-fi, horror and Miyazaki stuff, but ninjas don't normally push my buttons. Ninja Scroll though, is a pleasant exception.
This 10th anniversary edition contains two discs with different versions on each disc. Disc 1 has the 4:3 ratio pan and scan version and disc 2 the 16:9 anamorphic version.
Disc 2 also has several soundtracks including DTS 6.1 and proper DD 5.1 EX tracks. Plus a number of other interesting extras, especially the interview with the director.
I won't go into the plot as several other reviews describe it in plenty enough detail already. Although I will say that the plot is very good, it moves along at a sensible pace with a good balance between dialogue and action and unfolds cleverly, giving the viewer snippets of what's going on along the way and piecing it together thoroughly at the end.
Ninja Scroll is very Japanese, more so than a lot of other anime, and makes many cultural references throughout. This, I think, gives the story more depth and weight and makes it less fantastical (even though it's about ninjas and demons). But through this 'Japaneseness' the film fully deserves it's 18 certificate as Ninja Scroll is very violent and has many other scenes and themes of an adult nature as a warning to those who decide to watch it lightly.
Jubei and Kagero, the lead male and female, are excellent characters and they develop and interact very well and much thought has been put into them. But that's not to say the other's are bad or underdeveloped, as entire animated cast is excellent. Throughout the film there are many characters and sequences that will completely take you by surprise, these are a joy to watch even on repeated viewings.
The animation, as expected on a film like this, is superb, fluid movement and excellent detail everywhere.
The only disappointing thing I found with this DVD set was the sound. Listening through my home cinema separates I found that the DD 5.1 EX track made very little use of the extra speakers. The sub effects were pretty much non-existent and only little more came through the surround speakers. The scene at the beginning when the ninjas are jumping through the trees was good with the sound of movement all around you but other than that there isn't much to shout about.
A 13 episode TV series sequel to the film following the further exploits of Jubei was released in the late 90's and is now available on DVD and Ninja Scroll 2 is currently in pre-production.
An obvious film to watch it you're new to anime and thoroughly recommended to everyone, you'll love Ninja Scroll!
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on 26 November 2012
I must shamefully admit, as big as an anime fan as I am, I never got round to actually watching Ninja Scroll until this Blu-ray edition took my fancy.
For a number of reasons it was just never a title that jumped out at me. Be it, its relative age: It came out in 93 in Japan but probably later here and somehow I never equated it with Akira or Ghost in the Shell, which I love and are, quite rightly, hailed as benchmarks in the genre. Maybe it was my (utterly wrong) assumption of it being just another ninja tale or possibly the animation style which is very reminiscent of another of my all time favourite animes, Cowboy Bebop. So, frankly, I should have gotten over that but whatever.....I just never got round to giving Ninja Scroll a go!

Well Im so glad I finally got acquainted with Jubei and Kagero. Their crazy, supernatural tale is not just another ninja, or indeed samurai/ronin story. Ninja Scroll is THE anime which has spawned or influenced all the later anime serials like Samurai Champloo or The Afro. All the boxes are ticked here! In spectacular style!

Too cool for the world lead character, deadly cool female lead character, wise old 'yoda' character and a bonkers assortment of 8 demon ninjas for our heroes to face off against including beautiful, evil, living tattoos chick, huge evil stone dude and shadowy, steel thread wielding guy! This motley crue are headed, of course, by a re-animated foe from our heroes past. Its super violent, (not quite Demon Fiend though) its sexually pretty graphic and its utterly utterly brilliant.

The Hi Definition transfer of this classic anime looks pretty impressive to me. Its night and day compared to my Akira DVD certainly and looks just as good as my Akira Blu-ray. It has got quite a muted palette but I think thats an animation style choice and suits the feature. The sound also is very good with a decent English dub but I always go for the original Japanese dub as I prefer to hear it as it was meant to be heard.

The main extra feature and a very welcome one is the crew commentary which is in Japanese with subtitles and although confusing at times, having a few participants, is a good accompaniment to the film for future viewings.

A highly recommended disc for me. Top work.
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on 15 March 2015
I'm in heaven With this film, alot beauty and alot of heart put into this anime, The vagabond ninja Jubei is The most coolest ninja you've ever seen, despite how awful and scary The 8 demons of Kimon are he still challenge them like ordinary mortals, a must see for everyone who is a ninja fan or anime fan, 5/5
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on 24 November 2015
Ninja Scroll features the fastest, most fluid, and best 2D animation I have ever seen on an anime. The plot is intriguing, the fights are fantastic, and the characters are bizarre and perversely interesting.
The blu-ray quality is excellent and the new commentary track is fantastic and very insightful on the process of animation.
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on 10 January 2003
First and foremost, this film presents excelent actionshots, its quite thrilling and definitly entertaining. The graphics are better than whats usual for animefilms, and the english dub is also quite good.
Thats the positive side though...the main problem is the lack of character development, it seems like you are expected to know the main characters before you see the film, and everytime they get into a tight spot they reveal a new skill thats totally unrealistic given what you know of them. They are also cold and unemotional, and you simply dont get emotionally engaged in their efforts to save feudal Japan.
It does however introduce some very interesting opponents, one guy got a beehive in his back, another one is a blind ninja that fights through his hearing, unfortunatly these ideas arent followed through -- they suddenly appear and is killed of ten seconds later, I ended up thinking that everything could have gotten so much better with some rewriting in the script..building up the suspense some more prior to the encounters, the movie doesnt last much more than 90 minutes anyway so they have room for it as animemovies are so expensive.
The film has also been censored, wich is okay at times, but this particular movie revolves strongly around being for adults, and looses some of its purity as its essence has been sliced, you get the feeling that something is missing in here, and the atmosphere gets unsufficent.
The plot features a lovestory, but this bit is seriously cut short by the lack of characters, and its not given enough priority to be emotionally engaging.. Its like putting a block of ice in the micro for ten seconds, it has the potential of getting hot, but it ends up being just as cold.
As a conclusion I would have to say that even if the movie is good slasher-entertainment its not something you will go around remembering a long time after, and this is a shame, because the movie had the potential of being a classic..
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on 4 February 2014
Great film. This is the way Anime should be. It lives up to the 18 certificate, in volence, gore, and adult scenes and themes. Their are great sword fights, brief but decisive fights, excellently chiorographed to fit into the culture of acient Japan. All this talk about how great the action of the film iss takes nothing away that the plot, characters and development betweem this is cleaverly thought out and well scripted/aminated in the film. It is little things like, Kagero talking tough in front of Jubei, then throwing and breaking down for a moment when she is alone, then getting back to the job at hand. The relationship between Jubei and Kagero is also developed over the film. They must earn each other respect, this is done at the right pace not simply you saved my life I am so greatful. I am not going to go into the plot because there are a couple of twists and it is more fun to watch it develop. The only negitive thing I can say about the film is they never made a second one. Great film a true classic. If you have not seen it watch it. If you have own it.
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on 13 January 2001
i was disappointed when i found out this release was cut.
i didn't even know until i watched the trailer that came in the extras.
i done some research on the net and found out it was the rape scenes and the ninja star scenes which were cut.
other than then that, one of the best manga films i've seen.
i only gave it 2 stars, because that is how dissapointed i am
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on 1 February 2014
Another favourite classic anime from manga label, i was impressed when i first watched this. Kawajiri is a supreme film maker. Myself & the known felons watched this one summer afternoon as teen types, i felt prompted to hit the castle parkland & begin shinobi training in secret........
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on 20 April 2004
I had quite a few anime movies under my belt by the time I got round to watching this one, and as any anime fan will know, once you pop you just can't stop! Unless they suck, which this one most certainly does not.
Set in feudal Japan, it follows the adventure (or misadventure, as the case may be) of a Lone Ninja warrior called Jubei who gets Blackmailed into helping an old Ninja defeat a group of eight devil warriors.
This is the heavily condensed version of the plot and I can assure you that amongst all the amazingly bloody fight scenes there's enough plot and character development for the thinking man as well as the action junkie.
There's also a well developed romantic story between Jubei and a female Ninja called Kagero, which really makes you care about the characters.
The animation is superb and as I mentioned before its incredibly violent in the most entertaining of ways, though there is a semi-rape scene which might offend some people (grannies and such) but it serves the story so its forgivable.
Theres not much more I can say really, full of pathos, heart and eye popping visuals, Ninja Scroll really has all an anime/action fan could hope for.
If you haven't seen it yet, run, run and buy it now! I hear there's also a sequel in production and a TV series so you better hurry before it becomes a franchise and you get left behind.
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on 26 September 2001
I have to say that this must be one of my all time favourite manga films. The action is simply fantastic, due in no small part to the superb badguys and their mix of demonic powers. Ninja scroll is an excellent mix of plot\storyline and graphic action. The setting in 16th century Japan is a refreshing move away from much of the post apocalyptic settings of many other manga titles (Akira for instance - though i am not knocking Akira in any way - it rocks).
I would recommend this anime to anyone, especially those who are just developing an interest in manga. It stands as an all time classic along with Akira and Legend of the Overfiend.
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