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Ninja Scroll [DVD]
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A ninja-for-hire is forced into fighting an old nemesis who is bent on overthrowing the Japanese government. His nemesis is also the leader of a group of demons each with superhuman powers.
A peak achievement of Japanese animation (anime), this propulsive mix of samurai action adventure and supernatural fantasy from writer-director Yoshiaki Kawajiri (Supernatural Best City) is defiantly animation for grown-ups, complete with fountains of blood, plenty of naked flesh, and (in both the subtitled and dubbed versions) some decidedly strong language. (Students of Japanese language could pick up some useful expressions.) The plot sounds like a 16th century variation on the X-Files: an entire village has been wiped out by a mysterious plague and an anti-government conspiracy of invulnerable demons seems to be responsible. A wandering ninja, Jubei, and his female counterpart, Kagero, team up to defeat the plotters. Jubei is a classic reluctant hero, agreeing to participate in the mission only after being fed a slow-acting poison; the antidote will be supplied after he cooperates. And Kagero, a looker whose embrace is lethal, is a femme fatale with a difference that seems distinctively Japanese: sexual contact itself is poisonous, especially for a warrior with a pure-soul. --David Chute, Amazon.com --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
The story, though nothing ground-breaking, goes with the action very nicely, and has all the set-pieces for a memorable experience. The main protagonist Jubei Kibagami, as badass as he is, still struggles against his formidable foes, which creates both tension and a reason to root for the hero. Not only that, but the villains are all pretty out-there and unique in their own rights. The main antagonist isn't just some Saturday-morning baddie, either. He's someone Jubei has a personal bone to pick with.
As you can tell by the BBFC certificate on the box, this film is not for the kiddies, so if you're not of age, then go back to your Big 3 debates and watch Naruto or something. This is a big-boy's anime!
The action is like getting drunk on the best drink you can think of, and not suffering from a hangover the next morning. From start to finish, the whole film is beautifully-animated, and where a lot of these shows have to cut down on the visual detail to get more precise animation, Ninja Scroll manages to keep the two at a consistently high standard of quality.
The music fits the theme of the show pretty well, and although it sounds a bit like something out of a black-and-white historic fantasy film at times, it kind of adds to the epic fight scenes.
I felt that the film lasted exactly as long as it needed to. An hour and a half of awesome Ninja action that left me feeling completely satisfied and in high-spirits by the end. It doesn't tease you or try to make a point like a little OVA, but it doesn't overstay its welcome like a Lord of the Rings wannabe.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fantastic animè from Japan. Good story and fast pace action.Published 4 months ago by Jon Are Gulliksen
Bit low on extras & viewing options, but it's a favourite of mine so needed to upgrade.Published 6 months ago by Emem Deedub
An anime classic, excellent visuals, story line full of action and fantasyPublished 8 months ago by Marina
Does not support wide screen because of the age of this film. Perfect quality of picture great sound quality. Blu-ray really is crisp and clean for most non CGI based films.Published 8 months ago by D Dorchagraine
Still a classic from my childhood but i only gave it 4 stars because the Disc doesn't have the Manga opening sequence which made me sadPublished 15 months ago by Scottbark