1 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars
Save Your Money and Save Yourself!, 11 Aug. 2010
Ok before I give my reviews, I must say if you haven't heard of Ninja Scroll, then you've either just waken from a 17-year coma or you just plainly have no clue about Japanese culture. Anyway, for people who know a little bit about anime, Ninja Scroll is known for being a `gateway poison' to the world of anime, which is not a complimentary reputation at all. The reason why I used the term "Poison" because it represents what normally goes wrong with the general anime standards nowadays: blood-thirsty, sickly twisted, fan service and sexually abusive.
Now, "Is Ninja Scroll any good?"or "Is this show worth any peny?" To answer these questions I am going to break down a series of segments to analyze its worth:
1) Plot - the plot is simply mediocre at worst. It is very straightforward without any interesting deviations or occurrences that could make people feel excited or surprised. The story can be narrowly described as this: a mysterious swordsman or a wanderer kind of guy with fantastic fighting skills and he has to use these skills to beat up some butt-ugly evil monsters. Then some mysterious-ancient-sage guy shows up and tells the wanderer guy that he needs to defeat the super-strong evil boss. He reluctantly agrees, and so he and the ancient-sage guy go on their journey to defeat the evil boss. The funny thing is the story is often aided by a pointless ninja girl (A Sex Object). When the story goes on, they encounter many powerful yet disgusting enemies serving for the evil-monster boss, who are defeated by the wanderer guy (the main guy of the story). I'm sure you can figure out the rest by yourself. Sounds cliché isn't it? Nothing complicated. My biggest problem with the plot however is that it is utterly nonsense with tons of mystic concepts yet lacking a single touch of the reality. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining about the superhuman powers in a fictional story, however, with a concept (which also has been done a million times in the past by animators or in movies) like that had better not to overkill the whole plot. Disappointingly, everything in it is fictional and unrealistic. Therefore, it fails to connect those characters (ninjas, monsters or other warriors) to real people. This is what I think the plot lacked the most; the realistic details, that could make the characters less fake or animated even if they are designed to have superhuman powers. Moreover, I think mystics is supposed to excite us and bring us to the world of unknown or unexplained. Instead, every detail in this film is a casual thing without properly given any explanations, it's like the plot just got thrown together by the creator who has no interest developing the plot. I don't suppose any smart, intelligent people in the world or even nerdy otaku would expect this film is an Oscar-worthy thing, but the story is licensed to sell to customers in the real world, shouldn't the quality at least not be an embarrassment?
2) Characters - Unfortunately there's no realistic characters that you can relate to in real life nor there's such a thing as character development in this movie. Throughout the movie, all characters are either extremely sadistic/evil or completely naïve and weak. The main guy is flat and boring from start to finish, probably because the creator spent too much time inventing fighting scenes instead of real creativity such as plot development, which caused the character is less developed. Likewise, there are many talkative and lame evil boss-type enemies who like to introduce their special power get done in less than a minute, which make your wonder "what's the point of introducing them in the first place?", then along the way the story skips from fight to fight with little to no story or character development in between. And let's not forget there's a ninja girl, well you would think she's a "strong female character", but just wait till you realize she's just another stereotypical ninja girl in anime who's often subject to become the victim of sex and abuse by men.
3) Graphic and Music - Perhaps these two elements are the only things stand out throughout the movie. The music is used pretty well and it suits the dark theme of the movie. The arts or graphics are quite realistic though at times dated (after all this film was made in 1993). However, even so, you understand that you don't just watch or buy an anime just because it got good music or graphics only despite of poor writing of the script right? Well at least I am not that shallow.
4) Sex and Violence - No need for introduction. Ninja Scroll is notoriously known for being a ridiculously ultraviolent type of anime. It contains gallons of blood slain from a human body, and tons of overboard human-body dismantlement. What's more sickening is some gruesome scenes involved with a monster drinking blood from a bleeding man. For some action-loving fans who only look for excessive violent type of programs, they will not be disappointed by this sickening film, but for those who are serious about viewing a REAL movie or anime, Ninja Scroll has totally failed to deliver a decent-quality or touching, poignant story, or any amazing character development. No, it doesn't have any of those. Let's not forget about the utterly outrageous and pathetically unnecessary sexual violence imposed on woman repeatedly shown in this film, it's utterly disgusting and totally pointless except fan-serving for those who need to get laid. I was totally outraged by the long-minute rapes, which almost equivalent to an X-Ray porno movie. Although it's not that complicated to understand why the creator has to rely on sex and violence to get attentions, it's still very tasteless of him to further worsen the non-existent plot like that.
Some might argue that the violence and rapes are well suited to the plot or theme of the story, but I'll say they are fooling themselves. The violence can be toned down 50% of the times is still enough to be labeled as an ultra-violence movie and the those pornographic-like rapes can also be avoided if the film director (if he is indeed professional) knows how to deal with such an offensive matter in a less-obvious classic way. However, he refused doing that. Obviously, he wasn't interested in trying to develop a good plot or character-building for the story. Gore and perverted sex are the main selling point of the film.
Make no mistakes, Ninja Scroll is partially responsible for the negative image of the Japanese anime had in the 1990s, which many labeled them as "Hentai", and up through the recent explosion in the recent decade in North America. This is the type of film that some X-offenders would watch and trade in secret as the film is ridiculously violent, offensive towards women (it looks as if the director of the film or creator got a problem with women). Finally, fans of Ninja Scroll can't help but admit this film gained attentions mostly for its violence and sex, not because it was a masterpiece of modern cinema.
All in all, since the film got weak plot, no character development, contain extreme violence and exploitation towards women, and is hardly a birthday cake that you would remember for, why waste your time and money. Some might say this film is aimed for adults; however, we have to ask what type of adults it is aiming. If you have some special interests into this kind of subject, go ahead and buy it. But if you are a normal and serious about viewing a real story, try something else. I wouldn't waste my time and money on this piece of garbage or recommend it to any decent human being.