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!
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.
on 2 August 2014
My god, this is amazing. Ninja Scroll was released a year before I was born, and having finally watched it recently, it still holds up incredibly well.
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.
Overall, Ninja Scroll is a must-have for anyone who enjoys anime or even animation in general. Sure, it can get pretty wacky at times, but the pure intensity sticks around to even it out nicely. Luckily, I only got this for £1, which is an absolute bargain, but don't shy away from paying full price for this movie, because it is worth every penny!
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
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.
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..
on 16 January 2014
Love, love, love ninja scroll and its in my top 10 animes easy. I was thrilled when I heard Ninja Scroll was being released on blu-ray and the steel case presentation is wonderful. If your a fan of anime and you've never heard of Ninja Scroll then shame on you and watch it right away! Good story, plenty of over the top action and swordplay with a good amount of gore involved. Wonderful animation and one of the best animes to come from Yoshiaki Kawajiri.
on 24 November 2012
With another disappointing release. Not to sound too cynical but Manga really have a habit of promising the world and failing to deliver. Ninja Scroll is one of my favourite ever Animes and it deserved the ultimate version, this falls way short.
First problem, albeit not the biggest one but still needs to be mentioned; the aspect ratio is '16:9 pillarboxed' which means big black borders down the sides of the screen. This I can almost forgive as Ninja Scroll was in 4:3, and when it was released on DVD in widescreen people complained about the stretched picture. It's not an easy compromise but there you go. The DVD version included is also the same ratio.
Transfer quality looks good but it has been touched up to the point of removing all the grain from the picture. This is a personal choice as some people like the smoother look, while others prefer it in its original state. It is however littered with white specs of dust and dirt throughout, why these weren't cleaned up ill never know. Ignoring this though, the picture is nice and smooth and looks good for its age, but considering this is one of Mangas major releases for the year, it really should have had a full restoration job done on it. It is the best Ninja Scroll has ever looked in the home, it is just not what it should be.
The other massive flaw is the total lack of bass in the English 5.1 audio track, which is so tinny it almost has an echo; it is an absolute disgrace. The Japanese 2.0 track is much punchier and will be most peoples choice as a result; there is no comparitive English 2.0 track unfortunately. It would have been nice if the previous audio tracks had been added to this release as well, as opposed to one DTS master audio (English) and Japanese 2.0.
The extras are a Directors commentary, 2 trailers, and the booklet is basically about the Director, Yoshiaki Kawajiri.
The Steelbook itself looks great, however most steelbooks are limited editions and worth something, Manga - like they did with their Akira release - will probably produce tens of thousands as demand dictates, almost removing any real collectors value.
If your a Ninja Scroll fan you really have no choice but to buy this I guess. It's a cracking film and the Bluray is nice, but for such a big release I really shouldnt be talking about any flaws, unfortunately this is littered with them, and they are the kind that will annoy a lot of people.
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.
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