Category Archives: Ninja Slayer From Animation

Ninja Slayer From Animation Episode 5

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This is a show that requires patience.  I say this because it has overly exaggerated dialogue and a huge array of messy, blocky animation.  I’ve been on a kick recently with this sort of art–  Masaaki Yuasa’s Kemonozume is one of the series my anime club has been watching and like Ninja Slayer aren’t anime that everyone can dive into.  Prior to seeing this episode though, I’ve checked out the English dub for Ninja Slayer and I feel it doesn’t do any justice for the story in the slightest.  Ninja Slayer relies heavily on Japanese customs with an old-school perspective both Eastern and Western on the subject matter of Ninjas.  I believe that the translation is missed in the English dubbing to get these characters’ motivations across.  Especially when its a series that focuses heavily on food culture.  Sushi, tofu–  this episode we see one of the characters only eating tamagoyaki.  I wonder what we are going to have next?

Previously, we’ve been introduced to a few Ninjas that might play a role in Ninja Slayer’s quest for revenge and now we get to see gauntlet wielding Shigeki down on his luck trying to redeem himself in this life and the next.  I wonder if we will ever see him again?  He and Ninja Slayer are both traveling down the same path for different reasons–  I like how this reflects in the archetypes this episode utilizes.  The first enemy Ninja Slayer faces off is Bandit-san–he’s cookie cutter to the Scorpion/Sub-Zero character models from the Mortal Kombat games!  I remember in my days as a teenager playing those games and it was such a sight to see in this show take a nod to that.

Laomoto as we’ve seen before is definitely viewed as the final boss for Ninja Slayer and it’s great to see his influence throughout the city.  The pharmaceutical company Yoroshin challenges Laomoto’s Keiretsu group by refusing the cloning process.  This is another instance where Japanese dialogue comes in handy especially since most of this episode builds upon the idea of Japanese corporate structuring.  In Japan, there is this business structure called the  “keiretsu system” in which this show takes from and ultimately runs with it.  Before I dive into this concept here’s an example of how it works in real world Japan.  Normally, a Japanese horizontal keiretsu is “Mitsubishi” where the “Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi” sits at the top of the keiretsu. Part of this core group is “Mitsubishi Motors” and “Mitsubishi Trust and Banking” followed by “Meiji Mutual Life Insurance Company” which provides insurance to all members of the keiretsu. “Mitsubishi Shoji” is the trading company for the “Mitsubishi” keiretsu.  Basically, it’s a collection of companies with close business relationships and shareholdings.  Very informal, which makes sense as to why drinking meetings are so prevalent in the business world of Japan [and why we see the geishas in this show sitting next to Laomoto serving him alcohol].  It’s a bunch of companies that are centered around a core bank system.  The Big Six that represent these core banks that remain the focal point even today are Mitsui, Mitsubishi, Sumitomo, Fuyo, Sanwa, and DKB.  Each one of these banks focus on important industrial ways of life to better improve the country: trust banking, marine & fire insurance, trading companies, steel, chemicals, shipping and life insurance.  Put these pieces together with what we’ve seen of this Studio TRIGGER anime series and it all makes sense!  Laomoto discussing the manufacturing of 1,000 horsepower ZBR drinks with the corporate man is a direct correlation to the structure of Keiretsu. The 1,000 is supposed to represent the astronomical figure of firms that make up the Japanese entertainment management business.  Once again, this anime uses a well-researched idea with an over-exaggerated effect, especially when it kills off Ninja Slayer’s enemies through the use of explosions.

These explosions derive from what many Keiretsu structures know as “Burning Keiretsu”.  A corporate group that handles insider accounts.  They do not reveal affiliations with other entities  but in actuality have relations that are only known by deep insiders within particular businesses that are always a part of “Burning Keiretsu”.  Laomoto and Dark Ninja represent not only this “Burning Keiretsu” but the horizontal link between the old-fasioned 90’s idea of the underhanded syndicate.  I’ve seen this done to death in many American action/drama films between 87′ and early 2000’s–this is another reason why we see a tie back yet again into Ninja Slayer and its similarities with the idea of the American Ninja.  The guy calculating numbers on horsepower drinks is the vertical stature of keiretsu–working for a legitimate business that is focused on financial services.  The Six Soukai is also a take on the Big Six of keiretsu.  I like how these small details make up a lot of Japan’s social economic structure.

This episode puts an emphasis on the horizontal and vertical branches of keiretsu by drawing parallels with its animation too.  Throughout the show we’ve seen Ninja Slayer and Yamoto moving their entire bodies when they attack, I feel that this stylistic choice and its narrative widely portrays the Japanese corporate business world intentionally.  Perhaps I’m looking too closely at this show for what it is.

Up until now I’m seeing more resemblance to the 1993 feature film Ninja Slayer with its villains.  The wheelchair Soukai Beholder looks like he’s pulled right from the Eight Devils of Kimon and I really like how Beholder uses his abilities mixed with the tofu Shigeki’s been eating to turn on Ninja Slayer, losing an arm and realizing his life has been spared.  Especially since the attack was landed by Naraku Ninja and not Fujikido Kenji.  Has he harnessed his Ninja Soul [power a bit more?  This was probably the coolest part of the episode–Ninja Slayer transforming into Naraku Ninja to avoid Beholder’s manipulation and a fallen Shigeki realizing there is more to life than just tofu.

I want to point out how much the Narrator at the beginning reveals Shigeki’s fate by the end of this episode.  The egg really does represent salvation for him.  After losing his arm and receiving the gauntlet he lost his ink-wash painting skills but it is the egg and Beholder manipulating him that he is able to find his way to Ninja Slayer–removing his maintenance fees of the gauntlet and the 4th generation arm itself!  He can start life with a clean slate.


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Back in 2002, 6Eyes had originally formed as a quartet in Nagoya but today they are a six-person band that has a style that is more in line with J-ROCK.  What separates this group from a lot of other J-Rock bands is the addition of the saxophone, played by Kei Satou.  Their style is a bit lighter than what we’ve heard in the previous Ninja Slayer endings– has a grunge sound to it especially with Chikara Tsuchiya’s husky vocals but the melody is soft.  I like this song.  It’s not my favorite from this show but it’s been definitely a lot stronger than some of the others I’ve heard.


Ninja Slayer From Animation Episode 4

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I absolutely love this show.  It’s weird and really points out that you don’t need strong animation to tell a story well. While the last episode and this one certainly have a Trigger style that we’re used to you can tell by the action scenes its more in line with the previous episodes and Inferno Cop.  Speaking of Inferno Cop I can see why that series was so short in that it was to experiment on NicoNico for Ninja Slayer—  as this will be 26 episodes total!

The dialogue is outlandish–  networks wouldn’t even be able to air this on television and Ninja Slayer benefits extremely well for being an ONA on NicoNico streaming service website.  The names in this are well-thought out–  Sonic Boom of the Six Soukai Gates and the student’s code name Suicide.  I like this cross between comic book style American characters with traditional japanese names like Yamoto Koki.

So the stories about Ninja Slayer and this girl ninja Yamato are finally converging and its fantastic here!  Yamoto at first develops a resolve in saving her classmates and I like how she leaves her friends for good in order to follow in the footsteps of Ninja Slayer.  Yamoto Koki is a the japanese perspective of a female ninja kunoichi and Ninja Slayer represents this cheesy revenge-filled view of the Americanized Ninja.  The side-scrolling action is very retro and really different to see!  Wild soundtrack by Kenji Fujisawa and Shinichi Osawa.

These endings rock!


ED 4:  “SRKEEN” by 8otto

Really groovy song by indie rock group that formed in 1999 with four band members. This style is really post-punk with a fusion of grunge guitar riffs and a solid drum beat.  I like this song a lot! The melody reminds me a lot of vocalist Alex Kapranos of the band Franz Ferdinand and the instrumentals are like the band Interpol but a lot more edgier.



Ninja Slayer From Animation Episode 3

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This is by far the best episode yet and it doesn’t even feature Kenji!  This is more in line with Studio TRIGGER’s other works in that it centralizes its vengeful characters with strong women.  There are some strong Kill Bill vibes from this one here.

Yamoto witnessing another classmate getting attacked swoops in to save the day–  she’s possessed by a Ninja soul just like Kenji.  As different as this story had been it doesn’t forget the bloodshed.  I’m sensing that we will be getting a few arcs that focus on the team Kenji is going put together in exacting his revenge.  With a less comedic structure, frantic style this episode looks to contain a stronger coherent plot about Yamoto finding a place to be a part of as the world around her is falling into madness.  She’s like a twisted version of Anri Sonohara from Durarara!!.

It’s interesting because at first glance I felt like this could have acted as a prequel before Kenji’s mayhem began–  the animation is well maintained but I know that’s not the case here.  Suicide is a good addition to bring in as a villain because he’s filled with doubt.  Really like the scene at the very end finding out that he has to kill his classmate Yamato is unsettling simply because she has a Ninja Soul.

ED 3: “Gekijou Shihainin no Theme (劇場支配人のテーマ)” by The Pinballs

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An indie garage Japanese rock band that started out in 2011 that recently brought out their first full album in late 2014.  Their vocalist reminds me of Kelun’s singer Ryousuke Kojima but with a lower range and edgier sound.

This is an awesome song!  The wide range of chord progressions with the guitar really speaks about how corrupted a girl can evolve into by a supernatural entity like the Ninja Soul!  It has this sense of temptation to it.

Ultimately the sound stems from the fact that Yamoto’s inner self is being re-awakened by a demon.



Ninja Slayer From Animation Episode 2

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This wasn’t as good as the first episode but still manages to get the message across that a lot of Ninja’s are going to die:  quite possibly the hero, Kenji.  I think what makes this series so wonderful is how authentic it handles this idea of Ninja.  We’re seeing a cross between the American culture of a ninja’s revenge story mixed with the traditions that are upheld with the Japanese view of Ninja.  I like this a lot because TRIGGER is meddling with both styles–  distracting its viewers with a retro video game style of stop motion animation and B-rated dialogue.  After having seen two episodes of Ninja Slayer’s dialogue between the people he kills it seems to be intentional.

Ninja Slayer which I will call Kenji from now on faces off against another Ninja.  Arson.  Reminds me a lot of the Mortal Combat video games.  It’s ridiculous tropes and homages help get this story moving along at a very fast pace.  15 minutes per episode really works when you don’t have a lot of budget to throw on screen–  TRIGGER learned this when they experimented with ONA Inferno Cop.  For Ninja Slayer this is just as much a comedy series as it is a violently aggressive action anime that jumps into the perspective between American and Japanese cultures about upholding honor.  More heads get chopped off this episode yet they greet each other respectfully, Kenji slide dodging laser beams to the Aku no Hana-esque grey-scaled images of Kenji’s inner demon of a Ninja soul.  I am curious where this will go from here since we get to see an even larger Yakuza-like organization after him.  Good thing this show will be 26 episodes long.

The quick rescue scene on the jet skis remind me a lot of the times where Mako is saved by Ryuko in Kill la Kill—  everything looks so silly and have surprising facial expressions!

ED 2: “Halo Of Sorrow From ANIMATION” by Melt-Banana

Most of the animation here is the same–  a scrolling upward style that uses characters featured in the episode in various situations.  It’s ok, just wish the animators had done something a bit more daring if this show is going for different endings each episode.  I did not like this song one bit due to personal tastes around this genre.  As for how it correlates to this show it works extremely well.  The high-pitched screaming and fast guitar riffs illustrates that we are looking at a crazy adrenaline pumping action show where a lot of Ninjas are going to die in cruel ways.

The opening sequence is still awesome.  I wish Boom Boom Satellites would do more anime-related work.


Ninja Slayer From Animation Episode 1 [Initial Impressions]

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PLOT: Kenji Fujikido is a salaryman whose wife and child were killed in a ninja turf war. In a brush with his own death, Fujikido is possessed by an enigmatic ninja soul known as Naraku Ninja. Fujikido cheats death and becomes “Ninja Slayer” -a Grim Reaper destined to kill evil ninja, committed to a personal war of vengeance. Set in the dystopian underworld of Neo-Saitama, Ninja Slayer takes on Soukai Syndicate ninja in mortal combat.

In the fall of 2012 began the Ninj@ Conspiracy project that ended up breaking out on Twitter in brief chapters by Japanese translators Honda Yu and Sugi Leika claiming the material is from two American authors.  What’s interesting is how much mystery surrounds the actual production of the novel series written by Bradley Bond and Philip Ninj@ Morzez.  The animated series that was announced months ago elevated the idea that perhaps these two authors weren’t even real–  considering how there has been no real copy of Ninja Slayer in production aside from the first manga being illustrated by Akumetsu artist Yuki Yugo.  Whom also adapted an alternate telling of Shin Mazinger—  now I can see where these robot designs come from in this episode!  What’s even more weird is how far the manga’s production goes–  famed yaoi artist Ageha Saotome illustrated the second manga adaptation from the supposed novels.  I’m curious as to how Hiroyuki Imaishi’s [Kill la Kill director]  will tackle all this creativity in 2-cour fashion.  Fictional authors are built up around the popularity of the novels’ success in order to write a complex story of revenge about a salaryman possessed by a ninja’s soul “Naraku Ninja”.

Seeing this first episode is a blast from the past with the beat ’em up genre of video games.  It’s cheesy and its for very good intentions–  heads roll and large explosions of Ninja Slayer’s enemies jump this series into a half-baked style of this idea around American Ninja films.  A straightforward narrative about a protagonist Ninja that winds up having his family murdered by ninjas.  I like how this episode re-introduces this slapstick storytelling by using  2D platform segments with a touch of frantic [and at times jarring] jumps and attacks that give the camera a backseat.

Anyone that has been reading my blog since the beginning would know that I’m a pretty big fan of GAINAX and TRIGGER’s works–  Inferno Cop stepped into this realm with a strong-willed sense at being ridiculously poor in quality for good reason.  Starting up as a Youtube program on Anime Bancho programming block–  with Ninja Slayer we’ve got a similar step into this direction with it being advertised as an ONA [Original Network Animation] on streaming service website NicoNico.  What’s even more intriguing is how   As for the actual story it’s mindful at being silly playing on the vendetta trope that we often see in American action films like Kill Bill.  What intrigued me is how it has a runtime of only half as long as a regular televised episode of traditional animated series but it works really well at creating any sense of disbelief that Ninja Slayer will be nothing but fun.

I hope that Studio TRIGGER can pull this off and I do wonder if this is going to be televised next year will there be additional content including a full runtime?

OP: “Back in Black” by Boom Boom Satellites

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One of the top bands of the Japanese music industry to popularize a rock/punk image with electronica at the forefront!  The last time I’ve heard this band perform for an anime was Mobile Suit Gundam UC’s fifth ending theme installment and before that was another ONA production Xam’d: Lost Memories.  This is a hard-rock song featuring english vocals–  an adrenaline pumping song that focuses on the revenge aspect this series will focus on.  The animation features better visuals than any of the content shown throughout the episode–  we see a nice flashback of what happened to Ninja Slayer and the normalcy this show seems to offer with the girls that look like they are pulled right from Kill la Kill and Panty/Stocking’s transformation sequences.  

ED: “Kilmister” by Boris

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Experimental rock band that suits this series quite well.  I will say I’m not a huge fan of this genre of music but it does correlate to the themes Ninja Slayer represents:  death, revenge, cyberpunk adrenaline pumping action.  Vocalist Takeshi reminds me a lot of WHITE ASH’s singer Nobita–  a youthful startup to Takeshi’s voice that ends up being an entanglement around the melody that overall makes this song explore the grunge scene of early 90’s American bands.