Monday, July 29, 2013

Film Review: Ninja Scroll (1995)

Ninja Scroll (Review)
Japan/1995
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...a gory, creative anime that impresses to this day."

Amidst a deadly plague, Jubei Kibagami, a lonewolf ninja, Dakuan, a government spy, and Kagero, a Mochizuki Koga ninja, team to destroy the Devils of Kimon, a demon ninja group. Although they have different motives and goals, the group share a common enemy with sinister plans.

Ninja Scroll is an action-packed anime. The story is deeper than my description, but not at all complicated. Most of the film consists of a battle against a demon ninja, moving a few steps forward, another battle, and so on. What may have been a repetitive formula is saved by the thrilling battles and unique characters. However, some, and I mean some, of the battles end underwhelmingly compared to the epic buildup leading up to said fights. The story continues at a ferociously fast pace towards a truly epic final battle.

The enemies in this film are unique, and creativity is required to defeat them; this adds much needed variety to the film. The designs ranged from nightmarish to erotic, and everything in between. The fights are mostly short as there are 8 demons and some of these fights end quickly, and the story also attempts to add some romance into the short 1hr 30min run time; fortunately, it is enough to satisfy action fans. Ultimately, the creative characters and their impressive designs are enough to keep me interested in the world of Ninja Scroll.

The animation is fantastic with great use of color and movement. This is an extremely gory film, and the animation is awe-inspiring during these sequences. The Blu-ray features fantastic picture and sound quality, although not quite matching contemporary animation. The Japanese voice acting is superb, the English voice acting is good if you'd rather not read subtitles and don't understand Japanese. The music fits perfectly with the film and helps create the epic vibe.

Overall, Ninja Scroll is a great, action-packed animation; a gory, creative anime that impresses to this day. It is hardcore action from beginning to end, and action worth watching - anime fan or not. I strongly recommend a purchase for fans of the genre, a rental otherwise.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Very strong violence and gore, nudity and sex.

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