- Episodes : 26
- Genre : Action
- Airing Date : April 16, 2015 - ongoing
- Producers : Trigger, FUNimation
Ninja Slayer Preview / Plot (No Spoilers)
Ninja Slayer is the story of an ordinary man who has been given a second chance at life. He seeks to enact revenge on those responsible for murdering his family. He agrees to harbor the soul of an ancient ninja within his body. This spirit, Naraku Ninja, gives him access to enormous strength and abilities.
He has no idea where the spirit came from or if it’s an agent for evil. But, it doesn’t matter since he now has the means to destroy those who have wronged him. This is the story of Ninja Slayer.
Who does Ninja Slayer cater to?
This show is perfect for anyone looking for a show that’s different to others in terms of artwork and animation. At first the difference is a bit jarring. Then it becomes the element you look forward to the most as you anxiously wait for the next episode to air.
Luckily, I’ve written an article about anime similar to this one. So, if you’re a fan of any of those then you definitely won’t regret sitting down and giving this one a shot. (6 Anime Like Ninjya Slayer article )
What's so appealing about this piece of work.
This show is a bit absurd when it comes to character design and animation. But, it does it in the best way possible. The minimalistic animation is drawn out to emphasize the over-the-top dialogue between characters. Then, when a character does move it is overdramatic and often wacky.
The fights are nothing special in terms of animation. But, the combination of erratic combat movement and excellent voice acting make the fights memorable and highly entertaining. It’s slightly difficult to put into words the charm this show gives off. However, it’s undeniable and quite unique relative to other anime that are currently airing.
Ninja Slayer Trailer
Ninja Slayer Main Characters List
Kenji Fujikido aka Ninja Slayer
Voice Actor :Toshiyuki Morikawa
He is a regular man whose family was slaughtered by members of the Soukai Syndicate. As he was on the verge of dying, he was visited by the spirit of a ninja. This spirit gave him a second chance at life. In return, he’d have to kill every single ninja until he as the last one remaining.
From that moment his reality consisted of hunting down and killing those ninjas. At first he had no qualms about it because those ninjas had all been part of the syndicate that was responsible for his family’s death. However, he’s slowly starting to realize that not all ninjas are consumed by hatred and violence.
Voice Actor :Toshiyuki Morikawa
Seemingly limitless in power, this spirit has taken Kenji as its vessel. Through him it enacts an ancient agenda to destroy every last ninja. It doesn’t care if the ninjas are honorable or innocent. It wants to see them all dead.
This ancient soul is still shrouded in mystery. Its origins are unknown but it does seem to harbor relentless hatred toward other ninjas. It tries to convince Kenji to give into the path of violence and death. For now Kenji tolerates it because he needs the power to take down the Soukai Syndicate.
Ninja Slayer Review
I love how the series has unfolded so far. It has taken a very episodic approach in its structure. Less important villains are introduced and built up throughout the episode. By the time the ending credits approach, the enemy has been defeated by Ninja Slayer. We’re given just enough time to see our main character display his ninjutsu in a comical and entertaining fashion. The premise is simple but effective.
It is still very early in its narrative, but there have been a few interesting characters introduced. Slowly, more important characters are being developed. We have to be patient though since each episode is only about fifteen minutes in length. We’re teased with glimpses of these characters fighting or interacting with Ninja Slayer only to have the clock soon run out on the week’s allotted time. The good thing is that you never feel cheated. You simply look forward to the next episode that much more. Also, as of episode 6, it looks like the episodes are starting to string together and touch on the overarching plot of the show. So, perhaps the first few fodder villains were simply there to demonstrate the show’s humor, pacing, and combat sequences.
I’m trying my best not to spoil the show by reading up on the novels or manga that the anime is based off of. But, from what I’ve gathered from the show, it looks like Naraku Ninja is not the only ancient ninja soul in existence. More likely than not, Kenji will have to face off against others who are possessed by these souls and are just as powerful as he is.
It’s very interesting that the power Kenji was given may also prove to be his downfall. Usually, main characters receive a power that grants them access to new levels of strength and abilities. But, it’s rare that the narrative immediately reveals the sinister nature of that gift. I hope Ninja Slayer uses that unique plot element to create an interesting dynamic between Naraku, Kenji, and the other characters he meets. I have complete faith in Studio Trigger. They are known for taking risks when it comes to the anime they choose to produce. The studio has come through in the past and there’s no reason to doubt them this time.
1. Enter Ninja Slayer
Kenji’s first scuffle with wanna-be ninjas was an excellent indicator of the ride that we are in for. We catch up with Kenji as he is on the verge of dying at the hands of the two thugs. But, his body slowly starts to be taken over by Naraku Ninja. With the increase in power he quickly subdues his two enemies while screaming out the series’ most popular battle cry, “Yeeart!”
2. Origami Phoenix Attack!
In episode 4 we meet Yamoto Koki. She is also in possession of an ancient ninja soul, Shi Ninja. She has the ability to psychically construct origami weapons to attack her foes. In her fight against Sonic Boom-san, she create a giant origami bird that looks like a phoenix. The awesomeness of its color and size quickly diminished as it comically collided with Sonic Boom-san and they both erupted in a small ball of fire. All that remained was Sonic Boom-san’s departing last word, “Sayonara!”
3. Ending Credits
It’s a subtle touch to personalize the ending credits. So far, each episode has used a different ending song and changed the characters that appear during the credits. The two elements combine to remind you of the characters that were introduced (or defeated) and that Studio Trigger really does put exceptional attention to detail, even if it looks as though this anime was created on an extremely small budget.
As I said earlier, Studio Trigger always delivers. It hasn’t let me down yet. I love how unique Ninja Slayer is and I see a lot of potential in its narrative and execution. We’ve only seen about 90 minutes of Ninja Slayer (as of 05/23), but that is definitely enough to get me hooked on this show. I can’t wait to see who Kenji fights next. Also, I’m anxious about what kind of quirky animation and dialogue are in store for us.
I know only six episodes have aired so far, but what do you guys think of the series? Are you as entertained as I am? Did you read any of the novels or manga? Let me know what your thoughts are on Ninja Slayer in the comments below!
Ninja Slayer Thoughts after the Season Finale
Looking back on the review I stand by everything I wrote. The appeal of Ninja Slayer stayed strong throughout the entire season. I was worried that the “novelty” factor of the animation would wear off and become boring. But, I actually grew to love it more as the show continued. The pacing and recycled jokes never became annoyingly repetitive. I actually looked forward to seeing some jokes used again and again.
An example is when fighters would trade blows for 20 to 30 seconds using the exact same sound effects and animation frames on a loop. Another example, a fan favorite, is the couple of times that the camera teased the audience. It would slowly pan along Yukano or Nancy’s body in a “pervy” manner. Just when it would reach a nice shot of their “assets” the camera would quickly turn away. It’s funny though because the studio definitely did this just to mess with fans, because there are actual scenes filled with close-ups of Nancy’s jugs.
Speaking of Dragon Yukano and Nancy Lee, they were a couple of characters that were introduced in episodes 6 and 7 (respectively) and continued to have a presence all the way until episode 24. The other important characters introduced, from episode 6 onwards, were Dragon Gendoso, Darkninja, and Laomoto Khan. Khan was actually introduced in episode 1 but I didn’t write anything about him in the original review because I thought he would be a minor boss villain that would be taken out early on in the series. He is actually a very important character to the overarching story and he possesses immense strength. He is one of the top three strongest characters we’ve seen so far.
The subplot with Dark Ninja was especially intriguing and I look forward to his return in season two. I really want Beppin (his sword) to get re-forged and for his backstory to get proper development. Hopefully, he finds out the origins of the ninja souls that are possessing people. He’s pretty much slipped into the role of Ninja Slayer’s rival. So, it would have been a waste if he was easily defeated by Naraku Ninja/Fujikido in an episode or two. My initial theory was that Dark Ninja would play a pivotal role in overthrowing Laomoto and the Soukai Syndicate. However, after seeing the last episode (#26) we know that is not the case. The Soukai have been single handedly eradicated by Ninja Slayer.
The biggest letdown this season was from Yamoto Koki. She started out as a very promising character, but she didn’t receive as much screen time as she deserved. I slowly started to forget about her contribution to the narrative and I lost interest in her. She did have a touching episode with Genocide but then she faded back into obscurity. I hope she makes a bigger impact on season 2. Actually, I’m sure she will since she was one of the characters shown in the last minute of the season finale. (As a side note, Genocide is my favorite supporting character, he definitely needs to needs to make an appearance in an additional episode or two.)
Overall, the story has expanded much more than I had anticipated. Season one was all about Ninja Slayer coming to terms with Naraku Ninja’s soul dwelling within him. At the same time, he was forcing his way through the Soukai Syndicate ranks and aiming to take down Laomoto Khan. The last episode definitely delivered on the previous twenty-four episodes of buildup.
Besides them, Dragon Yukano, aka Amnesia, has still not recovered her memories. So her story needs to be expanded on as well. She is also involved with Buster Tetsuo and the Ikki Uchikowashi, a group intent on creating a revolution even if it means injuring or killing innocent civilians to make it happen. Ninja Slayer dealt a heavy blow to them, but they haven’t been completely wiped out. So, they’re still out there recruiting citizens and starting riots. In fact, Amnesia and Buster were shown causing explosions around Tokorozawa Tower in the last minute of the season finale.
Lastly, I’d like to mention the other two characters that were shown in quick succession at the end of the season finale. Forest Sawatari and Dark Ninja. I mentioned up above, Dark Ninja is one of the elements that is bringing me back for season two. Showing his face at the end emphasizes that he’s going to have a big role to play in season two. In my opinion, they should split future episodes between him and Ninja Slayer. That way we have two parallel storylines, centered on the strongest ninjas we’ve seen yet, that can converge near the end of season two.
There is plenty of story to pick up from and hit the ground running when season 2 starts. I loved every moment of Ninja Slayer and I can’t wait to see what the next season will bring us.