Tuesday, October 16, 2012

ANI-MOVIES, *Ninja Scroll

Wicked City, X, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, Highlander: Search For Vengeance, plus segments from Batman: Gotham Knight and The Animatrix. Thought to be originally based on the life of the famous swordsman Yagyu Jubei, the only thing that it has in common with that is the main character has the same first name and is also a great swordsman.

Set in feudal Japan, wandering ronin Jubei runs across Kagero the surviving member of a team of ninjas who were slaughtered by one of the 8 Devils of Kimon, a band of warriors with supernatural powers. Kagero and her group were investigating a village that was reported to have a plague in it, but she was accosted and molested by a large rock monster. Jubei manages to escape with her, even though the monster comes back after him, then he mysteriously dies during the fight. Its revealed that Kagero gives off a natural poison to anyone who makes love to her, which kills the monster. Jubei is then attacked by another one of the Devils, but dispatches her. Although, during the fight, the government spy Dakuan poisons him, and convinces Jubei to help him investige the case with the plagued village in exchange for the cure. The two of them join forces with Kagero to make their way to the village, but are continuously being attacked by the other Devils, which go from a blind swordsman, a hunchback with killer hornets coming out of his back, a ninja with the power to dive into shadows, and a naked woman with snakes coming out of every oraphus of her body. Kagero summons her lord to the village of where the Devils of Kimon have been actually collecting gold for an underworld clan lead by the "Shogun of the Dark". Unfortunately, the Devil's leader was masquerading as Kagero's lord the whole time, and kills her on the spot. Their leader is Gemma, who is one of the members of Jubei's old squad from five years ago that betrayed him, and Jubei thought he had beheaded him. Gemma though knew a reincarnation ninja technique, and since then planned to take over the shadow originization by becoming the "Shogun of the Dark" himself. Jubei and Gemma have and all out slugfest on the boat carrying the gold, which Jubei finally manages to do away with Gemma, Terminator 2-style.

Ninja Scroll has created a hell of a following, oddly more in America than in Japan. So much so, that it spurred an American-produced anime TV series sequal, as well as a comic book from Wildstorm. The only drawback to its fame was alot of American distributors tried slipping in completely unrelated titles like Ninja Resurrection or Jubei-chan as being sequals to it. There are plans to do an American live-action remake of it, but hopefully it'll be better than the Blood: The Last Vampire remake. As for the original movie itself, it remains to be one of the most dynamic action anime movies ever. The plot is about as standard as most samurai flicks, but the stylish animation and fight scenes totally move it along. The movie might be a product of his time which appealed to alot of the "extreme" nature of the 90s, but it has a very lasting nature for a classic getway drug for anyone wanting to get into anime. Throw out your obligatory copy of Scarface and make this a permanent addition to your movie library.

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