Tuesday, July 29, 2014

MISC. MANGA, *Ninja High School

Ninja High School has been widely-regarded as the beginning of "American Manga", as it did come out in the mid-80s just a manga itself was first really creeping into the U.S. market, and it was an original story without it being an American comic based on a Japanese franchise like Robotech. It was first done through Antarctic Press, but then in color through Eternity Comics, and then back to AP again. Created by Ben Dunn(whose prior work including the mecha-inspired Dynamo Joe)mashed this as "Urusei Yatsura meets Archie".

Seemingly normal teenager, Jeremy Feeple, is the son of one of the world's greatest female ninja and the world's greatest rat exterminator(who is now missing). Living in the middle-America town of Quagmire, he becomes the target of two very aggressive girls, one is Ichi-Koo, an up and coming ninja clan leader, while the other Princess Asrial, an alien skunkgirl of imperial birth. A duel begins between the two of them matching Ichi's ninja skills against Asrial's alien strength and technology, but Ichi's wannabe boyfriend Lendo intends to win her heart. Jeremy gets some help from the enigmatic Professor Steamhead, and ultimately his friends get him out of this jam, with Ichi and Asrial becoming the "Betty & Veronica" for his affections. This lead into a spinoff series titled Ninja High School: Version 2 taking place years later dealing with Jeremy's younger brother Ricky who is an accomplished ninja-in-training and his own problems with out of this world female suitors, although it was later retconned into the regular storyline thanks to a time paradox. Eventually, the series becomes a mix of folding in several anime fads and clich├ęs, while at the same time telling a cohesive story with the characters mingling with aliens, superheroes, demons, evil ninjas, and witches. One storyline dealt with Lendo's younger sister Yumei as she went to a totally different high school in Hawaii. This folds back into more material with Ricky Feeple and his friends into plots with feuding ninja clans.

There have been numerous spinoffs from this including Quagmire USA., AOK, and several annual specials. NHS also shares the same universe as other Antarctic Press titles like Gold Digger and Warrior Nun Areala. It's a long and complicated series to get into, even though there have been several jumping on points throughout its run(usually the manifestation of some cosmic restart button), but it is worth looking into, at least from the beginning. You can see how the artwork improved over its 20+ year run. If you liked looking at how old school otaku operated in Otaku No Video, then you run through some real American comics history!

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