Ninja Scroll: The Series

Alt title: Juubee Ninpuuchou - Ryuuhougyoku Hen

TV (13 eps)
3.214 out of 5 from 4,877 votes
Rank #4,560

A half-man, half-beast is chased by foes wielding power of an unpleasant nature. He would certainly be slaughtered, his mission failed, if not for the intervention of a wandering mercenary -- Kibagami Jubei. With the last of his strength, he gives Jubei a mysterious jewel, thereby transferring his mission: deliver the jewel at all costs to the Priestess of Light. The mystery of the jewel's powers, and the identities of those fiends who quest for it... these are questions whose answers will only be found through blood and battle.

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Ninja Scroll (the movie) ranks up there with Akira and Ghost in the Shell in terms of gateway drug anime. I remember, in the mid 90's, being blown away by Akira, but Ninja Scroll is what got me hooked on anime, and prompted me to scour the world looking for more. This series resembles nothing of the film. I'd be ok with a fresh, new approach, but this is an uninspiring product all by itself, and takes its place as a leader in low quality anime. I won't crap on it too hard. I believe there's an audience for everything. My goal is to help steer away those who are bothered by low quality, regurgitated themes, plastic characters, and truly thin storylines. Here we go.***PROS***ACTION:There are some ninja battles. They are poorly drawn, covered in 2 frame movements, one-hit-kill lazy choreography, and not reminiscent of the vicious style showcased in Ninja Scroll (film). The action is still there. It's just doesn't hold a candle to 90% of other anime. Jubei swings his sword once a battle (sometimes twice) to kill his foes. His single swing is also a long range attack, so it doesn't matter where the villain is, they're dead. If that satisfies you then great! They try to amass an evil crew of villains, each with their own power (much like the 8 Devils of Kimon from the movie). A couple of them are intriguing, but are used unimaginatively. The story resembles the thinnest of video game quests. Let's find the Dragon Stone. You can follow it from the kitchen while you cook and never miss a thing. That can be a plus.***CONS***ANIMATION:The darkness of the film is nowhere to be found. It's abrasively bright with vivid colors that resemble the palette from Pokémon. There is only 1 level of shading used in most scenes, which makes the characters look like flat cutouts. Juebi's clothes are missing detailing that makes him look a bag of potatoes. There are 2 frame movements, choppy animation, and pathetic gimmicks used to make fights feel epic, but actually just let animators avoid having to draw out battles. A slash cuts the screen, then a body lies there to inform you of its success. I expect a lot more from Japanese animation and I think most other fans do too.CHARACTERS:The cast of this show is for ages 14 and below. While Jubei is not too bad, he is joined by a token, tough female who needs help but won't admit it, and a punk, street thief that carries about as much charm with him as Jar Jar Binks. The master villain is a Doctor Robotnic Buddha mixed with a Harley Davidson.STORY:Single track, basic storylines can work if executed with purpose. This, however, is about as intriguing and thought provoking as playing a game of Candy Land sober. Find the Dragon Stone, stop the bad guys, and stumble all over a bland world engaging in side quests to satisfy the worst of regurgitated fables. Its fine for kids, but not for Ninja Scroll.MUSIC:Horrible grunge/rock that has no place in feudal Japan. It's jarring and pushy.All in all, this is just a mis-marketed piece of work. The title needs to be replaced. Call it, "Dragon Stone," and park it next to Bleach and Naruto. Just don't confuse it with Ninja Scroll. This is it's polar opposite. If you want a ninja series that's adult, full of fantastic battles, gore, and twisted ninja's endowed with special abilities, watch Basilisk. If you like a series that is colorful, action packed, adult and funky, watch Samurai Champloo. If you want a youthful, fun, ninja adventure with some plain characters, watch Bleach or Naruto. There are better versions of EVERYTHING. This is the lowest doppelganger of them all. If you haven't seen it yet, and are bothered by what I described above, then save your money and the health of your neck, for if you get this, you'll be shaking your head for hours.


I felt the need to write a review since there seems to be a lot of unjust negative feedback for this series.  I was almost immediatly turned off from watching the series after reading these reviews. Luckily most of them were wrong, as this series was overall better than a lot of other simple shounen that aren't at the top. Story It was decently well written for 13 episodes. The dragon stone was little reminiscent of Inuyasha, as it does get seperated and the group is forced to chase down the stone and return it to normal. There were two seperate clans, one that wanted to manipulate the shrine maiden to do what they willed, the other appeared to want to assist the shrine maiden and be by her side while she creates a new country. The pacing seemed fine and didn't seem bad at all compared to other anime of similar budget.  Animation The animation was on par for the anime at the time, it could have been improved slightly but overall the art was perfectly passable. The sword strikes and slashes were done well, as was the gore and fatal injuries. A good amount of enemies and allies that were made to be drawn in a quite unique manner. Sound The sound rated the lowest for me overall, and am unsure how anyone reviewed this to be the best aspect of the short series. At times of action it would break out into a soundtrack that sounded a little too arcade-like for the era the show took place in. At times it sounded like It was as if it was from a start screen in an old Nintendo64 game. It really did not fit at all almost 100% of the time. I do admit I got used to it by the end, though. Characters The main group had a wandering samurai, a shrine maiden, an old quirky monk, and an inept young thief. From this group, most had a good personality. The samurai Jubei is lax and only truly wanted to live wandering in peace. His quote of the series was similar to "The sky is the same, no matter where one travels".  He ended up having to escort, guard, and save the shrine maiden many times throughout the adventure. He eventually completes the task at hand, miraculously suv The shrine maiden is a young girl that only wished to live a normal life, not one of importance or significance, as she saw how constantly people had to die for her. She had good emotion and  The old quirky monk could have been described a little better, but he is in the Movie version and it gives a bit of insight of who he is. He can always see through situations and always ends up back alongside the main cast. Quite a reliable character, even though it seemed like he may have had other intentions. The young thief was the worst character out of the group, he supplied zero assistance throughout the series and was only there to complain or... no, just to complain. He only helped a tiny bit in the series, when he threw small rocks at fodder pursuers. His character was drawn well but offered no benefits, and often hindered the group. The other characters throughout were actually particularly interesting. The kunoichi girl that could  become and manipulate plants and the parasite swordsman that had a man-eating creature dwelling within his abdomen his whole life were my particular favorites. Overall I believe the series is very deserving of a watch if you do enjoy the genre of anime. Even though I was almost turned away from watching the series due to these inaccurate reviews, I had no qualms watching the series and found that it played out rather well. I have seen nearly 10000 episodes of anime, so I can spot when one is particularly bad or not. I felt obligated to make this review after seeing so many low ratings, when worse anime are rated twice as high. I would take the people whimsically reviewing this anime exeptionally low with a grain of salt. Don't have them deter you from this series, as I almost was. I would have regretted never watching this if I listened to them.

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