Shinobi 1

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Go ninja, go ninja go! Put on those shades friends, here comes my review of the flashy debut of Shuriken Sentai Ninninger in Shinobi 1: ‘We Are Ninja!’

Our journey starts with the return of a prodigal son to his home, the Igasaki Ninjutsu Dojo.

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Which promptly blows up in his face.

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After he’s knocked down, and before he gets up again, he’s practically trampled by a gaggle of footsoldiers rushing to ransack the ruins of his home. Way to not let the corpse cool down before picking it clean.

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This is as good of a time as any to try out a new weapon, so our prodigal son introduces himself as Igasaki Takaharu, grandson of the Last Ninja, and transforms into AkaNinger.

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He and the footsoldiers fight while a mysterious yokai raids the ruins of the dojo, stealing Mjolnir some kind of hammer-thing.
Takaharu finishes them off, going back to the ruins. Suddenly, he hears a startled cry come from behind him. It turns out to be his sister, Igasaki Fuuka. Takaharu de-transforms and Fuuka is surprised to see him, since he’s been gone four years training and stuff.

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She takes his Ninja #1 Sword, blaming him for wrecking the dojo. He explains that the yokai did it, trying to take back his sword and ending up with a leek.

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Obvs, Fuuka doesn’t believe him and apologizes to their grandfather for her brother being a big ol’ dingbat.

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Their father arrives and welcomes Takaharu back. He takes them into the woods, explaining that he was the one that called Takaharu back and sent him his Ninja #1 Sword even though he’s pretty sure that he told him not to use it yet. No doesn’t sound like yes, Takaharu.

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He has more things to tell them, but Takaharu and Fuuka have to wait for their cousins to arrive.

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Like a cat rushing to the sound of a bag of treats, out pop the Care Bear cousins: Katou ‘Cloud’ Moon Moon Yakumo, fresh out of Wizard School, which is for wizards, Matsuo Nagi, our precocious scamp, and Momochi Kasumi, who is killer at hide and seek.

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Now that the gang’s all here, Uncle is gonna lay down the 411. Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version: Their family is a hella old ninja clan and back in the
Sengoku Era, they put down this bad cat, Kibaoni Gengetsu, who vowed to come back in 444 years and rule ass. When he came back, he went full yokai but ended up getting his ass handed to him by Grandpa, who then became known as the Last Ninja.

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Unfortunately for everyone, they were wrong about when exactly that 444 years was supposed to be and Granddad was actually Kibaoni Gengetsu’s dry run with his powers and he’s actually probably going to come back for realsies this year. And it’s up to the Young and the Reckless to stop him this time. Takaharu’s pretty fired up about this, and Uncledad goes to give out the other Ninja #1 Swords, but the others, not so much.

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Uncledad takes them to where Grandpa sealed Kibaoni away using 48 Sealing Shuriken. Since the place looks pretty quiet, Fuuka is ready to blow this popsicle stand and head on home, the others starting to follow.

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Our mysterious yokai from earlier shows back up with the hammer thing and performs some sort of ritual. This unseals Kibaoni, who calls forth his soldiers and scatters the Sealing Shuriken far and away.

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The Sealing Shuriken disperse over the nearby city, their dark aura bringing out yokai footsoldiers who start to terrorize the citizens and the fox-masked yokai seems to be collecting something? Is it fear? Is it sadness? Is it soothing rainwater?

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Our padawan ninjas rush to where the Sealing Shuriken seemed to go, the city. Yokai are smacking around the bystanders, fun times had by all. One of the Sealing Shuriken fly over their heads, landing on a hedge cutter, and becomes the yokai Kamaitachi.

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Kamaitachi goes ballistic, slicing anything in its path. Takaharu isn’t gonna play that and goes to get up to fight, the others being rightfully scared about the whole thing.

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Takaharu decides to let the babies be babies and go fight, because he’s going to do that before he gets scared, even if he gets his ass kicked.

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The others have a change of heart and decide to fight. They go to use their Ninja #1 Swords except…they don’t have them because they left them back with Uncledad!

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Fuuka starts to go get them when the man of the hour comes running up behind them carrying their swords. He tells them to be proud when they use them because they’re ninja, damnit.

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Everyone gathers on a rooftop, shurikens and Ninja #1 Swords in hand as they transform for the first time (well, second time for Takaharu) into Ninninger.

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They introduce themselves get right to the ass kicking. Everyone shows off their skills and weapons, making quick work of the yokai.

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Kamaitachi has had it with the Ninninger’s flashiness, coming to take them on, but is quickly shut down by the ninja’s teamwork and is destroyed, wondering what kind of shinobi is this flashy as he dies. This kind of shinobi, butthole, they don’t have time for that ninja hiding garbage.

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It seems that our fox-masked friend isn’t done yet, using the hammer of Asgard to raise Kamaitachi and make him big.

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Just as the Ninninger seem to be on their way to Stomptown, Japan, they receive help in the form of a shuriken.

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Attaching it to their swords and giving it a spin, they summon their individual Ally Ninja: Shinobimaru, Dragomaru, Dumpmaru, Byunmaru, and Wanmaru.

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Jumping onto their mecha, the Ninja go to fight Kamaitachi again. Each Ninja shows off their fighting strengths, even using their surroundings to fight.

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They begin to regroup when their shurikens signal for the Ninninger to spin them again. This combines their Ally Ninjas into Shurikenjin.

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Shurikenjin wastes no time with Kamaitachi, hitting him a few times before finishing the yokai with Splendid Slash.

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The Sealing Shuriken is purified and our team enjoys their moment of respite, Fuuka almost admiring her father and brother before getting embarrassed and denying it. Takaharu makes a vow to dearly departed grandpa to be a proud Last Ninja like him and to watch over them from the Great Beyond.

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The Great Beyond turns out to be right behind them. Grandpa appears on top of a tower thing. He scolds them and lets them know they are about 100 years too young to be even thinking they can be the Last Ninja. He explains that they need to hone their Nintality and maybe then they can take down Kibaoni and be like him.

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FINAL REVIEW

Here we are, pals, back to the beginning again. With ninjas this time!

I think our team this series has good potential. Fuuka and Takaharu have the kind of sibling relationship that I relish so much in these shows, however, with this being the first episode, they got the lion’s share of focus, so I’m not sure how I feel about Moon Moon, Kasumi, and Nago yet.

This episode feels a bit rushed, but still solid and enjoyable. We got character intros, department of backstory, transformations, weapons, and mecha. Most series like to stretch them out through the first episodes, but maybe this could be the signal that we’ll have a lot of ground to cover really fast? /crosses fingers

The suits are cool, I like that the weapons have more than just two modes, and the mecha make more sense in action than in toy scans.

And how about that fight, though? Watching Shinobimaru was so enjoyable, just how much range of motion that it has is so fun, and I adored the use of the surroundings in the fight. It was just a treat to watch.

All in all, I’m still pretty hyped about this series, but I remain cautious that our ninja pals don’t fall into too many of the same tropes that have been in many of the past series.

I give this episode 3.8 shuriken out of 5.

Well, I’ve been Amber/pan2dapan!

You can find me @pan2dapan on Twitter/Tumblr/Instagram/Facebook

Ninja Vanish!