What They Say:What They Say:
Domo, civilian, I am Ninja Slayer! Once a common, non-ninja, nine-to-five man, it’s now my duty to send all ninja souls to hell. It’s an insatiable thirst that I must quench to avenge the tragic death of my family. A mysterious spirit filled with rage has penetrated my soul giving me the ultimate power to fulfill my vengeance and destroy any ninja who dares to cross my path. Hell-bent on ninja carnage, I won’t stop slashing and bashing until I hear my enemies kiss their pathetic lives goodbye with a bloodcurdling scream of “Sayonara!” Die ninja. DIE! I am your Grim Reaper!
Won’t you live in my fury, friend? Join me in unleashing burning rage, and watch me spray the blood of a gagillion ninjas all over this nightmarish hell. For I am Ninja Slayer, killer of all ninjas!
When going between the sub and dub, I had fears that the script would be something relatively difficult to translate without feeling too literal or awkward. There are some instances of this, such as the unnecessary lengthening of the ninja battle intros, but it is otherwise surprisingly solid. Chris Sabat makes a fine ninja slayer, and most of the dialogue changes are funnier for the average US watcher, by that I mean a little less subtle. The mix being in 2.0 is satisfactory, given that neither the soundtrack nor the vocal tracks present a sweeping environment to the viewer.
Presented in 4:3 and/or 16:9, the colors and patterns that Studio Trigger (of Kill La Kill and Little Witch Academia) employ pop off the screen when the studio deems it fit for the situation. Clearly, however, the main draw here is the mixed animation and art qualities in use. Similar to previous work Inferno Cop, a heaping helping of the humor here is the chaotic and sometimes slideshow-esque animation used during many of the battles. Static art of the ninjas flailing and spinning around the screen always makes me giggle, especially given the incredible hype that each ninja (neeeeeeeeeenja) puts into their own skills and abilities. The timing of the degradations is also top notch, as Studio Trigger always dumps to powerpoint style the instant some special move or intricate maneuver is to be performed. Unfortunately, this is lost on some viewers if Amazon reviews are to be believed.
Pretty structurally standard packaging here, with a paper sleeve featuring the artwork over a bluray hardcase displaying the same artwork. The treats here are the “reviews” on the case as well as the discs themselves, displaying hateful comments and bootleg aesthetics respectively. Adorned with sharpie and faded fingerprints, these discs take me back to my younger days when DVDs (let alone anime) were incredibly expensive. Blank discs simply labeled “Ninja Slayer Episodes X-X” are what we get and it syncs up with the parodical sense of the show perfectly.
The menus present a simplistic view with a little synthwave, 1980s darkwave realness. You get the options to play all the episodes, start from somewhere on the list, and what language/subtitles you want. Plain and simple.
Nothing incredibly inspiring here, special features contain trailers and episode commentary. Eh.
Ninja Slayer is a chaotic, parody driven romp through stereotypical ninja films. His family murdered by ninjas, Ninja Slayer takes it upon himself to do pretty much what his name promises. Imbued with the soul of a powerful (and psychotic) ninja named Naraku Ninja, Kenji Fujikido becomes Ninja Slayer, a bloodthirsty ninja out for revenge. Facing the many opposing ninja that sprout out of the Soukaiya (the main baddie fuel), Ninja Slayer is never without a few chumps to slaughter. Headed by Darkninja, the ninja personally responsible for the death of his family, Kenji (Ninja Slayer) sees this crime syndicate as target Numero Uno and proceeds to commit his life to their destruction.
Throughout the series, Ninja Slayer encounters several people and entities that both enrich and hinder his thirst for revenge. The first of Ninja Slayer’s (sort-of) allies is young Yamato Koki, who also finds herself imbued with the soul of a ninja. She must use these powers almost immediately to save her friend from imposing ninja, Sonic Boom, a soldier of Soukaiya. Yamoto encapsulates the loner mentality, despite only being a young girl. This is a running theme through many of Ninja Slayer’s non-slaying social encounters, young women forging their own paths through means caused by the Soukaiya. Yamoto’s story is the more tragic trip of them all as hers is fraught with loss and budding relationships stolen away from her.
The story (the very loose story) can get a little lost in the second half however, as several story lines are created spontaneously and snuffed out just as quickly…and violently. As Ninja Slayer hacks and slashes his way through Neo Saitama, the plot can’t seem to keep up with just how many ninjas are being destroyed. We soon learn that there are other ninja clans both good and bad fighting some class war being instigated by the Ikki Uchikowashi, a communist rebel group. The introduction of all these characters and entities adds a small layer of confusion as many of them seem to simply hit deadends leading to a character’s death, nullifying any mental effort to connect them to the overarching plot.
All in all, it’s best to watch Ninja Slayer as the very things it parodies, an action-packed ninja story. I found little fulfilment from the skeleton-esque plot, but the jokes in both the dialogue and animation execution are where this short-form show really shines.
Another off-the-wall production from Studio Trigger, Ninja Slayer’s BluRay release offers a solid show in fun packaging, but it’s $50.00 price-point may be a tad too high for what’s on offer here.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Audio Commentary
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B-
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B-
Menu Grade: C
Extras Grade: C
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: December 6, 2016
Running Time: 338 Min.
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Samsung UN46EH5000FXZA 46” 1080p TV through Yamaha 5.1 Surround Sound system