What They Say:
It’s hard enough being a teenager, but being a 19-year-old ninja with an impossible assignment is even worse! Unfortunately for Sora, she is and she’s got one… impossible mission, that is.
As Japan is torn apart by warring factions, it falls upon the master assassins to carry out the tasks at which even great armies have failed. Unfortunately, there just aren’t enough ninja to go around, so when a plot to eliminate a rising shaman becomes known, the ninja who gets dropped into the frying tempura batter is the raw and untested Sora. But don’t worry! Sora may not know which end of a ninjaken to stick her sheath on, but she’s young, willing, and her skills at seduction are just fine!
The audio presentation for this feature is done up in its original Japanese stereo language form only. Encoded at 224kbps, it’s pretty standard material when it comes to the audio department as it’s a basic stereo channel mix without anything really resembling strong directionality. Without too much in the way of depth, there’s nothing that stands out strongly here but it’s conveyed well and it rather does suit the material. We didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback of the presentation.
Originally released in 2007, the transfer for this feature is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Done on video rather than film, the feature looks decent but is hampered by source issues. Part of the same production series as Twin Blades of the Ninja, this release features the same kinds of issues as that one since they’re done the same way. The first is that there’s a small bit of cross coloration throughout it. It’s not as strong as some of the earlier titles that were released, but you can still find some of it in the backgrounds and sometimes in the outfits. The bitrates look to work with the source material as much as possible but there’s only so far that it can go. It’s not a travesty or anything, but if you’re looking for a clean and pristine film here, you won’t get it.
The packaging design for this release, through the front and back cover, let you know exactly what to expect. The front cover artwork is very nicely framed with dark reds and blacks with a simple logo along the top for Switchblade Pictures and a larger red piece on the bottom saying that it’s the Uncut Limited Edition. The central focus, of course, is the image of Sayo in her very skimpy ninja uniform as she brandishes her long sword. It’s a fairly dark cover for the background but it keeps all the focus on Sayo herself with lots of skin showing. The back cover is nicely done as well as the left half is done up as a naked woman posing that’s shadowed in reds and purples. Across her back and posterior is the summary from the show and the production credits. To her right are several shots from the show, both action and sexual of nature, which lets you see more of the cast. The bottom portion runs through a fairly standard technical grid which is also clear about what kind of material it is. No inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
None, it just goes right into the feature. After the feature ends, it hits the DVD production credits menu, then a Switchblade Pictures logo screen and then it stops the disc.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Another entry in the Voluptuous Ninja series, this one plays out similarly as it deals with old time ninjas from the mid-1500’s with some mild historical bent to them. This one is actually fairly Christian heavy as that’s even in the original title as it works with the general pervasive feelings at the time with the persecution of those who followed that path and some of the things that came of it. Of course, it’s also tied up into some black arts and lots of softcore sex as well. Similar to the previous entries in this series, this film is pretty basic and has very low goals set for itself.
The story is a bit more convoluted than some of the others, though it is all plainly apparent to the viewer what’s going on. The central focus early on is with the religious persecution that the Japanese Christian’s were facing in their villages, particularly with one woman who took on a husband named Xavier and gave birth to a girl with blue eyes. When the Shogunate began to clamp down on this religious influence, many followers fled to the hills and started up their own communities in secret. This one was taken out strongly however and the girl was lost to the river while her parents faced the harsh reality of the sword coming at them. Of course, the mother seems to have survived and is now partaking in the Black Arts in order to have her revenge on the Shogunate after all this time.
Things move forward quite a few years and now the baby has grown up into a sexy young woman named Sayo who works as a ninja for the Shogunate. She’s quite skilled, as skilled as can be expected in these kinds of movies, and does her job well while helping to take care of a blind girl friend. Outside of a few skirmishes, Sayo spends her time with her friend and we get the flashback material showcasing what’s been going on as Sayo’s mother continues to bring in young women for sacrifices to the Black Arts. There is a highly amusing sequence where a zombie-like person is brought back and starts to go after Sayo and it’s positively comical watching the whole thing play out with how bad it is. It’s truly awful filmmaking in this kind of genre. On the plus side, it has a lot of nudity.
And that’s where these kinds of films continue to strangely survive. Similar to previous entries in the franchise, there’s a bit of range for the actors here, especially as Sayo’s mother manages to get some good time with a younger woman in a lesbian sequence. Of course, everything is covered up beyond their breasts, but the idea is certainly there. The film also presents a bit of bondage and some toys being used in order to really make the sacrifice feel like they’re being impaled, since it’s all women on women for the most part, until Sayo finally arrives and has the confrontation with her mother upon realizing who she is. Of course, it’s all also done with some very bad CG effects that makes the TV movies on SF Channel (oops, SyFy) look like cutting edge Hollywood special effects…
I Was A Teenage Ninja is certainly a cute title but one that would be better suited for something a bit more modern with the ninja take to it. This release isn’t bad, at least not the godawful bad you’d expect, but the kind of really stupid bad that you can’t help but laugh at. Yet it’s also the kind of stuff that you’d find a lot of teens watching late at night on Cinemax if it was ever on there, so it certainly has an audience. This one was a bit different because of the religious persecution theme to it, but that’s just background to the silly smuttiness and goofy swordplay in the foreground. Saki Ninomiya is cute enough as the lead but she’s not someone who can keep attention on herself here even when she’s mostly naked and showing off some of her body. She’s cute, but not A-list attractive for a production like this and at times doesn’t even really feel like the lead in it. This flick falls in line with others in the series in that they’re utterly forgettable but can be positively fun to watch with the right crowd and copious amounts of alcohol.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Content Grade: C-
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B-
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: N/A
Extras Grade: N/A
Released By: Switchblade Pictures
Release Date: February 10th, 2009
Running Time: 75 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.