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Ninja Scroll: The TV Series
Author: Ross Liversidge

Ross founded the UK Anime Network waaay back in 1995 and works in and around the anime world in his spare time.

Ninja Scroll: The TV Series

16 Dec 2004

Now, this is an oddity for me. It features all the things I usually hate about an anime rolled into one package. It's incredibly violent. It features ninjas facing off in every episode. It's predictable.

So why do I like it?

Basically, its the caharacters - especially Jubei, the wandering Ninja who ends up involved in a quest to restore the mighty light maiden to her rightful throne - that grab hold of you and keep your attention. And its not just our heroes that focus the mind, its also the brilliant array of adversaries that face them. Imagination has run wild, and we have two opposing clans, one technologicaly advanced, the other harnassing forces of nature, that clash together and swallow up our heroes in the struggle.

Not to say that they all work that well - amongst Madhouses inspired creations we inevitably get a few obvious cliches and naff ideas that have been thrown into the mix, but even then the characterisation just about saves the day and you want to watch another episode. And at only 3 DVD's, you get a concise story with plenty of thrills that's not too hard on the wallet.

In a way I'm glad I watched this series through. Normally the premise alone would have seen me leave this on the shelf, but Ninja Scroll has enough charm and wit to make even an old stick-in-the-mud like me forget his prejudices and dive into each episode with interest. If you enjoy a good ol' Ninja knock about which doesn't tax the brain too much, then this is for you.

Imaginative, tense and well worth a look.
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