Anime / Ninja Scroll: The Series

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Thirteen episode anime series that can be considered either a Spiritual Successor or a direct sequel to the Ninja Scroll movie. It revolves around Jubei needing to transport a mystical artifact called the Dragon Stone to a "Priestess of Light", and then to protect both of them from the machinations of the Hiruko Clan and the Kimon Shu. Dakuan re-emerges as one of Jubei's allies, and each episode features no fewer than three ninjas (from one or both rival ninja clans) with a wide variety of bizarre superpowers that match the wide variety of powers displayed by the Eight Devils of Kimon in the original movie (which Jubei tends to cut down rather handily, when they aren't busy killing each other). From a pure action standpoint it's generally a worthy sequel to the original movie, though there's not quite as much character development.


Examples

  • Adaptational Badass: Jubei's sword skills are implied to be Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane at the best in the film, but now in the series he has really supernatural powers and can emit wind slashes from his sword. In general, while he used to run away and save himself by sheer luck against the Eight Demons, he is now the biggest force on the setting.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • In contrast with the openly treacherous old bastard from the film, Dakuan is here a surprisingly selfless character, going on his own will to help Shigure and company and working to keep the reason and unity on the main group. Only in the last episodes he regains some of his old personality.
    • Jubei himself is arguably more heroic and , as in the film he was more of a Wild Card and only got involved in the Kimon plot because he had been blackmailed by Dakuan.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Conversely to Jubei, who gains superpowers in this series as opposite to the movie, Dakuan seems to be here a common old man, without any of the ninjutsu powers he showed in the film like his Rubber Man and Chameleon Camouflage abilities.
  • Appendage Assimilation: One of the recurring enemy ninjas from the Kimon Shu is a bald woman with Frankenstein-like stiches all over her body and multiple arms. She's able to attach limbs to herself from anyone she cuts down using surgical tools that emerge from her torso.
  • Arm Cannon: In the place of Aizen's right arm.
  • Attempted Rape: Whenever Azami appears, this is to be expected.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Hoo, boy...
  • Body Horror: Every single one of the villains, but especially Nenmu, who is really just an eyeball and sentient slime.
  • Body Surf: Nenmu takes over bodies of others to fight.
  • Bond One-Liner: Jubei lets out some.
    "He had guts. Lots and lots of guts."
  • Broad Strokes: The series is indecisive about his status as a sequel to the film or a completely new continuity. On one hand, Jubei vaguely seems to remember Dakuan and to know the Kimon guys, and his hat has a cut in it just as he received it in the film. On the other hand, the events on the film are never ever mentioned, even whenever it would be weird not to; Jubei still uses plain string to tie his katana scabbard instead of the headband Kagero gave him; and, finally, there is the detail that in the original film there was no Kimon clan, but simply eight ninja who called themselves the Eight Demons of Kimon.
  • Broken Bird: Subverted. By all rights, Shigure should be this and a pile of insanity to boot, given all she's gone through by the end. Instead, she kicks ass and looks awesome while doing so.
  • Boring Invincible Hero: While the movie was notable for avoiding this trope, the series totally embraces it. In the series, Jubei plows through all his opposition with minimal effort.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday / Bump Into Confrontation: The widow of a samurai has spent years Walking the Earth with her son, trying to find the man who killed her husband so she can avenge him. She confronts Jubei, who says he's killed so many people it's difficult to remember specific ones. He does eventually remember when she gives him some details, and vaguely recalls having killed a samurai over a petty dispute (he'd bumped into the man, who had taken offense) just like often happened in Real Life back in the feudal Japan. The woman is naturally shocked that her life was destroyed over something so meaningless.
  • Cat Girl: Nekome.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: Whenever the two ninja clans have a battle, it's often between one member with bizarre superpowers versus another.
  • Convenient Decoy Cat: When a group of ninja fail to kill their target (who turns out to be an undead monster), the team leader uses a cat as a Ninja Log to avoid some projectiles and escape.
  • Creepy Centipedes: After slicing one giant mook open, Jubei finds out that there was one hiding inside.
  • Determinator: Jubei. Without a doubt.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Pretty much most of the shinobi from both clans; some of them for practical reasons given their weird bodies, and others just because.
  • Doomed Hometown: The series begins with this; unlike most Doomed Hometowns, though, the townspeople don't go down without a fight as absolutely everyone in the village is secretly a ninja dedicated to protecting one woman. Unfortunately, the ones attacking them are a giant robot of death and a woman who spawns man-eating demons from her skin, so they're still screwed.
  • Fan Disservice: Basically all of the villains are a form of this. A very disturbing form. Naked women? Check. Naked women with varying levels of insanity and Body Horror? Also check.
  • Faux Action Girl: Shigure hits hard. She is established in the very first episode as a very competent fighter, but she is fastly outperformed by her own retainers and becomes a Damsel in Distress for the rest of the series. Every time she draws her knife, you know she is going down without throwing a slash.
  • Escort Mission: Jubei's primary job in this series is protecting Shugure on their journey.
  • Mle Trois: During the series, there's the Hiruko vs the Kimon vs Jubei's group.
    • In the final battle, Jubei's group allies with the Hiruko and the Yaguya Clan, fighting for the shogunate, act as the third side.
  • Mobile-Suit Human: Leaders of Hiruko and Kimon clan are revealed to be the trope.
  • Ninja Log: Dakuan takes it a step further: his ninja log is stuffed full of lit sticks of dynamite!
  • Prehensile Hair: Nubatama.
  • Redshirt Army: The Anti-Villain Hiruko clan. While not extremely weaker in comparison, they are typically less capable than their Kimon counterparts and tend to go down in every encounter between the two clans.
  • Shock and Awe: Yamidoro, leader of the Kimon clan, generates electricity through his gauntlet.
  • World of Badass: It's not a matter of normal guys versus badass guys so much as Badass Normal guys versus Superhumanly Badass guys versus Physical Gods. Even the comedy relief thief has an improbable ability — He can fling rocks with incredible accuracy.

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