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Highly-Visible Ninja

"While most ninjas are notorious for being silent assassins of the night, it's nice to see one who's not afraid to climb trees and wear neon dresses."

The result of Mook Chivalry when applied to Ninja.

While suffering from the law of Conservation of Ninjutsu, Ninja mooks not only forget how to fight properly and how to take advantage of their superior numbers, they also forget what a ninja truly is.

Back at the dojo, didn't their sensei explain that the whole point is to be stealthy, secretive, even invisible? Why do they suddenly feel the need to appear in broad daylight, dressed in stereotyped kabuki-theater stagehand costumes, yell "Kiai!" as loudly as possible, and perform gymnastics and twirl their weapons like they're putting on a show? Even worse, they feel the need to do these things from a distance of about fifty meters, even when they know the enemy have guns (though this isn't always a problem).

The real reason is the works need to make sure the audience sees the ninja. There's also this funny paradox: ninja are assassins. Assassins traditionally killed people through underhanded methods — stabbing In the Back, poisoning, etc. — not direct battle. Not only is this not honorable, it's not as exciting as a full fledged fight. Heroic ninja don't resort to this, while villainous ones still need to entertain the viewers.

Typically the justification for visible assassins are that if you can actually see the ninja, then you're either going to die soon, or you are a Worthy Opponent. There is also Truth in Television at work here, since, historically, ninja rarely ever wore black garb when looking like a commoner or somebody else more uninteresting would be easier. After all, if you're caught doing something suspicious as a commoner, you can probably pull a satisfactory explanation out of your ass or blend into a crowd if a chase starts. If you're caught wearing stereotypical ninja garb while doing something suspicious, the enemy isn't going to wait for an explanation. Quite often, these kinds of ninjas, along with the Overt Operative type of personnel, are used as distractions so the real covert operatives can get to work.

The Theme Park Version of ninja. Often seen in McNinja. See Highly Conspicuous Uniform for the military version of this trope. Contrast with Technicolor Ninjas, who are stealthy despite their brightly-colored outfits. See also With Catlike Tread.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Quite a few members of the cast of Naruto. Even ignoring the title character's road cone-orange wardrobe, it sometimes seems ninjutsu in the Naruto universe is less about stealth than showing off flashy, awe-inspiring jutsu.
    • When Naruto activates his Kyuubi Chakra Mode or Bijuu Mode, he glows, and Bee lampshades that he's the most obvious target at night. However, Naruto is so fast, he can even dodges the attacks of Ay the Fourth Raikage.
    • There are "real" ninjas in the form of the ANBU Black Ops and their equivalents in other villages, who hide their faces behind masks (also hiding their headbands of allegiance) and specialize in espionage and assassination. The fact that these guys are the Red Shirts of the Naruto universe goes to show how much the mangaka holds actual ninjas in esteem.
    • This is especially ironic given that in an early story arc - when the title character announces his presence during an intense battle - both his allies and his enemies are baffled that he did so instead of attacking stealthily. "Ninja" in this series seems to be more of a general title for its placeholders regardless of how well they fit the mould - that, or the definition has evolved from its original definition.
    • In the Land of Tea filler, Team 7 is in a town of mostly Muggles, with the exception of the ninja hired by the other team in the race. Their outfits then were actually quite appropriate, with only three exceptions: the Uzumaki and Uchiha crests worn by Naruto and Sasuke, and the Leaf headbands. Ditch those, and the Power Trio would look just like any other townspeople, which might have been helpful for the mission, since then the Rain ninja for the other side wouldn't have known who they were up against.
      • This could apply to any of the fillers where the team is amongst Muggles, really.
    • This possibly why they don't dress like traditional ninja. Considering they may have to spend time under the guise of civilians and in large village, it would explain why. Furthermore they have several jutsus to disguise themselves.
  • Black ☆ Star from Soul Eater not only calls his attacks out, but also screams loudly before he enters a scene. "YA-HOOOOOOOO" indeed. All while his Empathic Weapon Tsubaki reminds him that he's supposed to be stealthy.
    "I CAME HERE TO MURDER YOU, YAHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!"
  • Mazinger Z: Blazas S1 and S2 were two ninja MechaMooks than Big Bad built for a sabotaging mission in episode 46. They were actually pretty stealthy when they infiltrated into the Home Base... but when they had to chase a target or fight Mazinger they used all kind of flashy movements, jumps and somersaults, making a pose as they threw shuriken and shot missiles and being incredibly loud. Needless to say, their blue-and yellow colors did not help to camouflage themselves in a woodland.
  • Played straight and lampshaded in the early chapters of Nabari No Ou but then dumped in favor of ninjas who could actually sneak around and kill people in good disguises.
    • Played with, too.
    • "I mean, seriously, what kind of shinobi would we be if we allowed our hidden village to be seen by everyone in the outside world?"
  • Ninja Master Gara from Bastard!!. Not only is he a 7'7, 320lbs man, but he also throws shurikens the size of an aircraft tire and wields Murasame, a legendary 2-metre-long katana. He also has a knack for making long, drawn out speeches before a fight (so drawn out his allies don't even wait for him to finish and attack their opponent before he's done) and later in the story he gains a bunch of overpowered light based abilities. Not very stealthy.
  • Ninja Ninja in Afro Samurai is loud-mouthed and ridiculously visible (although he's somewhat stealthy in the second episode, hiding in the rafters of a house), especially considering that he's hanging out with a samurai who kills everyone he meets. But then, he's a hallucination anyways.
  • In New Getter Robo, the main characters are attacked by a ninja Oni. Doesn't sound so bad at first, but since the protagonists are Humongous Mecha pilots, and said Oni is around 200 feet tall...
  • Sora O Kakeru Shoujo has Bougainvillea and Mintao. They seem like semi-regular ninjas at first, complete with identity-concealing masks... until they discover Itsuki Kannagi's apparently dead body and completely freak out, at which point the masks come off (fall off, actually) and never get put on again, and the two become comic relief characters.
  • The title character of Ninin Ga Shinobuden wears pink. The only time she even attempts to be stealthy is in the first episode when she fails to make herself invisible when sneaking into Kaede's house, leading to a You Can See Me? moment.
  • In Rurouni Kenshin, the Kyoto owanibanshuu under the leadership of Misao's grandfather has gone more or less public, winning the support of the townspeople.
  • In Ninja Senshi Tobikage, you have robots designed as after ninjas. Somehow they can pull off the stealth, though.
  • Sayoko in Code Geass, whose ninja outfit is pink, white and has a flowing scarf.
    • When her Ninja-ness is brought up, she specifically denies it. She says an SP - a Japanese VIP bodyguard... who uses kunai. She fits this trope in every other way.
  • Flame of Recca, anyone? The main characters are supposed to be ninjas. They are also as Hot-Blooded as someone can be, and start the final battle by throwing fireworks. Right in front of the Big Bad's fortress (on purpose, because they figured the enemy knew they were coming and wanted to make a statement).
  • Surprisingly lampshaded in PokÚmon. In episode 32, The Ninja PokÚ-Showdown, Misty asks Aya (a supposed ninja clad in bright pink), "Don't you think that color is a little bright for a ninja?"
  • Bleach: Sui Feng has the skills to be a good ninja. However, she likes to have her abilities acknowledged and this leads her to take on face-to-face confrontations even when she should strike from the shadows. Lampshaded by Aizen who calls her mad for confronting him face-to-face instead of adhering to her training and striking covertly. She then proceeds to engage in one of the flashiest speed-clone attacks we've ever seen her produce. Unsurprising, Aizen isn't bothered by her attack and it fails. Her status as an example of this trope is accentuated when her bankai is revealed. As a giant stinger missile that heavily disrupts her speed and is too enormous to be hidden, she can't engage in covert fighting at all with it.
  • In Shina Dark there's Hajime. Seriously, is she even trying?
  • The various Musha-themed SD Gundam series usually have at least one. SD Gundam Force's Cobramaru is purple, though it's at least a very subdued shade and the flamboyant cobra headdress he wears is removable, though the mass production Cobramaru line that shows up later come in a rainbow of ridiculous colours. Onmitsu Gundam from the classic Sengokuden OAV shorts also has a very visible paintjob, but he at least makes an effort to stay out of his enemies sight until he's ready to strike.
  • Science Ninja Team Gatchaman and all its attendant spin-offs, though they could represent an Unbuilt Trope, as they're one of the earliest examples. They're ninja superheroes, each wearing the traditional bright skin-tight outfit of The Cape (except for The Lancer), but they're incredibly stealthy for all that. They even go undercover in disguise sometimes (y'know, like real ninja), and it even works sometimes. Still, when it's time to do that superhero thing, they fly around in their flashy outfits and beat the crap out of the eight million Mooks working for the Big Bad.
  • The Maniwa Corps from Katanagatari, who all wear highly colourful and decorative animal-themed outfits, makeup and hairstyles.
  • Digimon Xros Wars seems to have a thing for ninja characters, all of whom are highly visible. The Monitamon are recon experts, but with heads consisting of enormous CRT televisions you have to wonder how. Similarly, there's Tuwarmon, a combat-oriented ninja Digimon... who's enormous and coloured bright yellow.
  • Ayame Sarutobi from Gintama wears a purple scarf and a predominantly white outfit. She does make up for the conspicuousness of her usual appearance with her stealth skills and disguises, though Gintoki usually notices her immediately regardless.
    • In one story arc, she trains the Yorozuya trio and Katsura to be ninja, but provides them with extremely conspicuous costumes; white for Gintoki, red for Kagura, black and white cow patterned for Shinpachi, and yellow for Katsura. Shinpachi questions this as usual, to which she explains that if she dressed them properly, she'd have trouble telling them apart. Predictably, all four of them utterly fail to be stealthy when the time calls for it, though Shinpachi did manage to pass his training mission...by looking so boring that nobody paid bothered paying attention to him stealing a magazine.

    Comic Books 
  • Ninjette from Empowered. Girlfriend, if the shuriken-themed headband, necklace, earrings, and navel-ring were not bad enough, wearing short-shorts with "NINJETTE" printed across the seat is a bit of a red flag. She noted that her look was at least in part to tick off her father and the squad that eventually tried to haul her back to her New Jersey clan were rather more subtle.
    • The t-shirt she occasionally wore that said "Ninja Princess" might just have been Refuge in Audacity. Might.
    • Ninjette is actually very good at disguising herself (one character noted she had consummated someone else's wedding night while disguised as the groom). So she is a competent ninja disguised as a Highly-Visible Ninja.
  • Ghost Rider villain Deathwatch had an army of red-clad ninjas. Somewhat justified in that they were actually just street thugs who he'd picked up and had trained.
  • 'The Hand' from Marvel Comics. A secretive cult of ninjas into all sorts of evil stuff. They run the gamut of ninja cliches but in one instance, they subvert this trope by walking around in broad daylight as accountants. Which, considering The Hand, they probably are.
  • Elektra, Daredevil and their (now dead) teachers prefer bright red (or bright white) costumes.
    • It can depend on the colorist how "bright" the actual costumes are, with Daredevil's grittier series portraying it as almost oxblood at times. This would make more sense for his crime-fighting largely including night missions (since he's got the lawyer day job and all), as it's much harder for the human eye to see dark red in low-light or dark conditions.
    • Frank Miller likes this trope. Miho from Sin City wears a pretty standard kimono which stands out quite a bit in an urban setting. According to the coloration on the covers, she wears red, usually.
  • Many of the ninja in the G.I. Joe comic book series (and related media) wear bright, primary or even neon colors (like most of the trained fighters). The most famous ninja, Snake-Eyes, is all in black (some of his costumes even give him drab grays and greens). Weirdly, during the late-series Re Tool of the comics where it was retailed as GI Joe Starring Snake-Eyes With Ninja Force, his suit started off with a bright blue vest over the charcoal-gray suit underneath (this was eventually changed).
    • Aside from his all white look, Storm Shadow also sported (in the comics and toys) a white outfit with random, grey Tetris-like blocks on it, allegedly for camo...?
    • Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow were still luckier than the other "Ninja Force" characters, as shown here. Yes, that's a ninja wearing lavender and bright blue... Scarlet doesn't even bother dressing like a "highly visible" one (she seemed pretty much the same as her previous incarnation).
  • The Marvel Comics character Night Thrasher and related ninja in his oh-so-weird life tend to wear black armor plating... with -red- highlights.
    • In-canon the armor (and colors) are based on those worn by a group of ceremonial temple guardians from Vietnam. Thrash's colors are actually a more subdued version.
  • Anna Feeple from Ninja High School is one of the top five ranked ninjas in the world, kicks ass on a regular basis, and does housework in her gi.
  • As shown in the picture above, parodied to the point of ludicrousness in the original comic of The Tick. They were The Theme Park Version of ninjas (as in, they were based in a ninja franchise that developed a theme park).
    • The thing is, it worked - everyone who walks by says things like "Oh, what a lovely hedge", and walks on. There's a scene with the people inside the mansion in the background, with one of them saying to the other, "I don't remember us having a decorative hedge around the house." The gag is that these guys are so incredibly skilled in the arts of disguise that with nothing but a twig and a Jedi hand-wave, they can convince anyone that they really are a hedge. Honestly, I think they're Technicolor Ninjas, not this trope.
  • Hey, it's me, Deadpool! I'm a ninja! ...Sort of. I know it doesn't come up often, but don't the swords and the costumes make it kinda obvious? I once implied that I had ninja training when teaming up with The Immortal Iron Fist. Anyway, I'm noticeable because I never shut the hell up.

    Fan Fic 
  • This trope has been played straight, subverted, averted, played with, deconstructed and played with alot in Naruto fanfics. Some fanfics often either play it straight or subvert, mainly with Naruto.
    • Dreaming Of Sunshine plays with this. Shikako notes that wearing clothes that are good for stealth is less important than blending in with a civilian population. On that note, a great deal of Naruto fanfics have an unfortunate habit of characters in-story - Naruto himself sometimes included - giving a self-righteous speech about how Naruto's "kill-me-orange" outfit is like painting a bulls-eye on oneself... without ever noting that he's not the only person who dresses like this, and some of said others are noted for their competence and skill. This makes Dreaming of Sunshine a refreshing bend from the usual, especially considering it comes off as more sensible than those dozens-of-fics (among which is the famous Team 8).
    • Time MixUp plays with this, Kakashi notes Naruto's skill in stealth: he wears bright orange and no one is able catch him unless he allows it. That's another very common trait of the Naruto fic-verse: a good ninja is only visible when he or she wants to be seen, eye-catching getup or not. It's a frequent explanation in stories for Naruto to be an exceptional stealth master who can give even ANBU the slip, and only gets caught by Iruka (and that is only because Naruto lets him).
    • In HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH the surf ninjas from Surf Ninja Moon X, silent killers of the night negate their innate advantage by only plying their craft on surf boards. During the day.
  • In The Omakeer's Teen Titans: Earth, Blood, and Shade, Robin tells Raven why a throwing star is in his back as:
    Robin: And to answer your next question, twenty guys in florescent green ninja costumes seemed to think it was a good idea to rob the bank at five in the morning. One of them managed to get a lucky shot in.
    • Raven immediately lampshades the fact ninjas are supposed to be invisible, only for Robin to reply that he's "seen worse ideas".
  • Lampshaded in Vinyl and Octavia Fight Ten Thousand Ninjas. After stealthily breaking into Vinyl and Octavia's house, a ninja smashes a window on purpose, saying that leaping through windows is the sort of cool entrance ninjas should be doing.

    Film 
  • Most 80s movies with "Ninja" in the title, especially the American Ninja series and any ninja movie from Joseph Lai and Godfrey Ho.
    • Oh, the American Ninja movies... At least some of them have brains enough to use some degree of stealth, but the majority are less stealthy than the bikers the Big Bad hires as extra mooks!
  • Lampshaded in the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie:
    Splinter: Were you seen?
    Leonardo: Of course not, Master Splinter.
    Donatello: We practiced ninja.
    Michaelangelo: The art of invisibility.
    Splinter: (holds up newspaper with a picture of the Turtles on the front page) Practice harder.
    • Earlier in the movie, they absolutely panic when April's apartment is visited by Keno the pizza boy, who had not only already figured out they lived there, but also had no trouble finding their "hiding" places. This is even more embarrassing when compared to the first movie, when April's boss and his son visit her apartment, and the Turtles reveal that they're skilled at vanishing at a moment's notice.
    April: Can you guys— (turns around, finding that the Turtles who were just waking up and standing next to her are already gone) —hide?
    • Also occurs in one of the Ninja Turtles video games. Splinter explains that they must move silently and invisibly. Is the player in for Metal Gear Solid type stealth? No, the game is a standard Beat 'em Up in which the heroes walk through the streets in full view, beating enemies up.
    • In the comics, they tended to actually act like ninja. In the arc when they infiltrate TCRI, they sneak into the building, spoofing cameras and using card spoofers and suchlike. When they're in a lounge and two employees walk through, they don't notice anything. Then we see the reverse angle with turtles hiding behind couches, plants, etc. After the employees leave and the turtles come out, one asks the other where Mike is. "On the light, where else?" Mike then bounces off a chair to the ground, on his way down from the lightshade which could not possibly support a 150 lb turtle)
      Pretty sweet, huh?
  • Averted in The Last Samurai when several ninjas attack at night, first attempting to use stealth, then switching to a more aggressive combat stance, complete with the obligatory (aversion) of Exotic Weapon Supremacy
  • Spies Like Us: In the woods at night, they turn on floodlights, so that they can show off better! Then, when the Scary Black Man general wants to show how tough he is, they obligingly rush him one at a time.
    • Meaning either that the "ninjas" were under Colonel Rhombus' employ from the start, or -the less logical but more entertaining explanation- they were just a pack of wild ninjas roaming the forest with a portable floodlight setup.
      • The whole reason the main characters are sent on the mission in the first place is that, being inexperienced, they will become Highly Visible Spies and distract the enemy from the veteran spies who have been given the main task.
  • Spoofed in Surf Ninjas, in which Rob Schneider's character comments sarcastically on how the ninja's camouflage uniforms really give them a "chameleon-like ability to blend in with their surroundings."
  • In Lady Ninja: Reflections in Darkness, the female ninja wear (or almost wear, as the case may be) brightly coloured Stripperiffic ninja outfits.
  • The "evil" ninja in 3 Ninjas. I'll leave it to the Nostalgia Critic to explain. "You're only supposed to wear [ninja outfits] in the dark, you morons!"
    • High Noon at Mega Mountain takes this to a whole new level - three men called "Big Dawgs" chase Colt and Tum Tum to the set of a Western play. The Big Dawgs actually take off their clothing to reveal their ninja outfits underneath! In the middle of the day, and in plain sight of the kids, too! Subverted, however, late in the movie, where the boys are appropriately fighting off ninjas in a dark basement.
  • Played straight and subverted in Beverly Hills Ninja starring the late Chris Farley. While Haru (Farley) is absolutely terrible at blending in, his brothers are exceptional at coming up with concealing outfits, usually in a truly mind-bending way (living statues makeup, costume pieces that create a misdirecting outer shell). They only wear black uniforms in night exercises or for ceremonial purposes.
  • Full Metal Ninja has a ninja with a pink uniform and other brightly colored ninjas who wear a bandana that says NINJA on their foreheads. See Godfrey Ho Ninja Movies for more details.
  • Ninja Assassin. Ryu Hayabusa would be proud. Also averted, however, as the enemy ninjas do take advantage of darkness and surprise at times. When they lose those advantages and need to fight soldiers with automatic weapons...
  • Cheerleader Ninja. Yeah. "By popular demand!"
  • Ali G In Da House - the rival gangsmassivs get together to raid Chequers, wearing trainers and day-glo camouflage gear.
  • In one of the first major film appearances of ninjas in the popular media, a James Bond film titled You Only Live Twice, the ninjas actually DO dress in appropriate camouflage. When infiltrating a rocky basin, they are all wearing grey outfits that let them blend in perfectly with the gray rocks. These are more "practical" modern ninjas, though; they use guns, for example.
    • Film critic Drew McWeeny of Hitfix.com in his review of the movie:
    "Do ninjas typically drop into a location in plain view and then use machine guns and hand grenades? Because if so, I really misunderstood the point of ninjas."
    • Not only that, but in order to get near the volcano lair, they have to infiltrate the island first, which they do disguised as local fishermen. Presumably, more than a few of them might go even further and bring along fake wives, which Bond does.
    • In the novel, Bond doesn't use a gun only because he wants to be silent. He uses makeup and appropriate clothing to pretend to be a gardener.
  • Ninja Cheerleaders (not to be confused with Cheerleader Ninjas) has this, up to the point where they get arrested in the end. However, it's Hand Waved at the beginning, which shows them getting the title of Ninja (also a handy explanation for why they suck so badly at sword fighting).
  • The Ninja Squad. In this scene both ninjas in the fight wear headbands that say ninja on them.
  • Averted and then played terribly straight in Sam Peckinpah's The Killer Elite. In the climax, the heroes have an epic battle with a team of ninja assassins who are all dressed in gunmetal grey robes, the same color as the hull of the derelict battleship on which they had laid out an ambush. But then the head ninja appears, and he's wearing the stereotypical black robes that make him stick out like a sore thumb.
  • Kanzo Hattori plays this trope straight in Nin x Nin. While he does try to hide, he doesn't quite pull it off. Partly justified in that one of the main characters is blind.
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: Storm Shadow. Because nobody will ever notice a dude in a blinding white terrycloth ninja outfit...
    • Snake Eyes all the way during a mission to Paris. Black-clad hight-tech ninja on the crowded sunny streets?

    Literature 
  • Averted in Discworld's Night Watch, where a young Vetinari is able to assassinate the Patrican by shunning the traditional, stylish (and comparatively conspicuous) assassins' black for green paint and tiger stripes. However, he still carries the black for the final inhumation (like exhumation but before you're dead) as it would be terrible form not to.
    • Not only does he wear black, but he walks up to the guy in the middle of a brightly lit room. Since nearly everyone's in on the conspiracy this isn't half as stupid as it would be in other circumstances.
    • The point of the outfit was that it was the firing of a Chekhov's Gun from earlier in the book, where the young Vetinari had been reading about camouflage in the wild. The face paint would have been to dull the shine from his skin, whilst the tiger stripes would have been to make him look like a blur from a distance. It's pointed out that members of the Assassin's Guild wear black during missions, despite the fact that it is often more visible than other colors. In fact, the Assassin's Guild, being "gentlemen", adhere to a number of rules which are inefficient. Commander Vimes mentions that they seem to always try to kill him at his booby-trapped home, refusing to easily shoot him down in the street "like a common criminal". Vetinari is the exception, in that he will wear gray rather than black because it actually blends in better; he cares about results, not image.
    • Vetinari also failed his camouflage classes in the School of Assassins, because the teacher marked him as absent for every lecture, having never seen him in class. Consider that for a second.
    • Not a ninja, but Hogfather featured a safe cracker who always got away from crime scenes without being arrested, simply because he A) dressed neatly, B) maintained a businesslike demeanor, and C) always walked a block or two from the place he'd robbed, then turned around and walked right past it again, as if he'd been approaching from the other direction. Being Highly Visible was the whole point!
    • Lu-tse is the ultimate ninja. In the guise of a humble sweeper he goes everywhere unchallenged and unnoticed.
    • Lampshaded and ridiculed by Cohen in Interesting Times, who kills three ninja while they are showing off
    Go on then, give it your best ninj.
  • In one of the "Samurai Cat" books by Mark Rogers (no relation to the Samurai Pizza Cats), Tomokato faces a Hollywood Ninja (seriously, that's his name) who insists on wearing white when in an underground dungeon and black during the day. He uses a ridiculously long sword that takes a full minute to draw. He's also a blonde blue-eyed white guy under the mask, possibly a jab at Michael Dudikoff.
  • Justified in Another Fine Myth, in which the distinctive Guild cloak worn by a professional Assassin's Guild member is found to be double-sided and reversible. The assassin is presumed to wear it dull-side-out when sneaking up on his target, and only switch to the Highly Visible side when he's got his target cornered and no longer needs to be stealthy.
  • The children's book Wink, the Ninja Who Wanted To Be Noticed.

    Live Action TV 
  • Deadliest Warrior had an episode pitching a Ninja against a Spartan, the dramatized battle of which happened in the open in broad daylight. However, the show then lampshades this; the ninja representative points out that, in real life, the ninja would see the heavily armored Spartan, hide until wall of bronze goes away, and then kill him later that night while he was sleeping. Also, the fight as shown was admittedly much cooler.
  • The two "ninja competitions" seen in the original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (one which was used as a vehicle to get Jason and Tommy to work together, the other used to introduce the first replacement Rangers) seem to be just regular martial arts tournaments, except one or both sides are dressed in stereotypical ninja costumes.
    "Because nothing says covert like bright red, yellow and blue spandex."
  • In the lonelygirl15 video "My School Project" - actually Danielbeast's school project, "When Ninjas Attack" - two highly visible ninja sneak stealthily into a house... then stand in the kitchen drinking water until they get spotted.
  • Dara O'Briain has a stab at taking the mick during his "Talks Funny" tour - Albeit a bit unintentionally... (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbY7GODI5Dw&feature=related You're looking for about the 7:00 mark)

    Multiple Media 
  • Early installements of Noob have a few jokes involving Omega Zell failing to be stealthy despite playing an assassin. The novels have him act as is he were in a good hiding place despite blatant visbility of his cursor and the webseries has a "Freaky Friday" Flip sequence during which the guildmate controlling his avatar points out that he only has 3 in stealth and really shouldn't be wearing white.

    Pinball 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Played with in Legend of the Five Rings. The Scorpion Clan employs black-garbed, shuriken-throwing ninjas in assassination attempts... as a tool of distraction and confusion. Guards and investigators are drawn to chase after the stealthy yet obviously up-to-no-good infiltrators in the black pajamas. Meanwhile, as the "ninjas" make a distraction, the real shinobi on the scene (who has probably spent a month or more posing as a courtesan/guard/farmer/doctor/whatever and positioning themselves perfectly for their objective) accomplishes whatever actual wetwork needs doing while everyone is busy.
    • In fact, the act of being a Highly-Visible Ninja is called The Gauntlet by the Scorpions, and is essentially the rite of passage for anyone who wants to become a shinobi - first you spend a year bouncing around in black pajamas, confusing people and looking like a grand idiot (and still managing to be sneaky... somehow). Survive that and then you're worthy to learn how to do it properly.
    • Then there was Matsu Hiroru, a ninja assassin trained by the Kolat to be their secret weapon. His original card artwork showed him in an all-white ninja suit - which would have been this trope or even a Technicolor Ninja, if it weren't for the fact that he was blending in perfectly with the white stone wall behind him. Later appearances had him always wearing pure white and doing rather little sneaking, which would seem to be playing this trope rather straight. But then later source-books for the RPG explained that his white gi was actually a special gift from the Kolat that allowed him to magically blend in with his surroundings like a chameleon.
  • Space Marines from Warhammer 40,000 take pride in their chapter colours and boast that "camouflage is the colour of cowardice," so you'll see bright yellow Imperial Fists scouts infiltrating behind enemy lines, with perhaps a camo-cloak over the shoulders of their snipers.
    • The Blood Axes, the un-Orkiest of the Ork clans, love camouflage, but take a decidedly Orky approach to it. Since camouflage is good, more camouflage has obviously got to be better. And since camouflage is based on the enemy seeing the camouflage's colours instead of you, the effect can be improved by using clashing colours so the enemy can see how well-camouflaged you are from farther away!
    • Eldar Striking Scorpion aspect warriors traditionally bear a striking green uniform with yellow trim, but are able to infiltrate because they're just that good.
  • The grand prize for this trope goes to the bio-engineered ninja of the Shadow Sun Syndicate in Monsterpocalypse. How visible are the ninja? As soon as a fight breaks out, they suddenly become the size of buildings. The Zor-Raiden and Zor-Maxim reach sixty feet tall.
  • In Scion, there are titanspawn called shinobi. Their job is to Zerg Rush you. They do have a power that lets them hide in the shadows, but unless they're stronger than average, they can only use it once an encounter.
  • D&D provides no penalties to Hide checks for wearing bright pink.
    • An issue of Dragon Magazine introduced elemental-based ninja variants, one of which was the fire ninja. The text noted that while a flashy ninja seemed counterproductive, it doesn't matter whether you turn invisible or blind your opponent with flashes of light — the end result is the same.
    • The Complete Ninja's Handbook has, among "other organizations", Her Majesty's Ministry of Intelligence who operate with panache. The explanation is that some rulers get it and some don't, so they intentionally train agents to act in the daredevil style. Because the more agents' exploits entertain the current monarch, the better their funding is.
  • Ninja Burger, a series of games about ninja delivering hamburgers, has as their prime protagonists the "white ninjas", legendary masters of stealth that dress in bright obvious white suits.
    • The ninja burger ninjas themselves aren't exactly in modern camo either.
  • Warhammer has an Ogre Ninja model. An ogre. As in, a thing large enough to swallow a horse!
    • It's a man-eater, a mercenary that adopts ways to fight from the culture it fights with and is a highly elite type of unit. You might laugh at the disguise but big things can be stealthy. Otherwise the game averts this as Skaven and Darkelf assassins wear dark clothing and disguises and the opponent won't find them before it's too late.
    • Some Skaven manage to invoke the trope effectively. The Skaven will always be visible on the board throughout the entire game, but he looks just like all the other regular Skaven, so the opponent won't know he is there until he attacks a unit far more effectively than a normal Skaven.
    • A variant was the downfall of a particularly sneaky orc army. The started painting themselves black and launching highly-effective sneak attacks under cover of darkness. This worked fine until they started shouting their new warcry, "You's Can't Sees us!", before every battle.
  • Possibly inspired by the "Ogre Ninja" from the Ogre board game published by Steve Jackson Games. It's a stealth tank which just happens to be the size of a warehouse, with a lot of ECM...
  • Munchkin Fu has the Robot Ninja, a 50-foot tall Humongous Mecha who is also a Ninja. It snuck up on you... Somehow. It even gets bonuses against fellow ninjas; presumably they're too ashamed to be associated with it to fight properly.
    • The original Munchkin features the Giant Ninja who "squishes you very quietly".
  • Crystal Chameleon Style Martial Arts in Exalted are a variation on this, which got the style dubbed Disco Ninja Style on the forum- they avoid the usual Exalted issue that Power Glows by making it into a blinding psychedelic lightshow. You know there's a Crystal Chameleon Stylist around somewhere, but not where they are...
  • There are very few ninja in Magic: The Gathering, but the ones that exist tend to go back and forth on this. Ink Eyes, Servant of Oni, on the other hand, is an especially notable example of this trope. There is absolutely no way that outfit can be considered in any way stealthy, especially with chalk white fur.

    Video Games 
  • The Assassin's Creed series has an interesting relationship with stealth. The earlier games seemed more stealth focused, while the newer ones have given the player more options for out and out combat. This has reached a crescendo in Assassin's Creed III, where the main character is shown mounting a horse, charging alone across an open field towards an enemy army, fighting his way through while cannonballs explode around him, finally reaching the enemy general whereupon he buries an axe in his head. Whether that tops Ezio pushing his way through the entire college of cardinals and assaulting the Swiss guard around the Pope's carriage in the streets of Rome itself is up to you.
    • Though it should be pointed out that the Assassins in Assassin's Creed are, well, assassins, primarily, not ninja. Stealth is very useful, but so long as your target dies, there will be very little said against you, no matter if you kill the entire guard roster or not. In the first game, it was possible to kill your way to your targets, but it was exceptionally frustrating to do so. The second was not nearly as difficult, and not getting caught was only simpler. And sometimes, circumstances do require that people die more than they require that you not get caught. Stealth is treated simply as not being conspicuous, and in that matter, so long as there is a crowd, it's very easy to slip into it, and remain unnoticed.
    • How "ninja-esque" the Assassins are depends on where and when they are operating, and the strength of the Brotherhood. During the time of Alta´r, the aim was to get close to their target stealthily, usually in public, to perform some sort of awe-inspiring assassinations. The greatest illusion from a successful assassination was that an Assassin seemingly materializes from nowhere, kills a corrupt public figure, and promptly vanishes into the depth of the crowd or environment. "Hide in plain sight" was part of their actual creed. Due to Alta´r's reformations to the order and its creed, these rules were changed, and by the time of the renaissance, (while stealth was still helpful) they had greater flexibility in how they operated. They could even mount a full scale assault on their enemies if they needed to (such as Mario's attack on Tuscany with his mercenaries). By modern day (presumably due to how powerful Abstergo AKA The Templars have grown, and how easy it is to track someone nowadays), the Assassin order is much more focused on stealth. Desmond wears a simple white hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans, and blends with the crowds to complete his mission.
    • In Brotherhood's multiplayer modes you can take this route by running about and climbing walls. However, the game rewards you with more points for killing your target without blowing your cover. Doing this sort of stuff, which NPCs do not do, is a quick way to give yourself away. Furthermore, performing High Profile actions while having line of sight to your target will quickly result in the game automatically tipping your target off even if s/he was not actively looking out for you. Essentially, while possible, this tends to lead to a quick death or the escape of your target when attempted against anyone competent.
      • Conversely, in Assassin's Creed: Revelations' multiplayer, the higher your stealth meter (based on how long you spend stalking a target), the quicker and less overt your melee kill animation; at Discrete your character may hack at his or her target quickly, at Incognito it's a quick and quiet stab of a hidden blade.
  • Alpha Protocol's advanced stealth armor is... shiny. This can lead to unintentional hilarity, since some characters make comments about what you choose to wear.
    • Chinese Secret Police agent, Omen Deng, will call you out on this - while good stealth armor is very useful, he'll respect you far more for wearing normal civilian clothes in a train station than obvious military gear.
  • Most 80s video games with ninja villains, especially Bad Dudes vs. Dragoninja.
  • All the ninjas of Ninja Town especially the Anti Ninja.
  • Shinobi:
    • Joe Musashi in every game that came after the original arcade game. It seems difficult for a ninja to blend in when he's decked out in high-contrast red and white pajamas (not that he ever really tries to), let alone when he's walking around with his Ninja Dog in tow. His contemporaries also have an impractically loud fashion sense: Hibana wears a red-and-white ensemble similar to his own (that has giant pink contrails flowing from it) , while Hotsuma wears spiky black armor topped with a bright red scarf that's thirty feet long.
    • None of the enemy ninja in the first three games are particularly difficult to spot either. Shinobi III had a few somewhat hidden enemies, but this was usually due to them hiding behind layers, as opposed to effectively camouflaged character designs.
  • Ninja Gaiden's Ryu Hayabusa fights in the open with a wide variety of impractical-for-stealth weapons, pulling off moves that are flashy and all-too-obvious, including casting spells where he stands still while fire or electricity swirls around him. In fact, some fans have reportedly called him more of a samurai than a ninja. Probably not too much of a falsehood.
  • While we're on the subject of Team Ninja games, none of the "ninja" in their Dead or Alive series seems all that eager to avoid notice (not just Ryu).
  • Rikimaru from the Tenchu series typically has no problem hiding from his enemies, though you'd think he might have an easier time about if he'd cover up his BRIGHT WHITE HAIR!
    • In part 2, his outfit was green.
    • Averted in Tenchu Z, where you can wear a 'traditional' ninja outfit with a mask and everything. Or you can wear a real traditional ninja outfit and make yourself look something like a farmer. Or you can run around in a loincloth. None of these make you any easier or harder to spot.
  • Mai Shiranui from Fatal Fury. Come on, she's practically half-naked as well as *really* well-stacked. And in fact, in the SNK vs. Capcom series, several characters call out on her (namely Ryu, Ken, and Chun-Li) in their introduction dialogues. Ultimately, even SNK has made fun of this: Maximum Impact 2 has Hattori Hanzo as a playable character, and when he faces Mai, their intro has him question what has happened to ninjitsu since his day.
    • At least one Fan Fiction presented the theory that the whole stripperiffic "nimbo" persona was a form of hiding in plain sight. Anyone who hears she is a ninja, or sees her at all, would dismiss her as a bad joke until she caves in his head.
      • Also, like anybody is going to be looking at Ms. Gainax's face in that outfit.
    • Fan fascination with Mai has prevented mention of the much more obvious Andy Bogard, who wears mostly white and doesn't even tie back his long blond hair.
    • Maximum Impact 2 also introduced Nagase, "The Ninja Computer Geek", who dresses in what can best be described as a bright yellow J-pop bumblebee dress. However the trope is justified in that Nagase has no intention of being stuck in the shadows all her life: she wants to become famous.
    • Yeah, the "fanservice ninja" thing seems to fit Sheena Fujibayashi pretty well, too.
    • The Tales of Phantasia counterpart of Sheena, Suzu Fujibayashi isn't a fanservice ninja girl. But that doesn't take away the fact that she wears a bright red outfit along with a bright Yellow scarf.
    • To be honest Mai seems more like the Kuniochi types aka seduce your foes then burn/cut/maim them minus the kill yourself part their kin is known of
    • Similar case with Taki from Soul Calibur. She wears a red skintight suit and jumps around screaming a lot. But then again it might be hard to spot the ninja hiding behind those enormous, uh, talents of hers.
      • Those "talents" of Taki's jiggle so insanely that you have no choice but to notice.
      • Seriously, it seems more like she's naked and simply painted her whole body red, rather than wearing a skintight suit.
  • Frank the Polish-American Brazilian Ninja from Shadow Hearts: From the New World is about as stealthy as a clown (and kind of looks like one too). In his introduction scene he attempts to hide himself by using the classic ninja trick of holding a piece of wall-patterned cloth in front of himself (the "Art of Hiding" he calls it) - but uses a brightly-coloured flag. Obviously it doesn't work. His new teammates immediately call him out on how much he sucks at it. His clanmate Britney is almost as bad, being a blonde who wears a bright pink gi.
    • In the ending, Johnny notes that Frank's appeared on TV a few times... then muses, "Aren't ninjas supposed to be invisible?"
  • The Taraba Ninja from Shinobido may be crowned as the kings of this trope. They wear huge, Scary Impractical Armor wich makes a lot of noise at the slightest movement and covers their body, and their main weapon is a mortar cannon strapped to their back. The only advantage seems to be their Nigh Invulnerable defense, since Goh can kill them only by stabbing them in the neck. Their boss Kabuto is like them, ubut Up to Eleven.
  • The Mortal Kombat series has only one ninja, Scorpion. In the early 2D games when all the "ninjas" were simply palette swaps of each other this was easier a mistake to make. Sub-Zero is an assassin of the Chinese Lin Kuei and as such takes offense to being labeled ninja in Mortal Kombat Mythologies Sub Zero. The cyborgs Cyrax, Smoke and Sektor are all also Lin Kuei. All of them are highly visible though, having brightly colored costumes. Others are not native to Earth at all, and in some cases, like Mileena, are Humanoid Abominations; in fact, in the case of the females, they're not only "highly visible", but their outfits suggest they want people to see them. These "ninja clones" have since evolved into increasingly diverse, but no less visible, looks after the series went 3D. Amusingly despite being the only real ninja Scorpion is also the most visible of all these warriors wearing a bright yellow outfit, and occasionally being on fire. In early installments Scorpion's bright yellow outfit was justified as Scorpion wearing a Lin Kuei outfit and mocking their cowardice with its yellow color, but this seems to have fallen by the wayside in later games.
    • Smoke and Reptile partially subvert this however. Both of them typically can turn invisible as a special move (Reptile's intro in the reboot has him appearing out of thin air).
  • Every Ape Escape game has at least one Japanese-themed stage with traditional dojos and ninja paraphernalia, usually including a few monkeys decked out in ninja garb. They still have helmets with large flashing lights on top, and start screaming and running around as soon as you approach.
  • Ninja Assault. Long story short, you play a ninja with guns!
  • Destroy All Humans! 2 had an island in Japan where black and white ninja were fighting. Not surprisingly, they wore complete black, or complete white in public. Every time Crypto questioned or lampshaded this or the existance of ninjas in 1960's Japan, everyone would reply "Everybody loves ninjas."
    • The reason why the ninja clans themselves are split up into black and white in the first place is not because of ideological differences either. Originally, they were united under one clan of Gray ninjas, but the clans started to split over personal preference between black and white uniforms when they ran out of gray fabric.
    White Ninja Leader: Wrong! Supplier stop selling gray fabric. We wanted to be black ninja, but bastards put their order in first!
  • Yukimaru and Fubuki from Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories are members of a ninja clan whose village is perpetually covered in snow, making an all-white uniform the perfect camouflage. Well, at least it would, if the Snow Clan did all of their missions within their village.
    • Their traditional outfits also include light blue and magenta, so...
    • Done very deliberately with Kyoko Needleworker, a ninja who makes a point of always challenging her opponents in broad daylight.
    • The ninja class from the first game also have very few "ninja-ish" traits: they use the same weapons any other class does and are best with fist and axes and the only thing that would be good for stealth (which the game really doens't have) are their high speed and movement.
    • While they aren't quite ninja, the Thief units are a bit brightly dressed to be stealthy (then again, the more advanced versions of the class wear darker colours).
  • A.N.V.I.L. saboteurs in Evil Genius are Highly Visible Ninjas wearing (in order of increasing ability) black, red, blue and white uniforms. Actually, the white uniforms blend in well in the brightly lit stainless steel hallways of the Elaborate Underground Base, but that advantage is lost when they step into any other type of room.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics your male ninja wear blue, and your female ninja wear red. They walk in plain sight in the vast open fields of Mandalia to battle monsters. On the other hand, they do have reaction abilities that makes them invisible.
  • Kasumi from Suikoden I and II wears a quite pink/red outfit for no real reason.
    • Then there's Fuma, also from the first Suikoden, who claims to specialize in invisibility and stealth... while wearing an outfit so incredibly red that staring at it too long would make your eyes bleed. But on closer inspection, Suikoden tends to avert this trope (aside from Kasumi and Fuma), as the Suikoden ninjas (of which there are at least two in every game) tend to dress either like traditional ninjas (I's Kage, II's Mondo and Sasuke, and III's Watari and Ayame), or more like normal people (IV's Akaghi and Mizuki, V's Shigure and Sagiri).
      • Fuma's idea of invisibility and stealth, apparently, is to exploit the 2D nature of the game and hide behind the back wall of a castle, where the camera angle renders him invisible to the player.
  • Slightly subverted by Guilty Gear's Chipp Zanuff, who can actually turn (partly) invisible with a special move. Hilariously, as he does so he yells, "Find me!" Other than that, though, he sticks heavily to the trope... but then he's an American who just really wants to be a ninja. The quote at the top of the page is directed at him, and follows a Cluster F-Bomb Chipp gives when Bridget reads off a very unflattering description of his "ninja skills".
  • Bang Shishigami from BlazBlue is one of the most highly visible ninjas of all time, sporting a bare midriff(on a male character), a flowing red scarf, a 5-foot long NAIL on his back, and prone to frequent hot-blooded yelling. He also subverts typical ninja characters in fighting games by being more of a well-balanced brawler than a Fragile Speedster, having the 3rd highest HP in the game.
    • In fact, if you fight him with Arakune in one of the single-player modes, Bang Shishigami's wardrobe is one of the first things he notices with the line "Very...loud. Oddly...red."
  • Izuna, the Unemployed (and Very Hot) Ninja dresses in a bright red outfit with thick hose and fishnets.
    • After stealing a village's crystal and upsetting the gods, the villagers (specifically, the innkeeper) starts a tab for the protagonist and her ninja clan and declares they must stay until it's paid off and the villagers won't let them leave. One of the ninja point out "But hey, we're ninja. We'll just sneak out." To which another ninja declares "But they'll just find us. We'll never get out of this."
    • She's not at all helped by her voluminous assets. As she so succinctly puts it in the manual for the first game, "That's me, Izuna, big as life and twice as hot!"
      • Shino seems a bit more like a traditional ninja, however. There's also the very visible Mitsumoto, but at least he wears a proper ninja outfit, even if it makes him look completely bland compared to the rest of the cast.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Lampshaded in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All in the final case with the "Jammin' Ninja," a ninja with a bright red guitar whose goal in life is to become a rock star. Phoenix himself notes just how ridiculous the concept is. It should be pointed out that within Phoenix's world, the Jammin' Ninja is a TV character. Also, his bizarre choice of path in life is explained as being because he's not actually a very good ninja, so he chose a career that wouldn't need him to be able to do ninja things.
    • Investigations gives us Kay Faraday, a Highly Visible Phantom Thief who spends much of the game stating she is a Phantom Thief, the Yatagarasu, while doing very little actual theft, and wears a badge in shape of the Yatasaguru's symbol on her scarf. She's also a fan of the Jammin' Ninja rather than the Steel Samurai. Edgeworth even asks himself if she really wants to be a thief or a ninja, considering how much she admires Mr. Stealthy Jammin' Ninja.
  • The Jougenshuu Sennin in Beat Blades Haruka go as far as to announce their presence to the enemy Noroi prior to doing battle. Somewhat justified in that Mission Control reasoned that the best way to get the public on their side was to follow Magical Girl tropes.
  • Painkiller's Dark Ninja mooks spawn with bright particles and clouds in large groups, do high midair flips in slow motion, and yell before each attack.
  • Happens in Bahamut Lagoon. Sajin and Zeroshin are technically "Assassins", but their technique is called "Ninjutsu", and it consists of elemental attacks and attempted insta-kills. All in plain sight, as a good strategy RPG would do. When you hire them, you're also given the option of picking an assassination target for them, the 3 choices being the main heroine, a military captain and a random NPC: the first 2 both fail miserably and only the last one is successful.
  • Lo Wang, the eponymous character of Shadow Warrior, operates more like a Asian Duke Nukem than an actual ninja. The ninja Mooks also apply, their main weapon is an Uzi.
  • Yoshimitsu from Tekken (and his Soul Calibur incarnation) is...difficult to ignore. He has been entirely metallic, been partially metallic and in forest green pants, usually had some sort of skull for a face, looked like a giant beetle man, green and gold samurai armour, and blue skin with yellow and red pants. And his sword glows.
    • Later came Kunimitsu, who fought in royal blue, yellow, pink and purple in her different incarnations, always wearing a white fox mask (excluding her Tekken Tag Tournament third costume, which had a gold, demonic half-mask).
    • And Tekken 5 introduced Raven, a (supposed) spy who dresses (sometimes) in a bright silver jumpsuit and Cool Shades, and looks like Wesley Snipes with a noticible scar on his face. Beating up every contestant he comes across while "investigating" the King of Iron Fist Tournament does not help his case, unless he's trying to blend in with all the other insane fruitcakes participating in this competition.
  • Spoofed in this artwork for the World of Warcraft TCG.
  • In Final Fantasy XI, ninja are the second most common "tank" job in the game, whose primary purpose is to get the enemy's attention and keep it.
    • They weren't originally meant for that. They were suppose to be ranged/melee hybrid damage dealers and use their "stealth" to avoid damage should they pull hate. After players figured that their shadow clones makes for good tanking, Square Enix just went along with it.
  • Sengoku Basara brings us Kasuga, whose Stripperiffic outfit with its gold accents and Absolute Cleavage make her a very attention-grabbing ninja. On the other hand, Sarutobi Sasuke wears forest camouflage and generally has a very good grasp on the concept of ninja stealth. Kotaro, meanwhile, is a mute who can get past any opposition via pure speed.
  • Galford in Samurai Shodown. Unlike Hanzo, he doesn't cover his head, he wears blue, and he fights with his dog, Poppy. Earthquake tried ninja training, but quit because he had to be with Galford, whom he hated. For the record, both of them are McNinja (Hanzo, the Japanese Ninja is much more Badass and stealthy).
  • The ninjas in Oni are a bit eccentric: the three different classes of ninja (like all other groups of enemies) green, blue and red armour in ascending order of skill - not overly inconspicuous. However, they are also fairly skilled at hiding and surprise attacks and are bloody fast.
  • Ninja Jajamaru-kun wears a bright red uniform. But gost darn it, is he ever CUTE.
  • In The Ninja Warriors and The Ninja Warriors Again, the eponymous Ninja Warriors dress in bright primary colors. They're unstoppable killer robots though, so that matters little. Plus it's a suicide mission anyway.
  • Samurai Warriors, pick any of the ninja. You will be able to see them.
    • Bonus points go to our dear, sweet Cloudcuckoolander Nene, who wears a discrete color combination of yellow, some gold and a few bits of orange. And whose idea of stealth is to fly in on a huge-ass bright yellow kite in the dead of night. To no-one's surprise but hers, the attempt fails and she would have face-planted several hundred feet down if not for Hanzo.
  • Mega Man X: Command Mission got party member Marino, an Highly Visible Thief. Her armour's PINK, along with other eye-catching features.
  • The ninjas in Red Steel 2 use swords and guns like every other enemy before them, just with more ability and acrobatics. That said this is a beat-em-up, but still...
    • More applicable to the special ninjas; huge musclebound guys who attack with big spiked, double-bladed staffs.
  • Garry's Mod can be ripe with moments like 6:45 in survival mods.
  • In the Descent series, if you have an Invisibility Cloak and fire your weapons, bump into a wall, or have your headlight on, the enemies will all open fire on your last seen position.
  • The main character in Ninja Five-O is like that.
  • Averted with The Dark Brotherhood in The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, but the Brotherhood seem to become more and more conspicuous with every new installment. They may still be sneaky and secretive in Skyrim, but their outfits (hooded leather catsuits in black and crimson) are anything but. No wonder there are so few active sanctuaries left.
    • Walking around in public in full Dark Brotherhood, Thieves Guild, or Nightengale garb without consequence... though at least they lampshade it in Skyrim, since guards will sometimes comment "I know thieves guild armor when I see it. You're not fooling anyone."
  • Played straight and averted in Dragon Age: Origins - While Shrieks are invisible ninjas that pop up on you when you least expect it as ninjas do, Genlock Rogues aren't quite so stealthy. You might not be able to see them, but their extremely loud grunting and chattering gives them away long before you can actually see them, making them Highly Audible Ninjas.
  • Kingdom of Loathing features Lo "Commotion" Ping, who "began his assassin career as a traditional ninja; that is, as a deadly assassin who dresses in civilian clothes so he won't be spotted, who kills quietly and leaves behind no evidence of foul play." However, annoyed by having to constantly explain to people that he was, in fact, actually a ninja, he decided to act more stereotypically; while he became a much worse assassin as a result, "at least he never again will say, "well, actually, the commonly accepted 'black pajama' uniform is a by-product of the way ninjas were portrayed in Japanese theatre. . ." because seriously, nobody likes that guy."
  • Shadow Yamato of Eternal Champions is an assassin who practices ninjutsu. While wearing Stripperiffic clothing in the original game or a highly visible green qipao in the Sega CD update.
  • Guy from Final Fight wears red ninja suit and fights people in broad daylight. Maki from the sequel is even more visible and revealing than him.
  • Ninja in the Total War series all wear the classic black pajamas (except in one assassination in the first game, where the ninja is dressed as a peasant), even when it would look quite out-of-place. Unsurprisingly, being spotted once usually leads to large quantities of armed men chasing them down while shouting "Ninja!". This includes the battlefield-used Kisho Ninja, who presumably consider dressing as ashigaru and taking enemy units by surprise to be unsporting.
  • The three ninjas in League of Legends. Akali is probably the most reasonable. She throws down smoke bombs that make her invisible as long as she stays within that area, and is an assassin class and consequently a big part of her purpose is jumping out at people unexpectedly and killing them. Kennen is at least small and wears dark clothing, but this has no practical effect. He spends most of his time throwing around lighting in a highly noticeable manner. And Shen is a tank, whose ability Shadow Dash forces enemies to attack him. This is a ninja for whom an important skill is "HEY! I'm over here! Attack me!"
  • The 4-player co-op trailer for the reboot of Syndicate has a hilarious moment where the text says "infiltrate" and immediately cuts to a tense firefight. What really takes the cake, though, is the blaring obvious flamethrower.
  • In Ragnarok Online, both the Assassin and Ninja classes. Although the Assassin does have a grey color palette that makes them hard to see (and almost invisible in Nibelheim) with the right hair color palette, few to none of the players use it. The ninja, on the other hand, has no hope at stealth at all. On the other hand, Assassin class can just plain out vanish from sight and you'll never find them unless you use special skills and manage to hit his location with them.
  • Zig-zagged in Fallout 3. In the Operation Anchorage DLC, you encounter Chinese Special Ops soldiers equipped with Spy Catsuits who seemingly play this trope straight, but subverted with effective stealth field-generators. Double Subverted when a distressing number will simply decloak, whip out a sword, and learn the hard way that their fancy suits aren't bulletproof. Even the ones with sniper rifles stand up, dispelling their stealth field, instead of stay crouched and make it infinitely harder to return fire.
    • Usually played straight when the player gets access to the same suit, where they rarely make the same blunders.
    • Played straight again in the next title, Fallout: New Vegas. The Chinese Stealth Suit returns, but loses its stealth field, leaving just an incredibly obvious latex suit with a modest boost to the Stealth skill. Played even straighter with the American-counterpart Stealth Suit Mk II, which has reflective white strips running all over the body, and an annoying onboard voice, to boot.
  • The Nintendo Land minigame Takamaru's Ninja Castle has origami ninjas of many colors as targets.
  • Dynamite Dux has red dog ninjas as enemies.
  • Zig-zagged in one of the bonus missions from Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain, where Lian Xing disguises herself as a Sherpa hag as part of a Stealth-Based Mission, armed with poisoned ninja stars, but guards will see through her disguise if she gets too close or makes any suspicious movements. Likewise for the stealth part of the Yemen mission in which Cobra is dressed as a civilian(the female version wears a hijab/burqa), where guards don't seem to notice your unconcealed weapon or night vision goggles as long as you keep it holstered, unless they're Elite Mooks or you're trespassing in a restricted area.
    • Played straight in the return to Pharcom Expo Center in Syphon Filter 2, in which Gabe wears a stealth suit resembling a Hollywood ninja to infiltrate the well-lit building(except for certain rooms). The only goons that he is required to avoid detection by are the MP's.
  • The Yakuza ninjas in Soldier of Fortune play this straight as an arrow, not even bothering with stealth tactics.
  • Win Back has this with the assassin-type mooks, as well as the ninja boss Jin.
  • Averted and then played straight in Shining Force - Hanzou the ninja is initially disguised as a bush. Once in the party, however, Hanzou is limited by the game's battle mechanics to walk around, exposed, on the battlefield.
  • PlanetSide 2 has the New Conglomerate infiltrator, a stealth-based sniper or close-combat class, decked out in a bright gray jumpsuit, with a big blue stripes. The Terran Republic infiltrator has a darker overall color palette, but their black and gray jumpsuit is supplemented by neon red shoulder pads and a big "shoot me here" red chestplate. Granted, both have a cloaking field, but it only last a couple seconds at a time and still shows a distortion where the player is. Annoyingly averted with the Vanu Sovereignty infiltrator, who is wearing a very dark purple (almost black) jumpsuit, with the only highly-visible part being a glowing sigil on their head, though it's a handy target for enemy snipers.
  • Dishonored plays this straight with the Whalers, who acrobatically attack in broad daylight and can usually be spotted and sniped from a distance before they detect Corvo.

    Webcomics 
  • Subverted in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: You'd think Dr. McNinja would have a hard time sneaking around, dressed like a doctor with a traditional ninja outfit underneath that. Nope, actually, he manages to keep to close-quarters combat most of the time... If he gets shot at or has to throw a soda machine at a team of security guards, it's generally implied that the situation is a pretty rough one. Most non-villains who recognize him just accept that he's eccentric. "Yeah, he's using someone else's ID as a disguise again."
    • Played straight in a flashback comic to his college days. He justifies it via the alt text: "I wore bright colors because I was a young, cocky ninja. And because it was 1989."
    • In the McNinja comic There's a Raptor in my Office, Dr. McNinja meets a strange silhouetted man in a darkened warehouse. Alt text lampshades this by pointing out that the only person you can see in a darkened room is the one who is a ninja. And the Raptor riding banditos but that is neither here nor there.
    • The good doctor's father at least justifies always wearing a mask so every ninja, if they ever get too in deep and have too many enemies, can just take the mask off and escape the life. Since it wouldn't be effective after repeated uses, it means that they have to learn to eat through their masks.
    • The Doctor also has a bunch of paintings which include lots of ninja on them. However, the ninja are so exceedingly well-painted that you can't see them anywhere.
    • Memorably lampshaded in the first Thanksgiving Katanaka arc, in order to get into his parents home he has to sneak past his mother(who is a much better ninja than he is) and he's speculating on his death.
    "But if he wanted to enter the cave undetected," the coroner will ask, " Why did he wear a white lab coat?"
    "Because he was a doctor and he knew science" someone will reply.
  • Being the world of insanity that it is, this was bound to happen in Axe Cop. When it finally came, we weren't disappointed.
    Just then, a truck full of ninjas showed up.
    Truck literally says "Truck of Ninjas" on the side.
    Ninja: We want to fight you guys!
  • Ninja on a plane in Yosh!
  • Subverted in Freefall with French ninja waiters. Winston and Florence never actually see any of themnote , except for one short, portly, otherwise indescript man who distracts them while other ninja deliver their food. The chef explains what is going on.
    Ninja waiter: That man does not look anything like ninja
    Chef: Ah, but this is exactly what a ninja should look like.
    • Which culminates in the next comic as this:
      Disguised Ninja: The ultimate compliment to ninja craftsmanship. To see what has been done and swear that it could not be possible.
  • The Order of the Stick has ninja that are highly visible to the reader, and should be highly visible to other characters, but since it's set in a Role-Playing Game Verse, they're effectively invisible anyway.
    • From this comic:
      Belkar: Wait, I think I just failed a spot check.
      Haley: Really? I don't see anything.
      Belkar: Exactly.
      Ninja: (Standing right in front of the group) Um... we're like RIGHT here.
      Belkar: Wait, I think I just failed a listen check!
    • There's also the waitress who spooks Vaarsuvius at one restaurant, and as apology explains that she's waiting tables to pay for ninja college.
  • Seriously lampshaded in Elf Only Inn.
  • Partially subverted in 8-Bit Theater by Thief's gang of "law ninja". Despite wearing bright red, they remain completely unseen unless summoned by Thief himself.
    • Oddly, the Ninja class in the first Final Fantasy wore bright red in the first place, at least in the original version. They're probably an example of this themselves, if it comes to that.
      • Referencing this, the three strips or so after Thief first became a ninja, he wore the bright red Highly-Visible Ninja suit from the original. They were then remade, and the strips replaced with him wearing a black ninja suit from the class change onward.
  • Something Positive: Randy Milholland pokes fun at the trope in a con sketch.
  • Raymondo Person recently introduced "Barry Scrumbles, Non-Stealth Ninja". He has business cards.
  • White Ninja, although this is possibly not an example because he may not even be a real ninja for all anyone knows. White Ninja is not something you can or should try to apply regular logic to.
    • He's a white ninja because black ninjas are harder to ink.
  • This page of Torio lampshades this trope.
  • Furry webcomic Macropod Madness/Macropodia (the name changed during a particular arc) had Tree Ninja, a tree kangaroo with a habit of hiding in barren, leafless trees. This was lampshaded in one episode.
  • The Ninja Mafia in Sam and Fuzzy is an organization made of Highly-Visible Ninja, the trope being played intentionally for laughs. The only exception to this are Blankfaces, who are fully capable of subverting this trope but usually don't need to because they're just that good.
  • In This I Got Nothing page, the safety regulations require ninjas to wear high-visibility vests.

    Web Original 
  • In FimFlamFilosophy's Let's Play of ''Pony Fantasy 6, Part 4, he talks about the very visible ninja in Naruto, and theorizes it's because of natural selection, because the really stealthy ninjas kept getting run over by cars like those kids who wear all black on Halloween. He goes on to comment about how the kids who wore reflectors didn't get run over by cars and would grow up to have kids who wore reflectors. Similarly, the Highly-Visible Ninja traditions survived while the stealthy ninja traditions died off.
  • James from The Tournament Of Rings OCT is one of these. He's done things such as wave at a camera, and done anything BUT hide from his fellow competitors. He couldn't even hide from a blind girl.
  • The Death Battle between Ryu Hayabusa and Strider Hiryu featured two of the most popular Highly-Visible Ninja in video games. Naturally, this was given a Lampshade Hanging by Wizard during the analysis section of both characters.
    Wizard: (On Ryu Hayabusa) And despite mastering the ninja art of stealth, he tends to just rush in, sword swinging. Every. Single. Time
    ...
    Wizard: (On Strider Hiryu) Hiryu's speed and agility are off the charts; fortunate, since he doesn't seem to ever use his ninja stealth skills.
  • Enforced and invoked by the SCP Foundation. In the world of the Foundation, actual ninjas are SCP-2928: humans who cause hallucinations based on the public's beliefs concerning ninja. For a long time, they were masters of stealth because people believed all ninjas were masters of stealth. When the Foundation discovered them, they spread media with highly visible ninjas so that more people would believe ninjas were more conspicuous entities. This was enough to reduce 2928's threat level from "Keter" to "Euclid".

    Western Animation 
  • Played with in the Samurai Jack's episode where Jack fought a shinobi. The shinobi was completely invisible in the shadows, so Jack made himself a ninja headwrap from his robe, thus being completely dressed in white, allowing himself to become completely invisible in the light.
  • An episode of Duckman had two ninja running back and forth next to the title character, passing a package back and forth while bemoaning their fate should it fall into his hands. It was part of an attempted Evil Plan on the part of the episode's villain, which failed due to Duckman's obliviousness:
    DUCKMAN: Damn ninjas! The streets are lousy with them!
  • The Sumo Ninja in Kim Possible sort of misses the whole point. It's funny in its own way.
    • Ron also seemed to have trouble hiding in the shadows when he tried to be all ninja. Now that he has gotten control of Mystical Monkey Powers, however...
  • Storm Shadow from G.I. Joe dresses in a pure white ninja outfit. Useful if you want to hide in snow, but not in many other circumstances. In the comics, the ninja clan Storm Shadow belongs to are explicitly described as being different from the original ninja.
    • Classic GI Joe had neon orange, green, blue, yellow, and red ninjas.
    • Snake Eyes at two points early in the series actually bothered to disguise himself—once as a Cobra grunt, and once as a dancing woman in a kicky dress and wig. In neither does he bother to remove his trademark Ninja-riffic outfit before donning the "disguise."
  • Ninja Monkeys in Skunk Fu! tend to be horribly unskilled at actually being ninjas. This is played for laughs, though.
  • The 80s cartoon of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, where they have no qualms about going out in the day and screaming "Cowabunga Shredhead!" Also, their arch-nemesis, The Shredder, who, in the comics, movies and 2003 series, was the head of a ninja clan and was very secretive about his organization often had no problems about being a public menace and addressing the world like a typical Mad Scientist or terrorist. The 2003 revival averts this.
    • It varied in the remake. The turtles would actually sneak in and out of places (interesting comment with an ally Miyamato Usagi saying that it "is making him more ninja and less samurai"), but the same couldn't be said of their enemies. The regular foot ninja never even bothered sneaking up on the turtles, or anybody. The only stealthy enemies the turtles fought were the Foot Tech Ninjas, who could turn invisible.
    • Mikey had a bad tendency to be very visible and very loud (sometimes becoming the very, very visible Turtle Titan), but he was frequently rebuked for it by the others.
    • In the 2012 series all four of the turtles seem to have problems with the invisibility and silence aspect of ninjutsu, as they have to repeatedly remind each to be quiet and not attract attention... which almost immediately attracts attention. To be fair, though, there are times when the Turtles pull it off or at least nearly do.
  • The Shadowkhan of Jackie Chan Adventures are a subversion as they are actually very good at being stealthy and unseen in spite of their numbers (maybe because they're supernatural beings) - this doesn't stop them from getting their stealthy behinds kicked over... and over... and over again by the titular character of the show.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Read It and Weep," Rainbow Dash tries to sneak into the hospital wearing a Spy Catsuit to finish a book. Her disguise wouldn't have fallen into this trope if it wasnt for her rainbow colored tail trailing behind her.
    • Pinkie Pie dons a similar Spy Catsuit in the season 3 premiere... and proceeds to bounce around city streets in broad daylight, at one point dangling from a rope not 12 inches away from the ponies she was trying to hide from.
    • Joining them in the "I skipped stealth class" club is Fluttershy's "dangerous mission" outfit from "Magic Duel". With bright blue belt, booties, and bunny ears.
  • Tubbimura of J Xiaolin Showdown was a very... um, large... Highly-Visible Ninja. The guy was about 90% body fat, and didn't bother being stealthy most of the time. He still managed to kick the Xiaolin team's butts early on.

    Real Life 
  • Historically, ninja used multiple disguises to appear as everyday members of Japan's social castes, which involved training themselves in the target speech patterns, lifestyle habits and mannerisms - quite a lot more than wearing a costume. They went as far as burning specific incense or spices into their clothes so they would smell like the person they were impersonating. Thus, the perfect modern ninja disguise would be something like a janitor or a security guard. (Something similar was actually used by a National Geographic special, where the "ninja" actually pretended to be a part of the show's crew.)
    • The sterotypical ninja costume is actually the costume of a Kabuki theatre prop handler, or Kuroko. Since the handlers were on set all of the time and simply ignored by the audience, it was high drama for one to suddenly brandish a weapon and attack the hero.
      • Which leads to the possibility of a ninja recursion: target enjoys Kabuki theatre, so a ninja disguises himself as a kuroko, complete with learning the play. At the appropriate time, he first plays his part of striking down the character in the play-then adds some extra "audience participation". Whether this has ever been done is not known.
      • Other forms of theatre have employed the same technique: for example in stage-play of His Dark Materials, or at least the National Theatre's staging of the plays, the puppets representing the characters daemons were manipulated and voiced by puppeterrs dressed fully in black, with black fencer's masks. The audience is so used to ignoring them and focusing on the puppet it comes as something of a shock when Pantalaimon's handler pulls off his black mask to reveal that he is Lyra's 'Death' and has always been with her.
  • Near Halloween in the United States, check out the kids' costumes available. There will inevitably be a few "ninja" outfits that mimic the Mortal Kombat/Power Rangers style.
    • Well, obviously, a Halloween costume is going to emphasize visibility... That's a big safety tip for trick-or-treating.
  • Debatably "real life," one SCA War had a member dressed in "standard" ninja attire, saying "I'm a ninja, you can't see me" whenever anyone spotted him. While several warriors played along for fun, he apparently ticked off one Scottish Highlander too many, who clobbered him hard enough to lay him out for several minutes (ninjas don't wear armor!) then claimed that he "didn't see him there."
  • Local guides in Iga-Ueno wear pink ninja outfits for demonstrations. Yes, it is true.
    • Naturally, there are quite a few ninja theme parks in Japan. Since the attendants must look like ninja to uninformed or Genre Blind visitors they dress according to stereotype and Rule of Cool. Some of the parks have devices and architectural features that facilitate stealth regardless of the flashy costumes.
  • This My Life Is Average post. Lampshade included.
  • This Youtube video from Adelaide Flash Mob.
  • Another debatable "real life" example: at some Comic-Cons in San Diego, the stagehands have worn black T-shirts with white text that reads "Stage Ninja: You don't see me."


NinjaStealth TropesOptional Stealth
Highly Conspicuous UniformAdverbly Adjective NounHighly Visible Password
Game OverUndead Horse TropeJoke Character
Hartman HipsImprobable Appearance TropesHistorical Beauty Update
Hand SealsNinja TropesInstant Awesome, Just Add Ninja
High Dive EscapeFight SceneHigh-Pressure Blood
The TickImageSource/Comic BooksTintin
He's Dead, JimRule of PerceptionHigh-Speed Missile Dodge

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