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McNinja

J.M.R., Germany: Are there any Ninjas in Germany?
The Ninja: That forest didn't get black by itself.

Ninjas are cool. It's a simple, straightforward fact that, unless you are a pirate, seems to be universally recognized. They're also very, very Japanese. However, just as McDonald's came out of the United States and conquered the world, so the ninja have set up local branches all over the globe.

The McNinja takes advantage of the comedy potential inherent in the non-Japanese ninja. Imposing the "ninja" template on a different culture can result in anything from ninja-waiters to ninja-doctors... especially if you invoke a national stereotype or two.

It's also a convenient visible shorthand. Ninjas have a reputation for being killing machines with nearly supernatural stealth. Showing someone like this conveys the idea without the need to explain it. Plus, people tend to think a ninja suit is quite suited to sneaking about, unless you stand in plain sight. In real life... not so much. The traditional black suit of ninjas is actually horribly conspicuous, even at night. You want mottled grays for night stealth, solid black just silhouettes you. The "traditional" ninja outfit isn't even the traditional garb of actual ninjas, who would actually have worn the everyday clothing of some low ranking nobody who had business being where they needed to go. It's the traditional garb of Japanese stage hands and signalled to theatre audiences that they were supposed to pretend the stage hand was invisible. In some plays, one of the "stage hands" would suddenly jump out and shank someone — thus revealing themselves to be an actual ninja actually there to shank someone.

Sometimes it's implied or stated outright that ninja started in Japan, but have since secretly branched out; after all, what do a group based around infiltration and stealth care about national borders? This can be justified, however, if the ninja in said media have moved to another country and then passed ninjitsu on to the locals. Something similar has happened before in real life: Japanese judo was brought to Brazil in 1914, and developed into the Brazilian martial art Jiu-Jitsu. Can also be justified if the McNinja in said media learned ninjitsu from actual ninja manuals which they have (somehow) obtained.

Characters who are non-Japanese but explicitly were trained in ninjitsu by real Japanese ninja usually don't count as McNinja.

Fantasy worlds that have McNinjas might also be a case of Culture Chop Suey.

Named after Doctor McNinja, the Irish-American Ninja Doctor of webcomic fame.

A.K.A. Gaijinja as a portmanteau of gaijin (meaning foreigner) and ninja. note 

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • G Gundam had Schwarz Bruder, a German ninja. He even has a mask composed of the colours of the German flag. Well, okay, he was really a clone of a Japanese guy, Kyoji Kasshu, the main character's brother ("Schwarz Bruder" meaning "Black brother", though not quite correct). But he took the identity from the original Schwarz Bruder, who is a proper example.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia has the "America Ninja" sketch. Who looks a little bit like a cowboy.
  • Tiger & Bunny has Ivan Karelin/Origami Cyclone, a Russian superhero ninja working in the U.S. (or the fictional equivalent of).
  • Lupin III has had several adversaries employ ninja-esque Mooks, usually wearing full-body black catsuits, although some wore more "traditional" garb.
    • The Castle of Cagliostro had people with armor underneath their black catsuits that protected them form small arms fire. But not against a rifle or Zantetsugan.
    • Lupin III The Last Job inverted this trope. It declared the ninja clan Fuma (who had existed as antagonists to Lupin since the manga) came from Italy.

    Comics 
  • Ignoring the whole "stealth" idea, Deadpool is quite the ninja.
    • The funny part is that he's actually perfectly capable of ninja-grade stealth. It's just that, depending on the writer, he finds it more fun to do it the other way instead.
  • In Empowered, the ninja clan Ninjette escaped from is actually from New Jersey. "Hey, New Jersey's not all concrete and commuters, y'know... It has hidden forests and everything!"
  • Batman has the tools, the clothes, the attitude, the moves, even the backstory of training in Japan for it!
    • The ironic part about this is that Bob Kane, Batman's creator, claimed that he had never heard of ninja!
  • For that matter, there are other characters that qualify in comics, far too many to list, but some include Deathstroke, Ravager, Elektra, Psylocke, etc.
    • Daredevil himself learned his moves from a ninja master, and is currently the leader of the diabolical Hand ninja clan.
      • Deathstroke, while looking very ninja-like, really isn't a ninja at all, getting all his training from the US Army, combat in Vietnam, and his powers from a serum designed to enhance his abilities.
  • G.I. Joe features actual Japanese and non-Japanese ninja fighting side by side on both sides.
    • Snake-Eyes, the Joe's most famous ninja, actually has a great deal of detail put into how a blonde-haired Caucasian could get ninja training, and he's actually a fairly practical sort for a McNinja (moreso then most ninjas in Japanese media these days), wearing black commando gear, using whatever weapons are effective (including guns and explosives), and remaining perfectly silent at all times.
    • A few bonus points go to Bushido, real name Lloyd Goldfine from Hollis, Queens. Also known as "the Snow Ninja" because he learned his moves in Iceland. Oh, and, according to his filecard, his grandfather was a samurai, and that's his helmet he wears as part of his outfit. In any case, one of the few Jewish ninjas you'll ever run across. There's probably a "Jew-jitsu" joke to be made here, but frankly this stuff's already hilarious.
    • Oh, and then there's Budo. Who is a samurai. Named Kyle. He's from Sacramento. He's an infantryman in GI Joe, and he serves wearing full samurai armor and wielding a katana.
      • Budo's filecard does have some fun with the concept (after all, Hasbro makes the toys, and Larry Hama has to make sense of them in the filecards), portraying him as a Harley-riding metalhead when he's off-duty.
  • Four words: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
  • Diabolik, the eponymous Villain Protagonist of a long-running Italian comic, wears a skin-tight black suit that leaves only his eyes exposed.
    • In a recent story we learn that Diabolik was taught martial arts and stealth in a ninja-like school in a fictional East-Asian country, and had to wear an Hollywood ninja suit during the lessons to keep his face a secret from the external students (the ones who were there to learn martial arts and not how to be better criminals). After being accidentally unmasked during a lesson, he crafted his trademark black suit because it makes him more difficult to unmask and makes grappling his clothes more difficult, as he explains when the teacher chastise him.
  • Definitely a few from Ninja High School. In fact the mother of the main character isn't even Japanese, she's technically German.
    • Wait, wasn't she Russian?
  • In the first issue of the Immortal Iron Fist spinoff miniseries Immortal Weapons, a tale is spun of Fat Cobra's life, including the time he and a bunch of kung-fu commandos faced off against Hitler's private SS Ninja squadron, led by the nefarious Herr Samurai.
  • Oedipus from The Tick.
  • After her Race Lift (in which she bodyswitched accidentally with a fellow telepath), The once-English now-Japanese X-Man Psylocke does her best to be a psychic ninja. Unfortunately, it rarely works out that way, for one reason or another.
    • Until she joined Wolverine and Angel's unnoficial X-Force, where she shows just how deadly a psychic ninja can be.
  • Roxanne Richter, one of Ramona's evil exes (yeah, really) in Scott Pilgrim. Though she keeps reminding people that she's only "half-ninja".
  • While Nth Man: The Ultimate Ninja plays its ninjas realistically, notice must be given to Dr. Irving Yagyu, the ninja dentist.
  • In the Marvel universe, the ninjaesque superhero identity Ronin has been used by a bunch of characters, none of whom are Japanese.

    Films — Animation 
  • Flushed Away has French ninja, too. They are also frogs.
    • Which could be an unintentional reference to the importance of toads in Japanese folklore. Look at Naruto 's Jiraiya, for example (or the novel character he was named after and based on).
    • It could also be a Stealth Pun referring to frogmen.
    • And (more likely considering the source material) a reference to "frog" being a racial slur for French people.
  • Ninja security guards appeared in Rugrats in Paris, but it's justified, as the amusement park is run by Japanese.
  • In Despicable Me 2, Edith is going through her "ninja phase" and spends most of the movie in costume. And armed.

    Films — Live Action 
  • The ninjas in any given movie Godfrey Ho did for IFD or Filmark. The lead ninjas are white and they tend to wear brightly color clothes.
  • An entire series of movies: American Ninja. It even got parodied in Irish American Ninja
  • The movie Tongan Ninja.
  • The Hellboy movie's version of Kroenen is a Nazi German clockwork cyborg ninja with a gas mask.
  • The 2004 movie Ella Enchanted had this in the Red Guard, a group of Elite Mooks who appear to be Ninja in plate armor helmets and pressed military uniforms... In what is the generic Medieval setting of Middle Ages Europe. This includes the typical bright red outfits and "flipping out and killing people". Naturally, none of this was in the original novel.
  • Surf Ninjas.
  • Beverly Hills Ninja
    Haru: It is a black art, and I, Haru, am the blackest of the black. Or rather the great white black art... blackest... master.'
  • Brigada Explosiva Contra Los Ninjas. The entire cast was Argentinian, even the ninjas.
    • Same goes for the Argentinian-playing-an-Asian having ninjas as her Mooks in Bañeros 3: Todpoderosos.
  • Using the Double Dragon medallion turns American villain Koga Shuko into a ninja in the movie of the same name.
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra not only keeps Snake-Eyes as a Caucasian who trains under a Japanese master, but also has Storm Shadow played by Korean actor Lee Byung-hun.
  • The League of Shadows in The Dark Knight Saga appear to be an Equal-Opportunity Evil collection of these (an appropriate place for an American ninja to learn his trade), but with strong hints that the organisation is descended from the "original" ninja. In Batman Begins, the leader is apparently Japanese, though with an Arabic name, while his Dragon has an Irish accent (and turns out to be the real Ra's al-Ghul), and the various other members we see are very ethnically diverse. Their headquarters appears to be in the Himalayas.
  • Phantom Raiders features a McNinja training Vietnam Vets to be McNinjas for mission that features ninja stars, grenades, and gunfire.
  • Hop has the Pink Berets, who are very ninjaesque, though the berets mean they actually look more like generic Special Forces troops. They're also rabbits.

    Literature 
  • In Discworld,
    • The black-clad Assassins give every appearance of being very English Ankh-Morporkian ninja.
      • Except inasmuch as Assassins are explicitly no good at unarmed combat - because no Assassin is ever unarmed.
    • There were the Ninja agents being used (as a throwaway gag) by the Men In Saffron (History Monks) in Thief of Time. While the MIS did, admittedly, train their members in various martial arts, Lu Tze's opinion of the ninja isn't all that high. "Agatean for 'The Passing Wind'."
      • Interesting side note; the best of them in both cases (Vetinari and Lu Tse) are those who ditch most/all the (stereo)typical ninja stuff.
    • Ninja make a token appearance in Interesting Times, even though the Agatean Empire is more Chinese than Japanese.
  • The 1989 Space Opera novel Not for Glory by Joel Rosenberg had a whole planet of mainly Jewish-Israeli descended mercenaries who also practiced ninjutsu, though they did have a small amount of Japanese ancestry mixed in. The main character was even named after a distant Japanese ancestor.
  • While the term is never explicitly tossed around, with their penchant for throat-slitting scout and stealth work, Gaunt's Ghosts are fairly ninja-ish. Their best member got a Crowning Moment Of Awesome in out-stealthing a Mandrake, who should have had the Puny Human beat easily.
  • In Codex Alera, the Canim have a specialist caste of spies/assassins known as "hunters" whose purpose is to allow the Canim lords to bypass attempts by other Canim to abuse the law - in other words, they're there to allow their Canim lords to avoid being Lawful Stupid. In effect, this makes them wolfman ninjas.
  • The Apprentice Rogue: The Black Knights are stealthy, have an evasive fighting style, go on covert missions, and wear black; they're like ninjas from the British Isles.
  • In Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth, the Qwarm are basically ninja.
  • Timothy Zahn's Blackcollar novels have the titular special forces that who wear black clothes that cover their faces, and their primary weapons are their own bodies and shurikens. Actually, their greatest strength comes from their superhuman reaction time granted by the Backlash drug.

    Live Action TV 
  • The Mythbusters Ninja episode featured noticeably more ninja-costumed footage of Tory (Belleci) than of Grant (Imahara).
    • On the other hand, all things considered, it makes PERFECT sense for Tory to be the one in the ninja costume. Playing ninja offers so many exciting new ways for Tory to injure himself.
      • And then there is this...?
    • In a more recent ninja special, the professional martial artist they hired to do demonstrate arrow catching was Australian. This was lampshaded.
  • Not quite ninja, but related: Monty Python's Flying Circus features a sketch about Her Majesty's own McKamikaze Highlanders.
  • Doctor Who has Scottish Ninja Monks at the start of one episode for no adequately explored reason.
    • The episode was Tooth and Claw, and it also featured Queen Victoria and an alien werewolf, so don't expect it to make sense. Also, the monks were NOT "ninjas", they were fairly obviously (and at least vaguely consistently) Shao-lin-style warrior monks, complete with orange robes and unfeasible flying kung-fu powers. They were still Scottish Shao-lin monks, though, so therefore Mc Shaolin, rather than McNinja.
  • The Robin Hood episode "Peace? Off!" featured Saracen ninja in 12th Century England. That's before there were ninja in Japan. But the Hashishim assassins were very much active. The word "assassin" comes from the name of their sect. They could conceivably have come on the boats returning from the crusades, like Robin Hood himself (and his Saracen bow.)
    • Viewers will no doubt be aware that the BBC adaptation of Robin Hood is not known for its historical accuracy.
  • The Super Sentai series Ninja Sentai Kakuranger featured Jiraiya (a.k.a. Ninja Black, therefore not that one), a But Not Too Foreign ninja who dressed as a stereotypical cowboy-hatted American and spoke in English most of the time (though his Japanese improved as the series went on.) The character's "foreignness" was often played up for laughs. For bonus points, he was played by Kane Kosugi, who is half-American himself.
    • For that matter Power Rangers Ninja Storm, with only one of the Rangers, Cam Watanabe, actually being Asian (and he was designated as a Samurai Ranger, to boot - noting that, in the source series, his counterpart was as ninja as the others, what with his Gratuitous English and all).
      • Power Rangers Samurai seems similar, with only one Asian on the team (Mia); but they're all supposed to be descendants of actual samurai and were trained as such so probably don't count. But Sixth Ranger Antonio does count, being both self-taught and a bit of a Mexican-American stereotype. The original Japanese production, Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, also played with this trope by having an episode where an American Funny Foreigner wanted to learn to be a samurai.
    • Additionally, Humongous Mecha aren't exactly the stealthiest of machines.
    • Also, one of the villains in Power Rangers Operation Overdrive, Miratrix, is played by New Zealander actress Ria Vandervis. She and her boss Kamdor are also good at smoke exits and activate spells by throwing sutras. (Or, well, just making ninja hand-gestures and sutras come from... somewhere... it looks cool, okay?)
    • In season 3 of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers there's Ninjor, a bright blue alien Ninja with a body made of armored plates and a voice that could shatter glass; and then the Aquitian Rangers, who, due to footage from the aforementioned Kakuranger, have ninja-like suits and the powers used by the original team's Ninja Ranger forms. Of course, Ninjor's connected to them, too, so it makes in-universe sense, but still Aquatic Alien Power Ranger ninjas.
  • Mortal Kombat: Conquest features Chinese ninjas. This gets even more weird when all but a few of them are white.
  • Alarm für Cobra 11 has occasional episodes with villains in black ninja suits ("Die schwarze Madonna," "Unter Feuer"). The Polizei SWAT team dresses in ninja-like black as well.
  • Again not exactly ninjas, but John Belushi's samurai businesses (e.f. Samurai Optometrist) on the early years of Saturday Night Live.
  • Sekai Ninja Sen Jiraiya, the 1988 Metal Heroes series, featured numerous foreign ninjas in addition to Japanese ones, see the map(hence the title of the series, "Jiraiya: War of the World Ninjas").

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Portia Perez and Nicole Matthews, the "Canadian Ninjas", in SHIMMER.
  • WrestleCrap lists Kwang, a Puerto Ricannote  ninja, among its inductees.

    Music 
  • "I am Ninja", by German band the Neu. "I am ninja, you are ninja, we are ninja too..."
  • South African rap/comedy trio Die Antwoord are lead by MC Ninja... who sings about little else. In a thick Afrikaans accent. It's better than it sounds.
  • Kamikaze Highlander by Andrew of Songs To Wear Pants To is not exactly about Ninja, but champions this trope in spirit.
  • Ninja" by Europe is pretty much In Name Only, seeing as the song has a kind of "love during wartime" theme.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Ninja class in a Dungeons & Dragons expansion can be taken by anybody capable of PC class levels, and the book itself states that ninja could be anyone. Given the nature of D&D settings, this means you may well encounter ninja wizards, ninja orcs, ninja Catfolk (the racial abilities really fit the class by the way), ninja barbarians (figure that one out), ninja Giants, ninja pirate zombies...
    • In The Complete Ninja's Handbook for AD&D's second edition, the ninja is an entirely separate class which was essentially a thief with reduced thief abilities, a new martial arts system, a clan, and a few new items. One kit was also capable of very limited magic, while another had a very gimped form of the fighter class's weapon specialization. Of course, for reasons unknown to posterity, elves could not be ninja, but dwarves could.
  • Warhammer Fantasy has Dark Elf ninjas and ratman ninjas, as well as more traditional Nipponese human ninjas in Fanon.
  • Ninja Burger is a card game based on a joke website about fast food delivery ninjas. (Guaranteed delivery in 30 minutes or less, or we commit Seppuku!) I'd say more, but the awesomeness that is Ninja Burger must be experienced for oneself.
    • Not just a card game. There's a tabletop RPG done by 9th Level Games, too. There's even a McNinja clan among the possible clans your ninja can hail from!
    • Naturally, Ninja Burger's arch-rivals are Pirate Pizza.
  • The Talislanta game features Mandalan Mystic Warriors and Mondre Khan Raiders in the Kang Empire, which is more Chinese than Japanese in flavor. The Rajan Assassin-Mage is apparently supposed to evoke the historical hashishin, yet carries a strong whiff of McNinja as well.
  • SPANC Space Pirate Amazon Ninja Catgirls, a boardgame illustrated by Phil Foglio where Space Pirate Amazon Ninja Catgirls fight for loot and cute poolboys.

    Video Games 
  • Pedro Cortes of Kessen III is a Spaniard and a ninja-class officer.
  • In Shadow Hearts: From the New World, one of your party members is a Brazilian ninja, who hails from a hidden ninja village deep in the Amazon rain forest. Brazilian-style ninjutsu apparently centers on turning any vaguely elongated object into a sword by sticking a hilt on it. This party member is also a Highly-Visible Ninja, considering his bright red-blue costume(with a glowing deely-bopper antennae on the headpiece), and his habit of trying to hide... by holding up an American flag in front of himself. Did we mention he also works for the CIA?
    • Frank actually seems to be of Slavic descent, disappointing his father by leaving to study ninjutsu in the jungles of South America instead of taking over the family fireworks business. He later decides to bridge the eternal gap between fireworks and ninjas by sticking a hilt on a firework and using it as a sword. Even if he were less conspicuous, he's not a very good ninja, as he's constantly berated by his master — a giant talking cat who serves as second-in-command to Al Capone.
    • Ninjutsu seems to be a sport of world-wide popularity in that world, as he gains at least one skill by winning a Mini-Game against a ninja from a rival German ninjutsu school.
  • Vega, from the Street Fighter series, styles himself as a Spanish ninja. He's a cage fighter, so he can afford to be highly visible.
    • Sodom from Street Fighter and Final Fight may be trying to be a ninja, or a samurai, or something else entirely. It's hard to tell because he's so very bad at trying to be Japanese.
    • Guy (one of the three heroes of Final Fight and a member of the SF roster in more recent games) plays this trope half-straight; he's a Japanese-born naturalized American, although you probably wouldn't have been able to tell this had it not been for supplementary materials.note 
    • As of Super Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter x Tekken it's almost officially certain as being a retcon. His website lists his place of birth as the USA.
  • Sub-Zero, Frost, Smoke and a good number of other ninja-types from the Mortal Kombat series were members of the Lin Kuei, the Chinese equivalent of the ninja. Scorpion, however, was a Japanese ninja, as reflected in his suit changes and choice of sword in the 3D games.
    • The Lin Kuei claim the inverse of McNinja: the ninja tradition started when a Lin Kuei named Takeda absconded to Japan with their secrets.
    • The Lin Kuei also claim to not be Ninjas.
    • To wit: Cyrax is Motswana (meaning he's from Botswana, a country in Southern Africa), the Sub-Zero brothers are of mixed Chinese-American ethnicity, and Smoke is Czech. And, while not stated outright, we can assume Sektor to be Chinese, what with being the son of the Grandmaster and all.
    • The automated Sektor, a former member of Lin Kuei, killed the clan's Grandmaster and briefly assumed leadership until the younger Sub-Zero cast him out. In response, Sektor created the Tekunin, a clan composed of cyborg ninjas. And yeah, these are (or were, as might be the case) based in Japan.
    • For the record, the Lin Kuei actually existed, and are obscure enough to qualify this as an example of Shown Their Work.
    • The Mortal Kombat Legacy web series just makes the Lin Kuei Japanese, despite having Chinese names.
  • The Metal Gear series had quite a few: first there was the Black Ninja from Metal Gear 2, who was actually Kyle Schneider, the South African resistance leader who helped Snake in the first Metal Gear. Then there was the Cyborg Ninja in Metal Gear Solid, who was actually Gray Fox, Snake's combat buddy from the first two MSX games. And finally, there's Raiden in Metal Gear Solid 4, who helped Snake during the events of Metal Gear Solid 2, but became a Cyborg Ninja afterward (noticed a pattern?). There's also Olga Gurlukovich in MGS2, who was not actually a Cyborg Ninja, but was disguised as one when she helped out Raiden as a double agent. The Tengu Commandos in MGS2 are Elite Mooks who wear ninja-like high-tech equipment, but are all Russians.
  • Samurai Shodown has Galford and Earthquake, from California and Texas, respectively (despite both states being Spanish and Mexican territories at the time).
  • Chipp Zanuff of Guilty Gear is an American ninja. He isn't too happy about that, either, and often bugs the Japanese native Anji to teach him Japanese so that he can at least act the part. He learn the art from a Japanese assassin (a feat in itself considering they're short in supply in-series).
    • From the game's Spiritual Successor, BlazBlue, Bang. Japan, along with most of the world, was wiped out two hundred years previous by the Black Beast, but he's a self-proclaimed ninja from Ikaruga, an in-universe Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Japan. The thing is, he doesn't look Japanese, and from his physical appearance, you probably wouldn't tell he was a ninja either. He looks more like an unkempt homeless dude who inexplicably carries a giant nail around.
    • A non-ninja example, but Jin and Hakumen both have samurai motifs, in both personality and playstyle. Both of them use Japanese swords(Jin's is a katana and Hakumen's is a Nodachi), and even most of their attacks are Japanese themed as well, both having a Distortion Drive very reminiscent of a Single-Stroke Battle. Unsurprisingly, its later revealed they're the same person, well Alternate Self to be more precise. How does it come to this trope? Well Word of God say they're British.
  • Roger Sasuke from the bullet-hell shooter Shikigami No Shiro III is another American ninja.
  • A Canadian ninja: Raven from Tekken 5. Humorously, he's far more of a proper shinobi than Japanese "ninja" Yoshimitsu (who acts more like a cross between a shugenja and a samurai).
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein was originally supposed to have Nazi Ninjas, but they didn't make it into the final product due to time constraints.
    • The sequel delivered, though, converting the female Elite Guards into agile, ninja-like martial artists. There's even a piece of concept art that shows they were supposed to carry swastika-shaped shurikens, but unfortunately, they ultimately went unused.
  • F.E.A.R. has clone ninjas in the form of the Replica Assassins. Although their nationality is unknown (they're Faceless Mooks), they are produced by an American corporation.
  • Mass Effect 3 has these of the cyborg variety: Cerberus Phantoms. They have biotic barriers, flip around constantly, have guns built into their gauntlets, have an instant kill melee sword combo, can Overload your shields, and can cloak once their barrier comes down. This follows the increased focus on close combat in the third game.
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe (particularly the Revenge of the Sith video game) has Clone Assassins, Clone Troopers who have received ninja training to allow them to fight in melee combat against Jedi.
  • Rome: Total War features the Arcani, a secret society of fanatics who worship Jupiter. Armed with twin gladii, they wear intimidating masks, black shrouds and well-crafted armour. They can hide practically anywhere in the wilderness, they have exceptional stamina, fighting ability, speed and morale. To round it all off, they operate with less than half the number of a more conventional unit type, perhaps invoking the law of Conservation of Ninjutsu. Their role is to flank and ambush the enemy, and perform the least capably in a straight-up fight against superior numbers.
    • However, if Arcani units get the armor and weapon bonuses of a well-built-up city, they can stand their ground against Gladiators and Praetorians without much trouble. Urban Cohorts not so much.
  • The third Commander Keen game had Vortinija, a group of blue space dog ninjas.
  • In World of Warcraft, some Rogue talent builds and gear sets will result in a character pretty much exactly like a stereotypical ninja. However, of the eight races that can be rogues, only one has any Japanese influence at all (Night Elves) and even they have lots of other influences as well. This means that it's possible to play Medieval European Fantasy Ninja, Our Dwarves Are All the Same Ninja, All Trolls Are Different Ninja...
    • The decidedly Chinese-influenced Pandaren have their own ninja clan: Shado-pan.
  • The House of the Dead series has ninja zombies as well as cyborg versions of those.
  • Psylocke's status as this is somewhat emphasised in X-Men: Next Dimension. As in, every move she can use includes the word "ninja" somewhere, and she speaks in an incredibly thick British accent.
  • In the Golden Sun series, Ninja is a class group available to Venus, Mars, and Jupiter Adepts. There's also a set of Ninja Garb (colored gray, not black) which can be worn by just about everyone regardless of class. There is only one fantasy-counterpart-Japanese player character in the cast as of Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, so making a Ninja of anyone else would make them a McNinja.
  • Quake IV's version of the Berserker probably qualifies, as well as being very durable and hard-hitting for its speed.
  • Super Robot Wars Original Generation's Brooklyn "Bullet" Luckfield is a Caucasian samurai-in-training who pilots a Chinese Humongous Mecha.
    • From the same games, Sanger Zonvolt is a German who speaks like an old-fashioned samurai and pilots the Dygenguard, which has a samurai motif and a very large sword.
    • The Vysaga from Super Robot Wars Advance and Original Generation is a Humongous Mecha ninja of uncertain but likely non-Japanese manufacture.
  • BioShock's Spider Splicers climb on walls and ceilings, are fast and acrobatic, and throw hooks shuriken-style.
  • Fallout 3's Operation Anchorage expansion pack has Chinese Crimson Dragoons, who wear Invisibility Cloak-equipped catsuits and usually wield Chinese Officer Swords or Sniper Rifles. The player can combine the Stealth Armor and Jingwei's Shocksword for a Grey Fox-style ninja getup.
    • Fallout: New Vegas lets the player be a McNinja if they so desire and have enough DLC - just combine the Chinese Stealth Armor from Hoover Dam(although it no longer has the invisibility feature), the Assassin Suit from Dead Money or the Stealth Suit Mk II from Old World Blues with a katana from Gun Runners Arsenal.
  • Sensory Overload has two types of ninjas, the more common type that only use melee attacks, and the shuriken-throwing Invisibility Cloaked ones.
  • Corvo Attano of Dishonored is a Gothic Victorian steampunk ninja mage.
  • Ninja Commando for the Neo Geo has a multinational team of protagonists, including American ninja Joe Tiger and British ninja Rayar Dragon.
  • From Skullgirls, there is Valentine, a nurse/assassin with a great interest in eastern culture.

    Web Comics 
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: The trope namer. In addition to the shamrock shuriken-throwing Irish-American ninja-doctor of the title, there is Frans Rayner — a former Danish ninja — and his army of American ninja mooks. Who eventually come back from the dead as zombie ninjas.
  • In General Protection Fault, James Baud (aka Fooker) once faced off against French ninja maids in the Elaborate Underground Base of the supervillain Moldfinger...
  • In Freefall, Winston and Florence have a dinner date at a restaurant run by French ninja waiters. You'll be served an excellent meal, without ever seeing a single waiter...
    • They even go so far as to call out the difference between 'traditional' ninja gear and what one would actually dress like to complete a mission.
  • In It's Walky!, one of the main villains is a group of British ninja. They're commonly referred to as 'The Britjas' in conversation.
    • The Walkyverse also gives us an American wannabe-ninja in the form of Shortpacked's Ninja Rick.
  • The webcomic No Need for Bushido features a female, blonde ninja. With big boobs. And a female ninja with an eyepatch. And big boobs.
    • You forgot the female Ninja with the fan.
  • Girl Genius has Smoke Knights, who seem to be the stealth branch of Knights of Jove. So far Velchen, Violetta, Tarvek and Zola demonstrated asome impressive training. Also, one Smoke Knight in the hospital "gets herself killed trying to off the Baron, but it's not clear which in the pile of wannabe assassins' corpses (except perhaps the first fake nurse, as she neither was already infiltrated nor remembered to stab first and scream never).
    • Also, Wulfenbachs had the Black Squad as a high-tech variety and Stealth Fighters as commandos variety. The former gave a good fright to Wooster and were mopped up by Zola's minions (i.e. Knights of Jove's operatives) prepared to face them, and the latter ended up at the wrong end of Conservation of Ninjutsu in an overt mission where they ran into bunch of Jäger generals and one Smoke Knight.
  • In Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire, almost every race in the cosmos — from uplifted cats to ambulatory mountains to humanoid insects — has something identifiable as a ninja. This trope is shamelessly invoked and even named the Universal Ninja Puzzle — "Many of these races cannot see eye to eye (literally) on the definition of such basic concepts as Food, Shelter, Sex and Memory, but they all have Ninja." And they all think that the others are a bunch of posers.
  • This strip of The Order of the Stick features a waitress that suddenly appears next to the table, causing Vaarsuvius to angrily exclaim about waiters that sneak up on you. The waitress explains that she's putting herself through ninja school.
    • While Azure City is effectively Japan, nothing on earth could justify Redcloak's (now deceased) Goblin ninja. Replaced by Hobgoblin Ninja.
      • There's plenty of justification, you just failed your spot check looking for it.
      • Indeed, it's right here. One of the gods thought they would be fun. Done and done.
    • The prequel book Start of Darkness contains what may be the most horrifying ninja sub-breed ever conceived... Ninja Clowns.
  • Sam and Fuzzy includes an international brotherhood of ninjas, most of whom are McNinjas.
  • Wikkity from Panda Xpress. Although he claims that the only real American ninja is Michael Dudikoff.
  • Quantum Ninja, in an otherwise European medieval fantasy dimension in Casey and Andy.
  • Homestuck Dave and his Bro, self-described as "ironic rapping roof ninjas". The two employ katanas and Flash Step techniques in hash-rap battles on the rooftops of Houston, considering themselves governed solely by Rule of Cool.
  • The ninjas in the current storyline of The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! are Japanese, but the Running Gag of the story is that all the ancient Japanese dialogue is translated as wildly inappropriate modern American slang. This is driving the Grammar Squirrel (the resident Grammar Nazi) to distraction.
  • The Dreadful has Bludkolt, a ninja horse!
  • Agrippa Varus of Terra isn't called a ninja in-universe but it clearly had an influence on his design (black clothes, melee weapons strapped to his back, more weapons concealed, One-Man Army). See here especially, after which a commenter called him an "alien space ninja".

    Web Original 
  • The "Panous-Panous" — Mooks in the amateur French sentai show France Five (no, really) — have been described as "ninja-mimes".
  • The original website for Ninja Burger is dedicated to this trope- also quite literally.
  • Ask a Ninja doesn't quite count as this, but his theme song does.
  • Nex of the Whateley Universe. Ruthless mutant-powered ninja killer. Who happens to be English. Also, the 'ninjas' at Superhero School Whateley Academy tend to be Americans and Europeans, not Asian at all.
  • Ninja The Mission Force runs on this Godfrey Ho-fueled trope.
  • The Nostalgia Critic flies into a rant about this during his 3 Ninjas review when he sees the telephone operator:
    Nostalgia Critic: WHY IS THE TELEPHONE OPERATOR WEARING A NINJA SUIT?! What is the point? Is the telephone operator a martial artist? If so, why isn't he out there fighting with the rest of the ninjas? What is the purpose of hiring a martial artist to answer the telephone?! It makes no sense!

    Western Animation 
  • The public library in Jacob Two-Two has a squad of highly-trained "Library Ninja" specialized in recovering overdue books.
  • Snake-Eyes from G.I. Joe a blond-haired blue-eyed white American who trained in Japan under the same master as Storm Shadow (who is a full blooded Japanese), although his backstory was not given as much emphasis in the cartoons as it was in the comics.
    • And by "not as much emphasis" we mean "none at all", at least in the Sunbow episodes. It didn't help that following the first two miniseries, the cartoon's writers had a hard time using a fully-masked mute ninja commando, so they put him in the background. The DiC seasons featured Snake-Eyes more, and he's been a core character in Sigma 6 and Renegades.
  • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were explicitly trained by a Japanese ninja, who had moved to New York and got turned into a rat. However, they are in every other way 100% American.
    • More commonly in adaptations, Splinter was always a rat who watched his former Ninja owner and learned from him before being mutated into a humanoid.
  • On The Fairly OddParents, Poof becomes a ninja during the "Wishology" trilogy thanks to television.
  • Embarrassment Ninjas in Kim Possible. Drakken even lampshades this quoting "I guess in their profession, it pays to specialize."
  • Prowl and Jazz of Transformers Animated. Alien robot ninja, masters of metallikato and circuitsu. Prowl's still working on mastering processor-over-matter to unlock the really cool stuff, though.
  • Family Guy: In one Peter Griffin Imagine Spot, he pretends he's the star of a nineties situational comedy called "My Black Son"; the theme song ends with the claim "also, he's a ninja!"
    • Another Charlie and the Chocolate Parody episode has one of the golden ticket winners be an American ninja who appears to be a completely normal married man, aside from the obvious.
  • Subverted by the Shadowkhan in Jackie Chan Adventures. If paying attention, one might initially think it strange that Shendu, a demon sorcerer of Chinese origin, would have control over a magical army of ninjas (which, of course, are Japanese). This is explained come season 4, however, when it's revealed that Shendu possessed an artifact owned by Tarakudo, King of the Shadowkhan, which granted him that control.
  • In the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers episode "The Case of the Cola Cult", said cult's second-in-command Bubbles has a ninja team of henchmen for no good reason, though instead of being garbed in the traditional black, they are dressed in the soda-colors (orange, grape, and cherry) of the rest of the cult's members.

    Real Life 
  • Ninjas themselves could be considered the 14th-century-onwards equivalent of the 11th century Hashishin, now Nizari.
    • So ninjas are hasshashin-san.
      • Or maybe not, as ninjas may date back further than some think. According to the Ninpiden ninja manual of 1560, the ninja were founded in the period of Emperor Gao (256/7BC - 195BC) during the Han dynasty of ancient China, and their skills were later passed on to Japan. Granted, the authors of the manual was working purely from oral traditions and had no proof or recordings, so this may or may not be true.
    • And the equivalent of many special forces units like SAS, Navy SEAL s, Spetznaz — what do the JSDF have?
      • The JGSDF's SF unit is the Special Forces Group, modeled after Delta Force. The JMSDF has the Special Boarding Unit, modeled after the British SBS. The latter had requested Navy SEAL assistance, but they didn't have the time to do so which is why they turned to the British instead.
  • Bizarrely, a lot of American ninjutsu enthusiasts actually went to the trouble of learning Ninjutsu from actual Japanese practitioners. These practitioners learned it in clear lines of delineation from Masaaki Hatsumi himself. Effectively, this means that there actually are a bunch of guys in Kentucky and other VERY American places who knows ninjutsu as much as any of the "legitimate" practitioners in Japan today.
    • It should be noted that Masaaki Hatsumi's version of ninjutsu is unverified as legitimately descended from whatever form was practiced in older times. Then again, so is everybody else's, since the ninja were careful to not leave detailed records
    • Some would say that being able to convince the world that his particular variety of ninjutsu was actually descended from ninja proves that - as a properly trained ninja is a master of deception - even if it isn't, he still qualifies as a true ninja.
  • Knife and martial arts enthusiasts tend to refer to people who seem to have more interest in being cool than practical as "mall ninjas", and their concept of martial arts as "bullshido". The terms are obviously not complimentary.


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