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Anime / Ninja Scroll: The Series

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

From a pure action standpoint it's generally a worthy sequel to the original movie, though there's not quite as much character development, and its tone shifts from historical fantasy to a more futuristic feel. Also, it leans on Futaro Yamada's The Kouga Ninja Scrolls even more than the movie.


  • Adaptational Badass: Jubei's sword skills are implied to be Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane at the best in the film, but now in the series he has really supernatural powers and can emit wind slashes from his sword. In general, while he used to run away and save himself by sheer luck against the Eight Demons, he is now the biggest force on the setting.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • In contrast with the openly treacherous old bastard from the film, Dakuan is here a surprisingly selfless character, going on his own will to help Shigure and company and working to keep the reason and unity on the main group. Only in the last episodes he regains some of his old personality.
    • Jubei himself is arguably more heroic and, as in the film he was more of a Wild Card and only got involved in the Kimon plot because he had been blackmailed by Dakuan.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Conversely to Jubei, who gains superpowers in this series as opposite to the movie, Dakuan seems to be here a common old man, without any of the ninjutsu powers he showed in the film like his Rubber Man and Chameleon Camouflage abilities.
  • Appendage Assimilation: One of the recurring enemy ninjas from the Kimon Shu is a bald woman with Frankenstein-like stiches all over her body and multiple arms. She's able to attach limbs to herself from anyone she cuts down using surgical tools that emerge from her torso.
  • Arm Cannon: In the place of Aizen's right arm.
  • Attempted Rape: Whenever Azami appears, this is to be expected.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Both the Kimon and Hiruko clans are gone for good, while Shigure and her friends are alive and with the chance to start new lives. However, they believe Jubei to be dead, as he is following his journey without telling them (for whatever reason).
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Hoo, boy...
  • Body Horror: Every single one of the villains, but especially Nenmu, who is really just an eyeball and sentient slime.
  • Body Surf: Nenmu takes over bodies of others to fight.
  • Bond One-Liner: Jubei lets out some.
    "He had guts. Lots and lots of guts."
  • Broad Strokes: The series is indecisive about his status as a sequel to the movie or a completely new continuity. On one hand, Jubei vaguely seems to remember Dakuan and to know the Kimon guys, and his hat has a cut in it just as he received it in the film. On the other hand, the events on the film are never ever mentioned, even whenever it would be weird not to; Jubei still uses plain string to tie his katana scabbard instead of the headband Kagero gave him; and, finally, there is the detail that in the original film there was no Kimon clan, but simply eight ninja who called themselves the Eight Demons of Kimon.
  • Broken Bird: Subverted. By all rights, Shigure should be this and a pile of insanity to boot, given all she's gone through by the end. Instead, she kicks ass and looks awesome while doing so.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Rengoku is yandere for her brother Jyashi and is driven to madness once he is killed.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday / Bump into Confrontation: The widow of a samurai has spent years Walking the Earth with her son, trying to find the man who killed her husband so she can avenge him. She confronts Jubei, who says he's killed so many people it's difficult to remember specific ones. He eventually remembers after she provides some details, and vaguely recalls killing a samurai who challenged him to a duel to the death for accidentally brushing against him. The woman is shocked and horrified that her husband threw his life away for such a petty reason. Jubei simply says it was reason enough for those known as samurai. (This is actually Truth in Television, real life samurai were known to do this.)
  • Cat Girl: Nekome, who has furry arms and legs, claws to the sides of her hands and is followed around by a cat.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: Whenever the two ninja clans have a battle, it's often between one member with bizarre superpowers versus another.
  • Convenient Decoy Cat: When a group of ninja fail to kill their target (who turns out to be an undead monster), the team leader uses a cat as a Ninja Log to avoid some projectiles and escape.
  • Creepy Centipedes: After slicing one giant mook open, Jubei finds out that there was one hiding inside.
  • The Ditz: Dakatsu. Not only he offers Rengoku his sting tail in future exchange for the stone (what in the heaven would impede Rengoku from killing him with his own sting instead of carrying out her part?), he also idiotically demands her to perform a surgical procedure on him (what would impede her to kill him in midst of the surgery?) without knowing all of Rengoku's skills. The predictable result is Dakatsu being unceremoniously killed.
  • Doomed Hometown: The series begins with this; unlike most Doomed Hometowns, though, the townspeople don't go down without a fight as absolutely everyone in the village is secretly a ninja dedicated to protecting one woman. Unfortunately, the ones attacking them are a giant robot of death and a woman who spawns man-eating demons from her skin, so they're still screwed.
  • Expy/Shout-Out: Several characters are very similar to some from The Kouga Ninja Scrolls, if not in looks and role, in abilities.
    • Mozuku is one to Shougen Kazamachi.
    • Rokai is an overall one (if significantly less competent) to Jousuke Udono.
    • Ubume and her son to Tenzen Yakushiji and his brother.
    • Kitsunebi to Hotarubi in their skill controlling butterflies.
    • Tobizaru to Nenki Mino.
  • Escort Mission: Jubei's primary job in this series is protecting Shugure on their journey.
  • Eye Remember: Jyashi can take eyes out of corpses and insert them into a device on his eye socket to watch the deceased's last moments and learn from their failure. He can then trap his enemies inside an illusory world and set the memories he has collected to attack them.
  • Fan Disservice: Basically all of the villains are a form of this. A very disturbing form. Naked women? Check. Naked women with varying levels of insanity and Body Horror? Also check.
  • Faux Action Girl: Shigure hits hard. She is established in the very first episode as a very competent fighter, but she is vastly outperformed by her own retainers and becomes a Damsel in Distress for the rest of the series. Every time she draws her knife, you know she is going down without throwing a slash.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Downplayed with Ubume and Azami. The former wears some kind of plate mail in her crotch and belly and covers her breats with Godiva Hair, while the latter's genitalia and nipples are covered by a wood-like substance.
  • Genre Shift: The movie had a dark, gritty historical fantasy setting in which supernatural elements were very rare and wicked. The series, on the other hand, is set a lighter and more adventurous world (even visually colored with much lighter tones) where everybody is superhuman and all sorts of futuristic technologies exist.
  • Giving Them the Strip: Both Ubume and Azami are forced to fight in the nude after losing her clothes. The latter keeps a nightgown under her dress, but she loses it too.
  • Godiva Hair: Ubume's nipples are covered only by her hair after she ditches her clothes.
  • Groin Attack: The vampire Kawahori humiliates a trapped Azami by sucking her blood through her vagina with his sucker tongue.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja: Most of the cast are shinobi only in name, as they have usually zero ninja attributes aside from supernatural skills. You could switch the word "ninja" for "wizard" in the dialogues and you wouldn't note the difference.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Rengoku backstabs Nubatama through her left breast. Nubatama survives this only to later get impaled by several blades through her entire chest until she's completely drained of blood.
  • Invincible Hero: While the movie was notable for avoiding this trope, the series totally embraces it. In the series, Jubei plows through all his opposition with minimal effort.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal\It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: Shigure doesn't particularly enjoy being the Light Maiden, as all it brings her is an endless line of ninja trying to kidnap her. When she fully awakens to her powers as the Light Maiden, the first thing she does with them is to strip herself of those powers, leaving her a normal girl.
  • Looks Like Orlok: Mozuku.
  • Mêlée à Trois: During the series, there's the Hiruko vs the Kimon vs Jubei's group.
    • In the final battle, Jubei's group allies with the Hiruko and the Yagyu Clan, fighting for the shogunate, act as the third side.
  • Mobile-Suit Human: Leaders of Hiruko and Kimon clan are revealed to be the trope.
  • Monster of the Week: Every episode features Jubei having to fight off at least one (and usually two or three) enemy ninja looking for the Light Maiden, the Dragon Stone, or both. Said opponents are usually someone introduced that episode, who die that episode (some of them return for a second round before dying).
  • Ninja Log: Dakuan takes it a step further: his ninja log is stuffed full of lit sticks of dynamite!
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Nubatama tries to seduce Jyashi once she finds him analyzing Nekome's corpse, but he just swings his blade at her in response.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The Hiruko spend much of the series trying to kill Jubei because one of their people interrogated the corpse of one of their fallen and learned that Jubei had the Dragon Stone. If he had thought to ask one more question, specifically how Jubei got it, he would have learned that this was because their dead man had given it to him, asking that Jubei complete his mission to get it to the Light Maiden and protect her. This would have obviated the Hiruko of any need to attack Jubei's party, simplifying the plot immensely.
  • Prehensile Hair: Nubatama can manipulate her long hair to constrict her enemies.
  • Redshirt Army: The Anti-Villain Hiruko clan. While not extremely weaker in comparison, they are typically less capable than their Kimon counterparts and tend to go down in every encounter between the two clans.
  • Shock and Awe: Yamidoro, leader of the Kimon clan, generates electricity through his gauntlet.
  • World of Badass: It's not a matter of normal guys versus badass guys so much as Badass Normal guys versus Superhumanly Badass guys versus Physical Gods. Even the comedy relief thief has an improbable ability — He can fling rocks with incredible accuracy.