Follow TV Tropes


Cyber Ninja

Go To
Traditional ninjutsu made deadlier by futuristic cyborg technology.

Ninjas, as far as popular culture is concerned, are cold, efficient killers. What better way to make them even deadlier than to take out the human factor and make them into literal death machines? Nothing makes a ninja's arsenal more awesome than some high-tech upgrades!

The Cyber Ninja is the ninja of the future, but unlike your typical technologically enhanced assassin they still use the traditional ninja image with either traditional, or upgraded, Stock Ninja Weaponry, and almost never a gun - they're still ninjas after all! To keep with appearances, you can expect these ninjas to have some sort of personal cloaking device and body modifications that would enhance their already superhuman conditioning. Being espionage agents, you can bet that they would be skilled hackers when it comes to information.

The heyday of the Cyber Ninja would have been the Eighties, especially with the rise of Cyberpunk mixed with Japan Takes Over the World. These ninjas would often be the perfect agents for high-tech corporate espionage or assassinations in such stories, or could even serve as a mook army for an evil tech corporation. Even after Japan's economic bubble burst, the combination of the ninjas' traditions with futuristic technology is one that sticks with popular culture to this day.

A subtrope of Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot. Compare Samurai Cowboy. Will tend to overlap with Street Samurai and Corporate Samurai, but both tropes envelop more specific concepts (the former is a freelancer in a campaign against authority while the latter is a corporate agent and more civilized than the former).

NOT related to Ghost Pirate, though a fight between the two would be totally awesome.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • The initial arc that introduced the War Machine armor in the pages of Iron Man, involved a group of cybernetic ninjas slicing up Tony Stark's normal suit, requiring a bit of More Dakka.
  • A backup feature of Savage Dragon involved the cybernetic Superpatriot going up against a group of ninja cyborgs. For added coolness, they were also Nazis.
  • There is a minor "Jobber"-type for-hire villain in Fred Perry's Gold Digger that is called "Tech Ninja", expert in espionage and using technological devices to replicate some of the more advanced Supernatural Martial Arts moves of the setting.
  • In The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, to contrast with the noble, stern Samurai design of Cyclonus, Whirl is given a sleeker ninja-esque design, additionally capable of both popping up and vanishing almost from nowhere. Though he's hardly stealthy.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • In Altered Carbon, Takeshi Kovacs temporarily sleeved in a "tech-ninja" body, that particular model had mostly organic augmentations except the shaped charge in the hand but some older ones he'd used before were cybered up.
  • The Cyber Dragons Trilogy: Has Keiko "Kei" Springs and her mentor, Snake, as two of these. Snake kidnapped her as a child and proceeded to train her as an apprentice assassin for a decade while slowly having parts of her body replaced with advanced cybernetics. The modern Kei is still mostly organic but Snake is a Full-Conversion Cyborg.
  • Jack Blank features a Peacemaker named Cyberai; a ninja with bionic limbs. He gets killed when a Rüstov Para-Soldier rips off one of Cyberai's legs to replace the one he lost in battle.
  • The eponymous threat from the Choose Your Own Adventure novel Ninja Cyborg.
  • Sprawl Trilogy:
    • The short story version of "Johnny Mnemonic" had a cyborg ninja with a monofilament wire in his thumb, disguised as a stereotypical Japanese Tourist. Johnny's new bodyguard Molly Millions kills him by challenging him to an arena fight and exploiting the environment.
    • Neuromancer had a "vat-grown ninja" named Hideo who is also referred to as a "clone" (presumably the product of genetic engineering). He was an exceptionally deadly fighter. Molly tries to take him on, but her leg, broken in an earlier confrontation and not fully healed, breaks again before anything can really happen.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • In RPGs like Cyberpunk and Shadowrun this is a common variation on the Street Samurai archetype. The former even has actual cybernetically enhanced ninja, including one Full-Conversion Cyborg ninja master.
  • The Tech-ninja clans in Rifts Japan deploy these, along with Juicer and Crazy Ninjas, to keep up with their mystic rivals from traditional clans.
  • Future Card Buddyfight: Ninjas make up one of the main majorities of Katana World, and many of them are futuristic. This includes Electron Ninja, Shiden, and Nanomachine Ninja, Tsukikage (a large ninja made of a swarm of nanobots, giving him a limited form of immortality because he's technically a blob monster).
  • Mage the Ascension had a rather obscure faction of mages called the Go Kamisori Gama who were literally cyborg ninja mages (and considering that mages were already reality warpers, the most powerful of them capable of permanently rewriting the laws of physics, or of (and this is a much "easier" trick) erasing the very concept of their own existence such that no human mind could perceive them), there's some serious overkill involved there. Do you really need ninjutsu and an ion cannon implanted in your arm when you can just be a member of the Trenchcoat Brigade like a "normal" mage?
  • After the Time Skip on Kamigawa in Magic: The Gathering, cybernetically-empowered ninja are quite common, especially among the Saiba Futurists and Reckoner Gangs.
  • Various stealth specialists in Infinity fit this trope (though in a nod to pragmatism, most carry guns of some sort), but the stand-out examples would have to be Yu Jing's various ninja troops. Or at least, they would be if Yu Jing actually had ninja, which it most certainly does not.
  • The various Imperial Temple Assassins of the Officio Assassinorum in Warhammer 40,000 fit the archetype of the futuristic ninja assassin in various ways. Vindicare Assassins are stealthy, long-range killers that stick to the shadows and hunt prey with silenced sniper rifles. Callidus Assassins are shapeshifters who get close to their targets and eliminate them with poisoned knives, swords that phase in and out of reality, and sidearms that project waves of brain-melting energy. Culexus Assassins are soulless psyker-hunters who can render themselves invisible to the naked eye and punch peoples' souls out with their unarmed strikes (although their primary weapon, a massive helmet-mounted contraption that fires bolts of anti-psychic energy, isn't much of a ninja weapon). Finally, Eversor Assassins are drug-fuelled berserkers who largely eschew stealth in favor of simply killing all the witnesses, ripping their victims apart in melee with swords and claws.

    Video Games 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: Kunoichi is a member of The Consortium's Shadow Team that specializes in ninjutsu donning a cyber-suit that lets her perform a Flash Step while wielding a katana-like blade that extends from her armor.
  • The protagonist, Lucy from Beyond Sunset is one of these, and wields a katana alongside various firearms to take down an evil corporation in the future.
  • Zer0 from Borderlands 2. It's hard to tell whether this person is a cyborg or not, but the character has a sword for their melee weapon, uses a digital Invisibility Cloak as an Action Skill and can toss explosive kunai as one of their upgrades.
  • Shadow, the main character in Cyber Shadow, is a robotic ninja who incorporates synthetic and spirit powers into his moveset. The same applies to his rival, Apparitor.
  • Phantom from Dirty Bomb is one, though his suit seems to be based off of samurai armor. He can turn invisible at will to either land a string of headshots or straight up slice someone with his katana.
  • The protagonist of Final Ninja is a ninja assassin in a futuristic world.
  • The player character in Ghostrunner is essentially this.
  • All of the ninja borgs from Gotcha Force have details that indicate that they're manufactured, but the one that most clearly fits is obvious Cyber Ninja, who shoots lasers, has Hard Light Fuuma Shuriken on its arms, and can cause damage with a series of tackles from multiple angles augmented by a Force Field.
  • Hiroyuki Ogata from Loopmancer is a high-tech ninja whose body is filled with bionic enhancements, and many of his minions are cyber-ninja warriors as well.
  • Towards the end of Mark of the Ninja you start encountering these when your boss (apparently) turns on you and equips your fellow ninja with technology stolen from the Disc-One Final Boss (technically they're only Ninja wearing Powered Armour rather than being actual cyborgs, but they still have the look and feel of this trope).
  • Mega Man:
    • Shadow Man from Mega Man 3 was built from the ground up to resemble a ninja. He's even got a Fuuma Shuriken.
    • The Mega Man X series has a few:
      • Magna Centipede from Mega Man X2 is a ninja hacker centipede robot who can teleport, hack X's systems and throw homing magnetic mines for shurikens. He used to be from the Maverick Hunter's 0th Special Unit, who were a covert ops unit.
      • Blast Hornet from Mega Man X3 is a ninja hornet robot who throws exploding bees in place of shuriken. Like Magna Centipede, he also used to be from the 0th Special Unit.
      • Dark Mantis from Mega Man X8 is a ninja mantis robot who throws Battle Boomerangs made of darkness, fires arrows made of darkness, performs Wall Jumps, and has two huge mantis arm blades as his primary melee weapons.
      • X is able to become one via the Shadow Armor in Mega Man X6, allowing him to survive touching Spikes of Doom and cling onto walls, but at the cost of using special weapons or air-dashing.
    • Mega Man Zero has Hidden Phantom, one of the Four Guardians of Copy X and the head of the Neo Arcadian intel unit. He's a Reploid like any of his brethren, and is very ninja-like — using body doubles, Fuuma Shuriken, a tanto and shadow powers to go along with it.
    • Mega Man ZX Advent has Siarnaq, the Chosen One of Model P. (The "P" stands for Phantom, as in the Reploid mentioned above.) He's arguably even more robotic (being mindless and talking in Robo Speak, save for one decidedly Not So Stoic moment if the player dies to him in his Boss Battle) and just as crafty as his Biometal's namesake.
    • Mega Man Battle Network has Dusk (aka Dark Miyabi) and his NetNavi ShadowMan.EXE, proving that even in an advanced world of internets, ninjas are still good and running.
  • Metal Gear features a recurring archetype of a "Cyborg Ninja":
  • The SNES Run-and-Gun game, Mirai Ninja (lit. "Future Ninja") has the player in control of a cyborg ninja warrior who can throw unlimited amounts of shurikens and battling hordes and hordes of Oni in a futuristic setting.
  • Metal Shinobi Assassin, in which your titular hero is a ninja armed with futuristic armor, assorted gadgets and weaponry, and on a mission to take down a warlord-turned-demon and his army.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • In the wake of Shao Kahn's invasion of Earthrealm in Mortal Kombat 3, the Lin Kuei take to cybernization in order to survive Shao Kahn's soul-ripping Depopulation Bomb at the cost of their souls, among other things creating Cyrax and Sektor and also doing the same thing to Sub-Zero's comrade Smoke. Sub-Zero, the only one who wouldn't go through with this and who was one of the warriors protected by Raiden, wound up getting hunted not only by Shao Kahn, but by his own clan as a result.
    • In Mortal Kombat 11: Having turned herself into a cyborg after allying with Kronika, Frost ups the ante by turning her defeated opponent into a Lin Kuei robo-ninja. While some of the kombatants such as Shao Kahn and Kano are unpleasant to begin with, seeing them turned into robots against their will is jarring. This is the only Fatality in the series that inflicts a Fate Worse than Death rather than just outright killing the victim. In-game banter between the kombatants show that they condemn Frost's decision to cyberize herself and betray her mentor Sub-Zero out of spite. In-story, she continues Sektor's evil work by turning her ex-Lin Kuei comrades into brainwashed robo-ninjas just to rile her ex-mentor for "under-appreciating" her potential and allying with the Shirai Ryu. When he notices what Frost has done, it horrifies Sub-Zero given he was unwillingly robotized in Mortal Kombat 9.
  • In The Ninja Warriors (1987), the title characters are a cyborg ninja and kunoichi. Essentially ninja Terminators. The SNES remake The Ninja Warriors (1994) gives us a SkeleBot 9000 ninja named Kamaitachi, and the remake of that adds a small ninja robot girl named Yaksha, as well as Raiden, a 4-meter 32-ton Transforming Mecha... who's also a ninja.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal features robot ninjas — complete with Laser Blades — as recurring Mooks.
  • Shadow Force is an arcade action game with all four of the player heroes being cybernetically-enhanced ninja warriors fighting an evil corporation in a futuristic setting.
  • Spyborgs have the sole female playable character being a cyber-kunoichi, swinging an energized katana to kick all kinds of robot ass.
  • Strider Hiryu may be 100% human biologically, but his equipment and robot summons fit this trope to a T.
  • The entire Foot Clan from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989), but that was more of a case of censorship.
  • Yoshimitsu from the Tekken series is a descendant of the Manji ninja clan from Soulcalibur and successor to the title of Yoshimitsu who wears Powered Armor, has a cybernetic arm, and carries a Laser Blade — a laser katana to be exact. The Yoshimitsu of Soulcalibur also qualifies to an extent: while he doesn't have a laser katana or powered armor, he does have a clockwork prosthetic arm.
  • In Shinobi III: Revenge of Ninja Master, the Shadow Master is an cyborg Evil Counterpart to Joe Musashi.
  • The Ninja enemies and their variants from Sonic Frontiers, while not looking much like their namesakes, they use blades and perform ninja techniques such as Ninja Run and Doppelgänger Attack.
  • Zero of Anarchy Reigns is an unusual example in that his powers are based around his own skill while he relies on nanomachines to survive, which makes him one of the odd non-cyborg characters in the game.
  • Kai Leng from Mass Effect 3 is never referred as a ninja but is a cyborg assassin with East Asian roots who fights using a katana.
    • From the multiplayer, there's the N7 Shadow and N7 Slayer, both of whom use Japanese-style swords and their unique powers over regular guns.
  • In Virtua Cop 3, Gale is a mercenary ninja who has outfitted his arsenal with high tech equipment, which includes stealth technology. He is hired by ECM for his services to fight off the Virtua City Police Department.
  • First Encounter Assault Recon: The Replica Assassins, who having cloaking devices and move insanely fast, were apparently developed as a result of research into operating in zero gravity environments.
  • Yandere Simulator: The Easter egg "Cyborg mode", in a Shout-Out to Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, turns Yandere-chan into a female cyborg ninja à la Raiden. Her running speed is nearly doubled and she gains an "Energy Sword" that immediately dismembers anybody she attacks (save for Senpai, of course).
  • Warframe: The warframes themselves are sleek space-armors capable of performing acts of stealth and agility. Ash is the purest example, with his Shuriken and Smokescreen abilities, but all 'frames are like this at least a little. Any one of them can equip shurikens and throw twenty of them in under a second, and even the most tanky 'frames are absurdly mobile and move silently. Stealth is a perfectly viable playstyle, even if it's generally considered too slow to be worth it most of the time. The game is free to play, and its tagline is "Ninjas Play Free."
  • Genji from Overwatch, who's pretty clearly designed after the Cyborg Ninjas from Metal Gear and uses shurikens and a katana in a semi-futuristic setting. Lampshaded in a Halloween event voiceline.
    "My Halloween costume? Cyborg ninja!"
  • Kaigin from Atlas Reactor has nanomachine enhancements and is therefore mostly human. He still dresses like a ninja and uses wristblades and shuriken in a setting rife with Clarke's Third Law level of technology.
  • Empire Earth: The expansion's final epoch has Cyber Ninjas as an optional unit, a melee fighter that can shut down buildings.
  • Hagane from Hagane is one of the earliest examples and he combines Supernatural Martial Arts with advanced bionics.
  • StarCrawlers has the Cyberninja class, which is, as one would expect, a ninja who specializes in melee weapons, assassinations, and stealth. Most of them originate from a secretive ship known as the Yokai, but the player can choose to start as a Cyberninja from an exiled and disgraced clan who has to get their cyborg implants through black markets.
  • Oddly enough, subverted in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, which otherwise gleefully features high-tech versions of Japanese warfare (beam-sword katanas, samurai robots and tanks, a laser-shooting Yamato...). The Shinobi is armed with perfectly mundane shuriken and blades (which admittedly go straight through Power Armor) and uses a Smoke Bomb for defense.

    Western Animation 
  • The Bots Master: Ninjzz is a robot built to be the ultimate ninja warrior, with a personality based on the greatest human ninja who ever lived. He is a Walking Armory with a multitude of arms to carry around his Stock Ninja Weaponry and wears a kendo helmet.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003): The Foot Tech Ninja wear cybernetic armor that not only makes them faster and stronger but has an inbuilt invisibility device.
  • Transformers:
    • The Transformers cartoon featured the Nightbird, a twenty foot tall female ninja robot built by the Japanese. The Decepticons make their intent to steal Nightbird and manipulate her for their own ends.
    • Transformers: Animated has Prowl, along with Jazz and Master Yoketron. Prowl is a ninja robot, but he can combine with a sidecar forming a samurai.
  • The Fearsome Hand of Four, a team of power-armored cyborg ninja, take on Batman and Red Hood in Batman: Under the Red Hood.
  • Blindstrike from Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters dons some high-tech armor, and fights with a combination of martial arts and Flexarium weaponry.
  • Samurai Jack, naturally, has dabbled in this on a few occasions:
    • In Jack Vs The Ninja, the titular ninja assassin is revealed to be a robot in the end when Jack cuts it down.
    • The Shuriken Ultra-Bot and the Katana Ultra-Bot both fit the bill, being robotic assassins sent to kill Jack. The rest use more contemporary weapons like a flamethrower and a machine gun.


Video Example(s):


Genji Shimada

A Cyborg Ninja and former member of Overwatch.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / CyberNinja

Media sources: