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Pirates vs. Ninjas

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Cheetah Lee: [reading from Bruce's message in a bottle] "Cheetah Lee, you'll never stop me this time. I've combined two ancient enemies into one unstoppable force. XOXOXO, Bruce."
Gordon: He couldn't possibly mean...
Cheetah Lee: Cats and Dogs?
Gordon: No, Bruce tried that one years ago.
Cheetah Lee: Dinosaurs and Laser-Penguins?
Gordon: They disarmed.
Cheetah Lee: So it must be Ninjas...
Gordon: ...and Pirates.

Pirates are cool, and so are ninjas, so pirates fighting ninjas must be awesome!

In the nerd fiction of the late noughties and the early New Tens, pirates' most hated enemies usually seemed to be ninjas, and vice-versa. The fact that real life Caribbean pirates and Japanese ninjas didn't even live in the same time period, much less the same hemisphere, is irrelevant thanks to the Rule of Cool. That being said the idea of a ninja/pirate matchup is not really that absurd; while they would have never met a stereotypical Caribbean pirate, ninjas did coexist in the same region and time period with a different stripe of pirate, the Wokou, and it is not out of the realm of possibility there were conflicts between the two professions. In fact, some bands of ninja actually operated as pirates themselves on the side. Go figure.

Compare also Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot and Elves Versus Dwarves (though the Pirates are more likely to be the Dwarves).

A Sub-Trope of Cool Versus Awesome. May be involved in a Cavemen Versus Astronauts Debate. As noted above, this was a trope largely associated with the internet from around 2007-2012, and is, if not a wholly Discredited Trope today, at least a somewhat dated one, and could be on its way to being a Forgotten Trope.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the Samurai Champloo episode "Bogus Booty", Mugen (who isn't a stereotypical pirate but has done some "pirating") squares off against some ninjas.
  • In One Piece, the Ninja-Pirate-Mink-Samurai Alliance must battle against the forces of the Beasts Pirates and the corrupted Wano government led by Orochi. On both sides of the conflict, there are pirates and ninjas facing off against each other.

    Card Games 

    Comic Books 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics): Given a nod in "Pirate Plunder Panic" when the Chaotix run into a bunch of pirates. Vector asks Espio, a ninja, how he feels about this. Espio refuses to comment.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • An episode of Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger has all three core members of Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger turn up, demanding their powers back. The episode is actually called Pirates vs Ninjas.
  • Deadliest Warrior averted and defied this trope. While the aim was to solve rivalries like this, they didn't do this one, though both pirate and ninja were featured (Ninja vs. Spartan and Pirate vs. Knight: the Ninja lost, as it turns out the Spartan shield is truly something to behold — with the spear being none too shabby either — while the Pirate beat the Knight, as firearms gave a decisive advantage).

  • Alestorm:
    • "Back Through Time" has pirates going back in time to fight vikings. They also mention having fought ninja in passing.
    • "Death Throes of the Terrorsquid" also mentions that pirates defeated vikings and slain ninjas.
  • The Fold:
    • "Bring on the Pirates"

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Defied by Pirates and Ninjas Are Totally Awesome, the first tag team title holders of New Zealand's Impact Pro Wrestling.
  • Leva Bates showed up for her SHINE match against one half of the Canadian Ninjas, Portia Perez, dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The "Brown Islands" setting in the Discworld Roleplaying Game sets up the possibility of a pirate-ninja clash. Some Flavor Text in the second edition of the game features an angst-ridden ninja who has been assigned to infiltrate pirate society...
    The problem was, his lengthy immersion in the attitudes of his new shipmates had caused him to develop doubts about the practicality of his previous training – despite the fact that his upbringing and grasp of subtlety made him fully aware of the ludicrousness of his shipmates’ behaviour. So now, although he could both scream while hurling a throwing star and go “Yah!” while wielding a cutlass, he couldn’t quite keep a straight face while doing either. He didn’t fit in anywhere.
  • As mentioned above, in Ninja Burger one of the obstacles is rival food delivery company Pirate Pizza.
  • Pirates and Ninjas are two of the factions in Smash Up, a card game where the players combine two decks representing a faction like "Aliens" or "Dinosaurs" and fight it out against another player's combination. So you could have Pirates and Tricksters vs. Ninjas and Aliens, or Pirates and Ninjas vs. Dinosaurs and Robots.

    Video Games 
  • The King of Fighters XI has B. Jenet, a Pirate girl vs. Mai Shuranui, a Ninja girl, which is quite possibly the hottest Cat Fight in gaming.
  • AdventureQuest Worlds and DragonFable both have an ongoing conflict between Pirates and Ninjas... Amongst other supernatural things.
  • Saints Row 2 has the "Fuzz" Activity, a side quest where you're a Cop on a reality TV show, and you have to stop randomly generated crimes. One of them is to "Break up the Fight of the Century," which when you arrive at the checkpoint turns out to be a gang of pirates fighting a gang of ninjas.
    "Attention all cars, this is dispatch, we have Pirates vs Ninjas, repeat, Pirates vs Ninjas."
  • On one quest in World of Warcraft ("Our Mortal Enemies") where you've infiltrated a pirate band, the pirates send you on a mission to attack their mortal enemies... ninjas!
  • Fire Emblem Gaiden released in 1992 averted this trope. One of the game's classes is the Ninja Based Dread Fighter, and yet all of the default characters, and Mooks of the class in the game are stereotypical pirates complete with eyepatches.
  • A Google search reveals multiple Flash games on the theme.
  • There is a game for Nintendo Wii called "Pirates Vs Ninjas Dodgeball".
  • The first Tenchu game has a mission ('Destroy The Foreign Pirates' on USA and Europe version, 'Invasion Of The Southern Barbarian Pirates' on Japanese version) where your ninjas are to destroy a band of bloodthirsty pirates who sailed in from Europe.
  • Atari's 1989 game Skull & Crossbones is the Ur-Example; it allowed the players to play as pirates fighting against ninjas.
  • Crossover Shonen Jump fighting games featuring Naruto and One Piece characters, such as Battle Stadium D.O.N, Jump Super/Ultimate Stars, J-Stars Victory Vs and Jump Force. The Naruto characters are ninjas, and the One Piece characters are pirates, soooooo.......
  • League of Legends usually uses this trope to hype on the announcements of certain Champions. So far they have 2 pirates, Gangplank and Miss Fortune (the latter is more like Pirate Hunter rather than true pirate, however) and 4 ninjas, Shen, Kennen, Akali and Zed (the last one is evil). While they do not interact much in the lore, there was once an event about the Noxus attacking Ionia, where the ninjas were stationed. Both Gangplank and Miss Fortune were included in the Noxus pool of champions, whereas the ninjas minus Zed (who wasn't announced yet when the event took place) were included in the Ionia pool of champions. The result: Ionia wins, thus the Ninjas win.
  • The Pirate and Imperial stories in LEGO Battles have a Ninja clan teaming up with the Imperials after the Pirate's Islander allies captured their Ninja Master. The presence of these rather out of place ninjas in this setting was most definitely an excuse for this trope to happen.
  • Chivalry: Deadliest Warrior allows you to play as ninjas and pirates (out of 6 classes), so you could easily settle this debate with your friends.
  • In the Scribblenauts games, spawning a pirate and a ninja close to each other will cause them to fight. In Scribblenauts Unlimited, this is required to get one of the starite shards.
  • A Neopets Games Master Challenge used this exact theme. The Ninjas came out on top in the end.
  • The first Splatoon had the Halloween 2015 American Splatfest themed after this. The event's introduction called out the sheer silliness of this "rivalry".
    Callie: It's time to settle a rivalry as old as time itself!
    Marie: Yeah! Wait... What?
  • The third Fancy Pants Adventures game involves Fancy Pants Man fighting his way through a pirate ship, which eventually gets invaded by the pirates' sworn enemies, an army of miniature ninjas.
  • Castle Crashers includes some Pirate Ninjas as enemies in one level.
  • Likewise, the Borderlands 2 DLC campaign Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty also includes some Pirate Ninjas as enemies.
  • A mission in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion capitalizes on this trope. One of the earliest missions of the Dark Brotherhood, a guild of assassins that specialize in stealth and who typically wear ninja-like skin-tight black garbs, is to sneak aboard a pirate ship and kill the captain.
  • In PewDiePie's Tuber Simulator, a Pirate vs. Ninja themed event was held on early 2017 April, which had Pirates and Ninjas accessories for sale. Players can use the furniture and accessories to decorate their rooms.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, some of the Ninja job quests pit you against Limsa Lominsa's resident pirates. On one occasion, they've even picked up on some basic ninjutsu from a traitor, making them ninja pirates.
  • Return of the Dark Sorcerer creates an Eastern RPG version with Moogles vs. Prinnies.
  • Referenced in New Style Boutique 2: Fashion Forward: Throughout the game, Eliza auditions for various genre movies in detailed home-made costumes. She appears dressed as a ninja in Maple Drive, and after failing to get the part, reappears on the beach dressed as a pirate, where she says that "Pirates are cooler than ninjas, anyway".
  • Ikemen Sengoku: Time-traveling astrophysics student-turned-ninja Sasuke's route has a climactic fight between him and mad pirate Motonari Mouri on the deck of his ship. Sasuke, being Sasuke, lampshades this:
    Sasuke: I believe it's time to settle the fated battle between pirates and ninja once and for all — luckily, fate's on my side.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • The Order of the Stick: This comic references the Pirates Vs. Ninjas debate.
    Haley: Ah, Ninja vs. Pirate, the age-old debate.
    Belkar: And by "age-old" she means "showed up on the internet like two years ago, at most."
  • Questionable Content has Pintsize (the AnthroPC—a PC/robot) steal Faye's panties and pretend he's an Underwear Ninja. Faye responds by sticking a bra 'round her head like a pirate eyepatch, thus becoming, in Pintsize's words, "A Bra Pirate! The nemesis of all Underwear Ninja." Marten's response? To paraphrase, "WTF?"
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja:
    • According to the doctor, pirates and ninjas originally became rivals because the ninjas thought it would be funny.
    • The McNinja clan of ninja got its start when a pirate band attacked Ireland in winter and the villagers counterattacked using frozen four-leaf clovers as shuriken. A ninja who happened to witness this decided they had potential and trained them.
  • The "Ninjas vs. Pirates" wallpaper from the Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures download page is a uniquely Amberish take on the subject. There's actually a funny story behind it...
  • Saudi Arabia and Somalia's fight in Scandinavia and the World, considering that Somalia is a pirate, and Saudi Arabia is a 'ninja'note 
  • Subverted in 70-Seas, the ragtag crew of Privateers includes a ninja, ten-year old Nikol Mimagi. Who has some disagreements with the others, particularly concerning Honor Before Reason (or just a child rebelling against adoptive parent, considering her age and how Serra tends to treat her), but she doesn't particularly have anything against pirates.
  • Charby the Vampirate has decimated the local ninjas in Kellwood, though he hasn't properly been a pirate for a few hundred years he does still talk like one during fights.
  • In Girl Genius Captain Hawkins' recovering Sky Pirates end up fighting a group of Smoke Knights over possession of Tarvek. The fight ends when they are forced to team up against Martellus' spark hound knights and his personal assassin when that group interrupts their fight looking to kill Tarvek.
  • In the El Goonish Shive NP story "Tedd Video Game Opinions", when Tedd is saying that outfits in video games that let you infiltrate a certain faction should also give you negative reactions from that faction's enemies, the illustration shows a character in pirate costume running from ninjas. Lampshaded in The Rant:
    That's still a thing, right? Debates about pirates Vs ninjas? Yes? No?

    You see, kids, back in the olden memes...
  • Ray Friesen's Pirate Penguin vs Ninja Chicken is based on this trope, combining it with Funny Animals.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
Cheetah Lee: Wait, are you a pirate or a ninja?
Pirate Ninja: Yes.
Cheetah Lee: I don't think you can be both.
Pirate Ninja: Bigot! I will kill you for trying to make me choose sides.

    Western Animation 
  • Ninjago:
    • An episode of the animated TV series is named after this trope. The Mega Weapon resurrects the pirates that the flying ship "Destiny's Bounty" used to belong to, and they start attacking Ninjago City. The ninjas (along with Nya in the Samurai X mech) manage to stop them and send them to jail.
    • The sixth season, Skybound, uses this theme again with the Sky Pirates variation. The ninjas' main opponent is Nadakhan, who is captain of "Misfortune's Keep" and a wish-granting Djinn.

    Real Life 
  • The Wokou (East Asian pirates) mentioned above show this trope could be Truth in Television to a certain extent. However, Wokou would hardly have been the primary enemies of ninja; they were spies and assassins, not privateers, so conflict between the two professions would probably not have been common. Not to mention that some ninja moonlighted as Wokou, so the whole "you can't be both idea" is just straight-up fiction.
  • In 1613, a Japanese diplomatic mission was sent to Spain through Mexico; along the way, a samurai fought a Spanish colonial soldier witnessed by a grandson of an Aztec nobleman. If you really, really want a historically-grounded excuse for a ninja to meet a classic Caribbean pirate, this is probably your best bet.
  • The direct action conservationist group Sea Shepherd have been called pirates by whalers, and they actually fly a flag with crossed trident and crook under a skull. On the other hand, Sea Shepherd has described some Japanese security guards being "dressed like ninjas".

Alternative Title(s): Pirates Versus Ninja, Pirates Vs Ninjas