Ninku is a shonen manga series that ran in Weekly Shonen Jump from 1993 to 1995. It was also given an animated adaptation by Studio Pierrot and aired on Fuji TV in 1995-96 replacing the then-recently concluded YuYu Hakusho in its timeslot of Saturdays at 6:30 PM.
The series follows the adventures of Fuusuke, Aicho and Toji, along with Toji's sister and a penguin. Long ago, a civil war erupted between the imperium and the ninku clan. The ninku were a fierce group of ninja with classical majic ninjutsu, divided into 12 ninku corps. All three of the guys were captains of their respective corps. Eventually the ninku were disbanded as the war went sour and now the remaining three are trying to find a way to defeat the imperium.
Although the show was once dubbed it was never released in the US although it did run on AXN in Southeast Asia. Only the dubbed movie was ever released in the US courtesy of Media Blasters. Most the episodes can be found at Veoh but only a few of the beginning episodes will be subbed.
This series is notable for being the inspiration behind Naruto, although some would lean more towards plagiarism, seeing how similar the Rasengan and the Kuatsuken are. Masashi Kishimoto even initially drew Naruto in an outfit similar to Fuusuke.
Also has an sequel known as Ninku-second stage which ran in Ultra Jump from 2005 to 2011.
Ninku provides examples of:
- Alternate Continuity: The anime's story is completely independent of the original manga, and not only is the story completely different, some of the characters' personalities are too.
- Blow You Away: Fuusuke, aka Proto-Naruto. "Wind is my ally. I counter your attack with AIR PRESSURE!"
- Conveniently an Orphan/ Parental Abandonment: One of the biggest differences between the manga and the anime is that in the manga Fuusuke's parents died before the start of the story.
- The Determinator: Fuusuke which is really saying something when a 12 year old boy happens to have more will power than the two grown men he has for comrades.
- Dishing Out Dirt: Toji is captain of the snake corp and generally uses earth moves that take the form of a pretty live looking giant snake.
- Doppleganger Spin: Used by Fuusuke because he is the fastest of the members and specializes on training the muscle groups in his calf.
- Eastern Zodiac: The 12 Ninku corps each are named under and animal of these.
- Fartillery: Hiroyuki(Fuusuke pet penguin) is capable of releasing explosives farts in the anime.
- Gonk: Fuusuke, who sort of looks like a frog.
- Hand Seals: Not very often used except for particularly awesome moves and even then they aren't very many sequences.
- Highly-Visible Ninja: Subverted in that when the clan was still around they covered their faces and wore dark colors. Once they had disbanded Fuusuke wears an ORANGE shirt. And don't even start with Toji.
- He-Man Woman Hater: Most definitely Aicho, who shows his utter disdain for every time Rihoko goes all fangirl on him.
- In a Single Bound: Aicho who was captain of the rooster corp who would probably give blaziken a jump for its money.
- The Load: Rihoko is literally a load, seeing as she has to piggyback on a penguin in no less than the opening! Heck even the penguin is superhum...just super.
- Missing Mom: Fuusuke's mother was taken from him when he was even younger and smaller than he was. that guy ended up being the main bad who was completely destroyed, proving don't mess with Fuusuke.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Dragons represent the purest form of the Ninku art but they aren't physical beings. The ultimate dragon is the Tenkuu Dragon.
- Recycled Soundtrack: With much of the staff being carried over from YuYu Hakusho, it was only natural that Yusuke Honma was brought along too, and as a result, some of his compositions from Yu Yu Hakusho are recycled for Ninku.