The year is 2049. In an attempt to revitalize Japan and bring it up to international standards, the prime minster ordered the construction of "hyperloop tunnels" that bridged it to every major country in the world. The resulting influx of mass immigration has turned Tokyo into the most crime-ridden city in the world in a scant 20 years. Individuals and corporations looking to defend themselves began hiring clandestine mercenaries who lurk in the shadows... shinobi.
Enter Jin Narumi, a 17-year-old shinobi who happens to be running up a tab at his favorite ramen truck. Unlike most others in his line of work, he and his team, the Narumi-kai, will only take work they believe to be honorable and just... which doesn't net them much cash. That's when he's approached by En, a young Thai boy he'd helped earlier, who asks to hire him as a bodyguard with the mere 100 bahtnote he has left in his wallet. Jin takes the job anyways despite the meager pay, but gets more than he bargained for when he learns that En has been guarding a priceless ninpo scroll.
Written by Yuki Tanaka and drawn by Kento Matsuura, Tokyo Shinobi Squad is an ongoing manga that was launched in Shonen Jump in June 2019. It ended circulation in December 2019.
- And the Adventure Continues
- Badass Normal: Subverted. Shuriken tells one of his mooks, a foreigner named Mayweather, to pick up a ninpo art as the only mercenaries who get by are shinobi. Maywether brushes him off, believing his skill at boxing to be more than enough. But when he faces off against Jin, he's quickly thrown to the floor and electrocuted unconscious.
- Being Good Sucks: The Narumi-kai's insistence on doing freelance work that helps the exploited and helpless keeps them from having a steady paycheck compared to their less scrupulous rivals.
- Berserk Button:
- Jin doesn't take kindly to anyone attacking a friend or client of his, disposing of entire squads of other ninja when they attack En and Papillon and their hotel room.
- Taiga's is betrayal, as he'll instantly take on any job that lets him punish the scum who use the work of others for nefarious ends.Taiga: It's scum like them who think betrayal is as easy as cake... that compel me to hunt.
- Bilingual Bonus: En tends to greet others in his native Thai and Jin slips into other languages like Arabic when he's feeling flippant.
- But Not Too Foreign:
- En is from Thailand, but he was raised by his father, a shinobi, and speaks fluent Japanese (albeit with some occasional hiccups).
- Shuriken is Half-Japanese and Half-Norwegian and is based in Shinjuku, Tokyo.
- Cut Short: The manga got hit with the axe at 27 chapters.
- Experienced Protagonist: Jin and the Narumi-kai are already household names by the time the story begins thanks to his power and his team's refusal to take dirty jobs for cash.
- Distant Finale: The story ends several years later with a grown up En getting a newer squadmate out of trouble before heading off on the Narumi-kai's next adventure.
- Heroic RRoD: Using ninpo techniques can be physically taxing. Jin loses five kilograms of weight after fighting battles back-to-back and making extensive usage of his powers. En also breaks into a sweat while rushing to memorizing a massive amount of information as quickly as he can.
- Highly Visible Ninja: Because of how widespread shinobi are, it's rare for them to actually hide their identities in order to build up their brand. They also tend to use flashy supernatural powers to get the upper hand on their foes.
- Improbable Age: Jin became a professional mercenary at 13, while Papillon was a world-class supermodel at 15.
- Ironic Echo: Jin makes a Badass Boast that mirrors what a Mad Scientist who was producing Super Soldiers that would "make Rambo and Commando look like kids with cap guns".Jin: Let it be known they we're the Narumi-kai... and we make Rambo and Commando look like kids with cap guns.
- Killing Intent: Jin remarks that an old man on an elevator he's riding is dripping with bloodlust, implying that any shinobi worth their salt can detect the killing intent in others before they strike.
- Lightning Bruiser: In addition to his skill in hand-to-hand and armed combat, Jin is fast and strong while shooting beams of electricity at his foes thanks to his command of magnetism. Taiga is even more powerful physically, catching bullets with his teeth and wrecking several floors of an office building with a single swipe.
- Like an Old Married Couple: While watching Jin and Papillon trade snipes at each other, En immediately asks if the two of them are boyfriend and girlfriend. Jin is open to the idea, but Papillon shuts it down without hesitation.
- MacGuffin: En's scroll is one part of the Cycle of Five Scrolls, a set of the most valued and powerful ninpo arts in the world. He's been hounded by assassins looking to nab it for themselves for ages until he runs into Jin. Jin is also after one of the other four.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: One of Shuriken's mooks is a boxer named Mayweather. He's confident he could kill Jin with a single right uppercut, but is wrestled to the floor and electrocuted for his troubles.
- Omniglot: Thanks to the hyperloop tunnels, Japan is far more ethnically diverse than it is in the real world. As a result, shinobi are expected to speak multiple languages in order to find and negotiate with clients. Jin can speak 23 of them, including Japanese, Thai, German, French, Italian, Tagalog and Arabic. It's implied that Papillon can do even better, as shown when she greets En in Thai and says that even a knucklehead like Jin can learn at least that many languages.
- Police Are Useless: In the second chapter, Jin says the police are helpless against the rising tide of organized crime because the work is hard and the pay is low, resulting in a shortage of cops who actually care about doing their jobs.
- Private Military Contractors: What shinobi as a whole are. They can be hired to do everything from bodyguard work to sabotage to assassination.
- Reusable Lighter Toss: Jin throws a lighter to ignite the gasoline leaking out of Shuriken's car after popping its tires with Caltrops.
- Shower of Angst: En breaks down in tears when left alone in the shower after being separated from his father and hounded by assassins. Prior to this, he kept up a cheery and optimistic facade that belied his loneliness and fear.
- Shower Scene: Chapter 6 opens with one for Papillon, with all the naughty bits being covered up by Censor Steam.
- Super Window Jump: Ninjas frequently burst into buildings through the windows.
- Wretched Hive: Tokyo has become this following Japan's attempts at super-globalization, being riddled with massacres, terrorists attacks, organized crime, and corruption. It has the highest crime rate in the world and people freely hire shinobis as assassins, bodyguards, and spies. Even the entertainment industry has agencies hire shinobi to assassinate their rivals' newest stars.
- Yakuza: Yakuza often terrorize entire neighborhoods in order to take over the land and renovate it into upscale shopping centers for personal profit at the expense of the local businesses and the people living there. Jin exterminates a group who wanted to blow up an arcade he frequents.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Jin is a Japanese teenager with blond hair while En is Thai boy with green hair.