Ninja Scroll (1993)

Posted in Reviews by - July 23, 2021
Ninja Scroll (1993)

Energetic, visually arresting anime that really took off when it was released on video in America. This is the most hell-bent 90 minutes of your life: highly visceral, influential, and extreme – even by Japanese adult anime standards – Ninja Scroll is a completely thrilling experience. Japan, Edo period: Jubei is a cash-for-kill ninja with super-slashing capabilities, suckered in by a wise old man to carry out the most formidable of tasks. The old master poisons Jubei and refuses to give him the antidote until he finds and destroys the ‘Shogun of the Dark’, a pure-evil, money-hoarding rebel alliance with ambitions to overthrow the government and install one of their own, led by the creepy Gemma. When Jubei last encountered Gemma, he cut off his head. Now Gemma has been brought back to life to become a truly unstoppable, supernatural brute protected on all sides by the best ninja clans in the land, not to mention the ‘8 Devils of Kimon’, a troop of zany horror freaks each more deadly than the next. These include an urchin-like sea dweller with a beehive on its back; a naked snake mistress who omits reptiles from her private parts; and a violent Goliath made of stone who is used by Gemma to wipe out an entire sect of Samurai at the start of the film, raping a young woman – called Kagero – and poisoning her in the process. Jubei later teams up with Kagero and the two form part of a tender love story, before they rip up the screen again in more unrelenting carnage. The film is completely out of this world, and looks stunning to boot.

AKA: Jubei Ninpocho: The Wind Ninja Chronicles.

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a keyboard in London, UK.

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