Ninja scroll – movie review

Man it does not get any better than this. I will never get tired of watching it.

As I mentioned in my previous review it was written and directed by Yoshisaki Kawajiri. I remember it being one of the first mature anime films that I ever watched as a kid and one scene in particular always disturbed and stuck with me for a while.

Set in the Edo period in Japan the plot revolves around the vagabond known as Kibagami Jubei, Kagero the kunoichi and Dakuan a government spy as they try and kill the Eight Devils of Kimon before they die. The devils are hired by the Yamashiro clan who mines gold in secret in order to buy protection from the Shogun of the Dark. The Shogun aims to use the gold to buy Spanish weapons with which he wants to overthrow the government. During their journey they discover all the horrific things that the clan has done in order to protect their secrets and battle the devils.

Even though it’s not as “horrorish” as I remember it to be it still holds up even today. It’s a bloody gory batch of fun. And unlike a lot of movies like this the plot is actually very good with a few unexpected twists. One of the most notable parts of the film are the devils themselves. They are all unique, diverse and terrifying in their own way. There is no dull fight in the entire movie, what I loved most about it was how none of the fights were one dimensional or straight forward and beautifully animated which makes it not feel like it’s from 1993.

It’s very hard not to love this movie, it has everything, even a fantastic love story which I really did not expect. You will laugh, cry, be disgusted and be completely engulfed by the atmosphere of the movie from start to finish. There is an odd and unsettling feeling the entire time. It managed to cement Jubei as one of my favorite badass anime characters of all time alongside Alexander Anderson from Hellsing, Nicholas D Wolfwood from Trigun among others. The only bad thing about rewatching it was remembering that there was an entire season of a Ninja Scroll anime which unfortunately never got finished and ended on a huge cliffhanger.

Final verdict: 9/10

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