You may ask yourself why The Chalz has chosen an anime film as his second review for this site. After all, this is a horror-based establishment, and Ninja Scroll is technically an action film. Well rest assured; I will answer this question…just as soon as I immerse you in the world of Ninja Scroll.
Ninja Scroll opens with a brief glimpse of the character that will be our main protagonist, but we’ll skip over him for now. The movie’s actual plot begins with a ninja clan being dispatched to investigate a band of fiends that have been moving from town to town, poisoning the drinking water and killing countless civilians. The ninjas doesn?t have to look far, though, because one of the culprits ambushes them in the forest in one of the goriest murder scenes in film history. A beautiful (but deadly) ninja girl named Kagero manages to avoid death, but is defeated and abducted by the butchering giant and taken to a deserted barn to be raped. Luckily for Kagero, the film reintroduces us to our hero, who manages to save Kagero from being…uh…violated…and leaves the lumbering would-be rapist with one eye. The two escape into the forest, and go their separate ways. Now one would think that Kagero would be grateful to Jubei for saving her from a nasty time with her abductor, but she leaves him with very little thanks and heads off back to her headquarters. What’s this chick’s problem?
Jubei heads away on his own as well, unaware of the big trouble he’s gotten himself into. You see, that big@$$ creep he maimed is one of the Eight Devils of Kimon, a group of savage super-powered cretin. When Jubei interferes with their plans, all Hell breaks loose. And if having eight mega-powerful killers on his tail wasn’t enough, some old lamer claiming to be a secret agent poisons him and tells him he’ll die in a day if he doesn’t kill the Devils for him and recieve the antidote. Thus Jubei reluctantly accepts the lose/lose mission, and along with Kagero (baby wants REVENGE) and the wily old geezer, sets out to face the Devils and discover and put an end to their sinister scheme. Will Jubei & company be able to overcome the odds of the eight count ’em EIGHT Devils before the poison kills him? Will Kagero ever loosen up and tell us what the Hell makes her so cold-hearted? And what secret from Jubei’s past links him to the head of the Devils, Genma? Buy the damn movie, my lips are sealed.
What makes this movie enjoyable isn’t the visual excitement, not the high-octane fight scenes, or even the solid plot…it’s how all these come together. Even though I just typed close to a page of plot description, I didn’t even nip the plethora of subplots in Ninja Scroll. There’s the customary love subplot, and then there’s even a subplot involving the Devils’ relationships. And then there’s the politics and the Devils plot and…MORE. Don’t get me wrong, this is no American Beauty, but action movies don’t have plots like this one. Somehow, we get treated to a violent battle every ten minutes or so and still have a strong story tying it all together. WOW.
And finally, what makes Ninja Scroll great is the action scenes. Horror fans will feel at home in this one: Eight killers, lots of obscene sexual imagery that (barely) remains within good taste, a strong and entertaining hero, and the most intense gore ever seen. Yes, I mean EVER. This film is so graphic that Tom Savini himself could never match it. This is the stuff dreams are made of…for the horror aficionado, anyway. There are decapitations, severed limbs, and even a scene involving one of the Devils drinking the blood from two detached arms. Groovy!!
Ninja Scroll has secured its place as the most well rounded action film EVER (prove me wrong!). All eight of the villainous Devils are unique and interesting. Each has a distinct personality and power, and the battles are all original and full of surprises. DragonBall WHAT?!? And to top it all off, there’s the granddaddy of them all, the final battle between Jubei and head Devil Genma. It’s an epic. Hell, the whole film is an epic, but the climax is legendary. I won’t spoil any details for you, but let’s just leave it this: You’ll never see anything like it again…well, unless you watch the movie again, but that doesn’t count. Check it out, anime enthusiast and horror junkie alike. It won’t disappoint.