Batman Ninja – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Batman facing a yellow moon.
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Batman Ninja’s beautiful and intricate art is wasted on a story which is not only dull but perhaps features more mecha action than ninja/samurai styled fights.


Director(s) Jumpei Mizusaki
Screenplay By Kazuki Nakashima
Date Released 4/24/2018
Genre(s) Action, Animated
Noted Actors
Gorilla Grodd Takehito Koyasu
Batman Kôichi Yamadera
Poison Ivy Atsuko Tanaka
Penguin Yûichi Nagashima
Two-Face Toshiyuki Morikawa
Death Stroke Jun’ichi Suwabe
Joker Wataru Takagi
Red Hood Akira Ishida

Summary

During a battle with Gorilla Grodd, Batman finds himself unable to stop him from activating a device which seems them back in time and also transports them to Japan. Which, as Batman seemingly slept or was out of commission, for 2 years, Poison Ivy, Penguin, Two-Face, Death Stroke, and Joker built up kingdoms with formidable armies and mobile castles. Which makes Batman’s job ridiculously hard for while they are established and have adapted, he is with a finite amount of gadgets and with satellites and such things not being invented yet, a lot of his tech assistants don’t exist.

Thus creating feelings of desperation and inadequacy that lead to Batman making unlikely allies as he tries to round up everyone and take them back to the future.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. So, how will everything these characters did change history for I doubt giant moving castles and characters like Joker, Two-Face and Poison Ivy are easily erased from memories and history books?

Highlights

The Art Style

The art style of Batman Ninja isn’t one you see quite often. Most anime don’t use it and even for full-blown movies, the style isn’t touched and that gives a sort of uniqueness to the films overall look. Plus, in terms of characters, while they maintain their signature look, them being stylized in a Japanese fashion brings about new life to the tried and true. Well, except maybe Joker who strongly reminds me of Final Fantasy 6’s Kefka.

On The Fence

The Story

Joker yawning and noting how bored he is.

The animated Batman stories have largely been hit or miss. The Damian Wayne saga has been quite good, but then there is Batman and Harley Quinn. To me, this leans towards being underneath Batman and Harley Quinn for at least the music and jokes compensated for the story in that.

When it comes to Batman Ninja though, there isn’t really much to sell you on in terms of the story or dialog. Yes, we get to see Red Hood, a multitude of sidekicks, and there is some back and forth with alliances, but nothing exciting. There isn’t any reason to want a sequel, prequel, or wish this was part of a franchise. It seems this film was all about the notoriety of its art and everything else was built around that. As opposed to the art being built around the story.

The Mecha Element

Despite being called Batman Ninja, things we associate with ninjas aren’t in a large quantity. A good part of the film is watching giant mech-like castles fighting one another or Batman. And while, towards the end, Batman fully embraces the times with a ninja persona, as well as a clan dedicated to his prophecy, for those thinking this would be ninja, samurais, and really honing in on those themes and ideas, there might be some disappointment.

Overall: Mixed (Divisive)

Title Card/ Logo for Batman Ninja.

Batman Ninja may have beautiful artwork but with it feeling like style over substance, it becomes hard to really recommend to see. For while the villains are as zany as ever, with it not fully utilizing the time period to the fullest, really setting a tone and keeping it rooted in some form of realism, it becomes a bore after a while and another wasted means of bringing life to the animated side of Batman.

Hence the mixed label. In some ways, you might be able to get by just experiencing how wonderful the art design is, especially during battle scenes. However, if you lack an appreciation for the art style and focus solely on story, you’ll be mad the usual $5 or less rental price for movies isn’t available yet.


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