As the season begins to wind down, Mike and Higan face the final obstacles in ending Auza and taking down Yamaji.

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Plot Recap

The Boy Who Survived – Yamaji, Zai

Zai’s origin story is made rather simple. His parents abandoned him and left him for dead, and that made him distrust nearly all people. In fact, only crows, who gave him food, are what he trusts.

But Yamaji is an exception. He is the one who discovered and mentored him; thus, Zai has been loyal to him ever since.

But You Said Forever? – Zai, Yamaji, Higan, Mari

James Marler as Zai Ninja Kamui Season 1 Episode 1 directed by Yui Miura Hisatoshi Himizu 2024 Toonami scaled
James Marler as Zai

Higan has long been Zai’s rival. He was the most notable ninja around, and when they disagreed, they fought and had a draw. Mari brokered peace between the two, and after their assignment to become ninjas got complicated thanks to Yamaji’s doing, Higan saving Zai’s life led to him becoming loyal to him and Mari.

However, after revealing they broke the ninja code and were leaving, Zai felt the same abandonment from when he was a child, and so began a renewed hatred for Higan and, by extension, Mari.

The Beginning Of The End – Joseph, Yamaji, Higan, Mike, Zai, FBI Branch Manager

As Joseph tries to appease representatives from the government, he doesn’t realize Yamaji has been planning to break off from Auza and use their technology to make the ninja a formidable world power – with him as lead. But, in order to get to that, Higan and Mike need to be handled.

Mike is a problem since he wants to take down Auza, and until Yamaji is ready, he needs Auza to remain in power. Luckily, people like the FBI Branch Manager are on the take, so Mike has limited options to expose Auza through legal means, and the chance of doing so through the news is even slimmer.

In terms of Higan? Zai sends a crow to pass a message along about when and where they will fight, and the episode speeds through their Gusoku Gear fight until it is just the two men, back to fighting like they did in the old days, which seemingly will be where we continue in the next episode.

Cast Guide

Character’s Name Actor’s Name
Yamaji Luis Galindo
Zai James Marler
Higan Jeremy Gee
Mari Christie Guidry
Joseph Scott Gibbs
FBI Branch Manager Rob Mungle
Mike Shawn Hamilton

New Character Description(s)

FBI Branch Manager

Rob Mungle as FBI Branch Manager Ninja Kamui Season 1 Episode 1 directed by Yui Miura Hisatoshi Himizu 2024 Toonami scaled
Rob Mungle as FBI Branch Manager revealing he has Mike in his vicinity

The FBI Branch Manager is Mike’s former partner and now heads the FBI.



Speeding Through The Gear Fight And Getting To The Real Deal

At this point, I think we’ve seen enough Gusoku Gear fights to appreciate their flashiness but also recognize that the technology of the battle takes away from seeing everyone as ninjas. However, Zai and Higan, who came up together, fought before and had a draw, so it is better for the story for them to fight without all the fancy technology and rely purely on their skills.

And granted, who knows if Higan could be considered rusty, considering he retired for years while Zai was still working. But, considering all the warm-up matches he has had in pursuit of Yamaji, he should be back at his best and ready to prove to Zai that he is the better ninja.

Learning Yamaji’s End Game

Yamaji’s goals never seemed to be an alliance with someone like Joseph to be adjacent to power. So, the reveal he wanted access to Joseph and Auza in order to learn how to take the ninja clan to the next level is quite a notable move. Granted, this reveal doesn’t compensate for not providing much in detail about how Yamaji became the sole clan leader, considering there were at least two others who could have contested his position.

But, we may have to let that go and assume Yamaji’s secret technique and the loyalty/fear of the lesser people of the ninja clan allowed him the power he wields.

On The Fence

Zai’s Background Felt Rushed

Considering the time spent with Emma, which was meant to flesh out the character and make her death notable, I wish the same time had been spent with Zai. Emma’s build-up felt like there was an intention behind it, while Zai’s felt like an obligation. Both were abandoned by their parents and recruited, given a sense of family through Mari and Higan, in extension, but Zai’s development feels off.

Maybe it is because it feels like a retread? Then again, “Ninja Kamui” has always been about the action and character development secondary. So, maybe we should just appreciate the intensity of his look and hope that carries over to what is likely their final battle.

Background Information

Episode Title Episode 10
Release Date April 13, 2024
Network Toonami
Director(s) Yui Miura, Hisatoshi Himizu
Writer(s) Shigeru Murakoshi, Akira Kindiachi
Previous Episode Season 1/ Episode 9
Series Page Ninja Kamui
Character Guide Ninja Kamui Cast and Character Guide

How To Watch

Watch Ninja Kamui: Season 1 Episode 1 via its official site or on Prime Video.

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Ninja Kamui: Season 1 Episode 1 - Review


As “Ninja Kamui” starts at the beginning of the end, it isn’t bittersweet, but it leaves you hoping it finishes the story in one season.

  • Speeding Through The Gear Fight And Getting To The Real Deal - 83%
  • Learning Yamaji’s End Game - 81%
  • Zai’s Background Felt Rushed - 76%
User Review
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  • Learning Yamaji’s End Game
  • Speeding Through The Gear Fight And Getting To The Real Deal


  • Zai’s Background Felt Rushed

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