“Ninja Kamui” is heavily reliant on flashy action sequences and inconsistently develops its characters or delivers a compelling story.


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Plot Summary

Mari and Higan are former ninjas raising their son in the countryside. Unfortunately for them, breaking the Ninja Code is a death sentence. While they got away with it for years, vengeance is swift, and ultimately, only Higan lives after the assault.

Mari, aka Sarah Logan (Christie Guidry)
Mari, aka Sarah Logan (Christie Guidry)

Fueled by the need for revenge, Higan seeks out the new Chieftain, Yamaji, and vows to tear down the Ninja Clan that took away his family.

Background Information

Network Toonami
Genre(s) ActionCrimeDramaSci-FiAnimation
Renewal Status To Be Determined
Series Page Ninja Kamui
Character Guide Ninja Kamui: Character Guide and Noteworthy Information

Characters and Cast

Character’s Name Actor’s Name
Mari Christie Guidry
Higan Jeremy Gee
Yamaji Luis Galindo
Mike Shawn Hamilton
Emma Luci Christian
Lil Brandon Hearnsberger
Big D Joe P
Zai Scott Gibbs

Review

Our Rating: Mixed (Stick Around)

Good If You Like

  • Ninja/Samurai-style action

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Episodes To Anticipate

  1. Episode 6 is perhaps the most impactful of the season.

Low Points

Meager Reasons To Get Invested

Jeremy Gee as Higan
Jeremy Gee as Higan

One of the major issues with “Ninja Kamui” is that it is a revenge story featuring a bland character. Higan, while he is part of dynamic and entertaining fight sequences, speaks in a lifeless way and is unlikely to draw much interest when not on some battlefield. So with that, as much as the show tries to develop Mari and your investment based on what happened to her, because she lives mainly in flashbacks and is her own form of bland, since she is treated as perfect, it makes investing in the core story hard.

Personally, I find it hard to get into any production that so quickly sets up a revenge plot without first getting you truly invested in a character. Knowing Mari barely in episode one and then killing her off and Mari and Higan’s son felt cheap. It felt like a shortcut was taken because the interest of those behind the show wasn’t the emotions and making you care; it was just setting up a reason for the violence they know many would come to see.

Kazuhiro Yamaji as Yamaji, with his face split in half by a line
“Kazuhiro Yamaji as Yamaji, with his face split in half by a line,” Ninja Kamui (S01E07), directed by Hisatoshi Shimizu, 2024, (Toonami)

What also doesn’t help is the show is slow to build up the motives of other characters, like Yamaji, and while Higan has allies, like an FBI agent named Mike, they don’t present something for you to latch onto. If anything, Yamaji is almost as bland as Higan, with a last-minute build-up towards the end, and Mike? Mike is one of the most annoying characters you may have ever watched. Not to the level of how many feel about Jar-Jar Binks, but how eye roll-inducing Mike is makes it seem Jar Jar Binks was the inspiration behind crafting the character.

On The Fence

The Action

The Ninja Clan, at this point in history, works with the Auza Corporation and has mecha suits. With that, the action is all very flashy and can be quite appealing in the beginning. However, as you get used to watching people move fast, these special techniques people have, and all the eye candy (in a non-sexual sense), you could get bored.

And honestly, even when the fights are stripped down, because “Ninja Kamui” isn’t strong in building up to any of the fights, they lack emotion even when there is established history between characters. So, you ultimately may feel like you are watching the same fight over and over, just with different-styled mecha suits involved.

The Characters – In General

Emma (Luci Christian) making it clear she is onboard to investigate Logan
“Emma (Luci Christian) making it clear she is onboard to investigate Logan,” Ninja Kamui, “Season 1/ Episode 2,” directed by Yui Miura, Sunghoo Park, Hiroki Itai, 2024, (Adult Swim)

While the development of most characters is undoubtedly weak, there will be some who you see the potential of. Emma, for example, is someone who has the best development of any character this season. They go into her backstory, create an emotional connection between you and her, and she even has what could be seen as a decent fight.

But, she is the rare character who gives something notable. Most others just exist. The lieutenants in Yamaji’s clan who take on Higan? Yes, their look and personalities are notable, whether it is the perverted Lil or the look of Big D. However, like so much of the show, it is all very superficial.

I’d even say, regarding Zai, who is given a similar treatment to Emma, but the landing doesn’t stick, it is pushed that “Ninja Kamui” has an idea of how to build up characters, maybe even that it should to make the possibility of anyone dying notable, it just truly was never a prime objective.

Zai (Scott Gibbs) before killing an exiled ninja
“Zai (Scott Gibbs) before killing an exiled ninja,” Ninja Kamui: Season 1/ Episode 3, directed by Sunghoo Park, Hiro Ohki, 2024, (Cartoon Network)

If anything, they wanted people to look cool, tough, and have that tortured backstory that adds to their badass status, and that’s it.

What I Hope To See Next

  1. With the way “Ninja Kamui” ends, it doesn’t really lend itself to a second season. At best, it could do a OVA to just explain what happened after the events of the finale. However, considering some of the details that were missing or could be fleshed out more, like why Higan joined the Ninja Clan, a prequel season could be of interest.

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Ninja Kamui: Season 1 Review

Summary

“Ninja Kamui” shows that it knows what it needs to do to build a better story and characters, but with all the focus on the superficial and action scenes, what you are delivered is a product that often looks cool but is two-dimensional.

Overall
71%
71%
  • Meager Reasons To Get Invested - 67%
    67%
  • The Action - 73%
    73%
  • The Characters – In General - 72%
    72%
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User Review
0 (0 votes)

Highlight(s)

Disputable

  • The Characters – In General
  • The Action
  • Meager Reasons To Get Invested

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