Nintama Rantaro Ninja Comedy Gets 20th Anniversary Special

posted on 2013-02-05 11:10 EST
Rakudai Ninja Rantarō gag manga also inspired anime series, 2 anime films, 2 live-action films

Japanese public broadcaster NHK announced on Tuesday that it will air a Nintama Rantaro special to celebrate the anime's 20th anniversary. Ninjutsu Gakuen to Nazo no Onna: Kore wa Jiken Da yo~! no Dan (The Ninjutsu Academy and the Mysterious Woman: This Is an Event!) will run on NHK's General channel on March 20 from 10:05 to 10:48 a.m.

Soubee Amako's original Rakudai Ninja Rantarō ninja gag manga centers around Rantarō, a ninja apprentice at an elite ninjutsu academy in historical Japan. As elementary students, Rantarō and his ninja-in-training friends are called "Nintama" — a contraction of the words "ninja" and "tamago" ("egg").

The manga inspired the Nintama Rantaro television anime in 1993, and NHK's E-tele channel is still airing the 10-minute anime every weekday, over 1,500 episodes later. The manga also inspired two anime films and two live-action films. Ryuta Tasaki is directing this July's live-action Ninja Kids!!! Summer Mission Impossible (Nintama Rantarō: Natsu Yasumi Shukudai Daisakusen! no Dan) film. Takashi Miike had directed the first live-action film.

The original manga has sold 8.7 million copies. The entertainment news source Oricon reported in 2011 that a "major" American production company was in negotiations after expressing interest in remaking the first live-action film.

Image © NHK, Soubee Amako, Sogo Vision

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