6 Misplaced Ninja
by Lynzee Loveridge,
At the top of the list of Japanese things people are familiar with, there are samurai and their shadowy ninja counterparts. Shrouded in mystery, the ninja's reputation as covert assassins that poisoned dignitaries while they slept, disappeared into the darkness, or tricked pursuers by leaving a log behind are well known. Ninja characters regularly show up in series set in the past, like Basilisk and Ninja Scroll, or action free-for-all shows like Queen's Blade and Senran Kagura. They also are strangely shoehorned into shows where their existence makes little to no sense. A random ninja in a modern day harem series, an alternate future with giant mechs, or on a planet populated by frog aliens are not places you'd expect to find a ninja. And yet there they are.
6. Seraphim (Is This a Zombie?) Is This a Zombie? is already a unique comedy series combing supernatural elements, alternate dimensions, and genderbent magical girls. It's really a case of anything goes, whenever and however the staff see fit. The undead magical protagonist Ayumu is already housemates with a necromancer and a magical girl, so is it any surprise when a girl named "Seraphim" moves in, too? Despite her name, she isn't the angelic counterpart to Eucliwood Hellscythe. She's a vampire. A vampire ninja. The two extremes work okay together, in theory. Ninja are characterized as sneaky killers, anyway. The show goes on to elaborate that she's part of a clan of vampire ninja tasked with protecting humans and her abilities are more of a mash-up of a demon, manipulating leaves, and magic spells. Even with its off the wall setting, Seraphim doesn't make a lot of sense.
5. Shiina (Angel Beats!) When you're fighting a war in the afterlife, best stick to the classics. Shiina is a dead ninja from ancient Japan trying to make sense of Limbo and its modernized school to help the lingering souls move on. She gets pulled into Yuri's complicated plot to provoke God's attention. She has heightened levels of concentration, so long as nothing cute is around her, and fights with both kodachi and shuriken. Finding a ninja in Limbo doesn't seem out of place, given that people can be there from all places and eras, but Shiina appears to be the only character in Angel Beats! who didn't die in modern-day Japan.
4. Mamoru (Guardian Ninja Mamoru) Guardian Ninja Mamoru is a run-of-the-mill comedy harem serious about a goofy, dense protagonist that somehow manages to win over five girls with varying martial arts and fighting abilities. One girl, Yūna, is a complete airhead that is always managing to become the target of bad guys or accidents. She also really likes bananas. As it turns out, Mamoru's name is a hint at his real capabilities and he's actually a ninja tasked to serve as a bodyguard to Yūna as it his family's heritage for hundreds of years. Mamoru's secret identity has more in common with a samurai than a ninja, but it's probably hard to be a "secret" samurai, what with all the armor.
3. Science Ninja Team Gatchaman Just combining the words "science" and "ninja" is really out of place. The superhero team is tasked with fighting a terrorist group equipped with advanced weaponry and a plan to control the Earth's resources. Each member has a particular bird motif and unique skill (like spying or weaponry) help the team. They aren't ninja though, they're mecha driving bird superheroes who know "Science Ninja Technique" martial arts!
2. Sayoko Shinozaki (Code Geass) In alternate timeline taking place around 2017, a landscape where giant fighting mechas are deployed to wage wars between Britannia and its foes, we still have...ninja maids. Like Mamoru, Sayoko is a ninja by blood. She's a descendant of a the Shinozaki School of martial arts and utilizes weapons associated with ninja like shurikan. She's a loyal servant to the Lamperouge family, keeping her martial arts abilities a secret until the second season. She then takes on more espionage tasks, like being a body double for Zero.
1. Dororo (Sgt. Frog) Dororo is arguably the cutest ninja on this list he also deserves the honor of being the most nonsensical. The soldier is a Keronian, or frog-like alien, with no connection to Japan. He has no ninja lineage nor has he spent his childhood raised in some secret ninja school. Instead he lands on Earth and begins to study under Koyuki Azumaya (a secret ninja girl that saved his life) ninja techniques like sneaking around in trees and spying on his fellow soldiers. He's one of the few ninja on this list who is supposed to work as an actual assassin, but Dororo isn't very good at it. He's more interested in nature and is kind-hearted.
The old poll: Which in-series anime band's concert would you attend? Idols were thrown out, they'll get their own poll eventually. Here's the results:
- Girls Dead Monster (Angel Beats!) 17.2%
- Houkago Tea Time (K-ON!) 12.0%
- Beck (BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad) 10.7%
- Egoist (Guilty Crown) 8.4%
- Detroit Metal City (Detroit Metal City) 4.8%
- ENOZ (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) 4.2%
- Fire Bomber (Macross 7) 3.6%
- Dropkix (Space Dandy) 3.5%
- Priss and the Replicants (Bubblegum Crisis) 3.4%
- Bad Luck (Gravitation) 3.4%
- S Orchestra (Nodame Cantabile) 2.9%
- Trapnest (NANA) 2.8%
- Rumbar Pirates (One Piece) 2.3%
- Plasmagica (Show By Rock!!) 1.4%
- Λucifer (Sensual Phrase) 1.3%
- The Maids (And Yet the Town Moves) 1.1%
When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as the Interest Editor for Anime News Network and posts pictures of her son on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.
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