Thursday, March 15, 2012

WO's Honorable Mention: Ninja Nonsense

So what happens when you take a ninja training academy, add a plethora of faceless goofball ninjas, insert a perverted loudmouth obnoxious headmaster (a yellow round ball), and focus it all around one ninja trainee and her friend?

You get the makings of a whacked out overdriven comedy of lough out loud proportions. That's what.

Of course, there is more to the show aside from just the funny, though to be perfectly honest, it's not a lot. In fact, it's loaded with so much randomness, that it seems to eventually meld into an anime life-form all of its own caliber, and once that happens, it becomes clear, that you are probably hooked quite thoroughly on the comedy routine.

Based on the manga Ninin ga Shinobuden by Ryoichi Koga, the series follows the misadventures of ninja trainee Shinobu as she struggles to pass her training to become a full fledged ninja, all while absentmindedly Forrest Gump'ing her way through her everyday life, and managing to drag normal girl Kaede along for the ride, and managing to get themselves in more absurd scenarios than should be possible.

There are few absurdist anime with which one can compare Ninja Nonsense, but one that readily comes to mind, would be, the quack experimental anime, Excel Saga. Though that's taking a lot of critical license on my part.

The anime adaptation, directed by Hitoyuki Matsui, debuted in 2004, and was later licensed in North America and distributed across four DVDs, despite the fact that the show was only twelve episodes long. In addition, in June of 2010, RightStuf International re-released the set as a box-set featuring some new swag for the anime collector, but not at a modest price I might add.

Anyway, the series is comedy gold, and manages to toss in everything, including the kitchen sink, and the plumping.But don't let the randomness drive you off, or the fact that despite the rumors you've heard about it being overly perverse. There are some pervy scenes, and sure the occasional bath, hot-spring scene, but nothing that we haven't already seen in more modern and recent titles, and by those standards, it's really nothing to break a sweat over.

One thing that does manage to surface in the show, is Shinobu's girl crush on her friend Kaede, and while that's worthy of a causational eyebrow lift, it's nothing like what we've seen more recently.

The headmaster of the ninja academy, Onsokumaru does eventually become more the focus of the shows extremism, and the character manages to actually steal the show at almost every turn, when he's plotting or scheming, in a naturally plot induced way.

I will admit, though that of spectacular note, is the performance of the characters in the English dub. And while I have heard some serious smack talked about him, aside from his voice work in Dragon Ball franchise, Sean Schemmel gives what I would actually consider the greatest performance of his career. He manages to convey the perverted antics of Onsokumaru in such a way, that I was actually staring at the screen, refusing to believe that this was in fact Schemmel.

I'd recommend this anime, for anyone that wants a slightly retroactive slice of magnificent comedy, and ludicrous hilarity. Sure, I'd imagine that it isn't going to appeal to everyone, and while that's okay, I still say it is one of the best of its kind anime that I've seen in quite a few years.

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