I love ninjas and I love nonsense, so when I saw a preview for Ninja Nonsense I was naturally excited. Originally airing in 2004, this adorable anime from director Hitoyuki Matsui (Dokkoida, Sakura Taisen OVA) is based off of the manga by Ryoichi Koga. Presented as a half series this show offers irreverent humor, pointless storylines, and stars a sexual deviant as one of its main characters. In other words; I loved it!
From the cracked out introduction to this anime you are given a pretty good idea what to expect. There are a bunch of goofy ninjas jumping around and doing funny, crazy things. A cute ninja girl runs around flashing little bits of fanservice left and right. And there's a perverted yellow ball-thing that can turn into a muscle-bound monstrosity. Yes, this is a show that features some wild characters and an equally pointless plot, but I'll be damned if it's not fun to watch.
Shinobu is the young ninja girl in training who is the main character of Ninja Nonsense. She's roughly school girl age, though how old she is never really gets discussed. Her measurements are incomprehensible and she likes to flaunt what she has to the point that she occasionally strips to show off her goods. During the first trials of one of her exams she stumbles upon another young girl (not of ninja descent) and finds herself becoming friends with her (or maybe more than?).
On that particular exam crunching evening Kaede was in her room studying for a test. She heard a bang and when she went to check it out she noticed Shinobu standing outside on the deck to her bedroom. Shinobu sees her but casts the ninja art of invisibility so she can enter the room unannounced. Unfortunately for our little ninja her skills are not that good and the only one she can ever pull off is the art of duplication, which only duplicates her arms. It turns out that Shinobu is on a quest to scour the city for girl's panties and Kaede is one of the fortunate targets. After she gives up and donates a pair of her undies to Shinobu's cause, the two become friends much to Kaede's dismay.
Shinobu whisks Kaede away to the hidden ninja village where we see exactly how ninjas live. Let's just say that these are the most incompetent and pointless ninja that you'll ever meet. They sit around and do nothing all day. One episode sees them watching cherry blossoms fall, another brings a crocodile into their ranks, and they even go out to a diner to eat some steak. Every scene that features the ninja is full of random insanity, hilarious dialogue, and bizarre situations. Seeing ninja read manga, talk about porn, and make fart jokes is the over the top stuff you can expect when watching this show.
Things get even more interesting with Shinobu's sister, Miyabi, shows up and challenges the head master, Onsokumaru (the yellow ball-thing). The plot against each other in devious ways from Onsokumaru cloning himself and teaming up with the ninja crocodile to Miyabi getting down and dirty with laxatives. Meanwhile Shinobu and Kaede can do nothing but sit on the sidelines and watch the insanity. Yes, there are some truly great moments in this show and this is the only place where you will find a flip book of somebody pooping in reverse. I kid you not.
The episodes here are very stand-alone with only the most miniscule amount of continuity to string them together. Each episode is also broken down into two parts or sub-episodes if you will. The first ten minutes are one storyline and the second ten are a completely different one. So, if you think about it, even though there are only three episodes on this first volume, there are technically six short ones.
For an introductory volume to a new comedy series Ninja Nonsense hit the ball out of the park in my opinion. The characters here were crazy enough to love and the content itself was so off the wall it defies true explanation. There's not a lot of point to the series other than seeing some ninja have a good time though, so don't expect much depth. That's probably the weakest part of the show is that it's completely and totally irrelevant. Then again, all of the great comedy series are that way.
Presented with a 1.33:1 aspect ratio Ninja Nonsense is absolutely gorgeous on DVD. There is little to complain about in the way of artifacts though there were a few spots where some aliasing was noticeable. Other than that it's smooth sailing from start to finish. The image is clear, the picture is vibrant, and the artwork is top of the line. I wish the series had a widescreen presentation since it was produced in 2004, but you take what you can get.
The soundtrack for the series is much more subdued. Because the audio for Ninja Nonsense is presented in stereo you don't get the depth from the tracks that you do from other series. Even so the quality was fair with no distortion or technical flaw, though the two channels seem to mesh together more often than not. English subtitles are included for the Japanese language track.
Trailers, trailers, trailers! That's what you'll get when you go to the bonus menu on this DVD. There are four Japanese TV spots, two clean Japanese Opening animations, the U.S. trailer, and a collection of Right Stuf Trailers. The only real "feature" with this release is a little production diary-like booklet included with the DVD.
Ninja Nonsense seemingly came out of nowhere. With loveable characters and a zany sense of humor this comedy show hits all of the right marks. The jokes are more adult in nature than you'd expect, given the overall design of the show, and there is quite a bit of fanservice tossed in for good measure. If you're looking for an anime with random events and memorable characters you'll definitely want to check this one out. The downside is there are only three episodes on this first volume and the presentation of the disc is sub-par without widescreen and 5.1 audio. Pick it up if you want a laugh.
Check out more of my reviews here. Head on over to my anime blog as well for random musings and reviews of anime, manga, and stuff from Japan!