When it comes to goofy anime it doesn't get a whole lot sillier Ninja Nonsense. The show aired in 2004 and found itself under the direction of Hitoyuki Matsui while being based on the manga by Ryoichi Koga. The series was presented as half of a season and those episodes were broken down into two parts each. To say the series is irreverent would be a gross understatement, though I do have to admit that it's not without its charm.
Starring a cute ninja girl trying to earn her ninja wings, the series follows the exploits of the busty and energetic Shinobu. In her ninja village she's one of the most prominent students though the only technique that she has mastered is the ability to make numerous copies of her arms. She is accompanied by a perverted yellow ball who also disguises himself as her master. He can manipulate his body in various ways and goes above and beyond to catch a glimpse of some pretty young things.
In the first volume we were introduced to Shinobu, Onsokumaru (the yellow ball thing) and an innocent regular girl named Kaede. Poor Kaede was in her bedroom one night when Shinobu snuck in to steal some of her underwear. This dragged the unwitting girl into the world of ninjas and their goofy exploits so as you'd imagine her life would never be the same. About half way through the first volume Shinobu's sister Miyabi was introduced and things got even more insane when she started challenging Onsokumaru.
Since the introductory volume the residents of the Valley of Ninjas have lived through some crazy adventures. From the dreaded heat of summer to Halloween the seasons have been good to the group but zaniness took over for more than a little bit. Shinobu's man-eating plant for instance decided to tear the place up and Onsokumaru got stuck on Miyabi's belly. It's silly plots like these that have made Ninja Nonsense one of the most enjoyable shows in recent memory. Because of this it was with a heavy heart that I sat down to watch the fourth and final installment.
Keeping up with the seasonal theme that the previous volumes featured the first episode on this disc involves Christmas. Unfortunately for the ninja they have no concept of the holiday and instead they spend December 24th sitting around and eating stale emergency rations. Kaede goes with Shinobu to the Valley and brings the meaning of Christmas with her. This was a cute mini-episode and just when you'd think that Onsokumaru would be on his best behavior he eats all of the Christmas cake and puts up a poisonous mushroom as the tree. It has always been strongly hinted at but in this episode Shinobu basically confesses her love for Kaede with a little breast poking for good measure.
During the next episode the ninja are doing end of year cleaning and leave it to Shinobu to stumble upon a secret passage. This prompts a tale of curses and booby traps which eventually leads to the discovery of a box of junk in the attic. Each of these items is "cursed" so whoever touches them is bestowed with that curse. Considering that there is an afro wig, banana, giant sunflower seed, and warm rice bowl you can just imagine the insanity that ensues. Luckily Miyabi's skill as an exorcist is powerful enough to lift the curse.
Out of all the faceless ninja featured in Ninja Nonsense Sasuke has been one of the prominent. He's appeared as Onsokumaru's right hand man on more than one occasion and he finally gets his very own episode. It starts out hilarious with a dream involving all of the girls that we have met in the series and moves on into better territory with a battle of great ninja skill. Some tengu come by the ninja academy looking for their baseball but Sasuke treats them like intruders and beats the snot out of them. This was one of the funniest episodes that the show has offered to this point.
Up next is the actual celebration of New Years which basically involves all of the ninja, Shinobu and Onsokumaru dropping by Kaede's to hang out for the night. Originally her plans were to just sit in front of the TV with her mom and watch silly shows but that becomes impossible once the ninja show up and start hitting on her mother. The last episodes deal with the ending of the series and the fact that it has been a year (in show) since Kaede met Shinobu. I'm pleased to report that things end on the perfect note for Ninja Nonsense.
I'm actually pretty bummed that there is nothing else to Ninja Nonsense. This became the show that I went to when I was looking for a laugh and at every turn I had a great time. If you're looking for a show that will give you a few laughs then you've come to the right place. However, if you're looking for something with a little more weight you're going to be sadly disappointed. There isn't a lot of depth to this show despite the fact that a few characters really stand out and make an impression. It's all about having a good time and it's safe to say that from start to finish Ninja Nonsense does just that.
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 whacky animation also takes some getting used to when Onsokumaru goes on one of his tangents, but otherwise it's very fluid.
The soundtrack for the series is much more subdued. Because the audio for Ninja 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. In my opinion the Japanese dub is more enjoyable than the English though both offer a decent experience. English subtitles are included for the Japanese language track. I have to say that I absolutely love the theme songs for this show. They are easily some of the most upbeat and addictive that I have ever heard.
Another booklet is included with some information on the show's production. Some cute doodles and other tidbits are featured in the booklet as well so it's definitely worth checking out if you pick this release up. The second round of interviews with the Japanese cast appears here as well. Apart from that there are character bios, more TV spots and the hilarious full (over 3 minutes!) closing for the show. It's basically an extended ending with the claymation and stop-animation characters.
From the very first episode I found Ninja Nonsense to be endearing and highly addictive. There is such an upbeat, nonsensical atmosphere here that you can't help but smile and laugh. It's not the most brilliant comedy in the world and it doesn't offer a lot of depth but it's a blast from start to finish. If you're looking for a laugh definitely check this one out.
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