Darren Pangan December 3, 2006
Ninjas are fascinating characters and I bet most people will agree with me. They’re full of mysteries and do a lot of amazing stuff. But what is more fascinating is an anime series with ninjas. Why? Because whenever there are ninjas in an anime series, We can say that there’s a great chance we will see some amazing martial arts action. But before we go there, lets talk about real life ninjas for a while.
A few months ago I saw an episode of, not sure if it’s “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” or something else. In that particular episode, they showed an Asian guy. He said he used to be an assassin. He can throw a tiny needle to a distant target and make it pierce like a dart. He demonstrated it a few times and I remember when he hit a glass and the needle went through. Unbelievable? Believe it.
That is what a ninja can do and I bet that guy they featured is a real life ninja who is trained in the art of Ninjutsu. Ninjas existed in the feudal Japan during the Edo period. They are used as spies and assassins. They are trained martial artists. They used different kinds of weapons and some even say that they use magic. They conceal themselves and can strike a victim before getting noticed. This kind of tactic is against a samurai’s code so ninjas where used for assassination and avoiding frontal assault.
Ninjas are sometimes depicted in movies as well as in anime and manga. Some anime even use the ninja culture as the theme of their stories. Some good examples of such anime titles are Naruto, Flame of Recca, for manga anime series, Ninja Scroll and Ninja Cadets for anime movies. The best portrayal of ninjas in an anime/manga series that I’ve seen is in Rurouni Kenshin. The group known as Oniwa Banshu lead by Shinomori Aoshi is a ninja clan. In that particular anime/manga series, ninjas are not wearing the usual black outfit with a mask uniform to all the clan members. We only see this type of outfit in movies and it is said that ninjas didn’t wear uniforms like that because they often blend with the environment and try not to be suspicous.
What is common with these anime series that have ninjas in their stories? They have great martial arts action. It’s not about the fluidity in their moves. You need good animators for that and not ninjas. It’s about the techniques. Imagine one anime character fighting another one. He attacks and thought he got his opponent but then realizes that he hit a piece of wood and not his opponent. Imagine a set of shurikens going towards a character and he blocks it in mid-air using his own set of shurikens. We see that a lot in Naruto and all those other anime series that I mentioned.
Real life ninjas built their reputation. They encourage rumors about them using magics in fighting like being able to walk on a wall like Spiderman, turn into an animal or summon a monster, create replicates of themselves and many others. Usually, I wouldn’t believe these stuff but after watching that former assassin throw his needles, I can’t just say that they’re only rumors. They say that ninjas only encourage this types of rumors so that people would be afraid of them. But it doesn’t really matter to me whether the rumors are true or not. All I know is that these kinds of stuff make great fighting action in movies, especially in anime.
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