a.k.a. Ninja Mono
Not all things are rosy in feudal Japan. The Byakuro and Kabusa clans are in the midst of bloody battle with no end in sight. The Kabusa sets out to abduct the Byakuro’s most prized possession: their infant princess. Fast forward years later. A small group of young ninja wannabes are in preparation to become full-fledged ninja. The only obstacle remaining is a mission to slip into Byakuro castle and snatch a magical scroll. If that isn’t enough, the Kabusa clan believes that one of these cadets is the infant princess from long ago… and they have no intention of letting her go this time.
summary by Kain
Highs: Action-packed; interesting character design
Lows: Doesn’t know what it wants to be; the most abrupt, ambiguous ending in anime
When is an anime not an anime? When it’s Ninja Cadets. Here’s another one: when is an anime schizophrenic? Again, Ninja Cadets. It’s fairly obvious where I’m going with this one.
The opening sequence showcases violence and death that would put Ninja Scroll to shame (ironic, since Ninja Cadets has more to do with ninjas and scrolls than Ninja Scroll ever did). The bad thing is that it has no relevance to the remainder of the story. Moreover, the rest of the anime is so toned down that it makes the connection that much harder to swallow. This OVA also cuts you off when the going starts getting good; bad move on their part. There is little to no background of the characters, nor are we privy to how they got where they are and why they’re doing what they do. It’s really a big mess.
If there’s any consolation, it’s that there is action and plenty of it. There exists that competitive appeal that I enjoyed in Battle Athletes; yet again, this anime has no idea in which direction it wants to go so nothing is made of that competition. Not even the few, brief moments of genuine comedy can save this one.
If that’s not enough to convince you not to watch this one, allow me to make a closing statement: I thought Dragonball Z was better. ’nuff said.
Ninja Cadets can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.