a.k.a. Jubei Ninpucho: Ryuhogyoku-Hen
Fourteen years after defeating Himuro Genma, Kibagami Jubei is still a ninja for hire as he continues to roam about Japan. During his travels, he comes across a village that’s being attacked by the Kimon clan. A fallen warrior entrusts Jubei with the Dragon Stone and tells him to give it to the Light Maiden, Shigure, who is the sole survivor of the village. Now Jubei must team up with the monk Dakuan and the thief Tsubute to see to it that Shigure makes it to the village of Yagyu. Only there will they find the true power of the Dragon Stone and the Light Maiden.
summary by Eek
Highs: Generally fluid animation; brutally wicked fights
Lows: More like Ninja Resurrection than Ninja Scroll; strong lack of background on practically everything
Coming almost a full decade after the movie, Ninja Scroll TV is another adventurous romp in medieval Japan. While this anime doesn’t quite please the otaku in this Professor that wants some substance, it’s filled to the brim (and then some) with all of the content that’ll please any action junkie.
This anime definitely has some of the cleaner animation I’ve seen in a television series from 2003. It’s obvious that Studio Madhouse went to a lot of trouble to make Ninja Scroll TV look very pleasing to the eye. The smoothness of cel transitions make many character movements look very real, and this just makes fights all the better. Packing very few loops, every action scene has very fast pacing and is wildly unpredictable. None of the action sequences are ever the same and are very enjoyable to watch.
However, some of the content of Ninja Scroll TV makes it seem like it’s reminiscent of Ninja Resurrection rather than Ninja Scroll. Sure, Jubei is still Jubei, but truckloads of gore are spilled every minute, there are a few rape scenes, pointless fights pop up from out of nowhere and monster designs are usually extravagant but end up being absurd. When fully mechanical monsters rear their ugly heads, you know the anime has become too farfetched. On a different note, the characters and clans are often left with question marks over their collective heads. Even with information from this series’ predecessor, it’s difficult to get any knowledge on characters; seeing as how Jubei carries the show and most episodes flirt with being mainly filler, opportunities to delve into his past are never taken. As well, we never learn very much about the Kimon and Himuro clan other than the fact that they want Shigure, who is never fleshed out, for their own purposes. Moments throughout the series attempt to be dramatic but completely fail because there is no reason to really care about these people.
Hey, it’s the sequel to Ninja Scroll. I wasn’t expecting anything other than lots of style, but it suffers when it tries being more than just action. Still, Ninja Scroll TV has plenty to keep the action fan boy in you satisfied for a long time to come.
Ninja Scroll TV can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.