Film Review: Ninja Scroll

13th February 2017

Star Wars: Tarkin coverI am not a huge follower of Japanese cinema and in particular I am not a huge follower of Manga. However, whenever I have watched examples of Manga film, I have very much enjoyed it. I watched Ninja Scroll for the first time a few nights ago and was blown away by it – the film had striking visuals, engaging characters, an intriguing story and the right balance of thought and action.

Why I chose to watch it?

I had heard great things about this film in the past and decided to give it a try as I am trying to broaden my horizons with the films I enjoy.


The plot was centered around the central protagonist, Jubei, and his journey with a female lead and damsel-in-distress-turned-heroine of the story, Kagero.

A group known as the Devils of Kimon are the antagonists of this story and in video-game-like fashion become progressively more challenging for the heroes of the story to overcome.

Although Ninja Scroll is strictly a fantasy story, it is set in Feudal Japan and the story is largely political – the Devils of Kimon are attempting to overthrow the government and are planning to purchase weapons from Spain in order to assist them in their coup. I found this blend of fantasy fiction with allusions to the historical period and the outside world to be very interesting and added to the depth of this film.


The two central characters, Jubei and Kagero, and the growth of their relationship was very interesting to watch. I found the characterisation of Kagero to be particularly interesting – causing a change in our perception of Kagero from damsel-in-distress without a change in her behaviour, that shows her to be one of the most powerful (if not the most powerful) characters in Ninja Scroll.

Overall verdict

– Excellent characterisation
– Striking animation
– The right balance of action and engaging plot
– An excellent fantasy story set in 17th century Japan with historical insights
– Was hard to follow at times
My score: 9/10

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