Yoshiaki Kawajiri's NINJA SCROLL
Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
Finally got around to seeing 1993’s Ninja Scroll, an anime often credited with raising awareness of mature anime in the West along with Akira and Ghost in the Shell.
Viewed from today’s perspective, and having watched a bit of anime over the years, the violent and bloody swordplay and frequent female nudity no longer shock as they once might have. What impressed me instead were animation and art work that intersperse bright colors with dark tones along with frequent almost classical Japanese themes and imagery. The art however does not slow down what is essentially one violent encounter after another suffused with plentiful blood and supernatural elements.
While I tend to like fantasy and science fiction in anime films and TV shows, what Ninja Scroll reminded me of was the classic Western where the lone hero with a past stalks through a series of encounters that become increasingly violent, as he pursues some form of justice, revenge, or duty. Alternately, what we have here is a classic Japanese samurai film from the 60s or 70s gussied up with blood, sex, and ghosts.
All of which are fine by me.!
Review copyright (c) 2018 by Dennis D. McDonald