Review: Ninja Scroll

Director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri
Year: 1993
Score: 6/10

And that's why you always leave a note! (Seriously, what's with arms getting cut or torn off in every single anime I watch?)

And that’s why you always leave a note! (Seriously, what’s with arms getting cut or torn off in every single anime I watch?)

The third and weakest of the anime films I sampled. Rather than the futuristic sci-fi settings of the others, this one’s set in a version of feudal Japan with some fantasy elements. There’s a plot, to be sure, but mostly it seems to just be an excuse for over-the-top ninja action scenes – some quite good – featuring bucketloads of exaggerated gore (don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with gore and I recognise that showing it in an exaggerated way can be a legitimate stylistic choice; I’m just not convinced it adds a lot in this case). Ridiculously, the key romance is between a female character who inadvertently fatally poisons anyone who kisses or has sex with her and a poisoned male character who is told the only way to cure himself would be to have sex with her. On reflection I think this story and this world might appeal to young boys, but there are too many elements that aren’t age appropriate. The strangest line of dialogue would have to be this one: “Don’t let it cross your mind that I wouldn’t mind raping a dead girl”.

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