New Anime

Ninja Kamui. Like John Wick, but With Ninjas

Ninja Kamui Ep 1 Review

Few things in this world inspire as much awe, and fear, as a ninja. Spies, assassins, boisterous protagonists of some of the greatest Shonen Manga, ninjas are everywhere. And when Toonami announced that they would be coming out with an original series, Ninja Kamui, people took notice. Especially given how the anime involves a former ninja going on a quest to avenge his dead family. It’s like John Wick, but with ninjas.

Ninja Kamui show open. New eps Sat @ midnight | Next day on Max #anime #toonami

— adult swim (@adultswim) February 11, 2024

Check out tonight’s special #Toonami intro for Ninja Kamui!

— Swimpedia (@swimpedia) February 11, 2024

Joe Higan Wanted a Normal Life

Somwhere in rural America lives Joe Higan, a family man with a happy life. He’s got a beautiful wife, a cheerful son, and a successful farm, and a cool motorcycle. In other words, he’s set up as the man who’s living the peaceful, rural American Dream. However, not everything is as it seems. 

Truth be told, Ninja Kamui is very cagey about who Joe is and what his past was like in the premiere. Throughout the first act, the anime drops hints that Joe is running from something. When news reports of brutal, identical murders across the country start making the rounds, they put him and his wife on edge. They know who is doing them, but they try to reassure themselves that they’ll be fine. 

As expected from Sunghoo Park, the action sequences in Ninja Kamui are stunning

— Sakuga 作画 (@sakugaclips) February 11, 2024

Then comes the moment when these assassins do come for them. Even with how obvious it was that this would happen, it doesn’t change the fact that the fight that follows is brutal. There’s blood everywhere, heads roll, and Joe’s forced to watch as his wife and son’s dead bodies grow cold on the floor in front of him.

WHAT…#NinjaKamui #Toonami

— Toonami Faithful (@ToonamiNews) February 11, 2024

Sunghoo Park Shows off Why he’s so Great

The show’s second act adds a pair of FBI agents working on the attack, sensing it’s connected to the other murders. They’re not wrong, but when the culprits come back to finish the job, they can’t even do anything. There’s a chance that they’ll play a bigger role in the series, if only because they’re named. 

a very strong debut of Ninja Kamui along with Sunghoo Park delivering on the fight choreography and action animation as expected since it is his bread and butter

— dre (@v2TokyoGhost) February 11, 2024

The real highlight of the episode, though, is the moment those assassins come back for a still-alive Joe. If the entire sequence, which is bloody yet has a dark beauty to it, seems similar to Jujutsu Kaisen, there’s a good reason. Sunghoo Park, the man who directed the episode (and runs the studio that made this anime) directed the first season of Jujutsu Kaisen. The results speak for themselves as Higan goes on a rampage, killing his would-be assassins, and saving the man who killed his wife last. 

Higan become the John Wick of Ninjas

The end of the episode only adds on another layer of mystery surrounding Joe Higan. His family’s dead bodies hinted at it, but it isn’t until Joe pulls off his face that we get confirmation: they were wearing high-tech masks. Between this, the military-grade gear his assassins used, and the savviness they have with technology, paints a grim picture about this group. Whoever they are, they’re dangerous.

While the ones who directly killed his family are dead, Higan knows it’s not over, leading to some payoff for a good instance of foreshadowing. Earlier in the episode, Joe found his son playing with an Oni mask, something that he and his wife were uneasy about. Given their killers similarities to Oni, it’s a big hint that they were once part of this same group of ninjas. Seeing Higan pull out an Oni mask out of the secret hole in his house is just confirming what we already knew. That, and that Higan is about to go John Wick on these ninja’s butts.

As far as premieres go, Ninja Kamui does a good job of balancing the thin line needed. It provides the basic setup and premise to use, but at the same time, it leaves enough unanswered to keep people in the dark. And when people are left in the dark about something, they tend to want to know more. What is the name of this group of ninjas? Why did Joe and his wife leave them behind? Those questions will be answered over the course of the next eleven weeks, and I’m looking forward to it. 

End Credits and Next Week promo! #NinjaKamui #Toonami

— Badgerclops (@BadgercIops) February 11, 2024

I Give “Episode 1” a 5/5

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.