Ninjai – The Little Ninja | Back From the Shadows
Movies enthral us all. Young moviegoers, for one, swear by action-packed adventure movies. Whether it is Jackie Chan kicking his way into the climax scene or Tom Cruise drawing a sword among the samurais, action has a huge fan following.
Thankfully for us, among all these action figures, ninjas hold a special place. This is mostly because of the nature of these characters: masked warriors whose identity is a mystery. They stealthily drop into the scene, do their job, and swiftly disappear (from public view), but their actions are visible to the audience. Originating from Japan, ninjas are now pop culture icons with a niche fan following. Comics and movies—both live-action and animation—have spun some immortal ninja characters. There are Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Mortal Kombat to name a few.
A New Hero
Into this realm has arrived a new hero, young but brave. Ninjai: The Little Ninja is ready to give the grown-ups some serious entertainment. The Ninjai character was created by a group of young artists who are stuntmen, animators, and singers at the same time. They do not like to push or market themselves they prefer to work as a team and let their work speak for itself. And their work is every bit as excellent as any other high-quality production. The storyline, visuals, music, and animation will keep the audience glued to their seats.
Also, do not let the title Ninjai and the young protagonist fool you into thinking that it is aimed just at the younger audience. The complex storyline, the high-octane fight scenes, and the complex shades of the protagonist will keep any action-lover on the edge of their seat. Especially gripping is the protagonist’s intricate friendship with his sidekick, Little Bird, who looks like a brown canary. The plot revolves around Little Ninjai who is on a journey to find his life’s purpose. Little Ninjai will entertain you, leaving you asking for more.
The Origins of Ninjai
Stunning visual choreography and amazing action? Yes, please! Ninjai is based on the web series that took the internet by storm in the 2000s. Extremely well-received by fans, the web series creators decided to stop the Ninjai web series and divert their time instead to a feature film. Now that the Little Ninja is making a comeback in the finally finished feature film, fans cannot keep still.
Ninjai was a web-based flash animation. This anime series was quite popular as the little protagonist travelled with his sidekick, defeating enemies and demons. The series had a loyal fan base before going out of the web scape and is now promising a comeback as a full-length film whose release date is currently unknown. The Ninja Gang is small team, without the backing of major studios like Pixar.
Thus, the time they have taken is understandable. It is really an amazing feat to produce an animated film without the backing of a major studio. An IMDb page for the film states that the movie is slated to be released in 2022, raising hope and speculation not only in the existing fanbase but also amongst many anime and ninja enthusiasts. Even those not familiar with the past webisodes are excited about the young ninja entering the movie scene.
The Intense Genre
The ninja film genre typically features films with a Japanese story base, history, and locale. These intense films prominently feature Japanese ninjas or shinobi characters in the main lead. They are marked by fiery fight/action scenes. They usually have a protagonist on a mission—sometimes chasing a purpose, and other times, seeking revenge. The protagonist (sometimes an antihero) is a historical Japanese ninja warrior—a skilled fighter adept at hiding his identity or masking his purpose.
In fact, the ninja warriors in the movies appear as masked warriors fighting all the evil and obstacles that come their way. The early ninja movies in Japan go back to the 1930s. However, the popularity of ninjas in films reached western audiences only in the 1960s. The 1967 Bond movie You Only Live Twice did a bit to popularise ninjas. The Ninjai film prominently used ninja characters in its storyline. Since then, the genre has had many popular movies, produced mostly in Japan and in Hollywood. While the Americanised ninja films hit a note with a new audience, the Japanese ones were intended for die-hard fans.
The Stealthy Warriors
Understand the complexity of ninja movies and their popularity among filmgoers, we need to first know about the famed ninjas. The origin of a ninja or shinobi warrior goes back to feudal Japan. The ninjas were experts in the martial art form ninjutsu. Ninjutsu is an old martial art, once practised by the ninjas. Skills ranging from combat, weaponry, acrobatics, and body movements are learned in ninjutsu. Ninjas that perfect ninjutsu become experts in infiltration, deception, and stealth with the ability to take the enemy by surprise.
Ninjas conduct covert operations aimed at strikes, defence, or protecting someone. Their ability to arrive at a scene and leave with minimal footprints gives them a mysterious air, making them perfect characters for a high-suspense action film. The description might remind you of contemporary US Navy Seals. However, the fact that ninjas made things possible a few hundred years ago, without the aid of modern technology, made them extremely cool. There was no want for technology or heavy equipment, as everything relied on the expertise and intelligence of the ninja.
Ninjas on The Big Screen
If you are a fan of Mortal Kombat, then it is understood that you are a ninja fan. Over the years, many ninja movies have kept the audience entertained. A few of the ninja films, however, have trespassed the loyal fans and gained popularity among all movie lovers alike. The Mortal Kombat film series, including the 2021 reboot, is the most popular film to feature ninjas. Action-packed and high on adrenaline, Mortal Kombat has captured all the attention through its films as well as its video game series. American Ninja, on the other hand, brought the ninja warrior to the western soil. To be more precise, it built a ninja out of an American.
Based on US soldiers, this 1985 movie is still named amongst the most important ninja movies. Another 1980s film to make ninjas the talk of the town was Revenge of the Ninja. Known for its cool action scenes, Revenge of the Ninja was a thorough entertainer. Staying true to the form, GI Joe’s ‘Storm Shadow’ too is a famous ninja character. This widely popular action film series has a special place for the ninja. Alongside Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow brings a different angle to the action-packed GI Joe movies. Not to forget here is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie series. These animation and live-action films are easily recognised due to their central characters, the mutant turtles.
When all the grown-up ninjas are battling it out in the action scene, Ninjai Movie is an interesting addition to the ninja genre. A little boy with ninja skills is novel to this genre and thus intriguing to watch. The balance to look for is the keenness of a fighter and the tender heart of a child. This is where his friendship with Little Bird comes in, too. It displays the tenderness and innocence that a child, though a ninja, nurtures within. This relationship contrasts with the shady and mystical lands that Little Ninjai traverses. The movie is emotional, humane, and full of feelings—a remarkable way to portray the traits that remain hidden behind the mask of a ninja.
Dive into the Animation Scene
It is not true that animation movies are just for kids. Some are, in fact, meant only for older audiences. There are a host of animated movies with ninjas as the central characters. Ninjai fits exactly this description. When we talk animation and ninja, we need to look at options much beyond the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The 1993 Japanese anime movie Ninja Scroll, for example, is considered a classic in this genre. Replete with mystery and action, Ninja Scroll is a story revolving around feudal Japan and is not for the faint-hearted. Another important classic is the science-fiction animation Cyborg Assassin: Legend of the Space Ninja. The ninja here is futuristic. He is a robot trying to protect some spaceship dwellers against a demon.
If deception is a ninja art, Checkered Ninja has mastered it all. The looks of this 2018 film and its 2021 sequel will have you believe that it is another children’s movie. But do not be fooled. Checkered Ninja interestingly portrays a ninja doll going after the bad guys, of course, with the help of the boy who owns it. Different shades of ninja, eh?
Ninjai – Nudging the Way Up
Let us talk about all the buzz that Ninjai is creating. You must wonder: is it not yet another ninja film? It is, but it is also so much more. Ninjai: The Little Ninja, inspired by Japanese-style anime and western animation, brings everything that is there in the ninja genre together. The film is historically situated in feudal Japan when ninjas practically existed. The little unnamed ninja goes on a quest to find meaning and purpose, in the process displaying his acumen as a great warrior. This, of course, is a staple plot for many action adventures. However, the plot never loses sight of the integral imagery of a Japanese ninja or a samurai. Fearsome tattooed villains being battled and won over by a young warrior is reason enough to invite you to the theatre. He is no Harry Potter—only a lone warrior fighting and winning his battles with only a little bird by his side.
A good plus is that it is an animation—a medium that allows the creators’ imagination to run free. This is evident in the sound, music, and visuals—all of which reek of a ninja epic. No forced selling of content or ideas. Just a movie true to its form.
Teasers and trailers released so far give a glimpse into the world of the Little Ninja. His face concealed under a wide-brimmed hat; the Little Ninja is challenged by the most gruesome of villains. While the setting is ancient, Ninjai gives a modern vibe with high-level suspense story and thrilling cinematic imagery. Ninjai also raises hopes for the ninja genre itself, which has been speculated to be losing its lustre. The anticipation that Ninjai is giving rise to is unmatched by other films in this genre. Thanks to the mysterious Ninja Gang and the curiosity that they have generated by giving forth meagre info about the movie.
A Movie That you will Connect With
The rogues, grisly villains, and treacherous terrains are in contention with the little warrior and his companion. The movie highlights the classic tussle between the good and the bad. The victories of Little Ninjai are a restatement of the good overpowering the evil. Ninjai: The Little Ninja is thus much more than what meets the eye. It is an intense tale of human perseverance, the will to survive, and the will to seek. It is a visual allegory of truth and innocence surviving over deceit and villainy.
More information can be found in the Ninjai channel and entertainment sites like Belmont Star, Market Herald has also shared a couple of Ninjai updates, other places who speak about Ninjai are Madison Graph.
Major news publisher are also spreading news about the Ninjai movie updates – the main ones are E-monthly News, Fairmont Post and Film Daily, The Ritz Herald, The Hudson Weekly. If you want to catch-up more un-official Ninjai information, you can visit the Ninjai blog & Vimeo.