Ninja Kamui doesn’t waste any time getting from zero to 100. Inside 5 minutes of its first episode, a bespectacled salaryman is ambushed by a flurry of projectile needles and assaults thrown by a dozen or so armored assailants, bobbing and weaving with uncanny precision as he counters every of their strikes earlier than being viciously beheaded by a sneering brute with dreadlocks. It’s a powerful first impression for the primary unique collection from director Sunghoo Park following his work on Jujutsu Kaisen, one which boldly spells out Ninja Kamui’s declaration of intent with bloody and balletic finesse. In an anime season full of robust premieres, Ninja Kamui positions itself as an motion anime price maintaining a tally of.
Picture: E&H manufacturing/Grownup Swim
[Ed. note: Minor spoilers for Ninja Kamui episodes 1 through 2.]
Produced in collaboration with Sola Leisure, the primary unique anime manufacturing from Park’s studio E&H Manufacturing follows the story of Higan, a former ninja who flees together with his spouse and toddler baby to construct a brand new life in America after escaping from his clan on menace of demise. Assuming new identities and making their residing as farmers, Joe and his household dwell an idyllic and quiet life — that’s, till Higan’s clan lastly catches as much as him, massacring his spouse and baby and leaving him a hair’s breadth from demise himself. Surviving the assault on his dwelling, Higan embarks on a single-minded quest for revenge as he makes an attempt to search out his former masters and avenge his household’s homicide.
There isn’t a complete lot in the best way of subtlety in these preliminary episodes, although there are some cool minor particulars that convey the scrupulous lengths Higan was keen to go to guard his household, comparable to covertly wiping their fingerprints after leaving a grocery store or organising an elaborate multi-camera surveillance system to identify potential threats. Whereas the first focus of the collection is on Higan bashing and slashing nameless baddies, there are nonetheless notable supporting characters, comparable to FBI agent Mike Morris and his companion Emma Samanda, an eccentric cat-loving physician who beforehand labored with Higan earlier than defecting from his clan, and the as-of-yet unnamed CEO of Auza, a ubiquitous mega company closely implied to be in league with Higan’s former employers.
Picture: E&H manufacturing/Grownup Swim
Not a lot time is spent specializing in these characters although in these first two episodes, however that’s effective, as a result of these particulars are all in service of the true draw of Ninja Kamui: the motion. Park earned vital popularity of his work on the primary season of Jujutsu Kaisen and its 2021 feature-length prequel Jujutsu Kaisen 0, each of which featured fast-paced and inventive combat sequences with memorable choreography and modifying. Followers of Jujutsu Kaisen received’t be dissatisfied right here, because the motion in Ninja Kamui is definitely on par with JJK’s, albeit way more gratuitous within the quantity of blood and viscera. Character designs by Takashi Okazaki, the creator of Afro Samurai, additionally add to the attraction of the Ninja Kamui, as followers of 2007 anime and its 2009 sequel movie Afro Samurai: Resurrection will even really feel proper at dwelling with the extent of violence and motion choreography on show right here.
There’s no particularly grandiose or daring ambitions on show in the case of Ninja Kamui’s opening episodes. The collection is aware of what it’s: A hyper violent revenge thriller with expertly calibrated motion sequences and uniformly darkish and somber tone. With that in thoughts, Ninja Kamui completely succeeds as an interesting and entertaining motion anime. With a confirmed complete of 12 episodes, solely time will inform how this preliminary premise will evolve and alter over the course of the season. However what I do know one thing for sure, which is that Ninja Kamui is a surprising addition to Grownup Swim’s catalog of anime programming, and irrespective of the place this story goes, one factor is definite: There will likely be blood.
Ninja Kamui airs Saturdays on Grownup Swim and is obtainable to stream on Max.