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Jubei Ninpucho

Ninja Scroll

Japan 1993
produced by
Shigeki Komatsu, Haruo Sai, Masaki Sawanobori, Masamichi Fujiwara, Makoto Hasegawa, Yutaka Takahashi for Mad House, JVC, Toho, Movic Inc
directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri
written by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, music by Kaoru Wada


review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A terrible epidemic has killed the inhabitants of Shimoda village, but when the Koga ninjas of the Mochizuki clan set out to investigate, all but one - female ninja Kagero, the woman withthe kiss of death - are killed by the demon Tessai, who's body is hard as rock and who's one of the 8 devils of Kimon, and Kagero can only escape thanks to wandering Ninja Jubei ...

But Jubei soon has to realize that killing Tessai was not too good an idea, since now the other devils of Kimon are after him, the ranks of which include a woman whose tattoos come to life, a hunchback who houses a swarm of deadly wasps in his body and a fighter who can virtually turn into shadow ... and then there's of course the Devils' leader Lord Gemma, whom Jubei thought to have killed 5 years ago but who somehow came back to life - with a vengeance.

But as if that wasn't bad enough, Jubei is soon poisoned by Dakuan, an old man who turns out to be a gouvernment spy, and who only promises to give him the antidote after Jubei has helped him in his investigations in what's been going on in Shimoda and keep the 8 Devils off his back. Soon enough, Dakuan persuades Kagero to join them too, but at first there seems to be little love between her and Jubei, despite the fact that they keep saving each other's life.

Eventually, our trio of heroes find out that the inhabitants of Shimoda haven't died from an epidemic but have been poisoned, so to scare villagers of the neighbouring villages away ... but why ?

It turns out that Gemma and the 8 devils work for the Dark Shogun who needs a certain shipment of gold to finance an attack on the Tokugawa shogunate, and Shimoda just had the bad luck to be the village where the gold was hidden ...

Eventually, Kagero learns that the only way to save Jubei from his poisoning is her poisonous body making love to him, but when she offers herself to him, he declines ... Soon after, she is slaughtered by Lord Gemma, and only when she dies in Jubei's arms do they confess their love to each other, and when they kiss, she gives him enough poison to fight off the poison in his body ...

Meanwhile Gemma has the gold loaded onto a ship and seeing his mission being successful, he kills his allies, the agents of the Dark Shogun, in an effort to become Dark Shogun himself ... but Jubei and Dakuan have long sneaked onto Gemma's boat and set it aflame so it starts sinking andd the gold starts melting. On the sinking ship, amidst the flames, Jubei finally faces Gemma, and while fighting him, he has to realize that Gemma is not only tough to kill, he is immortal ... it is only when he pushes him into the molten gold, which soon covers his whole body, and then pushes golden Gemma into the water that Jubei has finally succeeded in defeating him ...


A violent martial arts/fantasy epic that, despite its convoluted and a tad silly storyline, is just great: The script shows a great love for bizarre characters, which are adequately brought to the screen, the action is superbly animated, and the direction shows proes a great feel for atmosphere while treating the more outrageous script ideas with the necessary seriousness to make them work.



review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD