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Nin x Ning: Ninja Hattori-kun, the Movie

Nin Nin the Movie
Legend of Nin Nin Ninja Hattori / Ninja Scroll

Japan 2004
produced by
Ryoichi Fukuyama, Toru Miyazawa, Madoka Takiyama, Ko Wada, Kazutoshi Wadakura for DENTSU, Geneon/Toho
directed by Masayuki Suzuki
starring Shingo Katori, Yuri Chinen, Rena Tanaka, Takeshi Masu, Gori, Shiro Ito, Kazuyuki Asano, Mikihisa Azuma, Keiko Toda, Takashi Ukaji
written by F. Fujio Fujiko, Magii, music by Takayuki Hattori

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Young Ninja Kanzo Hattori (Shingo Katori) of the Iga Clan is sent to modern day Edo (= Tokyo) by his father (Shiro Ito) to make the first person he meets his master and show himself to no one but him ... and the first person Kanzo meets is young Kenichi (Yuri Chinen), a schoolboy with few friends who is an outcast in his class, an d who needs a friend like Kanzo ... even if in busy Tokyo, Kanzo has a hell of a time hiding from everyone else but Kenichi, and even in Kenichi's home he mustn't be seen by his parents.

Eventually, Kenichi falls in love with Midori (Rena Tanaka), and to Kanzo's relief, Midori is blind, so there's no danger that she can see him. Then Kanzo identifies Satoh (Gori) as a Koga Ninja, the sworn enemies of the Iga Clan, but Satoh has long turned his back on Ninja life and has since become one of Kenichi's teachers.

But there's also Kurakage (Takeshi Masu), another Koga Ninja Kanzo runs into, and he immediately wants to annihilate the Iga Ninja, and to that end he kidnaps Kenichi and turns the whole thing into a media spectacle, just to force Kanzo to give up his ninja code and show himself in the open - and Kanzo doesn't disappoint as he shows himself despite the many TV-cameras directed at him ... and with the help of Satoh, who in the light of the kidnapping has turned against his fellow Koga Ninja, Kanzo even manages to free Kenichi, but fighting Kurakage one -on-one, he soon has to realize he has met his match, or even more - when Kenichi interferes, and despite being a mere boy, he tries to defend his friend the best he can. This gesture moves Kurakage to such an extent that he gives up fighting and doesn't even escape his certain deth when the whole place around him goes up in flames ...

(All the others manage to save themselves though, if you must know.)

Based on an anime series from the 1970's, Nin x Nin: Ninja Hattori-kun, the Movie is pretty much as childish and silly as one expects it to be (and my synopsis probably suggets it to be, too). But unfortunately I'm not talking about the good kind of childish and silly here, just the kind in which a weak story is carried by lame and repetitive jokes. Sure, Kanzo's attempts to hide himself from everyone are amusing at first, but after a while , this joke loses its novelty value - but it's played over and over again for more than an hour (or more than half of the movie), and it's only then that the actual plot of the film (in a nutshell: Kanzo vs Kurakage) starts to develop, which eventually culminates in a disappointingly cheesy ending.

Not worth your time, actually.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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from the post-apocalyptic
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Tales to Chill
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the new anthology by
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out now on DVD