In all of cinema and television history, there are few genres that have the hard-baked longevity of the ninja/samurai genre. Westerns have waxed and waned throughout the decades in their popularity, fantasy has come and gone, sci-fi goes through its ups and downs, and a slew of others that have certainly had their moment, but not been able to maintain a steady fixture in entertainment.
Sure, there is always the cop procedurals, the medical dramas, and the like, but we would not really count these as a very flavored genre in themselves – unlike ninjas and samurais which already provide in themselves an exotic location and setting unique to their domain. Ninjas and samurais however, and more so in film than in television, have had an unshakeable popularity among audiences over the years. Whether this is because of the setting, the themes, or the impressive martial arts, we will try to decipher in this article. But first, we bring you news of a new animated feature film involving ninjas and samurai!
Ninjai: The Little Ninja – The Latest in Ninja Fare
We’ve recently caught wind of an upcoming animated feature film by the name of Ninjai – The Little Ninja which has us buzzing with excitement. Showing world-class animation, beautiful visuals, great music, and most of all: a compelling, endearing new character, this animated film is a breath of fresh air in the landscape of entertainment from the last few years. A teaser was dropped online, and after seeing it we are very impressed.
The animated film follows the story of Ninjai, a young boy and expert ninja who is wandering through a vast ancient landscape in search of answers pertaining to his true identity. Quite a lofty theme for such a young character – but that’s part of what makes this film so interesting. Combining the innocence of a child character with very mature philosophical themes, and it looks like it will make for a great experience.
Now, as previously mentioned, Ninjai himself is a ninja – a small one, but still, a ninja – and his primary antagonist in the film is a powerful warlord that is pursuing him with his band of warriors. The art direction also looks top-notch, with strong Japanese influences and motifs throughout.
While there is no official release date, the film’s IMDb page does suggest a 2022 release, and an un-official Ninjai site and Ninjai social media fan-channels online also provide some clips, images, and other tidbits that give you a good look at what you can expect, as well as speculation that this may indeed be the year it comes out. There are also exclusive video channels about Ninjai and its journey where you can get additional rumors and theories.
Another thing that makes this film different from most others is that it is independently produced by a small team of artists and creatives that have dubbed themselves the ‘Ninjai Gang.’ They operate outside of any major studios or production companies, and their work on Ninjai has been a labor of love, and their passion, inspiration for their work really comes through in the trailer for the animated movie. It truly looks incredible, and we for one, cannot wait for this little ninja to burst onto the silver screen.
Interesting But Little-Known Ninja Facts
In connection with the ninja genre and its namesake warriors, there are several facts about ninjas that most people are not aware of. While most people are familiar with ninjas originating from Japan, the secretive swordsmen did not actually begin there.
Their story actually begins after the collapse of the Tang Dynasty in China in 907 A.D. where many Chinese generals fled to Japan, bringing their battle styles and tactics with them. Over the next hundred years and throughout the 1020s, many Chinese monks followed, bringing their unique blend of martial arts with them, and resulting in a combination of the styles that eventually resulted in Ninjitsu, the martial art of the ninjas.
Additionally, the name ninja originates from Chinese, pronounced “nin-sha,” whilst the Japanese term is shinobi. However, ninja was adopted and now exists as the primary term by which ninjas are referred to. The Japanese translation of ninja means “one who endures.”
The Ninja Lifestyle
More Like their name suggests, the path to becoming a ninja is not an easy one. Ninjas train within their families and do not share the secrets of their trade with others. Their training relies on discipline and determination and takes many years to master. To move silently, Ninjas would practice walking on the outer edges of their feet and would wear padded shoes that made no sound.
Since their whole strategy relies on not being detected, ninjas specialized in various forms of infiltration, espionage, assassination, and sabotage, and the missions they carried out were usually high-risk, high-stakes endeavors that were not easy to perform. Therefore, they were a valuable part of the warrior class of Japan, as you could not always hope to defeat a rival on the field in open battle between samurai.
Ninjitsu: The Ninja Martial Art
Ninjas relied on a multitude of skills including swordsmanship, archery, acrobatics, and other assorted abilities to form their martial art known as Ninjitsu. Ninjitsu encompasses a variety of these different skills and practices that the ninjas would master to accomplish their missions.
Today, many of the aspects of Ninjitsu have been lost to history, and due to the secrecy around the ninja practices, and the fact that they were mostly kept within ninja circles and only passed down through family lines, it is possible that Ninjitsu as an art will eventually be forgotten entirely.
Ninjai – A Fresh New Take on An Ancient Archetype
While ninjas themselves may have dwindled over the centuries as an active group, their influence lives on in popular culture and storytelling, and Ninjai: The Little Ninja portrays on their legacy, delivering what looks like will be a spectacular experience, and one that we cannot wait to see! A lot more can be known from this blog post.
For more updates on Ninjai: The Little Ninja check out online posts in Fairmont and Entertainment Monthly and other fan channels and blogs.