When a pair of female ninja trainees sneak out for some hunky waiter time, they end up in a whole lot of trouble.
What They Say
Ancient Japan : a land filled with both exotic beauty and savage death! And in all the realm, the most feared killers are the Ninja, silent assassins gifted with magical powers of stealth and deception. But the path to learning the secrets is long and difficult, and not all who seek to become true Ninjas survive! For Yamame and Suzume, two beautiful young ninjas-in-training, the prospects of a long life are shortened dramatically when they chose the wrong Samurai to �'relieveö of his wallet. Suddenly the buxom pair find themselves caught up in a deadly game with both the life of a princess, and their own, at stake! But despite the overwhelming odds that face them, Yamame and Suzu have at least one trick no one's expecting inside their ninja arsenalà and they're willing to bare ALL their weapons in order to survive! Superstar model and actress Risa Kouda (Lisa Coda) proves that the only thing more deadly than ONE angry female ninja is TWO in TWIN BLADES OF THE NINJA!
Switchblade Pictures has decided not to dub their releases at this time so this feature is presented in its original Japanese stereo language form only. Encoded at 224kbps, it’s pretty standard material when it comes to the audio department as it’s a basic stereo channel mix without anything really resembling strong directionality. Without too much in the way of depth, there’s nothing that stands out strongly here but it’s conveyed well and it rather does suit the material. We didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback of the presentation.
Originally released in 2006, the transfer for this feature is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Done on video rather than film, the feature looks decent but is hampered by source issues. There are two main issues that cause problems throughout the feature. The first is that there’s a fair bit of cross coloration throughout it. It’s very apparent in the mesh outfits that the leads wear but it also creeps into the swords at times which is actually rather amusing. The other is that outdoor background scenes with all the trees tends to have a lot of mosquito noise to it which is fairly distracting. This isn’t exactly a budgeted movie of any sort really so it’s not surprising that it has a low quality feel. The bitrates look to work with the source material as much as possible but there’s only so far that it can go. It’s not a travesty or anything, but if you’re looking for a clean and pristine film here, you won’t get it.
The packaging design for this release is spot on as it works over both the sexual side and the clean elegant side. The cover artwork is very nicely framed with dark reds and blacks with a simple logo along the top for Switchblade Pictures and a larger red piece on the bottom saying that it’s the Unrated Limited Edition. The central focus of course is the image of Risa Koda with little on her for a ninja uniform as she brandishes her sword in a ready position. It’s a bit brighter than I would have expected but it shows her off well when you add in the soft pinks and reds to the background. The back cover is nicely done as well as the left half is done up as a naked woman posing that’s shadwed in reds and purples. Across her back and posterior is the summary from the show and the production credits. To her right are several shots from the show, both action and sexual of nature, which lets you see more of the cast. The bottom portion runs through a fairly standard technical grid which is also clear about what kind of material it is. No inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
None, it just goes right into the feature. After the feature ends, it hits the DVD production credits menu, then a Switchblade Pictures logo screen and then it stops the disc.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When you go into the big box retailers this fall, there’s a good chance you’re going to see a title from Switchblade Pictures on there. Their releases are pretty varied from all appearances, but the first ones we got our hands on are a bit more adult in nature. Having not looked at the back cover until after watching it, since I do prefer to avoid potential spoilers, it was admittedly rather surprising to see something so… overt. Not that it’s a bad thing mind you, but Cinemax After Dark: Japan Style was not what I was expecting.
Twin Blades of the Ninja, taking place a few hundred years ago, has a pretty basic storyline for its seventy-five minute runtime. The story introduces us to two female ninjas, kunoichi, named Yamame and Suzume. The two are training under their sensei but are running into the usual trouble you find with girls apparently in that they’re somewhat lazy and more interested in getting out. Their sensei is frustrated with them, more so with Yamame than Suzume, but he still sees potential in them. After losing her meals once again, Suzume sneaks in some food to Yamame later in the evening. But Yamame has bigger plans as she wants to sneak out with Suzume to go down to the Castle That Never Sleeps, which is also known as the Hunky Waiter Teahouse. They need some time to unwind and have fun and this is how she intends to do it. Suzume tends to fall into line with Yamame even when she knows better…
After they essentially trick a samurai and steal his money, they head off for the real fun where they get attention and praise from the Hunky Waiters, which is basically an ancient host club. The whole situation goes badly though as their sensei finds out and puts them to punishment over it. But what really causes trouble is that when they abused the poor samurai, they caused him to lose a special ticket he had and he wants it back. Kidnapping Suzume, a cycle begins where their sensei continues to save them again and again while Yamame tries to figure out what happened to the ticket. All the while, the main man of the Hunky Waiter Teahouse is actually a vicious villain who is intent on stealing women’s wombs and selling them to impotent men as a cure for their problem.
So there’s little in the way of a serious plot here, but there is a good bit of sex in it as well. Twin Blades of the Ninja has that whole softcore thing going for it as you don’t actually see any genitalia, but they come real close to it. It’s easy to see this being a little less risqué in Japan where the mosaics would cover a lot of this up. Without it, it’s a bit more sexual and titillating. The opening scene has one of the women at the Hunky Waiter Teahouse being taken consensually by the main villain, Shinjumaru. Another scene has the samurai taking advantage of Suzume with a wooden toy after he kidnaps her while waiting for Yamame to find the ticket. And, of course, superstar Risa Koda as Yamame has to have a scene where Shinjumaru has captured her and is putting her to the test with his mad skills as a man who knows how to please a woman. They all offer something different and are fairly good, though depending on how you feel, you almost wish that it simply went the extra step to become an actual full fledged adult production instead of a softcore piece.
From a production perspective, there’s no real issues to be had here. Going by the end credits, familiar people from Amusement Park Media worked on it so there’s a certain level of quality that I didn’t really have to worry about. The only new name was the translator herself, but the familiar names of Matt Greenfield, Janice Williams and Neal Barnes on the release means that I’m seeing a lot of what I saw on the old ADV Films releases that Amusement Park Media used to work on as well.
One of the first releases from Switchblade Pictures, Twin Blades of the Ninja is probably a pretty good idea of what to expect from the company. The feature itself, the original credits and then translated credits. A lot of Japanese productions of this nature aren’t high caliber pieces to begin with so the video issues aren’t a surprise. There isn’t anything that’s worth taking seriously here but as a softcore ninja sex flick, it’s not bad as it features three very attractive women who can’t act and roll with it as best as they can. If this was the quality of kunoichi at the time, it’s no wonder you don’t hear about them anymore. But you’d certainly want to live during that time to take advantage of them. After this first one, I find myself admittedly curious to see more and am actively looking forward to checking out more of these titles.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.