Ninja Nonsense Vol. #1 -

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Mania Grade: B+

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Nozomi Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Ninja Nonsense

Ninja Nonsense Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     June 26, 2006
Release Date: July 25, 2006

Ninja Nonsense Vol. #1
© Nozomi Entertainment

What They Say
It's Super Explosive Pervy Ninja Insanity! Take the comedy of South Park, combine it with one totally cute (and naive) ninja-girl trainee, a horde of ninjas under the perverse tutelage of her headmaster: a strange, yellow, spherically pudgy... creature... named Onsokumaru, and you get the craziest, most hilarious anime show ever invented!

1A: Ninja Trainee Shinobu
Ninja trainee Shinobu is sent on a mission by her pervy Head Master to collect underwear from high school girls! Her first target? Kaede Shiranui!

1B: The Head Master Appears
Shinobu takes Kaede on a crazy adventure to the Valley of the Ninja to meet her Head Master!

2A: Ninjas Elated over Cherry Blossom Viewing
Rainy weather drives bored ninjas into looking for the Loch Ness Monster in their pond... only to find an Onsokumaru-eating crocodile instead!

2B: Shinobu goes on a Date with Kaede
Girl-girl dating?! Can this be allowed?! Ninja-master Onsokumaru and masked-nobleman Sasuke decide to keep a close eye on this spectacle of nature!

3A: Onsokumaru Gets Angry
Shinobu's little sister, Miyabi, is a total brat! Onsokumaru decides it's time for a little one-on-one... just her, him, and his crocodile power-suit!

3B: Shinobu Leaves the Manor
Shinobu's being kicked out of the manor?! Maybe Kaede's family would be interested in adopting a ninja into their family... Sister-sister bath time??

Six crazy stories on just a single DVD!

The Review!
When it comes to Pirate vs. Ninja, I'm on the side of ninja, especially when it comes to bizarre and hilarious comedies featuring ninjas like this show does!

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. With it being a kind of wacky comedy series, there's a lot of things going on across the screen which means characters flying every which way and an audio mix that has to handle that. There are some really good stand out sequences where the dialogue moves around beautifully across the forward soundstage and really helps the scene work even better. We listened to a good bit of the English track as well and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback of either track.

Originally airing in 2004, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The source materials are in fantastic shape here and the encoding has captured a lot of the visual beauty of the show in its rich palette of colors. There's a great mix of colors between the traditional ninja motif and that of the normal world and they blend very well. In particular, the many gray outfits of the ninjas maintain a very solid feel while the backgrounds and sky areas don't show any blocking. The animation quality is quite good and fluid and the lack of cross coloration or aliasing means this is great looking transfer.

The artwork for the cover isn't the same as the Japanese, which was a role reversal anyway that only made sense if you'd seen the show in broadcast form. This version is pretty solid though as it has the two lead girls running along on top of the big head of Onsokumaru while a ton of ninja's run and leap about behind them, including a comical ninja that's actually a dinosaur. The cover is bright and attractive with lots of eye-catching colors and a really nice layout overall. The back cover is broken out into a couple of sections where each of the episodes is covered with a short summary and an accompanying shot from the episode, shots that highlight Onsokumaru a lot and point to the weirdness of the series. The discs features are clearly listed while the technical information covers everything in a quick to easy form. The cover is also reversible though the only change, a good one though, is that the logo is swapped out from its English version to its original Japanese one. The included booklet appears to do a lot of translating from the Japanese ones as it has a few production journals that are illuminating, some character profile pieces and a number of very useful liner notes to the various gags and visuals in the show.

The menu replicates the design of the front cover and expands upon it a bit with some simple but effective animation; The clouds brought into it along the left, just below the selections, shift about back and forth while in the overall background you have the rays from the sun rotating around. Set to a bit of bouncy vocal music from the show, it's a good looking menu that's easy to navigate and with quick access times. In another plus, the disc correctly read our players' language presets and played accordingly.

There are a few extras included with this first volume that are fun to check out. There are four of the original TV spots promoting the series, something that I always love to see since it's interesting to see how shows are promoted differently, as well as clean versions of the first two opening sequences.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This year isn't exactly the year of the ninja but this summer there's some high profile ninja material coming out and Ninja Nonsense is the perfect complement to that in going in the other direction and just having fun with the entire concept. Filled with verbal and visual gags, clearly showing its influences in the media version of ninjas and intent on being as racy as they can be at times, Ninja Nonsese was just a really great viewing experience that had us laughing far more than I expected, especially when you consider how hard full on comedies can be.

The series revolves, sort of, around a young kunoichi named Shinobu. She's been spending her time going through her ninja training lessons and the head master has sent her out on a mission that will determine whether she becomes a full fledged ninja or not. It's all quite simple and straightforward when looked at like that, but it's all so much more. Shinobu's actually something of a ditz, or at least of low intellect, since she can't even follow maps and she believes that by applying the phrase "ninja technique" before something it means she can do it. Such as becoming invisible, which we see her execute quite early on when she "sneaks" into the room of high school student Kaede. Kaede of course can see her plainly and is close to whacking her with a tennis racket but Shinobu goes right up to her and speaks out loud about how Kaede can't see her.

This starts a new awkward friendship of sorts as Shinobu latches onto Kaede as a new friend and continually visits here. Their relationship is even more awkward from the start because the mission she was on for her exam was to steal underwear from a high school girl. Even worse, the second exam has her needing to get a hickey from a high school girl! A lot of the reasons for this becomes more apparent after Kaede ends up visiting the ninja residence and meets the head master. This is almost tricky as the head master is essentially a combination of the big yellow ball guy from Di Gi Charat and Haro from Gundam. He's a sizable yellow ball named Onsokumaru, which literally means "sonic ball" and is quite accurate for his personality. The head master is a perverted ball of weirdness, drama and overacting that can turn himself into a well muscled human form but it retains the yellow nature and the big round head.

Even worse, he's got a small legion of fully garbed ninjas that are at his beck and call, all of them seemingly called Sasuke, and these guys are just a hair or two better than Shinobu. For example, Shinobu has a great little pouch for keeping her throwing stars in but she doesn't put them in there since they'd ruin it with the poking and the iron smell. One of the regular ninjas can't help either as apparently he keeps little yellow chicks in his pouch! A lot of the insanity does revolve around Onsokumaru though and his very strange ways of thinking. The combination of him and the others, as well as introducing Shinobu's younger and more refined sister who is skilled in magics, helps the show maintain a really frenetic pace for a lot of the time. It moves great from one joke to the next, especially since the first few episodes are done in half-episode style similar to old Urusei Yatsura episodes. This lets the show do some more concentrated gags and bits without having to have a storyline to carry the entire episode.

The character designs are a bit off from the usual designs but they look great here, with somewhat rounder faces and a lot of creative work with the eyes. Shinobu is fairly standard but Kaede really surprises with how good she is here in a regular simple schoolgirl outfit that avoids the sailor idea for the top. Onsokumaru by himself is just hilarious to watch since he can change into a number of different things. The designs for the ninjas are the best though, kept simple but detailed enough to have a good feel to them. They shift easily between dark and serious with the glowing red eyes to something far more comical as they all go out for a cherry blossom viewing.

In Summary:
With much the same production team as Dokkoida?! and Ninja Nonsense being an example of them being told "Do more of the same!", I'm not surprised that this show is as appealing as it is. They even have a hilarious claymation ending sequence! I'm always leery of comedies since they can be so hit or miss but Ninja Nonsense is a definite hit, both from its simple and straightforward humor to the more racy and simply bizarre humor. These opening episodes just had us laughing from start to finish and eager to see more to see where else they go with it. This is a great balance to the darker ninja material due out this summer and just a beautiful looking release in general. Very recommended.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,TV Spots,Cleaning Opening 1 & 2

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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jnager 3/13/2012 10:27:30 AM

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