Ninja Nonsense Vol. #3 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

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: 29.98
  • Running time: 80
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Ninja Nonsense

Ninja Nonsense Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     October 26, 2006
Release Date: October 31, 2006

Ninja Nonsense Vol. #3
© Nozomi Entertainment

What They Say
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, spherical, pudgy... creature... named Onsokumaru, and you get the craziest, most hilarious anime show ever created!

Onsokumaru is stuck to his arch-nemesis, Miyabi! It's starting to look like the only way to detach him might be... a Miyabi strip show?! Next, the men want to play baseball, so the girls should take their sissy games someplace else! At least, that's how Onsokumaru feels... The only way to settle this dispute is with a baseball match, girls versus boys! And then, Kaede's school is having a festival, complete with a haunted house! What costume would be best for Shinobu? Cat-girl? Erotic imp?

Shinobu's got a new pet: a 15-foot tall monster plant! When ninjas, butterflies and cats start going missing, all fingers point towards Shinobu's "cuddly" friend... Then, at last, the infamous hot springs episode! Onsokumaru is foaming at the mouth for a chance to see some skin! Miyabi's stationed magical guardians around the women's bath... but where there is a ninja will, there is a ninja way! Finally, poor Kaede is sick. It's a good thing Shinobu and Onsokumaru are around to take care of her! Of course, Onsokumaru has his own agenda - like hitting on Kaede's mom!

The Review!
Setting out to truly prove that this is the Onsokumaru show, Ninja Nonsense is pure hilarity and a whole lot of nonsense.

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 are 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 standout 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 takes a bit of a change with this cover as the inking isn't anywhere near as heavy and that keeps it a bit more normal looking as it has Shinobu and the gang playing sports outside, complete with lots of ninjas in the background in various states. Like the previous ones, it's got a lot of good colors and a fun feel to it. 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; there's a great bit of mild animation to it of the giant plant monster sneaking up over the tree line 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 another five 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 a clean version of the Japanese ending sequence. A new extra to this volume is a video interview piece with the Japanese cast, the first of two.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Ninja Nonsense hits its third installment and the half-episode stories continue to really make this show work as well as it does. Without having to deal with keeping the comedy or concept going for the full length of a standard episode, they're able to focus more directly on the material that works and works well rather than fluffing it out and putting in some down moments. It's not a method that can work for all kinds of comedies, some of them require a lengthier setup for a different kind of payoff, but for Ninja Nonsense it's ideally suited.

After all, how could you really carry the concept of Onsokumaru being stuck on Miyabi for a full episode without it getting old and tired or even full of angst? The setup of a casual accident where she falls on top of him while he's sitting around ends up forcing the two of them together and Onsokumaru really utilizes his powers to amusing effect. He's freaked out about being attached to her and she's certainly not happy but everyone else is coming up with ideas on how to separate them, often going with old wives tales about getting chewing gum out of hair. This is just a lot of fun to watch Onsokumaru so panicked and caught up in situations and places that he really doesn't want to be.

Another fun piece right off the bat is when Shinobu and the other girls want to do some fun stuff outside but Onsokumaru and his band of goofy ninjas are intent on playing baseball. And to him, baseball is a man's game and no silly girls are allowed to play. Of course, Shinobu won't let that sit and the group ends up in the only way that you'd expect it to, with a boys vs. girls match to settle it all. Not that anything is ever truly settled with Onsokumaru, but it does allow for some really good sports gags and a fair bit of fanservice along the way. Onsokumaru gets so completely frustrated during it that it's just hilarious to watch him.

Another episode that is just plain weird but still a lot of fun is the obligatory hot springs episode. It's a pretty basic setup in the trip to where they are, but the girls are fully aware of what Onsokumaru is going to be up to when they get there. There is plenty of humor in how Onsokumaru tries to get around the guards that Miyabi sets up, but the real humor I found was in watching the various ninjas going through all the varied kinds of hot springs that are there. Seeing them inside what are basically stews or the whole hot tire spring was just priceless, a nice send up of the various kinds of springs from the Ranma days.

In Summary:
The mix of stories continue to have little real long term " or even short term " effect on how each episode plays out. The show basically resets itself with every episode but that's not bad at all and makes it ideal for a quick showing in between other shows or for just sitting down and absorbing a good hour of comedy. This volume is just as much fun as the previous ones and while it doesn't have any serious highs or lows, it's a very consistent level and just a heck of a lot of fun. If you like the wacky comedy stuff, Ninja Nonsense is really just on the mark every time.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Interview with the Japanese Cast Part 1, TV Spots 10-14, Textless Closing

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic DMP-BD10 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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