Search - Ninja Scroll - The Series (Vol. 1) on DVD

Ninja Scroll - The Series (Vol. 1)
Ninja Scroll - The Series
Vol. 1
Genres: Television, Anime & Manga, Animation
UR     2003     1hr 30min



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Movie Details

Genres: Television, Anime & Manga, Animation
Sub-Genres: Television, Anime & Manga, Animation
Studio: Urban Vision
Format: DVD - Color - Animated,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 09/02/2003
Original Release Date: 01/01/2003
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2003
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English, Japanese
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

A Shadow Of The Movie, But A Force All Its Own
Chon-ny | 08/03/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Since the 1996 release of the original "Ninja Scroll" feature, fans have suffered from misleading sub-par efforts such as "Ninja Resurrection" and "Jubei-chan, Ninja Girl." With the 13-episode "Dragon Gem" TV series, "Scroll" fanatics finally have something to latch on to, a series that fearlessly tries to live up to the standard set by one of the most important movies in anime history.Easygoing, morally sincere, ninja-for-hire Jubei Kibagami is once again the focus of the series, alternately called "The Dragon Stone Treasure" or "The Jade Dragon." Jubei is based in fact on a character of the same name from feudal Japan, the Paul Bunyan or Wong Fei Hong legend for that country. "Dragon Gem" opens with a masked ninja named Rouga fleeing after stealing the precious Dragon Gem of the Hiroku, a ninja clan "destined to live in darkness," and protect the gem. The first fight scenes are a pretty good indicator of what is to come: an overwhelming amount of multi-skilled ninjas, some dispatched with ease, others getting a several-episode lifespan. Rouga is cornered by Hiroku's Migai, a spider-man-type guy, as well as two ninjas from the Kimon clan, who want the gem as well (you'll remember the Kimon as the clan that produced the Eight Devils Jubei fought in the movie). One is a swordsman with a flying bike/lance contraption, the other a woman who can produce ... gremlins. Jubei interferes, simply because they've disturbed his nap, and unleashes a new skill (in addition to his swordsmanship, Wolverine-like recovery ability, and the sturdy string attached to the sword): a sword slash that projects through the air (similar to Raijuta's Izuni in "Rurouni Kenshin"). Rouga offers to team up, but Jubei refuses, arbitrarily because he "doesn't trust people in masks," and because he wants to finish his nap and his dream.The second part of the setup involves Shigure, a teenager kept from the outside world her whole life, and unknowingly being guarded by an entire village of ninjas. Her world is shattered when the Kimon attack; she also finds out that she is somehow the "Witch of Light" (or Maiden of Light in other translations). Rouga buys her some time to escape at the cost of his life; as he dies, begs Jubei to deliver the gem to Shigure. Jubei agrees, an important fact seeing as the only thing more important than justice and money to Jubei is his word.So goes the series, with the Kimon and Hiroku clans sending their minions after Jubei and Shigure, who are joined by Dakuan, the Tokugawa government spy from the movie, and Tsubute, an athletic teen thief, and a slightly annoying character. Apparently, the union of the Witch of Light and the Dragon Gem can either lead to the Hiroku treasure, or unleash a hidden horror for the Kimon. The array of characters ranges from uber-cool, to unoriginally [weak]. Two characters borrow heavily from the wasp-hive devil from the movie: one controls a swarm of moths, the other a swarm of bats. There are the cooler characters such as Rengoku, a re-animator who can re-attach body parts to others or herself, and is a sort of twisted Inspector Gadget; or Anden Yamidron, the Kimon's No. 2, who can crystalize and destroy things by touch.Don't expect 13 episodes with the same quality as the movie. Would you expect a "Ghost In The Shell" TV series to seriously maintain that level of animation for even more than five episodes? Obviously not. That said, the pilot four episodes are of a significantly better level of art than the rest of the series. The TV Jubei is drawn with the movie Jubei in mind--same raggedy brown clothes and split Raiden hat--but has slightly thicker eyebrows, less slanty eyes, and a thicker lower lip: not huge differences, but enough to be noticeable. The art, direction and movement in this volume are by no means comparable to the movie, but far above average for a TV series. The fight sequence between Jubei and Jashi, a ninja with a hollow eye socket that, among other things, can use a dead person's eyeball as a sort of DVD to play back their final moments, is beautifully crafted, with the quick cuts from close-up, to far away, to just the sounds of swords clashing, to images of their shadows battling at the speed of light. The shocking level of gore from the movie is also toned down in this series, as is the [physcial] content, although it doesn't shy from implicit [abuse] scenes. The characters are semi-modern, much like those in "Wild, Wild West" (yes, the Will Smith movie), probably owing to the character designs of Takahiro Yoshimatsu, of "Trigun" fame.You may have to re-watch Vol. 1 after getting through the second volume just to better understand what's going on, with so many characters being introduced, and with bad guys fighting not only the good guys, but each other (think three-way battle). Thankfully, the series maintains the idea that these demons still exhibit human failings: a female villain embittered by [abuse]; the aptly-named Rengoku, whose desire for revenge many times blinds her to the original mission of [physcial] desire or pride or loneliness.It should've been a five-star series; the major, but not horrendous, drop-off in quality from the first four episodes to the rest of the series is a little bit of a turn-off, as is the over-emphasis on fights, which affects the plot development, and the story behind the gem. It's a good series that benefits from having a great movie to work off of, but may suffer from the extremely high expectations fans may put on it."
Don't listen to them
T. M Rogers | 09/22/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"You must remember this series is just that a series, Not a movie which means smaller budget. The animation in this movie is "different" and not in a bad way, but if you were to compare it with most series it diserves 4 stars. But it does take some getting used to, it's nothing like the old ninja scroll animation. Which is not a bad thing, it's fresh something new that will take getting used to. The dubbing: Do not expect the old favorites that you are used to Jubei does have a different voice, but i think you will get over it after episode 2.
Jubei is still the main focus of the series thus far, but he is the star of a 2 sided story-line. I'm not a hardcore anime fan, i watch only animes that are worthy of my attention. Ninja Scroll: the series has done that so far, so i will not rate this, while comparing it to the other animes i've seen in my life time. If you compare everything in the series to the movie, you will make yourself hate this series while still being entertained by it. PRO's: - It has a new style to it and is a welcomed change.
- Jubei is still the loveable character as in the past.
- Combat in this series so far is very well done
- A lot more charcters (see con's section)
- Jubei is back & he is still bad.
- Dakuwan (the oldman) is back too, and he has some tricks up his sleeveCON's: - Technology (this is ancient japan and technology doesn't fit in to well, probably my biggest gripe.)

- more charcters (this series so far brings about 2 or 3 new charcters in every episode, you'll not have to remeber too many of them though) - different voice actors (for previous charcters)
- Jubei as always seems more like a smaurai than a ninja
OVERALL: This is a good series so far and i have been able to
look past the cons, the new technology does bother me, but i can look past it. This series is easily worth getting as long as you are not to stuck up on the movie (and are able to look past the fact they are not related in anyway other than two charcters thus far.) This is a very enjoyable show, and from what i've seen it is better than most series out there, and you do not have to be a "hardcore fan to notice it".
So i advise you if you are a fan of the movie, PICK UP A COPY OF THE SERIES. if you can look past the subtle differences you will enjoy it."
Decent animation, cool stories & the art matches the movie.
T. M Rogers | Az United States | 07/20/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I have seen 5 Ninja Scroll episodes (#1-5) and for those of you that want to know how it stacks up against the movie, overall it is pretty close. The art style is identical to the movie. There is a little less detail in the characters and not as much movement, but this is expected in a series (less of a budget). There are 13 episodes total. This series is missing the over-the-top sexuality and gore from the movie, but does contain a few scenes of extreme violence. Every episode I have seen features several villians with all kinds of crazy powers, who are quickly dispatched by Jubei and his throwing sword. Features a traditional Japanese opening theme (no singing!) and the character of Jubei is every bit as cool as he was in the Ninja Scroll film. I would rate the overall animation quality as just below Cowboy Bebop, but above Hellsing & Berserk. Bottom line, if you like Ninja Scroll, like anime and enjoy watching swordplay, this series can't be beat! PS: The anime DVD Ninja Resurrection has NOTHING to do with Ninja Scroll. Be warned! It is a cheap attempt to cash in on the popularity of Ninja Scroll. THIS series is the only TRUE Ninja Scroll sequel. Same creators, same animation studio (Madhouse)!"
Sometimes You Feel Like a Ninja, Sometimes You Don't
Marc Ruby? | Warren, MI USA | 09/11/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I'm not quite sure what I expected when I picked this up. It's been long enough since I saw the original film that inspired by this series that all my mushy brain cells can really remember is that I enjoyed it a great deal. Given the success of the release of 'X' as a series developed from a film, I decided to dive in. What I found was both more... and less. The series, like the film documents the adventures of Jubei Kibagami, a legendary Japanese samurai. In the film he is a sleepy character who keeps getting dragged into a conflict between two ninja clans - the Hiruko and the Kimon. Not ordinary ninja either, but half-human creatures with gruesome habits. They are fighting over a dragon stone and the light maiden, whose fate is somehow tangled up with the stone.When the village that guarded Shigure (the light maiden) is attacked by the Kimon clan she barely escapes with her life, and the dragon stone falls into Jubei's hands. He sets out to return it to her and the adventure begins. Eventually the travelers will include Dakuan, a wizened old 'monk,' and Tsubute, a thief, as they try to stay alive and solve the mysteries of the stone.Expect a good deal of wild ninja style goings on and the requisite amount of gore and you won't be disappointed. Dialog is adequate, but only Jubei has the spark of wit and charm. I found the art a bit weak as well, colorful, but lacking in the detail that we have come to expect in modern anime. Consider this Ninja Scroll lite. In addition, the series is only slated for thirteen episodes.On the other hand the music features primary themes by Kitaro, with Peter McEvilley doing the shorter work. An exceptional team for any anime project, and they do a wonderful job on the DVD. On the whole I think this will be a good series to watch, but so far it lacks the intensity of the original. If that is what you were expecting, this will be a disappointment."