The best ninja anime list

The best ninja anime list 2024

The Allure of Ninja Anime: A Dive into the Best of the Genre

Unveiling Ninja Anime’s Timeless Appeal

Ninja anime occupies a venerable niche within Japanese animation, rooted deeply in cultural history and folklore. These tales often interlace fantastical elements with historical underpinnings, creating a unique tapestry that captivates audiences. The enduring fascination with ninja folklore provides fertile ground for creativity, leading to a plethora of narratives that range from the historical to the modern, from the comical to the intensely dramatic. Let’s explore some of the most noteworthy ninja-themed anime that have left an indelible mark on the genre.

1. Brave 10

Studio: Sakimakura | Manga: Kairi Shimotsuki

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Brave 10 can be described as “Naruto without Naruto,” echoing many hallmarks of its more famous counterpart—quirky characters, flamboyant powers, and dynamic combat scenes. Set in a historical fantasy, the narrative follows Saizo Kirigakure, an ex-Iga ninja turned bodyguard for the priestess Isanami. Recruited by samurai Yukimura Sanada to join his “10 Braves,” Saizo battles a series of historical adversaries to protect Sanada’s domain and uncover the latent power within Isanami.

Despite its brevity, the 12-episode series produced by TMS Entertainment in 2012 offers a concise yet engaging adaptation of the original manga. Fans of quick-paced ninja adventures will find Brave 10 a delightful escapade, especially since all episodes are available for free on YouTube.

2. Ninja Slayer

Studio: Trigger | Novel: Bradley Bond & Philip Morzez

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Ninja Slayer is the epitome of hyperbole and absurdity. Centered on Kenji Fujikido’s vendetta against the “evil ninja” who annihilated his family, the series plunges into outlandish battles involving cyborgs, insect-like foes, and humorously named antagonists. Trigger’s penchant for parody is evident in the intentionally simplistic animation and over-the-top character designs, offering a satirical take on ninja tropes.

This 10-minute Original Net Animation revels in its eccentricity, making it a polarizing yet entertaining spectacle. Ninja Slayer is a whirlwind of exaggerated performances and visual antics that defies conventional expectations.

3. Blackfox

Studio: 3Hz

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Blending a superhero origin story with ninja lore, Blackfox follows Rikka Isurugi, who uses her inherited ninja skills and robotic companions to avenge her family’s stolen research. The film’s aesthetic draws heavily from Western comics, setting it apart in both style and narrative.

Blackfox stands out as a curio in the anime landscape, presenting a Japanese production with an unmistakably Western flair, making it a compelling watch for fans of both ninja tales and superhero sagas.

4. Ninja Ryukenden

OVA Based on: Tecmo’s Ninja Gaiden Series

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Known to fans as the sequel to the Ninja Gaiden trilogy, this OVA follows Ryu Hayabusa and Robert Sturgeon on their final mission to thwart the revival of the Evil God. The animation serves as a nostalgic window into the 1990s, echoing the video game’s legacy while offering fluid and stylish visuals.

Ninja Ryukenden is a treasure trove for both anime enthusiasts and retro gamers, preserving a snapshot of the past while celebrating the lore of the Ninja Gaiden saga.

5. Jubei-chan: The Ninja Girl

Studio: Madhouse | Creator: Akitaro Daichi

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Jubei-chan: The Ninja Girl is a cult classic, blending comedy and drama. Set 300 years after Jubei Yagyu’s demise, the story follows Jiyu Nanohana, who inherits his ninja prowess through a magical eyepatch. Transforming into a formidable ninja, Jiyu battles the Ryujouji School, intent on conquering Jubei’s successor.

The series juxtaposes farcical elements with deeper dramatic undertones, evolving from whimsical escapades to a poignant narrative. Its distinct take on the magical girl genre through a ninja lens ensures Jubei-chan remains a singular experience in ninja anime.

6. Ayakashi Triangle

Studio: Connect | Manga: Kentaro Yabuki

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From the creator of To Love Ru, Ayakashi Triangle infuses romantic comedy with ninja adventures. Matsuri Kazamari, a ninja exorcist, finds his life upended when cursed into a female form by the defeated ayakashi, Shirogane. The series navigates his challenges in dispelling ayakashi while exploring his evolving relationship with Suzu, the female protagonist.

Balancing action with LGBTQIA themes, Ayakashi Triangle stands out for its thoughtful character development and sincere handling of gender identity, making it a refreshing addition to the genre.

7. In the Heart of Kunoichi Tsubaki

Studio: CloverWorks | Manga: Sōichirō Yamamoto

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In the Heart of Kunoichi Tsubaki reimagines ninja tales through a slice-of-life lens. Tsubaki, a student in the secluded Akane Class, embarks on humorous adventures with her fellow kunoichi, all while pondering the existence of men and the outside world.

The series captures everyday ninja life with whimsical charm, making mundane activities like skipping class or lunch theft amusingly engaging. For those seeking a lighthearted take on ninja narratives, Kunoichi Tsubaki offers a delightful respite from high-stakes battles.

8. Under Ninja

Studio: Tezuka Productions | Manga: Kengo Hanazawa

Under Ninja explores a modern-day scenario where ninjas operate covertly. Kuro Kumogakure, a skilled yet unemployed ninja, is tasked with infiltrating a high school amidst an influx of foreign assassins. The anime’s comedic approach to ninja action makes it a standout with its sharp wit and entertaining antics.

Balancing humor with action, Under Ninja provides a refreshing take on ninja lore, infusing contemporary settings with traditional stealth and subterfuge.

9. Ninja Kamui

Studio: E&H Production | Director: Sunghoo Park

Drawing inspiration from John Wick, Ninja Kamui chronicles Higan, a retired ninja avenging his family’s murder by his former clan. As E&H Production’s debut anime, it delivers breathtaking action and emotional depth, showcasing Sunghoo Park’s directorial prowess.

With intense battles and a gripping revenge tale, Ninja Kamui cements E&H Production’s potential as a formidable force in the anime industry.

10. Gatchaman Crowds

Studio: Tatsunoko Production | Original: Tatsuo Yoshida

Gatchaman Crowds reinvents the classic Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, following Hajime Ichinose as the newest Gatchaman, protecting humanity from alien threats. With innovative visuals and storytelling, the reboot modernizes the franchise, appealing to both veteran fans and newcomers.

While not a traditional ninja tale, Gatchaman Crowds captures the essence of heroism and camaraderie, wrapped in a visually striking package that elevates the original’s core themes.

11. Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku

Studio: MAPPA | Manga: Yuji Kaku

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Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku ventures into horror territory, following Gabimaru the Hollow, a condemned ninja exploring the perilous Kotaku Island for the elixir of immortality. The series intertwines battle royale elements with supernatural intrigue, set against a dark Edo-era backdrop.

MAPPA’s adaptation showcases stunning art direction and intense storytelling, solidifying Jigokuraku as a standout in contemporary ninja anime, available on Crunchyroll as Hell’s Paradise.

12. Basilisk

Studio: Gonzo | Manga: Futaro Yamada & Masaki Segawa

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Basilisk: The Kouga Ninja Scrolls pits the Iga and Kouga ninja clans in a lethal contest orchestrated by Ieyasu Tokugawa, determining the next Shogun through a shadow war. Despite the love between their leaders, Gennosuke and Oboro, the clans are drawn into a tragic battle to the death.

With its high-stakes drama and intricate character dynamics, Basilisk delivers a poignant narrative steeped in historical conflict and ninja warfare.

13. Batman Ninja

Studios: Kamikaze Douga & YamatoWorks | Character: Bill Finger & Bob Kane

In Batman Ninja, Batman and his rogues’ gallery are transported to feudal Japan. Stripped of his gadgets, Batman adopts ninja methods to defeat his adversaries. The film’s vibrant 3D animation and embrace of DC Universe eccentricities make it a unique entry in both the Batman and ninja genres.

Batman Ninja stands as a visually stunning and engaging reinterpretation, promising excitement for fans of both Batman and ninja lore.

14. Ninja Scroll

Studios: Madhouse, JVC, Toho, Movic

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Ninja Scroll follows Jubei Kibagami, a wandering ronin, as he confronts the Eight Devils of Kimon, a faction supporting anti-government forces. Poisoned and coerced into action, Jubei battles his way through supernatural foes in a narrative rich with mature themes and intricate artistry.

This seminal film, pivotal in introducing anime to Western audiences in the 90s, remains revered for its stunning animation and impactful storytelling, epitomizing the ninja genre before Naruto‘s global influence.

FAQs

What are the best ninja anime series apart from Naruto?

The best include Brave 10, Ninja Slayer, Blackfox, and Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku.

How does Brave 10 compare to other ninja anime?

Brave 10 offers historical fantasy with a small, action-packed series similar to Naruto.

Why is Ninja Slayer considered unique among ninja anime?

Ninja Slayer is known for its absurd humor, minimalist animation, and outrageous characters.

How does Ninja Ryukendan connect to the Ninja Gaiden video game series?

Ninja Ryukendan is a sequel to the Ninja Gaiden NES trilogy, featuring the “Dragon Ninja” Ryu.

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