Sunday, February 13, 2011

Shinobi Sunday: Ninja Scroll

Ninja Scroll (1993) is one of those rare anime that I really enjoyed.  Yeah, I was a gaming/comic book geek who studied Japanese, but I never really got into anime.  I'd watch them from time to time, but I didn't really go nuts over the format.  I tended to view each movie or TV show as I did any movie or TV show, rather than just accepting it as good because it was Japanese and likely had tits.

A funny story is that my sister got me this film on VHS for a Christmas present, but it was the English dub.  A buddy of mine who couldn't speak any Japanese besides 「どうもありがとう、ミスター‐ロボット」had the, annoying to him, subtitled version, also as a present.  Why we never switched I don't know.

Anyway, Ninja Scroll is a pretty good movie.  It's got a compelling story, interesting characters, and of course the ninja all have over the top powers.  This makes it very D&D.

The only problem is that everyone and his sister, especially in the 3E days when I was heavily involved in the WotC Oriental Adventures message boards, wants these cool ninja powers as part of a ninja class.

No!  The Devils of Kimon should be monsters with some ninja skills, folks.  Those are racial powers.  No D&D ninja class needs 'control bees from a beehive that grows on your back' as a reward for reaching level 6.


  1. I remember watching that with my girlfriend (at the time) back in college and she got really turned on by the rock monster's... um... oral talents on the ninja girl. Good times.

    Yeah, I imagine your wife wouldn't approve of this movie, though.

    James Wyatt's OA book was godawful, and when the Rokugan setting was released, all of the classes were redone from the ground up in order to repair the mess that was the OA book. They should have honestly just stuck to the Kara-Tur setting like Gygax's original (which had issues, but... well... at least it was designed for D&D).

    When it comes to East Asian campaigns, I've found Sengoku to be pretty interesting, as well as Palladium's Mystic China and RIFTS: Japan. They actually do mythical East Asian character classes somewhat better than what is presented in Wyatt's OA book.

  2. Actually, the wife probably wouldn't mind, as long as we're watching it after the little one's in bed. :D

    Wyatt's OA was a mess. There were some good kernels in there for toolboxing, but the Rokugan stuff just got in the way and didn't really add much. Following Zeb Cook's lead with the original OA and mostly just re-skinning the classes didn't do much for me, either.

  3. You know, my girlfriend got the movie as part of a package deal with Vampire Hunter D from some little kiosk in the mall, and she absolutely hated it.

    Just goes to show you, I guess.