It was another midnight movie bacon session for me, and the choice was Ninja Scroll, a movie written and directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri.As soon at the film starts, you are greeted by a lone robed man eating a rice ball. You soon realize how quickly this film turns into a bloody sword fest as he is challenged by a group, and he tears them a new pocket for his rice ball.
You find out his name is Jubei, a super fast moving ninja from the Yamashiro clan, or what once was the Yamashiro clan. He is a quick talking, get things done, never take no for an answer character. His journey includes what seems to be a wise old ninja named Dakuan, and a beautiful female ninja named Kagero.
The plot is not revealed till later, as you slowly learn about each character. Kagero is a food taster, or as they put it in the film a poison taster. She has an immunity to all poisons, but at a cost, her body has become poison itself. If anyone were to kiss her, or make love to her they will soon find them selves dead. This is made obvious early on as you find Kagero being taken off after defending her clan from a large demon looking rock fellow. As he tries to have his way with her Jubei reveales himself from the shadows only to find himself defending the woman ninja and seeing his rock form crumbling before him giving away a chance for defeat.
What makes this film grab your attention even more, is the death scenes. In most anime, the point of the fight scenes are to build tension, build suspense, and make you not know what will happen next. For an example in some anime it can take an entire season to go back and forth to see who will come out in the end…*cough* dragon ball z *cough*… Ninja Scroll does an excellent job of building all that character, in just a few short minutes, and very little talking. They meet, they fight, someone dies.
The movie brings what seems to be magic, or demonic techniques into a casual anime movie. Not what got me arguing with my friend who I was watching the film with. What got us arguing was the melting point of gold. In the last fight scene on a ship carrying a governments worth of gold, a fire breaks out, causing an intense fight scene to break out, and you to start worrying about all that shiny goodness. As the ship starts to sink, the gold starts to melt. Now a quick Google Search tells me the melting point of gold is 1064C, or the average temperature of the mirror when I stand in front of it. A quick search also brought up the average tempurture of a camp fire, it was safe to say that on average, a camp fire would get to about 1000C. So it was also safe to say a large burning ship would cause enough combustion, and heat from the heated metals, and wood to cause gold to melt. Why am I saying all this? Because out of all the demons, and magic, along with a giant rock dude who has a thing for lead female anime characters, a large flowing river of molten gold was the only thing I found disturbing from this film.
The scripting was great, it was not over bearing to have a constant talk between characters, and it was a quick pace from fight to fight, allowing for a constant growth in story. Romance was a very predictable part of the film, but it was so minor, it took nothing away from the major plot.