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Ninja Nonsense
Reviewer: Aaron Murphy 01/18/2009

Review:
Anime comedy series are known for being over the top, wild and zany.  From Excel Saga to FLCL, there’s an ever-present trend of non-subtle humor, and adding to that extensive list is Ninja Nonsense.  Taking place in the present day, but harking back to the days of ninjas, we follow Shinobu, a young female ninja in training who’s trying to become a full fledged ninja.  Her master, the nefarious Onsokumaru, is possibly the most perverted green man blob thing ever, and he’s constantly getting not only himself but all his other ninja underlings into precarious situations.  Very strange and often perverted situations…

Not trying to hide its true identity for long, the series starts off with Shinobu on a mission to steal panties from a number of select girls in the area, a mission to not only test her ninja skills, but to get Onsokumaru some panties.   It’s on this mission that Shinobu meets Kaede, an innocent high school girl who, after the panties stealing mishap, becomes fast friends with her.  While Shinobu’s a tad naïve to Onsokumaru’s schemes and trickery, Kaede is keenly aware and always at the ready to foil whatever perverted design he can come up with.  While an eternal annoyance to Onsokumaru, nothing short of death will stop him from his goals and ambitions, most of which circle around seeing girls naked, an aspiration I’m sure most guys can appreciate.  In addition to setting up the requisite perverse scenarios that will take place throughout, the first episode also gives us a taste of everything else to come; spot on comedy bits, intermittent fan service, sexual innuendo, and a raunchier facet to much of the humor that may or may not be your cup of tea.  When Onsokumaru attacks Shinobu with a flip book of a “guy taking a shit in reverse,” take heed, it is a prelude of things to come.

The most surprising thing about Ninja Nonsense is just how funny its almost incessant stream of jokes turns out.  I’ve almost never seen a laugh-a-minute anime title that I have liked, FMP! Fumoffu notwithstanding, but now I have another.  Most of the praise for this development has to go to Onsokumaru, whose depraved schemes and manly man personality combine for one of the funniest characters out there.  To be sure, Shinobu and the rest of the cast contribute to the success of the series, but whenever Onsokumaru comes on screen, you just know you’re going to have fun.  In an effort to keep the material from going stale, every episode is separated into two parts, each of which is usually a completely self contained story.  While this keeps the series for dragging its heels too much over its twelve episodes, people looking for anything deep should steer clear.  With such a focus in the humorous side of things rather than a driving storyline, there is neither much plot nor character development present.  Ninja Nonsense is out for laughs, and while it may have the occasional dramatic moment, they are few and far between.  When they are present, such moments are typically between Shinobu and Kaede as a way to further expand upon some shoujo-ai (lesbian) undertones, with Shinobu having fallen in love with Kaede, and Kaede being more or less oblivious to it.

With so many little ten minute shorts, the quality between them ends up varying quite a bit.  There’s a mixture standard fare stories seen in most anime series and especially comedies, such as the hot springs or cultural festival episodes.  These get added their own Ninja Nonsense flare, but really don’t bring anything new to the table.  There are a few original gems in there though, like when all the ninjas are plant jumping and Shinobu has cultivated an evil everything-eating plant that consumes animals, electronics and people alike.  It just takes her a while to figure it out.  Whacky and out-there plotlines are when Ninja Nonsense is at its best, and it’s own special blend of perverted flavor make it a special treat for those who go for that sort of thing.

I have to give the English dub credit on this one; they really pull it off well.  Not only with the actual voices, which are tricky for these breakneck comedy series, but with how well they keep the humor flowing, even if they do sometimes depart from the original.  The character designs, specifically with regards to the women, are done in a softer, rounder style, which lends a more childish look to them.  With suggestive themes and bits of nudity, it’s not the most accurate portrayal but doesn’t look bad to be sure.  Shinobu is especially adorable when going through the gauntlet of emotions, Kaede a bit less...  The animation achieves about what’s needed for the series to succeed, but not much else.  One can’t expect anything too amazing from a comedy series.

Ninja Nonsense is a non-stop comedy fest, and while the adrenalin rarely ceases, it keeps itself surprisingly funny throughout.  Mostly thanks to Onsokumaru who truly carries the series on his green, shapeless, and wholly nonexistent shoulders.  While I may not be the biggest anime comedy fan out there, Ninja Nonsense was able to entertain even me.  Best consumed in smaller doses if you wish to retain your sanity though.

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Ninja Nonsense
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Review Title:
Ninja Nonsense
Alternative Titles:
2x2=Shinobuden
Type:
TV
Episodes:
12
Duration:
300 Minutes
General Rating:
3.5 out of 5 stars
Aired:
2004
Suitable For:
Young Adults
Genres:
Comedy, Martial Arts, Parody
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