The lasting fixating on ninjas in popular culture is sure to never fade away. Throughout the years, and even decades, various trends come and go in the entertainment world, with sports stories dominating one year, westerns lasting for a decade, and other such trackable genres dominating the pop culture of the time. Different from most of these come-and-go trends and unique in its mainstream longevity is the ninja genre – and every subset that goes with it.
Ninjas have always been an archetype that has captured audiences over a variety of mediums. Ninjas were popular decades ago, and they are still popular today. One look at pop culture, whether through tv shows, movies, animation, games, and comic books will affirm this. Whilst some ninja fare has been worse than others, it does not change the fact that this is one area of storytelling that simply will not age.
The Next Big Thing – Ninjai: The Little Ninja
Now for anyone even remotely interested in, or who gets the appeal of ninjas, something has come along that looks like it is going to leave a serious impression on the genre forever. We have all seen child characters in adult worlds come and go, we have all seen slick martial arts and kung fu, and we have all seen unique worlds in anime.
But you have not seen it quite like this yet.
Ninjai: The Little Ninja is a promising new animated feature film that looks, unlike anything you have ever seen before. It is like when something comes out that you know will define a genre forever, the way The Lord of the Rings left its mark on fantasy, or James Bond will always be the quintessential spy.
Ninjai: The Little Ninja is the story of the namesake character Ninjai, a young boy, and as is revealed, master ninja who is traveling across the ancient world seeking to find answers to his identity. He is accompanied by a sidekick and friend in the form of Little Bird, a small grey bird who is never seen not by his side. Now, as far as main characters and their sidekicks go, especially in animated films, this may just be one of the sweetest pairings we have ever seen. Plush toys of Little Bird are sure to fly off the shelves and find themselves in every anime fan’s room.
But good supporting characters are not the only thing this highly anticipated film promises. It also holds a killer villain (no pun intended) in the form of a striking warlord who commands an imposing clan of formidable warriors, and who is intent on capturing Ninjai for unknown reasons. His sidekick is the antithesis of Little Bird; sleek, vicious, and deadly, he wields one of the coolest weapons ever seen – a tattoo on his arm that can emerge from his body and take form as a terrifying creature that flies and destroys any living thing in its path.
While there are no official updates as to when it will be released, an official teaser trailer was dropped on the internet, although it has not been followed up yet by the main trailer. But good news abounds! The movies’ IMDb page lists a 2022 release date, so hopefully, we will be getting a full-length trailer soon! An unofficial Ninjai site and Ninjai social media fan channels online including Ninjai blogs on the internet also provide some clips, images, and other tidbits that give you a good look at what you can expect! There are also social media accounts like the fan Ninjai account where you can get any other rumors and theories.
Part of the lengthy release process might be attributed to the fact that this animated feature film has been created and produced entirely by a small, independent group of artists who call themselves the Ninjai Gang. Working without the financial support or resource backing of any major studio or company, this dedicated team has put together a truly stunning piece of work that exceeds most major productions in quality, design, and execution. Seriously, if you saw the teaser, you would expect a big studio logo to show up at the end.
Ninjai: The Little Ninja, while existing in a vast field of ninja-themed movies and shows somehow manages to be fresh and interesting, and for that reason, we are on the edge of our seats to see this animated movie!
Other shows, movies, and properties in the ninja universe have achieved prominent status through their own innovations and additions to the genre. The most popular and lasting title in this group belongs to the animation “Naruto,” which has spawned numerous series over the years. Other notable entries include the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, characters in the G.I. Joe franchise, the Lego Ninjago franchise, characters from the Mortal Kombat franchise, and the Ninja Scroll anime series.
However, these shows and movies are not where ninja’s cultural impact stops.
The Unique Culture and Methodology of Ninjas
More than ninjas as characters themselves, the ninja lifestyle and craft have been adopted by, influenced, and inspired many other types of characters and genres, most notably Batman, whose own skills and techniques come from his training with ninjas.
The ninja lifestyle was one of secrecy, mystery, and discipline, acting behind the scenes to engage in various acts of sabotage, subterfuge, and infiltration. The missions they carried out were not something that could be accomplished by any warrior from any background; they required the specific skill set and dedication that only ninjas possessed.
A Glimpse Into the Ninja Fighting Style
Along with their austere lifestyle of training and learning, the martial arts of the ninja are very exclusive to their kind. These different martial arts and combat methods are collectively known as Ninjitsu. To this day, many of the ancient ninja techniques and arts have been passed down only from family to family, and some have been forgotten entirely. Most of these fighting styles involve stealth, maneuverability, and precision. They are not warriors who want to engage in a prolonged sword fight or lengthy battle, instead of aiming to maximize damage with every strike so that they can be in and out before anyone realizes what has happened.
Further details on Ninjitsu can be known from this short video:
Overall, the ninja genre and universe are a much-beloved one that continues to hold its sway over audiences, and upcoming movies like Ninjai: The Little Ninja looks to be continuing this beloved format. It is without a doubt that ninjas will continue to be a staple of storytelling due to their elite skill level, unique lifestyle and mystique, and lasting impact on culture.