Batman Ninja takes a journey across the ages as Gorilla Grodd’s time displacement machine transports many of Batman’s worst enemies to feudal Japan – along with the Dark Knight and a few of his allies. The villains take over the forms of the feudal lords that rule the divided land, with the Joker taking the lead among the warring factions. As his traditional high-tech weaponry is exhausted almost immediately, Batman must rely on his intellect and his allies – including Catwoman and the extended Bat-family – to restore order to the land, and return to present-day Gotham City.
Batman Ninja is the newest animated DC movie, this time sporting an Anime style. The story follows our favorite DC characters into the time of ninjas and samurais, as Joker uses Gorilla Grodd’s time machine to transport the cast way back in time. As always, Batman is in pursuit of The Joker, with Harley Quinn trailing along. You’ll meet lots of ancient versions of your favorite DC characters, and you might even witness a Mech battle or two. Basically, if you’re familiar with Anime, put Batman in that world, and you pretty much get what you’d expect here.
This may be the first time I’ve said this, but I did not care for this particular DC movie. Other than featuring the characters, it didn’t feel like an animated DC movie – at least not what we’ve come to expect of them. To be honest, it feels like an ultra generic Anime movie, with characters nobody cares about, other than the fact that they appear to be some elseworld version of Batman, Robin, Nightwing, Red Hood, Catwoman, etc. etc.. The Mech stuff really took me out of it, and by that point, I was just waiting for the movie to end. This is unfortunate, because I do love almost every single animated DC movie up until this point, and I had been looking forward to this one since that early Japanese trailer floated around on the internet.
It’s hard for me to speak negatively about a DC movie, but when I don’t like one, I don’t like one. At least with me you know it has to be for a good damn reason. I don’t bash movies based on predispositions or with an agenda. I go into every movie fully expecting to be entertained, and whether or not that occurs dictates my thoughts. This time around the DC Animated Universe let me down, but that’s not to say that this title won’t find an audience. I’m not particularly into Anime, beyond the obvious stuff like Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Vampire Hunter D and things like that, so maybe this will play better for an avid fan of modern Anime. Even that, though, it seems like a relatively generic anime. I can’t imagine anyone would be talking about this had it not been a Batman movie. Ultimately, I cannot give my seal of approval to Batman Ninja. If you’re a completionist like me, you’re going to need to own it, but don’t expect the caliber of animated movie we’ve been spoiled with until now.
- “East / West Batman” (Featurette) – Batman meets the anime medium, as this documentary looks into some of the Western tropes and archetypes, meshed into the world of feudal Japan. East meets West, swords, samurai and giant robots, all playing into the clash between Batman and his Rogues gallery.
- “Batman: Made in Japan” (Featurette) – To make a special film about Batman requires just the right artist to bring the mix of style and energy that is unmistakably anime. The filmmakers discuss the Japanese character models, influences and design that create a fusion experience into this hyper real world.
- “New York Comic Con Presents Batman Ninja” – Meet the talented filmmakers behind Batman Ninja as they discuss their inspirations and challenges in bringing an anime version of Batman to life during a panel discussion unveiling Batman Ninja during New York Comic Con 2017.