In 2018, Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment released Batman: Ninja, a brand-new Batman movie that was produced in collaboration with Japanese animators. Essentially an anime feature film, Batman: Ninja was received well by critics and fans alike, who praised DC’s audacity for taking a new direction with its animated features and for creating something new and original. The film was directed by Junpei Mizusaki from a screenplay by Kazuki Nakashima. The characters were designed by Takashi Okazaki, the well-known character designer of Afro Samurai. The film premiered on April 24, 2018, in the United States, and on June 15, 2018, in Japan.
Today’s article is going to be focused on the movie as we are going to bring you a list of 10 things you need to know about Batman: Ninja, whether you have already seen the movie or you’re still planning on doing it. Enjoy:
Although Batman: Ninja is the best-known Batman anime and is the first fully Japanese Batman film, it is technically not the first Batman anime produced. Actually, it premiered 10 years after the first one, which was Batman: Gotham Knight, a six-part animated omnibus film that served as a prequel to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Gotham Knight was animated and produced by different animation studios from Japan and included mostly Western-style animation save for one segment. It was also written by American writers, which is why people keep forgetting that it is actually an anime.
Although DC’s villains aren’t hero-exclusive and there have been lots of crossovers, and although Batman ends up fighting his usual villains mostly, the first villain introduced in the movie and the main one responsible for the time travel is actually Gorilla Grodd, who is primarily an opponent of the superhero Flash. Ironically, Batman and Grodd have to work together to fix the time displacement that brought them all to Feudal Japan.
And while this might sound strange, there are actually two versions of the same film. The first version, i.e., the original one, is the version written by Kazuki Nakashima and that is the original story for the film, written in Japanese. When the movie was being adapted for the Western market and translated into English, Leo Chu and Eric S. Garcia, credited as the writers of the English version of the film, admitted that they had made changes to Nakashima’s original story, which ultimately resulted in there being two versions of the same film, although these two versions aren’t really all that different.
The music for Batman: Ninja was composed by none other than Yūgo Kanno, a name that is certainly going to be known to anime fans. Kanno is a very famous anime composer and has, so far, worked on several large-scale and globally popular projects, including the whole Psycho-Pass franchise which includes three anime seasons, a feature-length movie, and an omnibus film, as well as JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, i.e., the second and third seasons of the show.
Batman: Ninja was designed by Takashi Okazaki, who is more famous as the writer and illustrator of the acclaimed seinen manga Afro Samurai. Afro Samurai relied heavily on martial arts, the art of self-defense and fighting, which is something that has been heavily featured in this movie, as we see Batman both fight using Oriental martial arts and use self-defense. Also, Afro Ninja was set in a feudal, yet futuristic Japan, and Okazaki’s experience with the former allowed him to do a great job with this movie.
And while DC Animation has had its fair share of original stories, a lot of them have been adaptations or reinterpretations of comic book storylines, including the Elseworlds period drama Gotham by Gaslight, which was Batman fight against Jack the Ripper in Victorian London. Batman: Ninja is a completely original story set in Feudal Japan and we can only congratulate Nakashima on his creativity in devising the story for this film.
An interesting piece of trivia about the movie is that the fight scenes from the movie were initially filmed in live-action mode with actual actors before the animators used that footage to create and animate the scenes for the movie. This was done in order to achieve a higher level of authenticity for the movie.
In the tradition of several modern comic book movies, Batman: Ninja has a post-credits scene, which is actually a mid-credits scene that involves Catwoman. It is not overly long and appears soon after the credits start rolling out so be sure to wait until then. We’re, of course, not going to tell you what the scene shows.
Kōichi Yamadera is a well-known name in the world of anime, a seiyū whose voice has been heard in lots of famous anime series. Yet, for Yamadera, was his first outing in the role of Batman, as he had never before played the role, not even in Japanese dubs of live-action movies. After this, though, he reprised the role for the Japanese dub of The Lego Movie 2. Batman was voiced by Roger Craig Smith in the English version.
Despite getting a lukewarm response from fans (and that might even be a euphemism), Batman: Ninja was positively received by critics, as evidenced by a solid 82% fresh ratio on Rotten Tomatoes, with IGN, which gave it a 9.7/10 score, stating: «DC tried something new by bringing in visionary Japanese animators to offer a refreshing take on one of the company’s most beloved characters, and the finished product not only built upon the great adaptations that have come before, but surpassed them.».
And with this, we conclude our article. We hope you had as much fun reading this as we had writing it, and that our article has either helped you appreciate this movie more, or motivated you to watch it as soon as possible, if you already haven’t. Keep following us for more of the same and see you next time!
Jurista, escritor y director del proyecto C506. Autor de las novelas “Lo que Sangra” (2011) y «Cuentos de Edelmira» (2015). Estudiante de dirección de proyectos informáticos, vive distante dentro de un mundo de coleccionables y películas.