SNYOPSIS: 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. CLICK HERE to purchase BATMAN NINJA on Blu-ray.
I am not a big fan of anime. Don’t hate it, but generally, it’s not my cup of tea when it comes to animation. Thus, when I first heard about BATMAN NINJA, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t meet the news with a yawn. I also met it with a slight “WTF?” when I learned of its premise: Batman time-travels to Medieval Japan and takes on The Joker.
Look, the plot is out there and nuts (though better than Batman being blasted into space to take on The Joker on a distant alien planet), but ultimately, that’s kinda what makes it work. Just embrace the craziness and enjoy the ride! Anyway…
By way of a time machine created by Gorilla Grodd (Who is mainly a Flash villain, so again, WTF?), Batman, the Batman Family (Catwoman, Robin, Red Robin, Red Hood, Nightwing, and Alfred), and the following Batman rogues — The Joker, Harley Quinn, Two Face, The Penguin, Deadshot, Poison Ivy, and Bane — are zapped hundreds of years into the past and end up in Japan. Batman soon learns that the aforementioned villains have become feudal lords and are at war with each other in hopes of taking over all of Japan. Not only that, but The Joker is in the midst of altering history by introducing technology that shouldn’t yet exist.
That’s all of the plot I’m going to reveal, but I will say that the finale is 1939-awesome…and so are all of the monkeys!
BATMAN NINJA is the most beautiful animated Batman film to date. Yeah, the anime versions of some of the characters were a little jarring (especially the Robins’ hairstyles), but that’s quickly overlooked. The voice cast — which features Roger Craig Smith as Batman/Bruce Wayne (he also voiced The Dark Knight in the ARKHAM ORIGINS video game), Tony Hale as The Joker, Fred Tatasciore as Gorilla Grodd, Tara Strong as Harley Quinn, and Grey DeLisle as Catwoman/Selina Kyle — are all fantastic and do top notch work.
I say give BATMAN NINJA a shot. It’s an inspired project, beautiful to look at, and more than entertaining. I don’t know if it’ll become part of my animated Batman on film rotation, but I liked it enough to give it a thumbs-up and recommend it to all of my loyal and wonderful BOF readers.
And if you buy it based on my review and end up not liking it, I’ll give you a lifetime subscription to BOF on me. – Bill “Jett” Ramey