OP: 「Hyper」 by Kroi
「Throw a Rock, Hit a Ninja」
With this season chock full of interesting series it’s easy to pass over the likes of Under Ninja. Almost adhering to a fault to its name, this one is unassuming, definitely off the wall, and sure to be an acquired taste if first impressions continue apace. Yet there’s room for something interesting – because nothing says interesting like MacArthur rocking a ninja star hit pipe.
Per the RC preview, Under Ninja is basically a thriller with light comedy and shounen elements. In this world post-war Japan got effectively protected by bureaucratized ninjas who do the dirty work and receive all the accolades (and hearsay) which comes along with the job. Settings and characters too don’t really break from the ordinary for this sort of story, with gritty, callous, and roughened looks and talk being the name of the game. Case in point is main man Kumogakure Kurou (Ban Taito), the son of a once-famous ninja family who seemingly fell on hard times before being given a job by a ninja middle manager. What’s the job? Not even Kurou knows at this stage (it’s apparently an expectation for ninjas to piece the requirements together themselves), but it involves infiltrating a high school and, through some deliberate foreshadowing courtesy of fellow ninja infiltrators, dealing with foreigners and combative government agencies both. I think you know what’s coming down the line here.
For all the suspenseful action focus however, the thing likely to stand out and affect impressions for Under Ninja is its style. Kurou’s living situation and the crass humour it creates via the likes of drunken fellow apartment resident Kawado is case in point: it works, it is funny at times, but it will definitely not be everyone’s cup of tea, particularly when paired with how this episode chose to go about overall introductions. In a way it’s a lot like Kokkoku, though unlike that series we’re dealing less with the familial supernatural and more with government backed shounen shenanigans. It’ll take a few episodes to get an idea just what this story will be like overall given this foundation, but I suspect the few minutes here devoted to having sneaky ninja make fun of the eager ninja wannabe foreigner will set the intended tone.
We’ll just have to wait and see what next week brings in terms of plot and enemies both.
ED: 「秘密」 (Himitsu) by KOTORI