IMDb > The Ninja Wars (1982)

The Ninja Wars (1982) More at IMDbPro »Iga ninpôchô (original title)

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Release Date:
18 December 1982 (Japan) See more »
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A fortuneteller prophesizes that whoever marries the beautiful Ukio will become the ruler of the world... See more » | Add synopsis »
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User Reviews:
Not much Chiba (and no Chan as far as I can see), but still cracking fun. See more (21 total) »


  (in credits order)

Hiroyuki Sanada ... Jotaro Fuefuki (as Henry Sanada)
Noriko Watanabe ... Kagaribi / Ukyodayu
Jun Miho ... Isaribi
Yuki Kazamatsuri ... Chidori (as Miho Kazamatsuri)
Strong Kongô ... Kongôbô (as Kongo Kobayashi)
Mikio Narita ... Kashin Koji
Gajirô Satô ... Curly haired Evil Monk (as Gajiro Sato)
Noboru Matsuhashi ... Miyoshi
Akira Hamada

Seizô Fukumoto
Nokoda Kawai
Sanji Kojima
Hiroshi Tanaka ... Hanzo Hattori
Tyrus Bromley ... Devil Monk #4
Syunji Sasamoto
Rantaro Mine
Yoshiji Nakahigashi
Mieko Hoshino
Reiko Tamano
Yasumori Hikita
Yukio Miyagi
Kazuyuki Kosuga
Gentarô Mori
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Shin'ichi Chiba ... Shinzaemon Yagyu (uncredited)
Akira Nakao ... Donjo Matsunaga (uncredited)

Directed by
Kôsei Saitô 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Ei Ogawa 
Fûtarô Yamada  novel

Produced by
Haruki Kadokawa .... executive producer
Masao Satô .... producer
Izumi Toyoshima .... producer
Original Music by
Toshiaki Yokota 
Cinematography by
Fujio Morita 
Film Editing by
Isamu Ichida 
Art Direction by
Norimichi Igawa 
Kazuyoshi Sonoda 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Isao Yoshihara .... assistant director
Isao Yoshiwara .... assistant director
Sound Department
Fumio Hashimoto .... sound recordist
Special Effects by
Hideo Suzuki .... special effects director
Shin'ichi Chiba .... action coordinator (as Sony Chiba)
Camera and Electrical Department
Yoshiaki Masuda .... lighting technician
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Junko Koshino .... wardrobe advisor
Other crew
Yukiko Morimura .... continuity
Toshio Sugawara .... choreographer

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Iga ninpôchô" - Japan (original title)
"Death of a Ninja" - USA (DVD title)
See more »
Japan:100 min | USA:95 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:


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Not much Chiba (and no Chan as far as I can see), but still cracking fun., 5 April 2012
Author: BA_Harrison from Hampshire, England

Wicked mystic Kashin (Mikio Narita) prophesises that the evil Lord Danjo will become ruler if he marries beautiful Lady Ukyo (stunning Noriko Watanabe); with the help of five powerful wizards, Danjo cooks up a love potion that will guarantee his future as Shogun, but makes an enemy of noble ninja Jotaro (Hiroyuki Sanada) in the process.

My copy of The Ninja Wars came as part of a cheap four film Sonny Chiba box set, but Japanese action legend Chiba barely shows his face in this one; not to worry, mind, because the film is still a great way to pass the time, just so long as a sane narrative isn't your primary concern (and I'm guessing it's not, seeing as the film has the word 'ninja' in the title).

The typically bonkers plot throws everything at the audience from supernatural head swapping to an acid-barfing devil wizard to a love potion made from the tears of a virgin; there's also a fair bit of outrageous gore and female nudity (even chubby chasers are catered for), all of which makes the film good for a laugh. However, The Ninja Wars distinguishes itself from many similarly crazy ninja efforts by also being a beautifully crafted piece of cinema.

Director Kôsei Saitôhe doesn't let the fact that his film is madder than a box of frogs prevent him from going all out with the visuals, every frame a work of art: the camera placement, set design, lighting and cinematography are stunning to behold from start to finish, a sword fight that takes place in and around a burning temple being the aesthetic highlight. Even the visual effects are superb.

Towards the end of the film, the plot gradually falls apart, with too much confusion regarding people's identities (a problem that often arises from head swapping), plus a truly deranged finale that supposedly sees love conquering all—by having the two protagonists roast to a crisp on a sacrificial cross while they passionately embrace (I don't know about you, but barbecued lovers isn't my idea of a happy outcome). Muddled ending aside, though, this is pretty damn good.

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