The magical world of CHIMA - a land ruled by animals that walk, talk, drive vehicles, use machinery and live in castles - was once a pristine, natural paradise but has now become a battle ground where friends have become worst enemies.
Long before time had a name, Ninjago was created by the First Spinjitzu Master by using the Four Elemental Weapons of Spinjitzu; weapons so powerful, no one can handle all of their power at once. When he passed away, his two sons swore to protect them, but the oldest, Lord Garmadon, was consumed by darkness and wanted to possess them all. A battle between brothers broke out and Lord Garmadon was struck down and banished to the Underworld. Peace returned to Ninjago as the younger brother, Sensei Wu, hid the elemental weapons in the far corners of Ninjago. Centuries later, Lord Garmadon has returned with the help of his Skeleton army to collect the Golden Weapons. Sensei Wu turns to the aid of four young Ninja who are to be trained to become the protectors of each of the weapons. Although the Ninja successfully survive a harrowing quest to retrieve the elemental weapons, they fall into Lord Garmadon's master plan, releasing the dark Lord from his prison, and allowing him to escape ... Written by
Yes, I know. It's a LEGO show. About ninjas. It's a toy commercial. The storyline blatantly takes ideas from every story you've ever heard before. It's for kids, and though I'm a kid at heart, I'm not anywhere near Ninjago's target age range. And yet, Ninjago is one of my favorite TV shows. I first discovered it while babysitting a group of young children. But after a couple of episodes, the kids I was taking care of wanted to watch another show, and well...I wanted to watch more of Ninjago. After that, I was hooked. And not only me. I've introduced it to other friends and family members, from young teenagers to people in their twenties. And funny thing is...we've all enjoyed watching this show as a bit of a guilty pleasure. Because Ninjago, despite being so full of clichés and one giant LEGO commercial, is ridiculously fun.
This could have been, and should have been, a terrible show. But everyone involved in the show's production does such a fantastic job of turning Ninjago into something worthwhile, especially considering that they're making a show so that LEGO can sell toys. The animation is great. It look beautiful, and the world of Ninjago is vibrantly brought to life. It's colorful, and it only improves. The voice acting is also fantastic. A couple of the voice actors, (E.g. Vincent Tong and Kirby Morrow) I was already familiar with. But everyone in this series does a wonderful job creating memorable characters, and the voice actors contribute greatly to that. The best thing about them is that their performances never veer into 'shrill and annoying' territory. The actors do a wonderful job with what they are given. I assume that they don't record their lines together, but the chemistry between them feels so real, I could swear that they did. Skales, Pythor, Wu, Garmadon, Lloyd, Nya, Dareth...every voice is unique and enjoyable. The music in this series is AMAZING. It was one of the first aspects of this show that intrigued me. Mike Kramer and Jay Vincent have given Ninjago the care you would expect to find in a cinematic film score. Don't believe me? Go and look at Ninjago's Overture soundtrack. Or the Falcon Chase Theme. Or the theme for the Temple of Light. They're gorgeous pieces of music. The Fold also do a great job with the show's opening song, The Weekend Whip. These are all great elements, but The Hageman brothers are the anchor for this show. Somehow, they've managed to write a classic story, one we've seen hundreds of times before, and and still make it feel fresh and exciting. The characters they've created are great. The four ninja are different and each enjoyable. Our heroes are relatable, and flawed, but still admirable. Their friendship and camaraderie is genuine, and never feels forced. The character development each of them go through is impressive for a children's show. The humor in the show is usually great. I actually think that Ninjago is one of the most quotable shows I can think of, and some lines are just pure gold. The writers do a great job of winking to the audience at the right times. There are a couple references to pop culture, ala My Little Pony. Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Back to the Future, for example, are all alluded to in certain episodes. But the writers are very good at neither hitting us over the head with irony, or taking themselves too seriously. They know when to admit that the series is a bit of a joke, and when to treat their plot and characters with the respect they deserve. That's not an easy balance to attain, and I think the fact that they manage to pull it off...in a LEGO show no less, is a pleasant surprise.
All in all, Ninjago succeeds in being something that can appeal to both kids and adults. I can't think of anything more to say about it, really. The production quality is high, the show is great, and it teaches kids some lessons without pandering to the lowest age group. It's a very smart, entertaining, and always fun show that will make your inner child smile.
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