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Ninja the Monster (2015)

The time is midst of the samurai era when Ninja were considered a threat and outlawed by the government. They were thought to be extinct where peace was maintained by the Shogunate except ... See full summary »

Director:

Ken Ochiai

Writer:

Akihiro Dobashi
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Cast

Credited cast:
Dean Fujioka ... Denzo
Aoi Morikawa ... Princess Koh
Sôkô Wada ... Choemon
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Storyline

The time is midst of the samurai era when Ninja were considered a threat and outlawed by the government. They were thought to be extinct where peace was maintained by the Shogunate except for the ones who escaped and survived. To save her small clan where the famine continues, a beautiful princess Koh is heading to Edo (present Tokyo) with her men including Denzo who is an ex-ninja whose true identity has been hidden. Suddenly, they encounter an unidentified monster in a forest which they need to cross past in order to arrive in Edo in time to meet the Shogun. As the monster attacks them, Denzo protects Koh and the two manage to escape, but none of her other men survive. Koh starts to question his true identity and why Denzo risks his life to protect her. Can he protect her from the horrendous monster and bring her to Edo safely before time runs out?

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User Reviews

 
Not your usual ninja flick
4 August 2015 | by Quebec_DragonSee all my reviews

I saw the world premiere at the Fantasia Film Festival. We're in Japan at the end of 18th century and ninjas, once commonly used, are being hunted down and executed. A princess must reach Edo to ask help from a lord there. She's escorted by a half-dozen soldiers and one bodyguard who's actually a ninja. They'll have to cross a dangerous forest where a strange watery creature lurks and kills people. So let's get this out of the way first: this is not the typical ninja you might be used to seeing with dark costume, hood and almost supernatural skills. It's closest to what ninjas were probably like: good fighters hired by lords to do covert missions. Also, if you're expecting fights between a monster and a ninja, you're gonna be disappointed. This movie subscribes to the "seeing-less-is-more" philosophy or, in this case, "hearing-more-is-better-than-seeing". It means that most often we see the hidden princess while the actual fight (or slaughter) is conveyed through sound effects and screams. Think of the black smoke creature in the first season of Lost. The sound might have been very loud in the theatre but I thought it did create excellent tension.

The few fights were mostly between humans and they were adequate although not very memorable. The darkness didn't help but didn't detract too much. The actor playing Denzo, the ninja, had an expressive face although his role of a reserved man did not demand much emoting. Choemon, the main bodyguard and samurai, was a bit more over the top but not overly so. The princess played a good damsel in distress. As for story, it was simple enough with a clear objective. It did add interest with the unclear motive of the ninja, although that wasn't explored enough in my mind. However, near the start, it did bug me how abruptly Choemon accused Denzo of being a ninja. That was so out of the blue that part of the audience laughed. I think the director might have wanted us to wonder if ninjas were really "monsters" or if so-called monsters were really monsters after all, but I'm speculating. I liked the special effects for the distinct gelatinous-water look of the creature, but I was disappointed by its final fate. It seemed too obscure and it was as if the protagonists' actions didn't really matter, i.e. the monster would have ended up the same with or without them. As a somewhat intimate suspense movie with a fantastical monster, it kind of works. For action and thrills, you might want to look elsewhere. At the end, the audience applauded politely.

Rating: 6 out of 10 (Good)


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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

20 February 2016 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

NINJA THE MONSTER See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Shochiku See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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