Both of the comic book superpowers, DC and Marvel, have been making direct to video animated feature films for years now. While I am a huge superhero fan, I have found few of these movies to be something exciting. Too many of them seem to use that old 80s style ‘Saturday Morning Cartoon’ style of animation, which I cannot for the life of me figure out why it is still around. With our technology, nowadays and the great leaps that animation has taken, it seems a shame to make these movies in such a boring and simplistic animation style. But this month DC has released a new animated feature called Batman Ninja that has taken a drastic new approach with stunning results.
After Gorilla Grod tries to rid Gotham of his enemies with a time machine, a mishap lands Batman and a legion of his allies and enemies in feudal Japan. The villains, including The Joker, Two-Face and The Penguin all become feudal lords ruling over divided lands and it is up to Batman, Catwoman and the extended Bat-family to stop them all and find a way to get back to their own time in Gotham.
For Batman Ninja, DC gathered some of the most impressive talents straight out of Japan for every facet of this movie. From writers to character designers to music to actual animators, the Japanese artists who took on Batman Ninja did so with a real zeal for an authentic feeling Japanese animated feature. The animation itself is stunningly gorgeous, the picture on the Blu-ray practically jumps off the screen. The story is engaging as well mixing classic Batman story elements with some interesting time travel themes and lots of great action sequences. The characters take on a decidedly Anime-ish look but always retain the personality traits fans have come to love in the many classic characters that show up in Batman Ninja. Which there are many of by the way including Joker, Penguin, Two-Face, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Deathstroke, Nightwing and Red Robin. For my money, Batman Ninja is easily the best DC animated feature yet and I hope it greatly succeeds and leads to more innovative and up to date animation for their upcoming animated movies. Very highly recommended.