Toonami fans are in for a treat with the series premiere of Ninja Kamui. On the heels of two back to back FLCL series, providing some fun reminiscing, the latest original adult swim/Toonami series is at its core a revenge story that is exciting, entertaining and full of promise.
The series opens up with a bang highlighting its action at its very best. Violent, brutal and wonderfully animated, it sets the tone for what is yet to come. Moments of intensity are broken up by some scenes of levity. Even in the quieter moments, there is a sense of importance which keeps the momentum going. There’s a deep sense of darkness as the story continues to unfold. While there may be some moments you can predict, especially if you’ve seen the trailer, it continually finds a way to keep you on your toes.
A wronged man is on a mission to get revenge. The story is grounded with unexpected sci fi elements, enhancing the overall story, offering twists and unexpected reveals. The use of technology in the story is a fascinating way to contrast what you would expect of a ninja themed series. It helps elevate the series. With each passing minute, the conspiracy grows deeper with more information revealed at a steady pace.
Characters quickly come to life with their backstories given deeper meaning. You build a strong connection to the main character, Joe Higan, and feel his pain and suffering. You will want to root for him and his mission. The two detectives we follow have interesting stories as well. You can see what kind of person they are, and their dedication to the job. I can’t wait to see the rest of the characters who will intersect with this clever journey.
The animation is fluid and engaging. Most scenes tend to feel dark and heavy, but are lightened by the movements, backgrounds and often vibrant blood. The fight scenes are not to be missed. Details are paid attention to providing each swing of a sword, each stab, toss and more its own style and flare.
The use of music drives the story forward effectively. Fight scenes are filled with energetic and strong beats flowing seamlessly with the clanging sounds of metal and flesh. They are as easily effective in the more tender and emotional scenes.
One of my favorite things about anime series is when the opening titles hit hard. The OP song and animation really drive home the themes and premise of the series. You’ll be crying for vengeance. The song is instantly going into my Spotify playlist once it’s officially released. It is a banger you’ll have in your head for days. The other insert songs are just as effective conveying the mood of the scene they are set to.
As I was provided screeners for the first two episodes with English subtitles, I can’t speak for the English dub voice acting which will be shown first at midnight, kicking off Toonami each weekend. The English subtitled episodes will follow later in the night at 3am. Hopefully this trend will continue at the network as it will provide all anime fans with a preferred way to watch the series. The Japanese voices fit each character well, feeling natural and at home in their roles. I cannot wait to see how the English dub cast do to help build this enthralling world.
A video game adaptation is coming this spring. Not much has been made public about it’s story, platforms or gameplay, but I will be very interested in checking it out based on what I have seen already.
I found myself wanting more with each reveal, keeping me engaged, not noticing how quickly each episode was flying by. The characters are captivating, feeling original and unique. You can tell a lot of effort and heart was put into this series. Attention is made to each detail with the story and animation. While you may have had mixed feelings on recent adult swim Toonami series, I think this one will be much more well received. It has the makings of something special and I cannot wait to see where the rest of the season goes.
Ninja Kamui premieres February 10 at midnight on adult swim’s Toonami block.