Plenty of Reasons to Avoid Batman Ninja

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Batman Ninja Blu-ray and DVD

So there it is: the worst BATMAN animated story I've seen (and I've seen BATMAN UNLIMITED: MECHS VS MUTANTS, so that's saying something).

There's so many things wrong with this movie, but let me start out on the high note: the animation isn't one of them. The imagery -- inconsistent in style as it is -- is gorgeous. Watch it with the sound off, and only glance at it now and then, and you'll always see something awesome.

But if you actually expose yourself to the story, your fascination will quickly dwindle away.

So lets cut to the quick, shall we? The story begins in modern day Gotham City, where Gorilla Grodd is preparing to unveil to Gotham's most fiendish criminals his latest invention: the Quake Engine. You might think that something called that would create quakes, but no. It travels through time. Batman and company interfere, causing it to activate and send all of them hurtling into the past to feudal Japan. Only Batman arrives two years after everyone else, because plot device. During those two years, everyone has acclimated to Japanese culture, including Lord Joker and his on-again / off-again pencil mustache. Nightwing, Red Hood, Red Robin, and Robin have all modified their costumes and their hairstyles. Even Alfred has made the trip, since he was apparently riding shotgun in the Batmobile, which got caught up in the Quake Engine's wake.

But having a Batmobile in ancient Japan would give the Dark Knight an unfair advantage, so the Joker and Harley attack, stripping him of his technology -- something they never could do in the modern era with modern weaponry. Fortunately, Batman has other allies -- a clan of ninja who have an ancient legend of a bat-god from another time, and they are prepared to follow him to Hell and back.

The Gotham gangsters -- Penguin, Poison Ivy, Two-Face, and Deathstroke have all carved out their own piece of Japan -- and they each possess a piece of the Quake Engine. Grodd wants it all back so he can return home -- or so he says. Nobody in this movie can be trusted.

Among the head-scratching things you'll find in this film are:

  • Bruce Wayne in disguise as a Christian monk -- with a bat-symbol shaved tonsure!
  • Robin, who hasn't aged two years in two years, relegated to the role of Spritle as he befriends a super-intelligent monkey
  • Giant mech houses for each criminal
  • Swarms of bats and monkeys working together to make a giant Batman

Seriously, if you appreciate good Batman stories or you appreciate good anime, stay the hell away from BATMAN NINJA, unless you're the kind of person who takes pleasure in how much they can dislike something.

Grade: 
1.0 / 5.0