I never knew I needed a Batman anime until now, but my god why hadn’t this been done before?
Made entirely in Japan and directed by newcomer Junpei Mizusaki, ‘Batman Ninja’ is absolutely gorgeous anime that sees some of DC Comics’ greatest heroes and villains get sent back in time to feudal Japan thanks to Gorilla Grodd’s time displacement machine. Together the villains take over forms of feudal lords that rule the divided land, with Joker taking lead among the warring faction as ‘Lord Joker’.
First let me start by saying the visuals in Batman Ninja are an absolute treat to the eyes, with some of the most gorgeous character designs and environments I’ve seen in any animated feature. At times it almost feels like you are watching a cell-shaded Japanese fighter game, something I really enjoyed as that is one of my favourite types of video game. Clocking in at only 85 minutes, the feature is jam-packed with crazy, fast, over-the-top action sequences that were just incredibly fun to watch and a solid voice cast. Batman’s new voice actor Roger Craig Smith picks up the mantle from Kevin Conroy and does a very good job in voicing The Dark Knight. We also have Tony Hale who is very impressive in his role as Joker, taking over from the legendary Mark Hamill.
‘Batman Ninja’ is a different but much needed take on the classic character that combines an absolutely ridiculous (in the best possible way) but simple premise and beautiful animation in what was one of the best superhero releases to date. I had a blast with Batman Ninja and hope to see more content from DC like this, but feel it may benefit from being an anime series more than film. My only issue with the release is relating only to the english-dub version of the film – the lip sync is way off. This can become distracting to the viewer and makes it harder to become fully immersed in the feature, but as said previously there is enough crazy action and antics to keep the viewer engaged for it’s duration. I highly recommend checking Batman Ninja out.