Archive for the ninjas Category

Ninja Day 2013: Scene by Scene: That Transformers episode with the female robot ninja

Posted in cartoons, holiday, Ninja Day, ninjas, Transformers, TV shows with tags , , , , on December 5, 2013 by Paxton

Ninja Day Banner

Today is Ninja Day, my friends. I celebrate it every year. It’s one of my passions. So, in the spirit of the scene by scene movie reviews I did for Revenge of the Ninja and Ninja III: The Domination, today I’m going to do a scene by scene review of the Transformers episode “Enter the Nightbird”. You know, the one with the female robot ninja.

Nightbird 000 Nightbird 001
This is Season 2, episode 6.  Here are the opening titles and title card.

Nightbird 002 Nightbird 003
In the beginning of the episode, we see the Autobots installing new sensor pads on their floors. Wheeljack tests them by saying, “Look how they react to metal”, he touches the surface and then the sensor pad lights up. So the Autobots are putting metal detecting sensor pads in their headquarters?  METAL DETECTING SENSOR PADS IN A HEADQUARTERS FILLED WITH ROBOTS.  That makes sense.

Nightbird 004
This is Dr Fujiyama, “the famous scientist” (all the explanation we are given).  He calls the Autobots because he needs their help guarding his newest invention, an advanced form of robot.  Optimus Prime is talking to Fujiyama on a standard two way video communicator you see in TV shows and cartoons all the time. However, they way it’s drawn, it looks like that’s a window and Fujiyama is in the next room.

Nightbird 006 Nightbird 007
What is Fujiyama’s secret robot? Fujiyama introduces it as “The world’s first female ninja robot”.  He actually says that.  Not sure why the sex needs to be addressed since it is, you know, a f**king robot.  And maybe in this universe a MALE ninja robot has already been created.

Nightbird 008
This is the moment in the cartoon in which Optimus Prime awesomely says, “What is a ninja?”  Prime, you’re adorable.  Jazz actually explains it to him.  Not one of the human characters.

Nightbird 009
During the Q&A, this guy stands up and asks, “Why build a robot ninja, doctor?” He is then promptly escorted from the premises and beaten amongst the head and shoulders with heavy clubs.

Nightbird 010
Here’s the full pan up of the ninja robot. Thought this was a cool shot. The robot is christened Nightbird. The Autobots are here to protect Nightbird from being stolen by the Decepticons. How the Decepticons know about this robot or why they would even care when their own robotics are light years ahead of anything even in this robot is never really explained. But it is a ninja, so, I can’t blame them for wanting it.

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Nerd Lunch Episode 64 – Very Special Ninja Day episode

Posted in movies, ninjas, pop culture with tags , , , , , , on December 4, 2012 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

Tomorrow is officially Ninja Day. So in celebration, the Nerd Lunch Podcast has invited Jaime from shezcrafti.com to join us for a discussion of one of the greatest 80s ninja movies of all time, Ninja III: The Domination.

Ninja 3 V8

We talk a little about the movie’s origins, our own experiences with it and the awesomeness that is Sho Kosugi in an eyepatch.  So if you love ninjas possessing young, sweaty aerobics instructors, ridiculously hairy boyfriends and crates of V8 juice, then you’ll love our discussion of Ninja III: The Domination.

Download this episode from iTunes or listen to it on Feedburner.

Or listen to it online right here.

Creating a team of 80s ninja killers

Posted in movies, ninjas, pop culture with tags , , , on August 29, 2012 by Paxton

LEB

New assignment from The League. This week we are pitted against an evil conglomerate that is protected by an army of bad ass Russian ninjas (Russian ninjas, wha-?!).  So I need to put together a team that does nothing but kill goddam ninjas.

It would be too easy to say, “I’ll take the JLA” or “The Avengers” and be done with it.  However, I’m going with non-super powered heroes.  As a matter of fact, I’m staying away from all supernatural characters.  I’m going to treat this as an 80s movie/TV project.  Which means I will also limit myself to characters from the 1980s, so no Jack Bauer (sad face) or Jason Bourne (well, the Matt Damon version).

So, let’s do this.  The five members of my own personal team of ninja killers from the 1980s:

The Master
1. John “The Master” McCallister (The Master)- The older, wiser ninja leader.  Plus Lee Van Cleef is just BAD ASS.

Sho Kosugi
2. Sho Kosugi (Ninja Trilogy) – I didn’t pick a character here, I picked the actor mainly because Sho transcends the characters he plays. It doesn’t matter if I pick Cho Osaki from Revenge of the Ninja or Shiro Tanaka from Rage of Honor. They are all the same bad ass ninja mo-fo and I need him to help defeat the ninja army.  Plus, he catches ninja arrows IN HIS TEETH.

Scott James
3. Scott James (The Octagon) – Scott James was built to kill f’n ninjas.  He single handedly takes on a terrorist organization comprised of deadly, deadly ninjas (led by the awesome Tadashi Yamashita) with just his wits, super fast roundhouse kicks and copious amounts of chest hair.  Qualifications ACCEPTED, Mr James.

Joe Armstrong
4. Joe Armstrong (American Ninja) – Another dude created to kill ninjas.  Joe here defeated one of the fiercest ninjas ever, the Black Star Ninja (played, again, by the awesome Tadashi Yamashita).  He’s the American Ninja and he’s on this team.

Jonathan Cabot
5. Jonathan Cabot (Gymkata) – Former gymnast turned master of the deadly martial art Gymkata, which is a mash up of gymnastic moves and the ninjitsu fighting style.  I only need to make sure that the team goes to places that have things like high bars and pommel horses just lying around so he can “do his thang”.

More ninja killers from around the League:
1. Shez Crafti’s Ninja Force 5
2. Green Plastic Squirt Gun also recruits Chuck Norris as well as Ash
3. Memories of Toymorrow recruits a bunch of awesome ninjas to fight ninjas
4. The Man Who Stares at Toys recruits Sarah Connor and Tackleberry
5. Cool and Collected recruits a malfunctioning robot and the hot chick from Buck Rogers

Ninja Day 2011: Ninja magazine and some of its awesome ads

Posted in Halloween, holiday, ninjas, pop culture with tags , , , , on December 5, 2011 by Paxton

Ninja Day Banner

It has successfully creeped up on us again this year, ready to slit our throats. It’s Ninja Day 2011.

Today I’m going to look at the vintage magazine called Ninja that was on the racks in the mid 80s during America’s ninja craze.  I owned many of these magazines and they were awesome, yet poorly made at the same time.  However, there was lots of awesomely deadly things that were only a mail order catalog away.

Here is what a typical issue of Ninja magazine looked like.  This is Ninja #13 from 1986.

Ninja mag 13

Covers were typically artists’ conceptions of ninjas doing awesome ninja things. Inside featured articles on specific aspects of ninjas like meditation, a specific ninja weapon or a fighting style like “close quarters” fighting. There were also feature articles on types of ninjas. I remember an issue that featured women ninjas or another series of articles focusing on “elemental ninjas”. “Elemental ninjas” included the “Fire Ninja”, the “Water Ninja” and the “Wind Ninja”. I have all three of these issues.  However, I have to wonder if there was a fourth issue featuring the “Earth Ninja”. There had to be.  I’m going to have to track that one down.  Anyway, I’ll have an article discussing the Fire, Wind and Water ninjas in the future because I love this concept.

One of the best things about these magazines was the cover paintings.  They mostly featured ninjas straight up murdering people with swords and ninja stars.  And I bought all of these mags off the rack.  At a supermarket.  When I was like 11 years old.  I loved the 80s.

Anyway, let’s take a look at a few ads from Ninja magazine that I coveted.

AWMA ad 1 AWMA ad 2

These Asian World of Martial Arts ads were in nearly every issue of the magazine.  They were often times found on the back cover.  As you can see, they were colorful and awesome.  I wanted the stuff in these ads so bad.  As you can see, they sell mostly deadly ninja weapons.  Nunchuks, throwing stars, sai and even the deadly katana blade.  I mean, this stuff was BAD ASS.  And these weren’t fakes, these weapons could actually kill you.  I can’t believe you could buy them through the f**king mail.  I knew a kid at the time that got one of those ninja stars.  HE BROUGHT IT TO SCHOOL!  That’s just insane.  Yes, in the 80s, kids brought real ninja weapons to school.  We were that awesome.

Ninja uniforms 4 sale
So while the ninja weapons were on my hard core ninja want list, this ad features the one I REALLY wanted.  The holy grail. And I lusted after it in every issue. I wanted so bad to send away for this suit. You can’t really tell the quality from this ad, but I didn’t care. It was a ninja suit. For $39.95 ($24.95 for kids). And I could not convince my dad to get it for me.  No amount of begging, cajoling, promising to do extra chores.  Nothing worked.  So I had to become a “sweatsuit ninja” like most other kids around the world.  Never was I to have my own “official” ninja suit.  Oh, the memories this ad has kicked up from the darkness.

So, yes, Ninja magazine was awesome.  I’ll do a more in depth article about it later, I just thought I’d share with you a few fun ads from the magazine today, the day of the deadly ninja, 2011.

Have a good Ninja Day everyone.

Somewhat a review of the movie Ninja (2009)

Posted in movies, ninjas, pop culture, reviews with tags , , , , on December 10, 2010 by Paxton

Ninja Day Banner

Well, I was debating about delving into the final Sho Kosugi ninja movie Enter the Ninja today the same way I covered Revenge of the Ninja and Ninja III: The Domination the last few days, but I realized I have not the time nor the energy to do it. At least not today.  So, I’m going to review another ninja movie, this one from 25 years later in 2009.  It was a smaller release and the title was just Ninja.

Ninja

I’m pretty sure this may have been a DVD only release. Especially in the US.  It may have opened in theaters elsewhere.  I got it from Netflix a few weeks after it was released.  One of the reasons I was kind of excited to see this movie was because it was a smaller B-movie release that was supposed to be in the style of the mid-80s ninja movies.  I thought that was a great idea, and settled in to watch some “so bad it’s good” ninja awesomeness.

But I couldn’t get into it.  And this is coming from the guy that just sat through, watched, loved and reviewed, in agonizing detail, the movies Revenge of the Ninja and Ninja III.  So to say my tastes are discerning would be less then accurate.  And I still had trouble enjoying myself.  Granted, there are over 20 years of nostalgia coloring my perceptions of those ninja movies, but still.

Plus, this movie definitely feels like it was written and filmed in 1985, then lost for 25 years and found in some dank, dirty corner of the film vaults.  The suits then decided to put this lost ninja film out to capitalize on the release of Ninja Assassin.  The script and acting are cheesy and awkward.  The film logic is odd.  However the fight scenes are nicely shot and choreographed.  I really need to give it another watch.  I feel like I’m not giving it the latitude I give a Sho Kosugi movie.  And I’m not sure why.  The story is just as flat, the acting just as bad and the ninja scenes are just as good.  I don’t know why my knee jerk reaction is that I don’t like it.

The star, Scott Adkins, is a capable action star.  Before this he had roles in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (as Weapon XI) and The Bourne Ultimatum (as Agent Kiley).  The female lead is a little irritating because she seems helpless.  She’s constantly having to be saved despite the fact that in the beginning of the movie they establish her as the daughter of a ninja teacher and every bit as deadly as the Scott Adkins character.  I don’t know.

Trust me, I’m going to give this movie another shot.  When I do, I’ll let you know if I change my mind.  Until then, this gets a not recommend.

I become a man by watching Ninja III: The Domination (1984)

Posted in 80s, movies, ninjas, pop culture, reviews with tags , , , , on December 8, 2010 by Paxton

Ninja Day Banner

Okay, Sunday was Ninja Day, and I’m extending that into Ninja Week here on the blog. On Monday I discussed in detail the reality rendering awesomeness that is 1983’s Revenge of the Ninja starring Sho Kosugi. Today, I want to discuss that movie’s followup, Ninja III: The Domination.

Ninja III

I want to say I saw this in the theater, but there’s no way my father would have let me see the R rated Ninja III when I was 10 years old. I must have rented it a few years later when I was renting Revenge of the Ninja over and over again from the local video store.  How could I not?  It was a ninja movie with Sho Kosugi and that hot chick from Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2.  Also, this movie’s director, Sam Firstenberg, also directed Revenge of the Ninja.  As a matter of fact, from 1983 to 1985 Firstenberg directed Revenge of the Ninja, Ninja III:  The Domination, Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo and American Ninja.  I don’t know about you but that alone deserves some kind of lifetime achievement award or something.  I have to ask why this guy isn’t a household name.  Well, he followed up his Hall of Fame line up of 80s action movies with American Ninja 2:  The Confrontation and Delta Force 3:  The Killing Game which probably ended his career as quickly as a katana to the neck.  But no one can take way those 4 awesome 80s movies.  No one.

Anyway, this movie is completely fun, weird and absurd.  So let’s take a look.  I’m going to delve into the best aspects of this movie like I did Revenge of the Ninja because this movie deserves it.  There’s a lot of zany 80s awesomeness going on in this movie.  And I’ll be sure to point out all the gratuitous shots of Lucinda Dickey in skimpy clothes while sweatily dancing (happens more often than you think).  So grab a seat and let’s do this.

Ninja 3 titles
And so the awesome begins. The opening sequence is the best. A Japanese dude walks into this hidden cave, dons a ninja suit and heads to a nearby golf course to wreck complete havok. It’s never explained why he attacked the golf course. He just does it. And it’s awesome.

golf cart
Here’s the ninja stopping a golf cart by lifting the back wheels off the ground. He couldn’t let the attractive couple get away because he really needed to kill them.

bodyguard with gun ninja blowgun blowdart into gun gun explodes
A group of bodyguards show up because I guess one of the golfers is famous (no explanation). One of the bodyguards pulls a gun, but before he can fire, the ninja whips out a blowgun and shoots a dart directly into the gun barrel causing the gun to explode awesomely in the bodyguards face.  This movie is so ninja.

Outrun a car
The ninja then outruns a cop car.

ninja trapped ninja smoke ninja disappears ninja underground
The ninja is caught by like 5 cops and they open fire riddling him with bullets. In the midst of the gunfire the ninja ignites a smoke bomb and disappears. The cops have no idea where he went so they all just decide to leave. Then the ninja pops up out of the dirt. He had dug himself under the ground like a mole proving once again that, yes, he is a badass ninja.

Christie Ninja possession
While filled with bullet holes, the ninja crawls away and finds Lucinda Dickey as Christie, the hottest telephone repair person EVER. The ninja grabs her and does some ninja voodoo to put his spirit inside her (he wants to be IN her).

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Ninja Day 2010: Revenge of the Ninja (1983) melts my brain with awesomeness

Posted in 80s, movies, ninjas, pop culture, reviews with tags , , , , on December 6, 2010 by Paxton

Ninja Day Banner

I’m continuing my celebration of Ninja Day all this week with reviews of ninja movies. Today I look at one of the greatest ninja movies of all time, Revenge of the Ninja starring Sho Kosugi.

Revenge of the Ninja poster

Revenge of the Ninja is the second in an unofficial “trilogy” of ninja movies by The Cannon Group in the mid-80s. The first movie in that trilogy was Enter the Ninja (1981) and the third movie was Ninja III: The Domination (1984). All of them starred Sho Kosugi.  However neither of those movies were anywhere near as good as the middle movie, 1983’s Revenge of the Ninja. Let’s take a walk through this movie’s plot and see all the unbelievably awesome and ridiculous moments contained within.

So, the movie starts in Japan. Sho is there with his wife, young son and parents. Sho is off talking to his friend, Braden, an old white dude, when a group of like 6 ninjas show up and slaughter the family. I’m not sure why the family died, some old ninja master must be jealous of Sho’s bad ass awesomeness and sent his army to kill them all. The movie doesn’t really do a good job of explaining it.
ineffective ninjas Sho teeth
So this group of ninjas come in and kill everyone and then lay in wait for Sho to show up. When he does arrive, they pop out of the bushes and try to kill him by shooting arrows at him.  However, these are the worst ninjas ever and they underestimated his grim determination to kick ass and Sho catches two of the arrows in his hand and then catches the third arrow IN HIS MOUTH. Surprisingly, watching Sho catch a ninja arrow in his teeth didn’t cause the ninjas to crap their gi’s and run.  However, they must have been out of arrows after this display because they stop shooting and jump out of the bushes to surround Sho instead of just shooting him with his hands and mouth full (like I said, WORST NINJAS EVER). All the better for him to ninja kick some ass.

And Sho does kick their ass rather handily. Afterwards, Sho decides to follow his friend Braden back to America and start over with his young son (who wasn’t killed) and his mother (also survived).

Braden Evil Ninja 1
By the way, this is Braden. The old white guy who is also, apparently, a ninja. I guess he lived with Sho’s family for 20 years in Japan and learned their ninjitsu. However, Sho doesn’t realize that Braden is evil and is using Sho to smuggle drugs into the country. Notice Braden’s ninja outfit.  It looks like it’s made of silk and he wears a mask underneath his ninja mask.  Awesome.  And evil.

gangsters
Braden is working with these also ridiculous gangsters to smuggle heroin into the country through Sho’s Japanese art museum. Obviously, they try to double cross Braden and steal the heroin themselves.  What kind of gangster doesn’t use a scantily clad or topless woman as a masseuse?  The gay kind.

Kane vs Bullies Kane vs Bullies 2
Anyway, it’s six years after the ninja attack in Japan. Sho’s son, Kane (actual real son Kane Kosugi) is in elementary school. There is a ridiculous but awesome scene in which adorable little Kane in his pink Izod sweater kicks a bunch of older bullies’ asses. I don’t know why it’s in there, but I love that it is.

Sho vs Blondie
This is Kathy. She’s the typical 80s blonde. She works at Sho’s museum. And she’s also working for Braden to smuggle the heroin. In her first scene, she shows up in Sho’s family dojo without pants and tries to seduce him. This is the first of many times we see Kathy in skimpy outfits.  However Sho turns it into a lesson and begins to spar with her and pretty easily kicks her ass. Of course she holds her own for a bit because everyone in this movie knows some form of martial art.

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