‘Ittoki the Ninja’ Review: Or How to Be a Ninja in Modern Times

Ninjas are one of the most iconic warriors in all history. The figure of the Ninja, or Shinobi, in Japanese, has managed to tattoo itself in the minds of basically every human in the modern world. The cultural relevance of the warrior that hides in the shadows and strikes when his enemy least expects it is not only cool, but dangerous, and people are always fascinated by dangerous things. Ittoki the Ninja is the latest anime that takes the figure of the Ninja and tries to do something new with it by making it part of the modern world.

Ittoki the Ninja is a series produced by DMM Pictures with animation duties by Troyca, who has worked previously on shows like Idolish7. The series tells the story of Ittoki, a normal kid who goes to school and has as normal a life as anyone can have. However, one day, Ittoki finds out that he is part of an ancient ninja family that finds itself at war with other ninja villages that still exist in the modern era of Japan. Now Ittoki must balance his life between the stress of being a teenager and also being part of a ninja clan at war.

Ittoki the Ninja is one of those series that gets released every year and never has the opportunity to become a great hit. Most anime are based on manga, just like most films nowadays are adaptations of books or comic books. The producers find it easier to make something out of existing IP than to create something completely original. Adapting something means you already have what it takes to get a built-in audience to pay attention to your work, meanwhile, original works don’t have that advantage.

It is then that Ittoki the Ninja arrives as an original series made for the TV medium without a previous manga to support it. This means that the series will live or die by its quality alone, and we have to say that while Ittoki the Ninja is not a complete failure, it isn’t a home run either. The premise is quite fun, it is the perfect setup for great comedy, but the series mostly uses it in the most shallow of ways. This could be so much better, and yet, we only get the most expected of jokes at each opportunity.

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The premise also allows for Ittoki the Ninja to go into full action mode, and it is quite interesting that these are the most exciting bits of each episode. The animation is fluid, and it makes the scenes work. This isn’t an animation style like what Mappa does with Jujutsu Kaisen, but it does the job. Actually, there is some solid camera work in these scenes, and the CGI graphics are well integrated into the sequences. If only the sequences could be more meaningful, then they could be so much more intense and intriguing.

When it comes to character design, Troyca has done a very good job. There is nothing here to write home about. The design is very plain, but they are effective, and that is what matters. You can infer how a character will behave just by looking at them, and that gives you just everything that you need to know. However, the archetypes used on the show are very straight, there is no deviation from any of the formulas the medium has set up throughout its many decades, so some characters feel too much like clichés.

The episodes mostly consist of Ittoki, our main character, trying to live his life in a very nice section that feels mostly like any other slice-of-life anime. These sections of the episodes have this comfy feeling, and they have based themselves around concepts like school, friends, dating, and the normal stuff. The other section of the episode jumps right away into the entire ninja affair, with politics, lore, and action sequences taking the central stage. The formula stays true throughout most episodes, so you know exactly what is coming to you most of the time.

In conclusion, we can say that Ittoki the Ninja is quite fun for what it is. The fun mix between a comfy slice-of-life affair and a solid action sequence might be strong enough that the series will find its audience. However, there are so many strong players in this anime season that Ittoki the Ninja might have a disadvantage when it comes to standing out among the crowd. For just this season, we have the return of Bleach, a new season of the fantastic Mob Psycho 100, and also the anticipated release of Chainsaw Man. Ittoki the Ninja seems tame by comparison.

Ittoki the Ninja is a fun little anime that will make you smile and also might make you excited thanks to its action sequences. There is a lot of fan service as well if that is what you like, so while it might not stand out next to the big hitters, it certainly will make for a fun watch.

SCORE: 7/10

  • Nelson loves all things related to storytelling. He has spent most of his life studying narrative, applied across all mediums; film, TV, books, and video games. Mulholland Drive is his favorite film.