Batman Ninja
North American cover
ニンジャバットマン
Directed byJunpei Mizusaki
Screenplay by
Based on
Produced byTakanari Yamaguchi
StarringRoger Craig Smith
Tony Hale
Grey Griffin
Tara Strong
Edited byKiyoshi Hirose
Music byYugo Kanno
Production
companies
Warner Bros. Japan
DC Entertainment
Kamikaze Douga
YamatoWorks
Barnum Studio
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Release dates
  • April 24, 2018 (2018-04-24) (United States)
  • June 15, 2018 (2018-06-15) (Japan)
Running time
85 minutes[1]
CountriesUnited States
Japan
LanguagesEnglish
Japanese

Batman Ninja (ニンジャバットマン, Ninja Batman) is a 2018 American-Japanese animated superhero film directed by Junpei Mizusaki, produced by Warner Bros., and animated by Kamikaze Douga and YamatoWorks, which features the DC Comics character Batman. Takashi Okazaki, the creator of Afro Samurai, is the character designer for the film. The first poster was revealed on October 5, 2017, and the trailers were released later on December 1, 2017.[2] The film was released in the United States in digital format on April 24, 2018: it was released in physical formats on May 8 and was released theatrically in Japan on June 15.[3][4] In its American release, writers Leo Chu and Eric Garcia have admitted to rewriting the film from the original Japanese script written by Kazuki Nakashima, ultimately making two very different versions of the same film.[5]

Plot

While battling Gorilla Grodd at Arkham Asylum, Batman is caught in Grodd's Quake Engine time displacement machine and sent to feudal Japan. There, he is chased by samurai working for the Joker. During his escape, Batman meets up with Catwoman, who reveals everyone else arrived 2 years earlier due to Batman being in the outermost area affected by the Quake Engine. He learns from her that all of Gotham City's top criminals have become feudal lords after deceiving the Sengoku daimyo, battling each other until only one state remains. To stop the villains from altering history, Batman and Catwoman must get to the Quake Engine in Arkham Castle (formerly the Asylum).

Batman discovers that Alfred Pennyworth is also in the past and has built a Batcave outside Edo. When Joker's troops ambush the hideout, Batman storms his way in his Batmobile towards Arkham Castle, which transforms into a robot fortress. Just as Batman confronts the Joker, he is forced to leave and save a mother and child below from being crushed by the robot's hand. He transforms his Batcycle into an armored suit to defeat a sumo Bane and stop the robot hand, only to learn the mother is a disguised Harley Quinn. As Batman is surrounded by the Joker's minions, he is suddenly whisked away by ninja led by Eian of the Bat Clan of Hida.

Batman learns the Bat Clan helped Nightwing, Red Hood, Red Robin and Robin upon their arrival and the clan has followed a prophecy of a foreign bat ninja restoring order to the land. Robin gives Batman an invitation from Grodd to a nearby hot spring. There, Grodd explains he intended to send the villains far away so he could take Gotham for himself, but Batman's interference sent them all to feudal Japan instead. Batman and Grodd agree to work together to return to Gotham. Batman, Grodd, Catwoman, the Bat-Family and the Bat Clan battle the Joker and his forces by the river.

They defeat the Joker and Harley, but Grodd turns on Batman, revealing his alliance with Two-Face before the Joker and Harley escape and blow up their own ship, taking Batman down with it. Having captured a power converter from Harley, Catwoman attempts to bargain with Grodd in bringing her back to Gotham; however, they need to obtain other power converters from the Penguin, Poison Ivy and Deathstroke to complete the Quake Engine. Two days later, Batman recovers from his wounds and encourages the Bat-Family to learn the ways of the ninja to defeat Grodd.

Red Hood locates Joker and Harley, but Batman discovers they lost their memories from the explosion and are living as farmers. A month later, the villains mobilize their castle robots for battle at the "Field of Hell". Batman leads the Bat-Family and the Bat Clan into the battlefield. After defeating the other villains, Grodd puts them under his mind control, with the intent of ruling the country himself. The Joker and Harley, however, crash his party from above, reclaiming their castle from Grodd. The Bat-Family saves Catwoman and Grodd before the Joker merges all of the castles into the super robot Lord Joker.

An injured Grodd gives the control of his army of monkeys to Batman: Robin enables them to merge into one giant samurai monkey to battle the Joker's robot. The samurai monkey then combines with a swarm of bats to form the Batgod to defeat Lord Joker before the Bat-Family storm into the castle to battle the villains. The Joker reveals to Batman that as farmers, he and Harley planted special flowers that restored their memories after blooming. As the castle falls, Batman and the Joker engage in a sword fight. Using his ninjutsu skills, Batman defeats the Joker. With the Joker and the villains defeated, the Bat Clan begins work to restore feudal Japan to its original state and the Bat-Family takes the villains back to the present day.

In a mid-credits scene, Catwoman sells weapons and furniture from the castle robots to an antique shop, while Bruce rides a horse-driven Batmobile to a party hosted by the mayor.

Voice cast

Character Japanese voice actor[2][6][4] English dubbing actor[7]
Bruce Wayne/Batman: A powerful superhero who usually resides in Gotham City. Upon being transported to Feudal Japan, he has a hard time adjusting but ultimately gains the trust of the Bat-Clan. He also develops a strange friendship with Gorilla Grodd and deepens his relationship with Catwoman. When transported back to the present, he uses his skills he gained in Japan to protect his friends. Kōichi Yamadera Roger Craig Smith
The Joker: A sadistic, dangerous, and psychopathic master criminal and crime lord who, upon his arrival in Feudal Japan, becomes a resourceful king. He has a deep relationship with Harley Quinn, who loves him to the point of mindlessly obeying him. Unlike most media versions of Joker, this one is agile and a near-perfect fighter, who uses razor-sharp fans in battle. Wataru Takagi Tony Hale
Selina Kyle/Catwoman: A seductive but accomplished master criminal who builds alliances with Batman and Joker, ultimately siding with Batman when she realizes Joker's nefarious plans. She also has a deep relationship with Batman. Ai Kakuma Grey Griffin
Harley Quinn: Joker's girlfriend, who is possibly even more insane than him. In this movie, she is also a master of disguise, pretending to be a woman about to be crushed by Joker's mecha and even fooling Batman. Rie Kugimiya Tara Strong
Alfred Pennyworth: Batman's sarcastic, intelligent butler who serves as the de facto leader of the Bat-Family while Batman is away. Hōchū Ōtsuka Adam Croasdell
Gorilla Grodd: A strong, mysterious, and smart gorilla who was genetically modified and has the ability of mind control. He has a hard time working out his friendship with Batman, especially after Grodd betrays him. Takehito Koyasu Fred Tatasciore
Dick Grayson/Nightwing: The original Robin, who is now a master ninja. His skills work perfectly in Japan, as he has considerable ninja-like skills already. He is inquisitive and short-tempered, but deep down he cares about the Bat-Family. Daisuke Ono Adam Croasdell
Damian Wayne/Robin: The son of Batman and the current Robin. Like Nightwing, he has ninja training from being raised by the League of Shadows. Sarcastic but also caring, he works as hard as he can to protect his surrogate family. Upon coming to Japan, he befriends a monkey named Monkichi, as well as the monkey's friend Monmi. Yūki Kaji Yuri Lowenthal
Jason Todd/Red Hood: A short fuse and considerably dangerous, Jason Todd has a strange relationship with the Bat-Family. The second Robin, he has a long-standing grudge against Joker, who killed him early in his career. After being resurrected by Ras Al Guhl and the League of Shadows, he adopted the identity of Red Hood. He does not hold back against Joker, who he brutally attacks even when the villain is supposedly reformed. Akira Ishida Yuri Lowenthal
Tim Drake/Red Robin: The third Robin, who is more likeable than Jason Todd. He is a bit naive but very smart, and a bit of a nerd. He is well-trained with a bo staff, which he uses regularly. Kengo Kawanishi Will Friedle
Deathstroke: A powerful assassin and occasional foe of Batman. Blind in one eye, he seeks to kill Batman at any cost, presumably just for the fun of it. Junichi Suwabe Fred Tatasciore
Poison Ivy: A brilliant but sociopathic eco-terrorist who has the ability to control plants- and other people. Atsuko Tanaka Tara Strong
Two-Face: Originally friendly and kind district attorney Harvey Dent, he received an oddly symmetrical scarring from mob boss Sal Maroni, and became a dangerous, insane criminal. He relies on a coin to plan his next move. Toshiyuki Morikawa Eric Bauza
The Penguin: A disfigured but distinguished aristocrat, Oswald Cobblepot fits in perfectly with the tendencies of Japanese society. He establishes his mecha so that the inside looks like a glacier, so he can feel at home. Chō Tom Kenny
Bane: A dangerous assassin who gains his power from tubes pumping a substance called Venom into his body. He is hired by Joker to ambush Batman, who needs an armoured suit to stop him. Kenta Miyake
Eian: The leader of the Bat-Clan, who worships Batman as a powerful deity. Yōji Ueda Matthew Yang King
Monkichi: A monkey that Robin adopts. He is friends with Monmi, and is trusted withs flute that can control monkeys in the movie's climax- which he uses to save the Bat-Family. Anna Mugiho
Monmi: A friend of Monkichi who helps in the final battle. Juri Nagatsuma

Marketing

Bandai released S.H. Figuarts figures of Ninja Batman and Demon King Joker in mid-2018.[8]

The Nendoroid figures of Pop Team Epic characters Popuko and Pipimi, dressed as Batman and Joker respectively, were displayed at the Warner Bros. booth at AnimeJapan 2018. It was suggested by Junpei Mizusaki at Kamikaze Douga; the studio animated both this film and Pop Team Epic television series. The crossover figures were accompanied by a 15-second TV commercial, where Popuko and Pipimi (in the aforementioned costumes) re-enact a sketch from Pop Team Epic comics before it jumps to a Batman Ninja scene.[9][10]

A manga adaptation by Masato Hisa was serialized in the Monthly Hero's magazine from June 30, 2018, to September 1, 2019. It was collected in two volumes.[11][12]

Reception

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film received an approval rating of 82% based on 17 reviews, with an average rating of 6.6/10.[13]

IGN awarded Batman Ninja a score of 9.7 out of 10, saying, "DC tried something new by bringing in visionary Japanese animators to offer a refreshing take on one of the company's most beloved characters, and the finished product not only built upon the great adaptations that have come before, but surpassed them."[14]

The film earned $680,508 from domestic DVD sales and $2,962,529 from domestic Blu-ray sales, bringing its total domestic home video earnings to $3,643,037.[15]

In 2020, the manga adaptation won the Seiun Award for Best Comic.[16]

References

  1. ^ "Batman Ninja (12)". British Board of Film Classification. March 28, 2018. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Ashcraft, Brian (December 1, 2017). "First Look At The Batman Ninja Anime". Kotaku. Gizmodo Media Group.
  3. ^ Gilyadov, Alex (February 13, 2018). "Batman Ninja Box Art and Release Date Revealed". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  4. ^ a b ワーナー ブラザース 公式チャンネル (March 15, 2018). "映画『ニンジャバットマン』 日本用トレーラー<公開日追加ver>【2018年6月15日劇場公開】". Warner Bros. YouTube. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  5. ^ "Why Batman Ninja In English Is So Different From The Japanese Version". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. April 28, 2018. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  6. ^ Bonomolo, Cameron (October 5, 2017). "'Batman Ninja' Anime: First Details & Poster Revealed". ComicBook.com. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  7. ^ Ressler, Karen (February 13, 2018). "Batman Ninja Anime's English Trailer Reveals Dub Cast, Home Video Release". Anime News Network. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  8. ^ Thompson, Luke Y. (February 2, 2018). "Check Out These Rad Nina Batman, Demon King Joker, and Samurai Deadpool Figures". Nerdist. Archived from the original on April 28, 2018. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  9. ^ Sherman, Jennifer (March 23, 2018). "Pop Team Epic Teams Up With Batman Ninja for Collaboration Figures". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  10. ^ Loveridge, Lynzee (March 26, 2018). "Pop Team Epic's Joker & Batman Definitely Aren't Upset". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  11. ^ Sherman, Jennifer (May 13, 2018). "Batman Ninja Anime Gets Manga by Nobunagun's Masato Hisa (Updated)". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 2, 2022.
  12. ^ Pineda, Rafael Antonio (August 6, 2019). "Batman Ninja Manga Ends on September 1". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 2, 2022.
  13. ^ "Batman Ninja (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved October 10, 2021.
  14. ^ Griffin, David (March 24, 2018). "Batman Ninja Review". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  15. ^ "Batman Ninja (2018) The Numbers Listing". The Numbers. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  16. ^ Hodgkins, Crystalyn (August 23, 2020). "Astra Lost in Space, Batman Ninja, 'How Many Light-Years to Babylon?' Win at 51st Seiun Sci-Fi Awards". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 2, 2022.