Ninja were... merciless demi-gods, ruling Japan with their karate in the age of ninja tranquility. But, "some" committed a forbidden form of harakiri storing their souls at Kinkaku Temple for future resurrection. Their lost history was falsified and concealed and the truth about these ninja was long forgotten.
Now, in the future where the universalization of cybernetic technology and electronic networks are God, suddenly, sinister ninja souls, resurrected from thousands of years past are unleashed on the dark shadows of Neo-Saitama. Fujikido Kenji, is a salaryman whose wife and child were killed in a ninja turf war. In a brush with his own death, Fujikido is possessed by an enigmatic ninja soul.
Fujikido cheats death and becomes Ninja Slayer—a Grim Reaper destined to kill evil ninja, committed to a personal war of vengeance.
Set in the dystopian underworld of Neo-Saitama, Ninja Slayer takes on Soukai Syndicate ninjas in mortal combat.
Ninja Slayer has been published digitally in English as Ninja Slayer: Machine of Vengeance by Kadokawa Bookwalker since May 13, 2015. Vertical Inc. has been releasing the series in print under the Vertical Comics imprint since October 20.
Look, I know what you're thinking;
"Ninja Slayer huh? That looks incredibly one-dimensional and generic!"
STOP RIGHT THERE.
Me along with the 38 other people who have actually read this masterpiece (at the time of writing this review) and let me tell you something; it's a ****ing legendary work of art.
This is honestly the only weak part of the complete package. As writing this review, I am currently up to the date with the English release (volume 4) and so far not much of importance has actually happened. Ninja Slayer's family was murdered by a ninja, so he gets possessed by a demon ninja spirit
to obtain ninja powers in order to kill ninja. So we basically follow Ninja Slayer on his path against vengeance. However, mostly every volume is its own self-contained story; which is good because you can jump right in at any given volume (depending on wether or not it's a two-parter). However, sometimes Ninja Slayer isn't even the main character. Of course they introduce him in the first arc, but for the second volume they introduce a completely new main character for us to follow. Which, while keeps the manga fresh of following a new perspective, a lot of the times you might be bored until Ninja Slayer himself shows up to kick some ass. So before you can even settle down with a new character, motivations, location, and premise, the next volume you have to do the same thing. A lot of jumping around kind of hurts the focus, making this the weakest link of the manga.
One of the best parts of the package, Ninja Slayer's art strikes you from the very first stare at the first page. The backrounds of this messed up world of Neo-Tokyo where everyone wants to kick your ass comes to life with this crazy over-the-top aesthetic. In fact, everyone in this manga is extremely well-drawn, with extremely exaggerated designs. Do you want a highschool girl complete with mini-skirt slaying over 100 yakuza clones? The artwork has it. Do you want a guy in a Tengu mask and suit going around and blowing up bad guys with his shotgun? This manga's for you. Everyone has an extremely over-the-top and awesome design. All of the ninja have like 12 packs complete with the most edgiest designs you can think of and all of the women have boobs like a swimsuit model. So is the art super over-the-top and exaggerated? Hell yeah, but it's also some of the best art I've ever seen in a manga, and at the end of the review, even if you don't want to give this masterpiece a read, I reccomend you check it out for the art alone.
Ninja Slayer as a character is about as one-dimensional as you can get.
Ninja Slayer wants revenge for his family's murder.
But dammit, he is so much fun to watch.
Everyone in this manga will usually have a quirk or gimic to them. But one thing is for certain everyone is as eccentric as you can get. From blinged-out pompadour rocking ninjas from the dude in the Tengu mask, everyone will make a huge lasting impression in the short span they appear. These are real characters with real motivations, and once you read to volume 2, you realize that these people are much more than just a badass dude or hot chick. For example, the character of Yamoto Koki, the female ninja who's also a highschool student.
"What?! A highschool student again?"
When this manga has a highschool student character who isn't a perfect child or a shut-in, but actually an extremely tragic and well-written character, you know this manga ain't playing.
This manga is so much fun to read it's not even funny. You can literally pick this thing up about anywhere and start because of the advantages of changing characters every arc, which allows a ton of fun in short bursts. From the crazy ninja greetings everyone must do everytime they fight, to the bombastic final attacks, this is a manga that is a blast from start to finish.
Overall Score: 9
Despite its flaws, Ninja Slayer still breaks through the mold to become something much more. For all of the generic vengeance and ninja manga out there, I'm glad that we have a manga like this to shake things up and keep things interesting. I can't express just how good this manga is in words, so the only way to find out for yourself is to give this legend a read.
So what are you waiting for?! Go read the masterpiece known only as Ninja Slayer!!