Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Batman Ninja

Once one of the company's greatest strengths, DC Comics' straight-to-video animated movies have stumbled a bit in recent years. Batman Ninja is far from one of the company's best, but you do have to give DC credit for thinking far, far outside of the box with this one and trying something completely different. The result is a mixed success that throws the Bat-Family and various villains into an anime world that fits some characters better than others.

Directed by Junpei Mizusaki, the story displaces Batman (Roger Craig Smith) and several of his closest allies and worst villains in feudal Japan thanks to a time bomb released by Gorilla Grodd (Fred Tatasciore). Without his high-tech gadgets, Batman and friends will be forced to get back to basics, and rely on a cult of Bat-worshiping ninjas, to take on the Joker (Tony Hale, in one of my least favorite versions of the character), Harley Quinn (Tara Strong), the Penguin (Tom Kenny), Two-Face (Eric Bauza), Poison Ivy (Strong), and more.

Culminating in the Joker making a giant robot out of mechanical moving fortresses (designed by Grodd but for some reason still looking like the Joker) fighting a giant Batman made up of monkeys and bats, Batman Ninja get pretty damn weird as the second and third acts throw any semblance of reality (or Batman getting back to basics) out the window for good.

Available on both DVD and Blu-ray, extras include the Japanese audio track, featurettes on merging Batman with Japanese emfluences, an examination of the character redesigns for the film, and a presentation from New York Comic Con 2017.

[WarnerBrothers, Blu-ray $19.98 / DVD $19.98]

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