Episode 10 – Ninja Kamui

How would you rate episode 10 of
Ninja Kamui ?

Community score: 3.0

After being seriously let down by last week’s episode, I was prepared for the rest of the show to be a slog, especially now that it lost its most interesting character. The good news is that last week’s episode does seem to have been the low point, as this one focuses on providing a much-needed backstory for Higan’s friend-turned-rival, Zai. Unfortunately, said backstory isn’t exactly exciting, and the show feels like it’s going through the motions as it heads towards the finale.

The big focus is Zai opting to challenge Higan to a duel as we learn more about him. As a child, Zai was abandoned by his parents and raised by crows, causing him to have little faith in other people (which I guess is supposed to be tragic, but the idea of this super edgy guy being raised by crows is probably the most unintentionally funny thing the show has done so far). His faith in others was further stunted when he was caught and sold to human traffickers until he was rescued by Yamaji who brought him into the ninja organization and told him to only believe in his strength to survive. This caused him to go through a lot of his training with a chip on his shoulder until he became acquainted with Higan and Mari who gradually opened his heart and got him to come around to the idea of having faith in his comrades. Thus, he took it pretty hard when he found out that Higan and Mari broke the ninja code by having a child, and vowed to be the one to cut them down.

As far as motivations go, it’s far from terrible but Zai’s story felt pretty predictable, and the execution wasn’t strong enough since he ultimately comes off as more edgy than sympathetic. It doesn’t help that we’re getting all this more or less in the eleventh hour, and while learning all this earlier wouldn’t have improved things a ton, it’s still better than simply using it as window dressing for Higan and Zai’s big fight. Speaking of said fight, I’m glad the show seems to have mostly returned to form after last week’s dip in animation quality, and the action on display here is pretty good. I’ll also confess that while Higan and Zai’s big showdown didn’t make me feel like it had the emotional stakes it was aiming for, seeing them clash swords while AMV music was blaring in the background was pretty rad, and if nothing else I can at least respect Ninja Kamui‘s commitment to its own aesthetic.

While Higan and Zai are busy fighting, Mike decides to try exposing all the information they’ve learned about AUZA to try and take them down. However, that’s easier said than done as Joseph has opted to label him and the others as terrorists in a bid to deflect blame for losing one of his factories and to keep his investors happy. This leads Mike to try reaching out to his boss at the FBI who used to be his old partner, and tries appealing to his old sense of justice. Instead, he ends up selling Mike out and leaving him on the run again. I get the feeling that this was supposed to be a pretty big betrayal but I honestly forgot this character even existed, so I can’t say it did anything for me, which is how I feel about the whole episode. It’s perfectly serviceable, but at this point, my expectations for the rest of the series are pretty low, and I feel like it lost its chance to be more than a simple action show when it lost Emma. While it could certainly still have a trick or two left up its sleeve, I’m not feeling optimistic about its chances of turning things around, and at this point, I’m mostly hoping it can make it to the end without stumbling any further.

Rating:




Ninja Kamui airs on Adult Swim and streams on Max.