The evil warlord Gengetsu Kibaoni was defeated 444 years ago by Yoshitaka Igasaki, known as the Last Ninja. However in 2015, the Kibaoni returned. With the Last Ninja gone, the only ones who can save the day is the grandchildren of the Last Ninja, Shuriken Sentai Ninninger!
Last year I reviewed Ressha Sentai ToQger briefly before dropping it because I was busy and I’m just not a fan of ToQger at all, watching it feels like a chore. When it was announced that the next Sentai are going to be ninjas, I have to get back into Sentai. And thankfully, so far it’s very worth it, which I will be talking about in a moment.
When the plot of Shuriken Sentai Ninninger arrives, people immediately note that it’s exactly like Kakuranger, or at least similar. Unfortunately, I have yet to fully watch Kakuranger (I only read UkiyaSeed’s review), so I can’t compare the two shows. But to be fair, just consider this to be a reboot of Kakuranger: similar premise & plot, but different story.
Now, for the first episode, it was pretty rushed. Just a minute in and we already got a transformed fight scene! It was way quicker than Shinkenger did with its first fight. The first fight itself was nothing special really, just AkaNinger slashing around and the purpose was to make the viewer pumped up and I’d say they did it.
Let’s talk about the main characters. Since the first episode is rushed, we didn’t really get to know much about them but the first episode managed to give what kind of personalities the Ninningers have. The first one is the AkaNinger, or the Red Ranger, Takaharu Igasaki. He’s your typical hot-blooded Red Ranger, the kind that we got used to many times. But I can say this, he is more likable than Raito/ToQ 1, because that guy is one of the worst Red Rangers ever and don’t even get me started on his predecessor, Daigo Kiryu/KyoryuRed. So I’m hoping Takaharu, or I would call him Taka because it’s hawk and hawks are awesome, turned out to be a disappointment. I get that Red Rangers are the icon of the series, but do not overuse him to the point that others are forgotten.
Next is Fuuka Igasaki, the ShiroNinger. Like her name suggest, she is Taka’s younger sister. I loved that they have siblings in Sentai again and this time, it’s an older brother and younger sister. I don’t think there’s that combination yet. Also, so far Fuuka is my favorite Ninninger, since her attitude as a younger sister that tries to grow up and be responsible, as well as dealing with her idiot brother interests me. Also, like her Ranger name suggest, she is the first White Ranger in a core team since GaoWhite, as well as the first time a White Ranger is in the same core team as the Pink Ranger since Changeman.
Third is Yakumo Katou, AoNinger. He also nicknames himself Cloud, and it’s easier to call him that. What’s interesting that since the Ninningers are the grandchildren of the Last Ninja, they are literally cousins, the first in Sentai to do so! If you ask me, cousins get along better than siblings. Cloud is a guy who studied magic in England. Yeah…… I don’t know if that was supposed to be a Harry Potter reference or something. He is also the resident ‘cool guy’.
Fourth is Nagi Matsuo, KiNinger. Nagi is a prankster, and most likely the comic relief Ranger of the show. Not much to say about him, other than the fact that he is the first MALE Yellow Ranger since MagiYellow! I always loved seeing male Yellow Rangers, since growing up watching Power Rangers, seeing the Yellow Wind Ranger from Ninja Storm for the first time (I didn’t watch Alien Rangers back in those days and even if I did, I didn’t remember much about them), it was mind blowing!
Last but not least is Kasumi Momochi, MomoNinger. Funny thing is, when Ninninger promos aired, most of us thought that Kasumi is a stoic, no-nonsense and serious Pink Ranger, but in this episode it’s the opposite. Who knows, maybe she will get serious later on. And then we got Tsumuji Igasaki, the team’s mentor and Taka and Fuuka’s father. Funny thing is, again, he doesn’t look like your typical mentor at all. He looks like a laid back kind of guy, and is even an idiot like his son. I like this guy! Oh, and since Cloud, Nagi & Kasumi’s last names are different, I’m guessing Tsumuji’s siblings are all female.
Now for the plot, the Kibaoni (that’s a badass name) were defeated in the Sengoku Era and was destined to return 444 years later, and when it did, the Ninningers’ grandfather Yoshitaka Igasaki sealed him using 48 sealing shurikens. However, Tsumuji realized that they miscalculated and 444 years later is actually this year, 2015! It’s funny that they miscalculated for such a serious matter.
And because of that, the Kibaoni’s leader, Gengetsu is revived and our heroes, have no choice but to fight as they are trained to face this threat. The problem is, everyone except Taka are scared because those are just training, this is the real deal. I like the fact that they are addressing this matter, as when they are training, they know their targets are not real, thus they have no fear.
Sadly, due to the episode’s rushed pacing, that fear is quickly resolved after the four witness Taka proclaiming that they are the grandchildren of the Last Ninja. If this were a two parter, they could play with the fear thing and it would make it better.
Now with a new courage, the four joined Taka and they transform into Ninningers. And now let’s talk designs! First of the morpher. I’m surprised that they used a sword as a morpher but given that Kyoryuger used a gun, a sword is inevitable. The Ninninger designs, my God. They are gorgeous. This is the very first time which I completely fell in love with a Sentai design the moment I saw it. Before, I tend to wait for the actual show to happen and then I got used to it (except ToQger) but here I love every bit of it, which may explain why I’m so excited for this series. Even my brother, who normally hates new Sentai designs, says it looked cool.
For the weapons, the morpher/sword Ninja Ichibantou, it’s your standard sword weapon. I really dig those tunes. And other than that they have the GamaGama Gun, a gun shaped like a frog. Yeah, I hate frogs but given that they are associated with ninjas it is inevitable. I just hope they don’t feature actual frogs in the future, I still remember that one episode in Kakuranger. Ugggghhh.
The Ninningers also have another weapon called Karakuri Hengei, a large shuriken that has three modes: a sword mode, claw, or bow. Too bad that they only have three and not five, because I would prefer if each Ninninger will have their own preferred mode and I prefer if the Rangers have their own personal weapons.
For the first fight, it was good. It’s nice to see that the Ninningers used ninja tricks because they are, ninjas. But what’s interesting here is KiNinger & ShiroNinger’s fighting style. KiNinger, being a prankster, tends to fight with excitement and looks like he was playing around with the enemy, and if you look at it, it’s somewhat similar to GokaiGreen’s fighting style. As for ShiroNinger, she tends to go wild and energetic, only to fall over. I hope this turns into a running gag, because then Fuuka will be nicknamed Bad Luck Fuuka!
In the first episode we also got our first Megazord fight, which is to say it was very surprising, we usually get the Megazord fights in the second episode. Nevertheless, the Zords in this show are very unique. If the previous Sentai only has one rule in terms of Zords, which is animal-themed or vehicle-themed or sometimes a hybrid of the two, Ninninger instead have both of the themes. As a result, half of the Megazords are animals and the other are vehicles. Well, it’s like Zeo/OhRanger (I still don’t know what the hell Yellow and Pink’s Zords are supposed to be).
AoNinger’s Zord is DragoMaru (a dragon for the Blue Ranger again), KiNinger is DumpMaru (a dump truck, typical for Yellow Rangers), MomoNinger is ByunMaru (a train, which is surprising since we already got a train motif in the previous Sentai) and ShiroNinger is WanMaru, a dog (but if adapted to Power Rangers it would most likely be changed into a wolf).
AkaNinger’s Zord is a humanoid Zord called ShinobiMaru, I love that they all have -maru on their names. ShinobiMaru is the standout of them all, since it can fight on its own and when ShinobiMaru fights the monster, it’s very amazing because it is very agile. Seriously, even with the armor the suit actor are still able to do a somersault. That is really amazing.
Now, the main Megazord, Shurikenjin. It is the most unique Megazord ever, thanks to ShinobiMaru. Why? Because ShinobiMaru is basically sitting on a throne that acts as the Megazord’s body, and he is literally controlling the Megazord. It’s like, Iron Man wearing the Hulkbuster suit! As for the cockpit, it is weird since only AkaNinger is the one doing the controlling. Oh, I liked the fact that the individual Zords does not have their own cockpit, instead the Ninningers sits on top of them like DragonRanger did. An individual cockpit would be a waste of sets anyway since they are rarely seen at all in the future.
After the fight, the Ninningers discover that they need to find the Sealing Shurikens, and there are 48 of them, which may be the total episode count of the series. Also, we have a rather interesting twist: the Ninningers’ grandfather, the Last Ninja wasn’t dead at all! They sure treat like he was long gone! It’s really hilarious and from the looks of it, this old man is going to be a very funny mentor. Love that ‘Nintality’!
Overall, despite a very rushed beginning, this is a good episode, a worth one to watch. We haven’t seen the main characters’ backstory yet and why are they motivated, but rest assured we will find out more in the next episodes. In my opinion this episode is better than ToQger’s premiere, but not as great as Kyoryuger’s. I didn’t like it that much at first, but watching it again I am completely in love with it.