In the news: ninja festival and marijuana thieves. Pop culture includes: Snake Eyes, You Only Live Twice, Miami Connection, Shinobi No Mono, American Ninja, and of course Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Plus Nels Anderson gives us the scoop on Mark of the Ninja! Part 2 of 2.
Music: “Mad Shinobi Skills” by Toren Atkinson
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As someone who was a few years too young to catch the Ninja Turtles comics when they came around, but also a few years too old to really care about the cartoon, it kind of surprises me how much I enjoy the Scientifically Accurate Ninja Turtles video. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqW5upASa-8)
I was just the right age, however, to really enjoy the Way of the Tiger gamebooks back when Fighting Fantasy was the hottest thing going. (Sure, AD&D was cool, but those books were so expensive when I was 10… four bucks for a paperback was a lot more manageable.) They added a weird quasi-religious aspect to the ninja thing — you were part of an order of warrior-monks, though you had personally specialized in being a sneaky mofo who did actually pour poison down a waxed thread into a sleeping bad guy’s mouth at one point — and fleshed out a whole world over the series of six books. It was kind of nice that you weren’t always doing the same stuff, too: sure, you started out sneaking around and stealing stuff, but by the end, you were directing armies in the defence of a besieged city, rounding up political allies, and dashing off to the underworld to save the world from… I don’t know, something really nasty. It was a long time ago. (It’s also being developed into a more open-ended — and awfully expensive — RPG right now, judging from the Megara Entertainment web site. Yay?)
You are not giving Ninja Assassin enough credit. It’s meant to be a crazy action movie. That’s exactly what it is. It’s not meant to be great art. It’s like shoot em up.
Missed pop-culture reference opportunity!
Let me quote:
“Hi, this site is all about ninjas, REAL NINJAS. This site is awesome. My name is Robert and I can’t stop thinking about ninjas. These guys are cool; and by cool, I mean totally sweet.
1. Ninjas are mammals.
2. Ninjas fight ALL the time.
3. The purpose of the ninja is to flip out and kill people.”
…and on it goes. It’s quite hilarious, and now there are a whole bunch of parodies of it too. Robert clearly has too much time on his hands. 🙂
And props to Toren for the Mad Shinobi Skillz song – that was fantastic! My daughters (6 and 4) both love the Zu Zu Zu song, so it’ll be great to give them another one. 🙂
If you’re keen on martial arts films (not just ninjas but samurai and kung fu, etc), then you may be interested in an interview I heard on the Comedy Film Nerds podcast, episode 70. I don’t have a link, I’m afraid, but I think it’s still accessible for a while through iTunes, and I’m sure there are other sources. It’s an interview with a guy who’s researched kung fu movies and also been heavily involved in getting them into Western cinema. Brian Callan, I think was his name, and he was the kung fu advisor on Kung Fu Panda (and I’m sure he has much more impressive items on his CV too). Very interesting to listen to. He’s written a book “The Kung Fu Movie Book” and made a related doco “The Kung Fu Movie Movie” (going from memory), if you’re keen.
Thanks for another great ep guys. 🙂
That should have been Ric Meyers, not Bryan Callen. http://www.ricmeyers.com
Just gotta say I LOVE the Mad Shinobi Skills song!
Aussies watching TV in the 60s learned about ninjas from watching a Japanese TV show called “The Samurai” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Samurai_%28TV_series%29