Ninja Resurrection (Japan 1998)

Rating: **
Review Date: 12/28/99

How fitting. I watched this on Christmas Eve, not knowing that it would be a tale about the rebirth of Christ in feudal Japan. Go figure. It seems that this is an animated retelling of "Reborn From Hell: Samurai Armageddon" (1998) or vice versa. AD Vision touts it as the sequel to the excellent "Ninja Scroll" (1993), which it clearly isn't (the main character in that film was Kibagami Jubei). Christ is reborn in Japan, and legendary swordsman Yagyu Jubei is sent to kill him. But things get kind of messy, and the death of Christ results in the rebirth of Satan. The nasty guy who orchestrated these events also reincarnates a group of historical legendary fighters and they, along with Satan, have plans to take over the world. Or something. I only saw the first two parts of the series, and by the end of the second installment, it looked like Jubei and legendary swordsman Musashi Miyamoto would have to fight Satan and the hordes of Hell in order to save the world. An interesting story, but the show suffers from being horrifically dull. The combat sequences and ninja craziness lack energy and vitality, and the story even delves into wacky sit-com antics at one point. When all else fails, large helpings of graphic violence and gore are served up, but even those are boring. What the series does have to offer is a very sweeping and epic music score, and one very brief, but exciting, chick fight. And sadly, that's about it. The show capitalizes on a lot of Japanese history and real historical figures which led me to one burning question - was Yagyu Jubei a real person or just a fictitious hero?