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Ninja Scroll - 10th Anniversary Edition DVD

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A peak achievement of Japanese anime, Ninja Scroll is a propulsive mix of samurai action-adventure and supernatural fantasy from writer-director Yoshiaki Kawajiri (Supernatural Best City). This is defiantly animation for grown-ups, complete with fountains of blood, plenty of naked flesh and (in both the subtitled and dubbed versions) some decidedly strong language. (Students of Japanese language could pick up some useful expressions.) The plot sounds like a 16th-century variation on The X-Files: an entire village has been wiped out by a mysterious plague and an antigovernment conspiracy of invulnerable demons seems to be responsible. A wandering ninja, Jubei, and his female counterpart, Kagero, team up to defeat the plotters. Jubei is a classic reluctant hero, agreeing to participate in the mission only after being fed a slow-acting poison; the antidote will be supplied after he cooperates. And Kagero, a looker whose embrace is lethal, is a femme fatale with a difference that seems distinctively Japanese: sexual contact itself is poisonous, especially for a warrior with a pure soul. --David Chute

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