Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja

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You'll never call golf a dull game again.

Monkey God: "OK, my turn? Ninjas."
Goddess: "What? Hey we all agreed on this Medievel knights-and-wizards theme!"
Monkey God: "So? It's my turn, my choice, I say: NINJA!"

Goddess: "... Fine."

Only the staunchest Pirate fanboy can deny that Ninja have some level of awesome. Any story that can reasonably fit Ninja in there, like stories in Feudal Japan, or the fantasy equivalent, will do so. Sometimes, those fantasy equivalents seem to exist solely to give them a reason to include the Ninja.

Then again, some stories can't easily fit them, but throw them in anyway. It doesn't have to make sense. It's freakin' Ninja in your story! If you want to have them involved the battle of Gettysburg, go ahead. They just won't be recorded in the history books, because Ninja are masters of invisibility.

Ninja can also fall under this as part of Chandler's Law.

A Sub-Trope of Ninja and Rule of Cool.

Compare Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot, Ninja Maid, McNinja, Everything's Better with Samurai, Instant Plunder, Just Add Pirates.

Examples: (from shows that are not focused on, or usually feature, Ninjas.)

Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • While Hughes Gouli is usually just an ordinary mecha pilot in Overman King Gainer he occasionally awesome puts on his ninja suit and starts kicking ass
  • New Getter Robo features an arc where the main characters go to an alternate-universe version of Heian-era Japan, apparently just as an excuse to include ninja in a Humongous Mecha anime. One of these includes a 200ft tall ninja Oni, which doesn't sound very stealthy but is nonetheless quite awesome.
    • See also Volfogg for another ninja mech. But unlike the Getter Robo example, he's a main character.
  • What's the ninja Kaede doing in an Urban Fantasy series such as Mahou Sensei Negima? Well, why not? She fits just as well as the Chinese Kung Fu master, Ridiculously Human Robot, and Time Travelling Martian.
  • As if the acrobatics in Claymore weren't already enough, two minor characters include two knights who jump around on rooftops and throw knives at people. One of them is a standard lightweight rogue... the other is wearing a full suit of armor.
  • The Samurai Champloo manga had Highly Visible Ninjas.
  • A popular first-season fan theory for Code Geass was that Sayoko, Lelouch and Nunnally's maid, was secretly a ninja who was as talented a fighter as Suzaku. The staff said Sure Why Not, and in the second season she was revealed as a Badass ninja clan heiress who almost fought the cyborg Jeremiah Gottwald to a standstill.
    • Not just in the second season - in the audio commentary for one episode, Satomi Arai comments that throughout the first season the writers would tease her about "Sayoko's true power" but frustratingly never gave her the chance to shine.
  • Byakuya Kuchiki from Bleach has a group of bodyguard Ninjas, as seen in the Omakes.
    • Of course, Soifon manages to subvert this trope when she summons her squad of ninjas to deal with Yoruichi in the Soul Society arc. Guess she forgot about the Conservation of Ninjutsu.
  • The second season of Darker than Black features a lightsaber-wielding lesbian ninja Contractor—her power is turning things into Laser Blades, and her weapon of choice is a wooden katana. Clearly a Worthy Opponent for Chinese Electric Batman.
  • The Pokémon episodes "The Ninja Poké Showdown" and "From Cradle to Save".
    • Of course, the first episode is set in Fuchsia City, which had an entire gym full of ninjas - which kinda defeats the idea of secrecy.
    • One could say Ash is quite the ninja at times, in the movies at least. In the first movie he does that cool flip thing when he gets knocked down when he attacks Mewtwo by himself, how he flips off of wooden posts in the wall and catches the Jewel of Life in said movie (while being who knows how far above the ground?). They wanted the movies to be awesome, thus they made Ash a ninja.
  • G Gundam. No, it's not the Neo Japan representative. Germany's representative is a Ninja Jester Mecha Pilot clone of the main character's brother.
  • Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka: What's better than vampires? VAMPIRE NINJAS!!!
  • Buster Keel: Whats cooler than having ninja on the team, why a ninja water demon of course!
  • Stellvia of the Universe features a spaceship pilot in training who dresses like a ninja and gives away shurikens for no apparent reason other than it being awesome.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • In some continuities, Batman learned some of his skills from ninja.
  • Sin City: "Deadly little Miho. You won't feel a thing unless she wants you to. She twists the blade. He feels it."
  • One of the classic moments from Mark Waid's run on The Flash; our hero is out at a restaurant with his girlfriend, who is showing signs of wanting to talk about their relationship. Suddenly, ninjas attack!

Flash: Thank god.

  • The Kingpin uses "more than the usual amount of ninjas" to threaten the Runaways into giving him a MacGuffin, during Joss Whedon's run.
  • Psylocke of the X-Men is practically the Anthropomorphic Personification of this trope. As the equally British sister of Captain Britain, she was moderately attractive and loved by fans... but when she was put into a female ninja's body, her attractiveness and popularity went through the roof, as she became the team's Ms. Fanservice.
    • Similarly, Kitty Pryde, during a trip to Japan, was abducted and minds crewed by the demonic Ogun, who downloaded a lifetime's worth of experience into her head, turning her Brainwashed and Crazy. Once she got her mind back, she retained much of her ninja skills.
  • The entire backstory of Daredevil was retconned to include Ninjas when Frank Miller became his writer.
  • One issue of the Astro City "Dark Ages" story arc starts off with a martial arts fight between two kung-fu superheroes and a team of flying jetpack ninjas.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Ella Enchanted has the Crimson Guard, which is basically a group of MEDIEVAL NINJAS. In a European fantasy kingdom. Given the other anachronisms already shown (bat-ox, anybody?), it's not that farfetched. The fact that they are summoned by breaking the glass on a button box just makes it better.
  • Ninjas appear in Speed Racer. Oddly enough, they attack the Japanese racing team, rather than working with them as one might expect a ninja to do.
    • More like "non-ja". Psch.
  • The Dungeon Siege film. Ninjas in an ostensibly medieval European fantasy setting? Yeah, we're not sure why Uwe Boll added them either...but still. Ninjas!
    • Which just goes to prove not even Ninja can make anything produced by Uwe Boll awesome.
  • This exchange from You Only Live Twice sums things up:

James Bond: Do you have any commandos here?
Tiger Tanaka: I have much, much better. Ninjas.

  • The Last Samurai. The movie is going along like "Dances with Samurai" when suddenly a Ninja vs. Samurai battle breaks out halfway through the movie.
  • In Kevin Smith's review of The Passion of the Christ, he suggests that instead of the same old story, the movie starts with Jesus on the cross, and then ninjas (with uzis) come and and rescue him. When Jesus protests that he is supposed to die, one of the ninja yells, "Not on my watch!"
  • Vin Diesel film The Pacifier featured ninjas as home invaders in a relatively family-friendly film. They were actually North Korean terrorists.
  • The driving logic behind the Godfrey Ho Ninja Movies, which takes existing film and splices in ninja scenes woven into the plot via dubbing.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • In the Fighting Fantasy book Deathtrap Dungeon, one of your competitors is a ninja despite the book being set in pseudo-medieval Europe.
    • To be fair the text just refers to him as a "black-robed assassin" -- it was the artist who drew him as a ninja.
      • On the other hand, when you finally fight him, the name before his stats specifically labels him as a ninja.
  • Erast Fandorin exiles himself to Japan after the disastrous ending of the first novel. Guess whom he meets there and learns crazy martial arts from...
  • The Yahtzee NaNoWriMo novel Fog Juice starts with the protagonist being chased by ninjas. The actual plot of the novel is the result of a desperate action he takes to get away from them—namely, drinking Fog Juice, which is guaranteed to solve any problems you have now (the ninjas) and replace them with interesting new ones.
  • Ninjas are hallmarks of works in the Cyberpunk genre, in spite of taking place in a high-tech future. In works written in the 80's, when Japan was about to take over the world, the Yakuza enforces its authority with vat-grown ninja assassins, often armed with high-tech versions of traditional weaponry.
  • There is at least one mention of a need of ninjas to raise 5 daughters in Pride and Prejudice And Zombies.

Lady Catherine: My dear girl, I suggest you take this contest seriously. My ninjas will show you no mercy.

  • In "Fire and Fog" by Dianne Day after surviving the 1906 San Francisco earthquake the heroine is kidnapped by ninjas.
  • In Matthew Reilly's book, The Five Greatest Warriors, the Japanese Special Forces are apparently modern day ninja. They keep their ninja stars, but trade their other weapons for guns.
  • Spoofed in the Discworld book Interesting Times, which has a scene where an entire training hall of ninjas are soundly defeated by a half-dozen barbarians, one of whom is in a wooden wheelchair. The youngest barbarian is about 75.
    • Also spoofed in Witches Abroad. Magrat Garlick briefly takes up the martial arts, but being both a witch and a Lancre girl at heart she doesn't quite get what beating the stuffing out of people with your bare hands has to do with getting in touch with the universe and thinks "Ninja" would be a nice name for a girl.
  • Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: Oh, yeah, the author has got that right! In the book The Jury, Jack Emery calls some in to beat down men with presidential gold shields. The book Final Justice has Bert's friends call them in to launch an attack on him and the soon to be stepping down FBI director, so that Bert will defend the director and get the position as FBI director!


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • An episode of Angel featured ninja-cyborgs for no apparent reason, which blew up if you tried to examine their corpses uncautiously. It was awesome.
  • How I Met Your Mother: one of the character is talking about his work and a boring report. His friends complain about it... so he ends up calling it the "ninja report" instead, and everyone goes "Ninjas are awesome" everytime it's mentioned.
  • Spin City. Charlie daydreamed of winning the World Series, and fighting ninjas to make it more awesome.
  • The Algorithm March's awesomeness is cranked Up to Eleven when they started hiring ninjas
  • Blue Heelers had a case where a mate of Tom's from Vietnam is found murdered, his wife is a Japanese national, and a witness claims to have seen someone clad head to toe in black. Nick amusingly but in all earnestness suggests he was dressed like a ninja, making Tom think he would be transferred if he reported it.
  • The Moonlighting episode "Atomic Shakespeare" was a wild Anachronism Stew very loosely based on The Taming of the Shrew. It included Petruchio being attacked by, first, Renaissance swordsmen, and second, four ninja (they were referred to as "kung fu assassins"), before he even spoke his first line.
  • Mad TV once had a Take That sketch directed at Steven Seagal, with the actor starring in a remake of Kung Fu. When Seagal completely botches Kwai Chang Caine's Zen philosophies, he distracts the issue by shouting "NINJAS!" which causes several ninja to attack him, resulting in a frustrated David Carradine walking off the set.
  • Ninja Sentai Kakuranger was a Super Sentai series based on ninja, and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers incorporated much of the theme into its third season (but not completely, as they were fitting the ninja elements around the existing space alien storyline). They did it again years later with Ninpuu Sentai Hurricanger, and with seasons no longer as interconnected Power Rangers Ninja Storm was able to take full advantage of it this time.
    • And from seasons without a ninja theme, Rocky, Adam, and Aisha were ninjas. Wild Force tries on the trope for size with the ninja Duke Org, Onikage. During his all too short tenure as The Dragon,[1] we even had ninja outfits on Toxica and Jindrax and even the footsoldiers. However, they served a purpose - the outfits let them board the Animarium undetected.
    • This goes double for the Alien Rangers arc of MMPR Season 3, where the Kakuranger suits were used. The Alien Rangers fishy Rubber Forehead Aliens from a distant water planet called Aquitar, but their battle footage comes from Kakuranger, so it's full of Hand Seals and Flash Step and other ninja-ness that defies the MMAR theme. There were two moments that serendipitously matched the water theme, though (Cestro runs on water in one episode, and creates a waterfall in another. You'll notice it's just him, the blue Ranger, who does that... just like Tori from Ninja Storm. In sentai it's for the same reasons - ninja Rangers have Magic Martial Arts, and Elemental Powers often accompany those.)
    • Kamen Rider Fourze. Its theme is astronomy, and you've got a Rider with a rocket-shaped helmet and a base on the moon fighting constellation-themed villains. What are the Mooks? Ninjas. Why? Because they can.
  • The Spanish TV show Aguila Roja is pretty much "Ren-fair Zorro - with Ninjas!"
  • In "Tangled Web" of RL Stine's The Nightmare Room" anything the protagonist claims comes true. He says he has ninja bodyguards.


Music[edit | hide]

  • During the early days of DragonForce, ZP Theart and Sam Totman established a side band, Shadow Warriors, as a gag project and a general parody of indie bands then prevalent on mp3.com. The band was presented as a quartet of heavy metal ninjas.
    • There's also the bonus track from Ultra Beatdown, the truely awesome Strike of the Ninja.
  • The music video for The Presidents of the United States' song "Peaches" features the band playing in a peach grove until the mid-way point, when they are suddenly attacked by ninjas. They spend the rest of the video locked in martial arts combat.
  • The music video for Crossfire by Brandon Flowers consists entirely of Charlize Theron rescuing him from ninjas.
  • The Midnight Beast's song "Ninjas", which is about being drink-stealing ninjas...'OF THE DANCEFLOOR!!!


Real Life[edit | hide]


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • An in-universe example, one published Shadowrun campaign includes an amusement arcade containing the ever popular games: Little Mutant Vik Ninja Cyberboy 3, Orbital Ninja Death Commando 5, The All New Ultimate Bike Race Ninja Street Duel and Street Fighting Magical Ninja 8.
    • Then again, this is in a world in which two common character archetypes are "Street Samurai" and "Physical Adept" (almost always described as "magic ninja" in the flavor text, and possibly possessing some ninja-like abilities). However the fact that every named game had "ninja" squeezed into the title appeared to be invoking this trope.
  • The Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 rulebook Complete Adventurer introduced the Ninja base class, just for this trope (unfortunately the class just kind of falls flat compared to a good rogue or monk).


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Way back in Final Fantasy I, when your characters got their classes upgraded, the Thief suddenly became a Ninja.
    • Edge in Final Fantasy IV
    • Shadow in Final Fantasy VI, and he didn't even have any apparent connection to the Wutai setting.
    • Yuffie in Final Fantasy VII. Complete with the Wutai setting, of course.
    • Any Final Fantasy that uses a ninja job class (or Samurai and Monk for that matter). Occasionally handwaved as a job from a foreign land, but there still seem to be an extraordinary number of ninja running around medieval-Europe-inspired Ivalice in Final Fantasy Tactics, and, as mentioned above, often there's no token Far East village to justify it, mentioned or otherwise.
  • Ninja Golf on the Atari 7800 is exactly what you'd expect. Here's a Classic Game Room review.
  • Suikoden is set in a fantasy world version of China with some medieval Europe added to the mix. Oh, and each game gives you one to three ninja to recruit in your army.
    • Suikoden IV gives you five.
      • And yet most people seem to consider that the worst of the main series. Inversion?
  • Red Alert 3 has Shinobis as the Empire of the Rising Sun's anti-infantry infiltrator unit.
  • The Cyborg Ninja in the Metal Gear series might seem a bit out of place. But who cares, they can slice bullets in half!
    • Back in the old days, FOXHOUND was described as a group of "modern-day ninja."
    • True to the trope, The Scrappy Raiden from MGS2 returned as a cyborg ninja in MGS4, and instantly became one of the most awesome characters in the series.
  • The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time: Sheik.
    • Not just Sheik, but also her teacher, Impa. Probably most of the Sheikah race, but these two are the only ones seen on-screen.
      • But Sheik isn't really a Sheikah...
  • StarCraft: The Protoss Dark Templar, who are psionic alien ninja
    • And the Ghosts, who are psionic cyborg ninja!
  • Jean in Lunar: Eternal Blue goes from Gypsy dancer to Ninja.
  • The third stage of the old Capcom game Gun.Smoke, which gave you Ninjas in The Wild West.
  • Sheena Fujibayashi in Tales of Symphonia.
  • N, Metanet Software's Flash platformer, lists 'Ninjas. Come on!' as a feature amongst 'physics-based' and '500 levels'.
  • Lampshaded by Crypto in Destroy All Humans! 2 when he arrives in Japan Takoshima City and is told that there are ninjas in it.

Crypto: They got ninjas? In 1969?
Natalya: Eh, go with it. Who doesn't love ninjas?


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Little Gamers.
  • The ninja mafia in Sam and Fuzzy started out like this (or appeared to) but became a major plot point.
  • Order of the Stick: When the gods remade the world, the Monkey decided he wanted Ninjas. So there they are.
    • The ninja goblins, may be a bit much. But everyone loves ninja half-orcs and waitresses.
  • Junpei in Megatokyo. Not so l33t when it comes to video games, but in 'real' life he roxxor. Case in point.
  • In Everyday Heroes, Jane's mother, Hannah Anne Weapons is a ninja. Hey, she's a villain and she knows martial arts, so it's the only possible occupation, right?
  • According to Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire ninjas are just about the only thign every sentient species has in common. Many aliens species have wildly different definitions for such basic concepts as rest, food or death, yet every single one of them has a type of warrior that fits the "ninja archetype". Usually they tend to dress in black pajamas and wield katanas.
  • Schlock Mercenary: In the Mallcop Command plotline, a ninja unexpectedly shows up and starts jumping his way through the shopping mall.
  • NJ from Electric Wonderland uses the screenname "Night Ninja". When Trawn asked him what "NJ" stood for, he answered, "NinJa, I think..." (A later comic revealed that the "N" actually stands for "Nate".)
  • Although we haven't seen ninjas in Grrl Power, the trope is referenced.

(Sydney screams and takes Kung Faux pose)
Sydney: You're not a ninja.
Reporter: You're expecting ninjas?
Sydney: Always expect ninjas.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • "How to Kill a Mockingbird"
  • In the Whateley Universe, there's a rival school to Whateley Academy. It's the Yama Dojo, in Japan. So this means... ninjas! In one of the first stories, a Five-Man Band superpowered ninja team sneaks into the school to steal a trophy for a final exam, only to be defeated by the 5 new freshmen students -- before they had even had any combat training, to boot.
  • While the Ninja's presence in "Ask A Ninja" isn't exactly unexpected, the questions and answers pretty much take this trope and run with it.
  • Linkara from AT4W—Ninja style dancer anyone?
  • Richard Han of Survival of the Fittest, while not actually a ninja, goofs off and pretends to be one for most of his time on the island. Which makes his first appearance on the island (being stuck in a tree) and his death by misstepping and falling off a mountain that much more funnier.

Richard: "My mop is the mop that shall pierce the heavens! My mop is my SOUL! It will bring JUSTICE and PEACE to this isle! BELIEVE IT!"


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The Venture Brothers loves this trope. The pilot had a ninja villain with a technology fetish named Otaku Senzuri who gets caught masturbating to Dr. Venture's Oo Ray, while Brock's vision in the Joy Can (see Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot for more details) had ninja raining from the sky. And Brock himself is "two ninjas taped together to make one giant ninja", according to the Monarch henchmen.
    • Also, according to the Monarch, the only reason he was defeated in his first attempt on Dr. Venture's life was because Doc had a bunch of "ex-Navy SEAL ninja gorilla witches", and a tank.
      • In reality he just had the one Myra Brandish. Better than ninjas.
  • Family Guy: In Peter Griffin's version of The King and I, A.N.N.A. is a robot ninja from the planet England.
    • And again in Family Guy there's a parody of an eighties sitcom premise called "My Black Son". At the end of the theme song like the last second he sings: "Also he's a ninja!"
  • As if being giant alien robots wasn't enough, Transformers boosts its awesomeness factor reguarly with giant alien robot ninjas.
    • G1 Transformers had the episode Enter the Nightbird, a Transformers-sized female ninja robot, made by a Japanese scientist to benefit society. Yeah, watch those nunchucks 'benefitting' their way through society all through the episode.
    • Transformers Headmasters has Sixshot, Decepticon City Ninja Commander Consultant.
    • The Marvel comic had Bludgeon, who contrary to his name (and undead samurai appearance) was one of the last surviving practitioners of Metallikato. This was because he'd killed all the others.
    • Transformers Animated has three Robot Ninjas - The Stoic Prowl, the Jive Turkey Jazz, and The Mentor Yoketron (aka George Takei.) Yoketron is technically dead. However, it turns out Lockdown was one of his students, making him a ninja as well.
  • Used twice in U.S. Acres: first, the instance on the quote page, where Orson adds ninjas to Rumplestiltskin to please Booker and Sheldon. In another episode, those two decide to retell The Tortoise and Hare. They consider turning the tortoise into a ninja, but reconsider, saying "Who would want to see that?"
    • A third instance came up before those two: When Orson reads them a gender-swapped version of "Cinderella", they insists that the stepsisters stepbrothers be ninjas.
  • Bubbles, the Big Bad in the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers episode "The Case of the Cola Cult", has Ninja mice as Mooks. Although Gadget disposes of them quickly, they do add to the amount of awesome in the episode.
  • The Fairly OddParents: Timmy fights ninjas after he wishes the world was like an action movie. Also: Ninja Bunnies!
  • The Commando Droids in Star Wars the Clone Wars are basically robot ninjas.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Katara and Zuko dress in all black and stealth their way around several Fire Nation navy commands, seen by no one until they attack, in order to get information on the man that killed Katara's mother. It's all kinds of bad-ass.
    • The Dai Li are Earthbending Ninjas. While they don't do the all black attire normally attributed to the profession, the training and combat style they use fits the bill perfectly. Given that unlike most Earthbenders, or any capable bender in the series, they use hidden weapons and misdirection in their combat style.
    • Also, Zuko in Blue Spirit mode. Silent, stealthy, wears all black, incredibly badass, one of the only characters to be actually deadly in each appearance... total ninja right there.

"If you don't want to end up like him *the training dummy he just demolished*, then do as I say."

  • MAD sketches occasionally contain this trope and they do it with a humourous style.
    • There was recently a quick sketch named 'Everything is Better With Ninjas'. Indeed.
  • The original G.I. Joe had Storm Shadow (Snake Eyes hadn't been outed as one in time for the original cartoon) who was by far one of the most popular characters of the time. The new series follows in the comic's footsteps, making Snake Eyes a full-blown ninja in addition to Storm Shadow, and has the young female ninja Jinx for good measure.
  • The Problem Solverz episode "Hide and Seek Ninjaz". In it, the solverz must rescue a girl's mother who was captured by ninjas. They then face off against the rainbow-clad head ninja in a life-or-death match of hide-and-seek.
  • The Season4 episode "Bounty" of Star Wars: The Clone Wars introduces the Kage warrirors, a group of ninjas in space!
  1. Blame the original Gaoranger version, where he was a less plot-important Monster of the Week.