I'm Shinobu, and my feelings are always twirling around!
a.k.a: 2x2 Shinobuden, Ninja Nonsense
Ninja Nonsense: The Legend of Shinobu was a manga series by Ryōichi Koga that ran in Dengeki Daioh from 2002 to 2006. The 12-episode anime ran in 2004, featuring a set of Japan's most popular seiyuus. It is licensed in the US by Right Stuf International, and featured a particularly good comedic dub with regulars from New York-based NYAV Post recording studio. Although Right Stuf continues to hold the licence and (as of now) its video sets are still in print, they farmed out the broadcast rights, first to ADV's Anime Network, then more recently to FUNimation.
Kaede is a normal schoolgirl struggling with her studies at home. The last thing she wanted was an interruption in her studies. However, when that interruption takes the form of Shinobu, a pink-and-purple clad, buxom ninja apprentice trying to pass her own tests, interruption takes on a surreal new meaning.
Despite misgivings, Kaede decides to help the innocent, somewhat ditzy Shinobu to pass her test, and eventually befriends her. Shinobu introduces her to the mysteries of living as a ninja. Mysteries like her classmates, who all resemble the love children of Sho Kosugi and a Jawa. Or their leader, Onsokumaru, who appears to be nothing less than the Walmart happy face after moving to Japan and taking up the role of martial arts master / pervert.
One starts to wonder if the real mystery is how Shinobu remained as innocent as she is, while living in the frat boy atmosphere of the ninja mansion....
The antics only get weirder from there. But, when a series closes not just with ninja, but line-dancing puppet ninja high-kicking in stop motion while their master flies around with panties on his head to a disturbingly catchy banjo riff, you know you're not in for philosophy.
- Art Shift - Several times, especially during the fanservice heavy scenes, the flashbacks, the parodies, and oh yeah, the ending, which is an extremely catchy claymation scene.
- Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny - Kitty!
- A Twinkle in the Sky - One of Shinobu's home run hits during an especially heated baseball game. It ends up reaching another galaxy! Also, Onsokumaru in the intro.
- Bait and Switch Credits - Lampshaded. the opening theme features what looks like Shinobu fighting a dark version of herself, which never happens in the show itself, much to the surprise and consternation of the characters.
- And the audience!
- Word of God says that the battle with "Dark Shinobu" was actually storyboarded, but they ran out of episodes and budget to do it. Of course, these are the same people who wanted the opening credits sequence to have three thousand frames (for those who do the math, it's impossible to fit that many animation frames into 90 seconds).
- Beware the Nice Ones - Kaede, the only person in the series who never had any sort of fighting training (regardless of competence), delivers one hell of an asskicking to Onsokumaru in Episode 3 when she thinks he kicked Shinobu out of the ninja school.
- Bishie Sparkle and Love Bubbles - Shinobu sees these when thinking about Kaede, which is a lot.
- Blatant Lies - Onsokumaru's claims that he's a hawk, or anything remotely competent.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall - quite frequently.
- Cerebus Syndrome - The last episode is an epic Lampshade of this.
- Character Focus - Onsokumaru hogs the spotlight so much, most of the comedy situations revolve around him, and one begins to wonder what all that exposition with Shinobu trying to become a real ninja was about!
- Christmas Episode - One of the funniest of the lot, actually. K-A-E-D-E! K-A-E-D-E!
- The Ditz - Shinobu, who might even be considered a Genius Ditz at ninjitsu... at least compared to the rest of her clan.
- Ecchi - It's hard to tell if it's doing this straight, subverting it, or both.
- Expressive Mask - Shinobu and Miyabi's headbands have smiley-faces that match their mood.
- Evil Weapon - Parodied to the hilt in an episode where Shinobu opens a box of supposedly cursed objects; the first object is a samurai sword that possesses its holder and makes them attack people, but the blade turns out to be made of jelly. Further evil objects emerge, getting steadily more ridiculous (a steering wheel that causes its holder to pretend they are a car, an afro wig that causes its wearer to disco dance, etc.), until the characters realize they misread the label on the box and the curses were all in their minds.
- Even Perveted Otaku Ninja Have Standards - The ninjas tend to object to, but ultimately go along with, Onsokumaru's antics. But when he pretended to be sick to get Shinobu to bathe with him, they all stepped in and took over for her, in their single Crowning Moment of Awesome.
- Not to mention the time when Onsokomaru (again) tries to get Miyabi-chan to undress.
- Faceless Masses - The ninjas are pretty stereotypical, so we never know what they look like under their masks. Even the only one who gets a name (Sasuke) gets nothing else to stand out - except more screen time.
- Feigning Intelligence - Onsokumaru
- Fan Service - Usually in the context of a parody or Lampshade Hanging, but still...
- Fan Disservice - Onsokumaru's muscle-man form is creeeepy.
- Not to mention when the Ninja start taking their clothes off...
- Festival Episode
- Fluffy the Terrible - Shinobu names her giant, mobile, carnivorous plant monster Pochinosuke (for the non-Japanese, that's "Spot" with an archaic name ending tacked on). Of course, she is the only one who can keep it from wreaking havoc.
- Gag Series - The only way to describe most things in this show is to mention this trope.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom
- Gratuitous English - In the sub, Onsokumaru is fond of phrases like these.
- Hey, It's That Voice! - Pretty much the main cast themselves actually, especially in the sub.
- Ayako Kawasumi - Kaede
- Nana Mizuki - Shinobu
- Norio Wakamoto - Onsokumaru. Pretty much even the other seiyuu claim that he does most of the adlibs then forgets about it because he's Wakamoto, bitch!
- Rie Kugimiya - Miyabi
- Tomokazu Seki - Sasuke
- Hidden Eyes
- Highly-Visible Ninja - Shinobu dresses in bright pink. The common ninja wear the stereotypical stagehand outfit.
- Lampshaded by Kaede in the preview for Episode 3. Shinobu can't come up with a good explanation, so Kaede assumes it's because she's the main character.
- Hot Springs Episode
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each of the shorts' titles end with no Maki ("Volume/Chapter of...").
- Imagine Spot - Several, but one particular spot in Episode 5 of Shinobu and Kaede changing for the pond edges dangerously close to being hentai!
- The Imp - Onsokumaru
- Instant Expert - Parodied. When Miyabi is cornered by her own paper wards in Episode 2, all the ninja immediately throw lots of shuriken to stop them. They don't miss a single one. As Miyabi thinks that maybe that ninja clan isn't as half-assed as she thinks... cut to the ninjas tearfully celebrating the fact that it was the first time they threw shuriken (one of them even calls his mom to tell her about it!).
- Jerkass - Onsokumaru
- Les Yay - If the show wasn't lampshading this, Shinobu would DEFINITELY be a lesbian!
- Hell, it may qualify anyway.
- Little Miss Badass - Miyabi
- Love Potion - In episode 5, the ninjas make one for Miyabi. Of course, things don't go as planned.
- Magical Girl - Parodied in the final episode, including a Transformation Sequence and a Non-Human Sidekick.
- Meaningful Name
- Mukokuseki - Being blonde and blue-eyed, Kaede would fit the Gaijin Phenotype Stereotype like a glove, but she is apparently Japanese.
- Mushroom Samba - The mushroom picking episode: Onsokumaru + hallucinogenic mushrooms = hilarity
- Naughty Tentacles - Lampshaded in the episode with Shinobu's giant plant pet.
- Ninja - It's even in the title
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot - Ninja crocodile. Named Devil. Yeah.
- Only Sane Man - Kaede is a perfectly normal (blonde, blue-eyed) Japanese high school girl dragged into a world of zany ninja antics.
- Otaku O'Clock - The show was meant to be watched by men who had nothing to do late at night.
- Paper-Thin Disguise - Onsokomaru dressing as "The Master" by putting on a fake beard. The only one who CAN'T tell that they're the same person is Shinobu.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything - The ninjas.
- Pun-Based Title - It's a pun on "2x2=4" / "two twos are four", "two people" (the meaning of ninin if written 二人), and "to hide" (shinobu, which is etymologically related to shinobi, a synonym for ninja).
- Puni Plush - Shinobu has been described by fans as fairly chubby and having a big butt, partly from the art style. This gets a little toned down in fanservicey shots...
- Quirky Household - Both Kaede's real parents, and to a certain extent, Shinobu's ninja clan.
- Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Shinobu explicitly introduces Kaede at one point as "more than a friend but less than a lover".
- Although the manner in which Shinobu lusts over Kaede at times makes her come close to being a Schoolgirl Lesbian.
- Schmuck Bait - The button in the new years episode: it has warnings posted all around it, but of course Shinobu presses it anyway.
- Shout-Out - Shinobu's attire is based off Miko Mido's along with Mai Shiranui's hair style and her strange ball ornament at the end of a long ponytail.
- Sick Episode
- Small Name, Big Ego - Again, Onsokumaru.
- Spoof Aesop - Onsokumaru plays a practical joke where he puts mandarin orange segments on people's faces while they sleep, and gets told off by Kaede's mother for wasting food. Lampshaded moments later as the ninja observe that this is the first episode that has had anything approaching a moral message in it.
- Stock Scream - Howie Long scream used in episode 5 when Onsokumaru goes to hell.
- Theme Tune - Both the opening and ending tunes are hard to get out of your head, dammit!
- Thunder Shock
- Token Loli - Miyabi
- Too Kinky to Torture - One of the ninjas discovers a new kink in episode 5 as he's getting spanked during one of Miyabi's rampages.
- Twelve-Episode Anime
- Unfazed Everyman - Kaede is pretty much dragged into this whole ninja stuff.
- Visible Sigh
- What Could Have Been - In-universe example: Shinobu says the way they, the ninjas, celebrate Christmas is to "Eat all of the emergency food supply and talk about all of the stuff we didn't get to do this year!"
- Widget Series - Boy howdy.
- Zettai Ryouiki - Part of Shinobu's "ninja" costume, and sported by Kaede and other female characters as well on occasion.