Nope, this is not a joke. Set to release on DVD and Blu-Ray in 2018, Batman Ninja is an upcoming Japanese anime film produced by Warner Bros.
Batman, along with a number of his allies and adversaries, finds himself transplanted from modern Gotham City to feudal Japan.
– Synopsis via IMDb
Notable cast and crew:
- Director – Jumpei Mizusaki (Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure)
- Character Design – Takashi Okazaki (Afro Samurai)
- Screenplay – Kazuki Nakashima (Gurren Lagann, Kill La Kill)
- Music – Yugo Kanno (Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Psycho-Pass)
- Animation – Kamikaze Douga (Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure)
- Batman – Koichi Kamadera (Spike Siegel of Cowboy Bebop: The Movie)
- Joker – Wataru Takagi (Obito Uchiha/Tobi of Naruto: Shippuden)
Time travel is a common storyline for DC Comics (ie. DC’s Legends of Tomorrow), so Batman Ninja won’t be anything out of the ordinary. The characters will have to adjust to the time period they’re in, wear attire that will allow them to fit in, and make use of the technology available. While it bothers me the movie is called Batman Ninja and they have him wearing samurai armor, it can be a lot worse, like having Damien’s haircut. Seriously though, Takashi Okazaki did an amazing job implementing elements of ninja and samurai armor on the bat team without making it overly tacky and cheesy.
Now that we have some background to the film, let’s discuss some of the issues some fans have with the trailer.
- White savior – While Batman is a white male coming to save Japan, the antagonist is Batman’s enemy, not Japan’s. This isn’t The Last Samurai or The Great Wall where a foreigner comes to save a country, it’s Batman fighting the Joker in an alternate timeline.
- Cultural appropriation – Batman, his allies, and his enemies are in a foreign country and timeline. As stated earlier, to survive they have to learn the culture, dress to fit in and make use of the technology. They’re not claiming the culture as they’re own, they’re embracing it.
- Historical accuracy – Expecting an anime or comic to be historically accurate is way too much to ask for. Technology-wise, who knows what could have been brought along with them when they time traveled. Just go with it and admire Batman in that awesome armor.
- Batman isn’t Japanese – Based on the synopsis, we know we won’t get another Ghost in the Shell situation where the race of a character was changed for the movie. Batman is still a white male and fans know he is capable of speaking multiple languages. This film is also a Japanese anime film, everything is in Japanese.
- Why anime? – Japanese anime films appeal to a global audience, not just Japan. Hayao Miyazaki’s anime films such as Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away are critically acclaimed films and known worldwide. It would make sense for DC to go into anime especially since the DC animated films always do relatively well. Especially with the cast and crew that Warner Bros. hired, I don’t see how the film can go wrong.
Truthfully, I’m more excited to watch Batman Ninja than I was for Justice League or Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The animation and character designs look amazing. The trailers didn’t reveal too much of the storyline and if you’ve watched Gurren Lagann, you know Kazuki Nakashima has a surprise in store for fans. Koichi Kamadera has voiced Spike Siegel of Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, one of the greatest anime protagonists of all time, so you know he will do Batman justice. Wataru Takagi was spot on as Obito Uchiha/Tobi on Naruto: Shippuden and already sounds better than Jared Leto (Suicide Squad). The hype is on for Batman Ninja.
So, is Batman Ninja racist? Not even close.
Check out the trailers below:
*Editor’s note: We’ll definitely do our best find out why it’s called Ninja instead of Samurai though.