Bare-Armed Ninja

Something that came out the 80s and lived on into the 90’s was the bare-armed body-building look for ninja, a mutation driven by the painted covers of Ninja Magazine and video game package art. These roided-up shinobi sacrificed protection for an intimidating gun show, and cared not that the well-oiled sheen of those muscles did-in whatever stealth they were hoping to achieve.

And here’s another mutation from the video game world, the French Foreign Legion flapped hood.

Shinobi-fied merch

With the 80s craze came a lot of repurposed merchandise – stuff that for the previous decade’s boom had been sold as kung-fu gear now emblazoned with ninja logos. The above looks to have been a Chinese-esque design probably inspired by something David Carradine tossed around on network TV. But any 70s leftovers were given new life in the “ninja star” obsessed 80s.

The notion of shuriken pendants wasn’t exclusive to this company, either. In the dodgy  swap meet, dirt mall, subway blanket, Chinatown video store realm you’d see full-size, razor sharp throwing stars with tiny holes hastily drilled into them somewhere to technically make them jewelry, not illegally sold weapons.

Now just what made a net a “Ninja Capture Net?” I don’t know, and I never this particular item, but I’m pretty certain it was some type of conventional fishing deal shinobi-fied for mail order. They made some pretty strong claims here about the net’s effectiveness. Not sure I’d trust something I mail-ordered for less than $15 against a “sword-weilding enemy.”

I also like their observation for item #704A – A black stick is invisible at night!

Nothing however, beats my all-time favorite piece of repurposed merchandise, the Ninja Boomerang.


After a well-received debut at this year’s Tribecca, Eddie Mort’s Dead Ringo will see the light of day for what is currently planned as 13 three-minute webisodes TV interstitials. Details on who, where and when to follow, but in the meantime get a load of production art previews at Eddie’s new tumblr:

Ninja, demons, snow monkeys? Cannot wait…

80s t-shirt ads

It was the 1980s, and there wasn’t a cheesy enough piece of Japanese graphics or ninja-related bad illustration we wouldn’t wear on a black t-shirt.

And let’s just take a look at the logic of this:

It’s a tough read at first because of some piss-poor ad layout choices, but these were indeed “Glow-in-the-Dark” ninja t-shirts. Yeah…

Hey, maybe while you were wearing the “glow of the invisable [sic] ninja” you could scream the death cry of the silent killer or something.

And look again – INVISIBLE spelled correctly and incorrectly right next to each other. Classic!


An open letter to the Honda ninja girl…

Dear Cute Ninja Girl in the Honda Civic ad,

Your adorable little action-oriented commercial has been around for what, SIX WEEKS or more now?

I’ve been glued to my TV, watching for your Akakage-inspired red mask, contemporary urban take on fighting gear and “I’m a Hoodie Ninja” bopping theme song, all the while scoffing at the other “To Each Their Own” characters like the zombie or masked wrestler.

I’ve clearly shown MY loyalty. And clearly I’m the most qualified ninja super fan in the land. And clearly I’ve remained available for dating, steadfastly refusing the advances of the nubile female fan base a site like this generates for a bachelor.


You have not called. Not written. Haven’t stealthily invaded my chambers late at night, or sprung from a ceiling tile in my bathroom while I’m in the shower, all shocked and coyly embarrassed and shit.

This is obviously a tragic oversight on your part, as you are denying yourself the life that only two similarly shadow-mided souls can share. Don’t do this to yourself. Don’t be afraid to cross that nightingale floor to my heart, or summon the giant toad that will be our love.

I will give you two more weeks to rectify this situation, then… I’m moving on. *sniff*


Keith J. Rainville

BONUS VIDEO – a fan put together this great shinobi-cinema collage to the MC Chris “Hoodie Ninja” jam:

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