JIRAIYA photo book (part 2 of 2)

posted in: 1 - Film and TV | 1

World-Wide Ninja War Jiraiya may have been centered on a single hero, but it was the wide range of supporting characters, global guest stars and villains-of-the-week that were the show’s strength.

Masaaki Hatsumi and his fictional kin operate out of the real Togakure Bujinkan. Note the silhouette from the firey credit sequence, where some distinctive ninjutsu kicks are thrown.
Inspired by the notion of the Olympics, ninja from every corner of the globe got involved in the war, including Yanks and Brits.
Awesome as the main villain's costume was, his troops... maybe not so much. Chuunin Benikiba, the villainess at center, is stuck in one of the most unflattering female costumes in TV history. I've had a vinyl figure of her for decades and never knew it was supposed to be female until recently.
The 'karasutengu' crow ninja are a great idea, but the goofy eyes KILL the whole design. They look like spokes characters from some fast food chain. Recurring baddie Hoshinin Retsuga looks like he bought his ninja gear at Chess King!

OK, so after three days of Jiraiya, what do y’all think? I know folks who LOVE this show’s dizzying array of characters and Japan Action Club-esque action. Others just can’t stand how 80’s it is, and yeah, it is definitely a product of its time.

To me, it seems like the thing just came a few years too late. By 88-89 the craze was waning world-wide. The same show in 84-85 might have been a bigger sensation, including here.

If for nothing else, comb the greyer markets for eps of this oddity just to see the integration of genuine ninjutsu with over the top superhero antics. I mean Hatsumi in a kids’ show, who knew?

  1. RG

    “Crow ninjas” is a pretty popular theme, and these guys look very much like the bad guys in Kyatto Ninden Teyandee (mistranslated as “Samurai Pizza Cats”).