Kunoichi: Lady Ninja

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“What?”

A combination of the seventh and eighth in the series, it’s the first, and I believe first entry (don’t think there’s any connection to Lady Ninja: Reflections of Darkness) to get Western distribution so far, and boy, it shows. I can only presume it makes sense if you’ve seen the preceding six, because it sure as hell doesn’t on its own. A group of seven nuns decide to take revenge for an attack on their convent by becoming ninjas, and acquiring skills like “Nipple Shock Wave”. Which is exactly what it sounds like, even if most of the actual arterial violence is carried out by their ally, a one-eyed swordsman called Yagyu Jubei (Ozawa).

It fails to make sense on a whole variety of levels. Individual scenes are barely coherent; neighbouring ones don’t connect with each other; and the overall result could be imitated by channel-surfing a series of ninja-based TV stations. Mind you, Friday the 13th Part VII would make no sense if it was your first exposure to the series, and if you’re prepared to waive your constitutional right to know what the hell is going on, there’s still moderate fun to be had here – as long as your definition of “fun” encompasses large amounts of spurty dismemberment.

The problem with the heroines is mostly their poorly-defined characters; it’s hard to tell any member of our magnificent seven apart. They look similar, dress the same, and possess few distinguishing features. Overall, I can’t say how much blame lies with the film-makers, and how much with distributors Media Blasters for skipping the first six parts; either way, this isn’t recommended any more than halfheartedly.

Dir: Hitoshi Ozawa
Star: Yuko Moriyama, Hitoshi Ozawa, Non, Momoka Saeki
a.k.a. Kunoichi ninpô chô Yagyû gaiden: Edobana jigoku-hen

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