“Shinobi: Heart Under Blade”


By Jae-Ha Kim
February 10, 2007

Equal parts Romeo and Juliet and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Shinobi offers breathtaking cinematography, appealing actors, and ninjas. What more could a movie fan ask for?

Released in 2005, Shinobi is set in 17th century Japan, which is dominated by two powerful clans. Oboro is a member of the Iga clan, while her lover Gennosuke is the son of the leader of the Koga clan. Both groups are comprised of expert ninjas who have developed skills unknown to most mortals.

When Oboro and Gennosuke meet, they are unaware that by their birthrights, they are mean to hate–not love–each other.

When the nefarious Shogun–eager to increase his own power by doing away with both clans–announces that each faction will send in five ninjas to fight to the death, Oboro and Gennosuke are sent in to battle against each other for the honor of their clans.

Filled with action (including some computer-generated images to enhance the actors’ warrior-like qualities) and romance, Shinobi has the makings of a sweeping epic. Though based on an anime series, the film succeeds as a stand-alone piece of work. Beautifully filmed and well-acted, the film is exciting and heartbreaking, and the viewer senses both hope and doom all the way through the finale.


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