In April 2018, Batman Ninja arrived on streaming devices. The movie – an anime-based interpretation of the Dark Knight – became available to purchase on Amazon and iTunes, in both Japanese and English language versions.

Directed by Junpei Mizusaki, Batman Ninja featured a cast of classic Batman villains including the Joker, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Deathstroke, Penguin and more. The film saw Bruce Wayne whisked back in time to Feudal Japan (courtesy of Gorilla Grodd) where he faced some of his greatest enemies in order to return to the present day.

In this post, I am taking a look back at the critical reception the film received when it was initially released. Below is a selection of review snippets, taken from critical reviews back in 2018.

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Batman Ninja movie review round-up

Image: ©Warner Bros. Animation/DC Entertainment

Here is what the critics said about Batman Ninja:

  • David Griffin of IGN, awarded Batman Ninja a score of 9.7/10 and called it “a Batman story unlike any other”. He said: “Batman Ninja takes everything great about the masked vigilante and twists it in a way we’ve never seen, creating a visual marvel unlike any other Batman animated movie before it. DC tried something new by bringing in visionary Japanese animators to offer a refreshing take on one of the company’s most beloved characters, and the finished product not only built upon the great adaptations that have come before, but surpassed them.”
  • Michael Rougeau of Gamespot was also a fan, commenting: “You’ve never seen the Bat like this.” He added: “Batman Ninja is gorgeously stylized, self aware, and heaps of fun, and Batman animation fans shouldn’t miss it.”
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  • Walter Doty of Nerdist, said: “The story was great, with many of the anime tropes that we’ve come to expect and love, mixed in with classic Batman elements, that make Ninja Batman both exotic and familiar.”
Image: ©Warner Bros. Animation/DC Entertainment
  • And finally, Andrew Pollard of Starburst awarded the movie a score of seven (out of ten) and said: “Batman Ninja is as bonkers a Bat-tale as you will find – potentially a little too erratic and eccentric for some – but this is a stylish and fresh take that can get away with all of its quirks and eccentricities due to the fact that it’s simply a different, essentially Elseworlds story that means rhythm and rhyme can gleefully be thrown out of the window for the most part. Some traditionalists may find that Batman Ninja is a little too much for them, but if you go in with an open mind then this is a hugely entertaining and vastly changed-up outing for one of the most beloved figures in pop culture history.”

So, from taking a look at the opinions of the critics, the reception was pretty positive. The general opinion was that if Bat-fans were after something a little different, then Batman Ninja was (and still is) the animated movie to watch.

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