House of Ninjas

This series was intriguing to me because I found out it was written and directed by a white man. This is only somewhat shocking until you realize that the show is about a core Japanese cultural artifact (shinobi), takes place in Japan, and is fully Japanese-acted. I thought it ballsy and a major feat to pull this off in this day and age of people screaming about cultural appropriation.

Turns out, showrunner Boyle did a great job.

The reason this works is because the plot is all wild, unknown, shadowy fiction. Anyone could write the story here and pull it off, because the foundation is fundamentally fantasy. As an audience, we're just expected to buy into whatever we see as the reality of ninja life.

There are a few plot-hiccups, particularly near the end, and if you're paying close attention you should be jarred out of your suspension of disbelief by more than one scene. I don't know if it was a problem with the editing, or Boyle was simply running out of narrative space and needed to hustle things along. Those bumps are only minor “glitches in the Matrix”, and will likely go unnoticed by most, but the keen-eyed will feel like they've fallen into a plot hole. Fortunately, none of it matters in the overall run.

Those expecting a complete experience with this series will come away slightly disappointed, as there is a clear setup for a future season. I hope Boyle and company get that greenlight, and if not, so many things will remain unresolved. You may wish to wait for a possible continuation before putting this on your binge-watch list.

2024.02.19 – 2024.03.31

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