Japan ,  1989
Directed by Katsu Zushima.
If nothing else, the Female Ninja Magic Chronicles series expands the arsenal of Ninja weapons and tricks that were previously known. Sure, I've heard of shuriken and shuko, but I must admit I was not aware of the Ninja arts of Fetus Transferral and of course the Deadly Flying Sperm Bubbles. Live and learn.
In fact, the Ninja here exhibit very few, if any, traditional Ninja skills at all. Instead, they all seem to excel in various sexual arts. It's a good thing, too -- because these are exactly the sort of skills they need right now. The date is June 1615, the place, Osaka Castle. Hideyori Toyotomi is about to be crushed by the army of Ieyasu Tokugawa. Ieyasu is having the castle shelled by cannon from a distance, and very shortly the whole place is in flames. Hideyori prepares to commit suicide, and the Toyotomi line is about to come to an end. But his loving wife, Lady Sen, granddaughter of Ieyasu Tokugawa, has a cunning plan. She orders her lady ninjas to make love with her husband, so that at least one, maybe more, will bear his child. "These are my last moments," she says, "I've decided to die with Hideyori. Fill your carnal cavities with your sacred seed." No sooner said than done, only problem is on of Tokugawa's ninja spies hears the plan and reports to his master. Hideyori commits suicide, but before Lady Sen can join him, she is prevented by Sakazaki, a samurai, who was encouraged in the deed by Ieyasu, who promised her hand in marriage to whoever rescues her.
Lady Sen is not grateful, however, and soon goes off to live in exile with her lady ninjas. But Ieyasu will not let them off so easily, not with the possibility that one or more may be carrying a Toyotomi who will one day grow up to threaten the shogunate. Ieyasu calls in ninja of his own, led by the famous 'Devil' Hanzo Hattori. The historical Hanzo is recorded as having led Tokugawa Ieyasu safely and quickly through the dangerous Iga province when Nobunaga Oda died in 1582, times were unstable, and Ieyasu far from his home base. Many stories have since been built around Hanzo and his legendary ninja skills.
Here Hanzo need do very little but introduce the merry band of black ninja he has collected to dispose of the Toyotomi embryoes. Ieyasu is not impressed, so he has them give a demonstration of their powers. The first uses "needles, which drive a woman mad." He sticks one of the women hanging around the court, and she gets all hot and bothered. By sucking on her breast, he slowly takes on her appearance. "You've witnessed a secret ninja trick," he/she says proudly. Ieyasu replies, "Excellent!"
Now you're starting to get the idea of what kind of movie this is. The black ninja goes to Lady Sen's compound and tries out his secret ninja trick, not bothering to change back into male form. It works like a charm, but he is ultimately exposed. And it's time for black ninja #2 to give it a try. Four black ninjas, four lady ninjas. In order to keep the child safe during the fighting, the lady ninjas perform their "Fetus Transferral" ninja trick, passing the embryo back and forth between them, to whoever is most convenient.
I understand these ninja arts are rather esoteric and all, but I must admit, some of them seemed to be rather pointless. One of the ninja girls, for example, has the special power of making a crescent moon appear on someone's forehead. Yawn. This compared to another girl, who can suck all of a man's blood out of them using her vagina. Wouldn't you be just a little jealous in ninja school, if you were the one with the lame crescent moon trick? She probably got laughed at a lot.
And then there are the black ninjas. Probably if they applied themselves, they could have learned some ninja fighting arts, or invisibility, or something like that. But these guys seem to have devoted their skill to getting laid. Except again, for one poor guy who's ninja power is to hear a baby's heartbeat, and so tell if someone is pregnant. As if most of the time you couldn't just tell such a thing at a glance. Maybe he and the crescent moon girl should have hooked up.
With all these sex tricks going on, you'd think I'm describing a raunchy, x-rated film. But it really isn't. There's some nudity, but not a huge amount, nothing particularly graphic. And plus, when the naked people are duelling ninjas, well, its not really erotic so much as just plain weird. And there is some regular fighting as well, including some dismemberment and some splitting people neatly in two. On the meaner side of violence, and I suppose it was to be expected what with all this embryo action, there's a scene where a pregnant woman gets the tar kicked out of her. By a ninja's shadow, no less.
Eventually the girls find some peace and quiet, and time to reflect in the shadows of Mt. Fuji. "I don't want him to take revenge," Lady Sen speculates, "I just want the child to be happy." But of course, old scores are not settled so easily. In the end, one swipe of the sword decides if the Toyotomi bloodline continues, or dies.
Female Ninja Magic Chronicles is well worth seeing for the "Oh my god I can't believe this film exists" factor which it has, but unfortunately it is a tad overlong and outstays its welcome. Incredibly, this is just the first in a series of films, of which there are now at least six.
Posted by Peter Nepstad on May 04, 2004.