Castlevania producer, Adi Shankar, mentioned two principle influences for the critically acclaimed vampire anime. The first anime film was Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust which I covered in a previous article, the second was Ninja Scroll.
Ninja Scroll not only served as inspiration for Netflix’s Castlevania but also Samuel L. Jackson’s Afro Samurai series. Having watched all of the shows, I can see the parallels and I can say that Ninja Scroll still kicks absolute ass.
The film depicts a vagabond swordsman, a female ninja and a government spy in their quest to stop a supernatural ninja clan from toppling the Tokugawa Shogunate. In the world of Ninja Scroll, physical deformities and martial arts training can create superhuman fighters.
Ninja Scroll manages to push the envelope with its graphic subject matter without coming across as desperate or degrading. There’s a romantic rivalry between the villains with a male and female ninja competing for their master’s attention. The sex, violence and political intrigue are all woven into a spider’s web of thrilling action and adventure.
If you are fan of dark, provocative yet moving stories, you’d better snag a copy of Ninja Scroll.