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A Batman Ninja Anime Film is Coming in 2018

By Blair Marnell

A Batman Ninja Anime Film is Coming in 2018

One of the major announcements from next week’s New York Comic Con has been released a week early, and it’s a pretty big one! There is a Batman anime movie called Batman Ninja, which will be a feature-length film produced by Warner Bros. Japan.

ComicBook.com was among the first to spot the panel description for Batman Ninja, which describes the new film as an “all-new anime film coming in 2018” before inviting fans to “be among the first to witness the premiere of colorful footage from this imaginative take on Batman and many of his connected characters.”

Even the panelists listed for this event give away some of the surprises. For example, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure’s Jumpei Mizusaki is listed as the director, while Kamen Rider Fourze screenwriter is handling the script for Batman Ninja. Perhaps most enticingly, Afro Samurai Takashi Okazaki is designing the characters for this project. We don’t have enough information yet to determine if Batman will be fighting ninjas or if he will be re-imagined as a ninja. Either way, the creative team attached to the project suggests that this will have a very authentic anime vibe. 

Believe it or not, this isn’t the Dark Knight’s first anime movie. That honor belongs to Batman: Gotham Knight, which was an anthology that was very loosely inspired by Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Shoujirou Nishimi, Futoshi Higashide, Hiroshi Morioka, Yasuhiro Aoki, Toshiyuki Kubooka, and Jong-Sik Nam each directed one of the six anthology tales within the movie, but the scripts were all written by Batman veterans Greg Rucka, Jordan Goldberg, David S. Goyer, Brian Azzarello, and Alan Burnett, plus Oscar-nominated screenwriter Josh Olson, with a story by Bruce Timm. It’s a very good anthology, but Batman Ninja has the unique chance to give fans a very different take than the one we’ve become accustomed to.

It’s entirely possible that Batman Ninja will also touch upon Bruce Wayne’s martial arts journey, since he was also trained as a ninja in many of his different incarnations. In fact, there were two episodes of Batman: The Animated Series that beautifully exploited that backstory by introducing Kyodai Ken, a rogue ninja whose vendetta was against Bruce Wayne and not Batman. It included a particularly memorable sequence in which Bruce had to fight Kyodai in full view of someone who didn’t know he was Batman, which meant that he had to hold back on what he could really do.  

There’s going to be a temptation for Batman Ninja to touch upon the major Batman villains like the Joker, Two-Face, Riddler, Harley Quinn, Catwoman, and more. And that’s understandable. They are all very much a part of Batman’s mythos. But I hope that the creative team behind the movie takes the opportunity to add to Batman’s rogue’s gallery by introducing a villain or villains that he’s never had before. Creating new bad guys who can match up with Batman’s best adversaries is a steep test that many comic creators have been unable to pull off. But given the level of talent behind Batman Ninja, it seems like a good time to see what they can bring to the table.

Images: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment