House of Ninjas Review: Ninjas Are Back In All Their Glory In This Fun Action-Family Drama
House of Ninjas Review (Photo Credit – Netflix/YouTube)

House of Ninjas Review: Star Rating:

Cast: Kento Kaku, Yosuke Eguchi, Tae Kimura, Kengo Kora, Aju Makita, Nobuko Miyamoto, Riho Yoshioka, and Takayuki Yamada.

Creator: Dave Boyle

Director: Dave Boyle

Streaming On: Netflix

Language: Japanese (with subtitles)

Runtime: 8 episodes, around 1 hour each.

House of Ninjas Review: Ninjas Are Back In All Their Glory In This Fun Action-Family Drama
House of Ninjas Review (Photo Credit – Netflix/YouTube)

House of Ninjas Review: What’s It About

House of Ninjas is a new Netflix series developed by Dave Boyle and follows the adventures of the Tawara family, who from the outside look like a fairly normal family, with a working father, a housewife mother, cute kids, and a charming grandmother. However, in reality, the family belongs to a secret clan of Ninjas, also known as Shinobi, and they must go back into action once the threat of another murderous clan returns to make the lives of everyone living in Tokyo hell.

House of Ninjas Review: Script Analysis

During the mid-eighties and early nineties, ninjas were quite popular, with dozens of movies and TV series tackling the story of these shadow assassins from old Japan. Among these shows and movies, the Ninja Turtles were the most famous, and more recently, mangas like Naruto/Boruto have maintained the ninja spirit alive in the East but not in the West, so it takes the work of a Western filmmaker obsessed with Japan to bring it back once more.

Thankfully, House of Ninjas is set in Japan, and although the foremost creative force for the show is a Western director, the setting and the actors make it all look and feel pretty authentic. The story is filled with action, shadow operations, assassinations, blood, betrayals, and all the cool stuff we think of when we hear the word “Ninja.” nevertheless, the actual core of the story and what makes it worth following through eight full episodes are the characters.

This set of characters might not be the most interesting characters ever put on film, but they don’t have to; in fact, the first impression of them being ordinary and mundane works perfectly with the show’s premise. This is an average family with everyday problems, and the only thing that makes them different is that they all are trained killing machines. This, of course, is quite a big difference, and the show knows it is the perfect source for drama, as these characters are quite mundane, but this other side of their lives affects the rest of it quite heavily.

We see examples throughout the show, like the fact that the teenage daughter of the family cannot have a normal boyfriend because there are rules about it, and how the entire family is passing through a very bad economic patch and Ninja’s work is not paying as well as it used to. These issues make the characters feel more real and relatable, even when they can also kill a room full of people in seconds.

House of Ninjas Review: Ninjas Are Back In All Their Glory In This Fun Action-Family Drama
House of Ninjas Review: Ninjas Are Back In All Their Glory In This Fun Action-Family Drama(Photo Credit – Netflix/YouTube)

House of Ninjas Review: Star Performance

The characters are just as good as they are because Boyle has gathered a great group of actors who end up selling the family dynamic quite well. Of course, the show centers a lot more on Kento Kaku’s character, Haru Tawara, and he is the main character in the show, even when the rest of the family members get their chance to shine. Haru is a reluctant hero, making for a very classical story of redemption and finding yourself. Kaku wonders about the character and how the transitions between shy and quiet and murder machine feel correct.

The rest of the cast also does a very good job, with Tae Kimura being one of the highlights. Kimura plays the role of Yoko Tawara, the housewife and mother of the family, and the way the character goes through her own arc is fabulous, thanks to Kimura’s effortless ways of depicting a dual nature. Riho Yoshioka and Bambi Naka also shine, playing very different characters from the rest of the family but fitting well into the overall tone of the series.

House of Ninjas Review: Direction & Music

House of Ninjas is created, directed, and written by Dave Boyle, a filmmaker who has made a career out of his obsession with Japan and has mainly produced films involving Japanese actors and themes. You could say that Boyle wants to be Japanese, and it would be a fair assumption after seeing his work. However, this obsession results in passion, and you can feel that every aspect of the show has been done with love and care, especially regarding the character’s side of things and how their tribulations and feelings are represented on screen.

However, the pacing towards the middle point of the show feels a bit slow, too slow, and many of the action sequences feel like they could have been better shot throughout the entire series. There are some standout sequences here and there, but the series needs to step up in this regard if a second season comes. The family drama is great, but action is also a big part of the show and should be displayed best. The standard for action films has risen quite a lot in the last few years, and House of Ninjas needs to try to meet that standard every single time.

House of Ninjas Review: Last Words

House of Ninjas is a fun and entertaining story about a family living in the most unusual of situations, at times it reminded me of Killua’s arc in the Hunter x Hunter manga, and that is quite a compliment; the characters are great, and their issues make them feel real and relatable, while the most outlandish parts of the show find their places as the series progresses to its climatic finale. Could it be better? The way the action is shot in many sequences feels sloppy, and the pacing suffers towards the middle, but the series is still worth watching.

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