Batman Ninja sounds so ridiculous that you may need to see it five times just to believe that it exists. And judging by the first trailer for the new Batman anime, it does exist and it’s nuts.
Batman Ninja is an anime film that follows the Caped Crusader as he and the Batfamily (as well as all of his Rogue’s Gallery) are sent back in time to medieval Japan by the Joker, who declares himself Lord of Japan. Yes, it’s as crazy as it sounds, and yes, we all need to see this right now, immediately.
Okay, you’re going to need a little bit of a primer before going into this beautifully designed 3-D animated straight-to-video film. Directed by Junpei Mizusaki, Batman Ninja does not hold back on the unlimited visual potential of anime. Every frame is jam-packed with outlandish and avant-garde designs of the beloved Batman characters, amped up to 100 by character designer Takashi Okazaki (who was nominated for an Emmy for his stellar work for Afro Samurai).
I’m going to admit, I was overwhelmed by every single glorious frame in this batshit insane (pun intended) trailer, which follows Batman as he hilariously takes it in stride that he’s been sent hundreds of years into the past to the age of ninjas and samurai. Perhaps it’s because this isn’t the Dark Knight’s first rodeo with time travel — he spent years wandering through every era from the Stone Age to the 18th century in Grant Morrison’s Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne‘s comic book arc, and there’s even another upcoming straight-to-video movie placing Batman in 17th-century London called Batman: Gotham By Gaslight.
According to io9, director Mizusaki has described Batman Ninja as a film “meant to show the world how Japan sees Batman and not one about how Batman (and Bruce Wayne) see Japan.” And I love how Japan apparently sees Batman: as an unstoppable flood of psychedelic, bizarre villains and mythic characters. I mean, just look at Robin doing the Naruto run!
Batman Ninja hits stores on DVD and Blu-Ray in 2018.