Although there is an abundance of animes revolving around the disciplines and complex themes of ninjutsu set across various settings or time periods, the mystique associated with the genre always finds a steady fanbase among viewers with each new venture. Therefore, a couple of years ago, when it was announced that the creative minds behind the anime adaptations of Jujutsu Kaisen, Afro Samurai, and Batman Ninja were collaborating to create an original Shinobi-themed anime series for Adult Swim, titled Ninja Kamui, it was received as a welcome surprise by otaku worldwide.
After the release of the pilot episode of Ninja Kamui this weekend, viewers found themselves hooked on the series almost instantly, as the tried and tested method of the Shinobi theme perfectly complementing the emotional core of a story has worked out pretty well. With the first episode, the series has also succeeded in weaving intrigue as it barely reveals any of the context to the audience, retaining an air of mystery that makes viewers expectant about the larger world-building. Ninja Kamui treads on familiar ground when it comes to creating conflict and crisis, and even the fluidity of the action sequence, moments of emotional connection, and vivid brutality aren’t something totally out of the box either. Still, trusting the basics and working around its strengths, which seems to be the intention of the makers at this initial stage of the series, has successfully piqued our interest.
Murder In The Alley
Ninja Kamui episode 1 begins, viewers are taken inside a near-empty subway compartment, and the focus shifts to a middle-aged man who seems to be anxious, anticipating some form of impending danger. Moments later, he is seen to be darting across a dingy, dark alley of an otherwise bustling city (in the States), almost as if he is being chased by someone, and all of a sudden, a bunch of high-tech gear-laced assassins surround him. The assassins launch their assault, and it turns out the person is skilled in martial arts as he is able to stand his ground for a while, dispatching a number of assassins with brutal precision. However, a fearsome, burly leader of the assassins makes a surprise entry and brutally murders the person by decapitating him. In a news update, it is revealed that the gruesome murder is the third one following a similar pattern of murders, which the media presumes to be orchestrated by criminal organizations.
What Do We Know About The Logan Family?
After a violent beginning, which sets the tone of the series from the get-go, we are taken to the quaint, idyllic countryside of the United States and get introduced to the Logan family. Loving couple Joe and Sara Logan live an agrarian and low-key isolated life in farmland, along with their young son, Kyle. The warm, heartfelt moments shared between the family members take viewers’ minds away from the ghastly opening scene and make them genuinely care about each of the members.
However, tension starts brewing in the background as the news of the grisly murders across the city reaches the family, and it seems the Logan couple share a past that was somehow connected with the assailants. Sara starts worrying and mentions the involvement of ‘shinigami’ or ‘reaper’ in the serial killings, while Joe reassures her, stating that their family is safely away from any possible danger.
Another wholesome sequence plays out during Kyle’s birthday, and all the cherished memories Joe has shared with his family so far flood his mind. After an outdoor barbeque, a gift opening, and one of Joe’s melodious guitar sessions, the day comes to an end, and Logan family share a warm embrace.
What Is Joe Logan’s True Identity?
However, little did they know that Kyle’s birthday was going to be the family’s last night together, as Sara’s fears came true. Joe wakes up at night after assessing a disturbance and goes to check up on the situation. Right at that moment, he notices their house being surrounded by the assassins, and without giving him a moment to breath, the horde of assassins attacks. Joe fights back fiercely and kills most of the assassins, and suddenly a gut-wrenching call from Kyle shakes up his core. Joe rushes back to their bedroom to protect Sara and Kyle, but gets his psyche nearly destroyed by the sight that confronts him. Even though Sara had valiantly fought the assailants to protect her son and killed a few of them, she breathed her last after facing the leader assassin. Little Kyle’s lifeless body is still shown grasping his mother, and the final, frightened moments the boy had spent haunt viewers’ imaginations. A red aura engulfs the room, which further intensifies the scarlet of the blood-drenched surroundings.
Kyle almost goes berserk in rage and trauma, but before erupting in a vicious fury, he gets fatally stabbed through his chest by one of the assassins. Considering the Logan family to be annihilated, the group of assassins takes their leave moments before the authorities arrive at the crime scene. However, a whole day after being declared dead, Joe wakes up in a hospital morgue and is once again reminded of the tragic fate his family had suffered. Doctors and other hospital staffers are flabbergasted to witness such an unbelievable situation, but they aren’t able to come up with a plausible reason as to how Joe got resurrected.
Two FBI agents, Mike Morris and Emma Samanda, arrive at the hospital after learning of Joe’s miraculous recovery, and as the Logan family murder scenario matches the modus operandi of the city’s serial killings, they try to learn about the assailants by interrogating Joe. The duo receives silence in return, but Joe’s enraged reaction to the questions is taken by senior agent Morris as a positive sign for investigation. Later, during the night, assassins attack Joe on the hospital rooftop, and remembering the last moments of his beloved ones, Joe goes absolutely berserk as he butchers all the assassins one by one. Emma was assigned to be the lookout, but Joe knocks her out before she can ascertain what is happening.
Joe finally comes face-to-face with the assassin leader, and after a vicious, bloody battle, he nearly obliterates him by repeatedly stabbing all across his body. He asks how they were able to recognize them, to which the leader mockingly remarks that no matter what appearance he may take, he can never escape his past. Joe reveals his true face, which was hidden with the help of a tech veil for so long, and we learn Sara and Kyle had to do the same as well. It is hinted that Joe kills the leader off screen, but we still don’t know for sure.
During the final moments of Ninja Kamui episode 1, Joe returns to his countryside home for one last time and gathers his belongings by bringing out a hidden box. Inside the box, a photograph reveals Sara and Kyle’s true appearance, and the memories that we had witnessed once again play out—now with family members in their true appearance. Taking a half-Oni mask along with him, which is possibly connected with his past life, Joe sets the house ablaze, seemingly to bury the past, but as he walks in the opposite direction, his fiery eyes indicate that the dreadful memories will truly never leave him as he starts the journey on the path of vengeance. As far as we have learned, the Logan family’s identity remains a mystery, which will be revealed eventually in the upcoming episodes of Ninja Kamui.