Sentai V-Cinema Returns movies are always nice little epilogues for each season. Some can add a lot to the previous season’s story while others are just fun little visits with old friends.
Come Back! Shuriken Sentai Ninninger: Ninnin Girls vs. Boys FINAL WARS, however, is a messy though strangely well-intentioned extra chapter to the series. And I’m saying this as someone who actually liked and enjoyed Ninninger the series and did not think it was the Japanese Super Megaforce.
*minor spoilers ahead*
The movie focuses on the Ninningers reuniting after two years to find remnants of the Kibaoni Army still wreaking havoc. Not only that, but Kasumi and Fuuka have become ninja idol stars thanks to the management of none other than Mommy Igasaki!
That’s right. Igasaki Sakurako, Takaharu and Fuuka’s mother and Tsumuji’s wife, returns to the dojomanse. Being a HUGE ninja “freak” and fanatic, she’s made ninja stars all over the world. And now she’s done the same with her daughter and niece.
Obsessed with keeping her girls at the top of the ninja idol game and maintain their popularity, she sets up a globally streamed face-off between them and the boys. And to make the teams equal, the girls are joined by Tsumuji and a newly scouted member, Luna Kokonoe who becomes NinninGreen. That’s much to the surprise of everyone, including the girls, since they know Grandpa meant for Kyuuemon to be MidoNinger.
But a revived Ariake no Kata uses this game to lure the Ninningers into a trap resulting in Mommy Sakurako delivering the immense amount of fear Ariake no Kata needs to revive her disgusting son Mangestsu.
And we all know how the movie ends, of course. Ninningers win, happy ending for the cousins.
*MAJOR spoilers ahead*
Certainly an interesting premise for a movie and an epilogue. But I came out of this movie feeling weirded out and disappointed and slightly confused.
I usually look for something to connect to when I watch my toku. Especially when it’s post-show things like a V-Cinema, I want to feel like I’m jumping back into something I’ve missed for a couple of months or a year.
But with this movie, I felt like I was jumping into something completely brand new. I recognize most of these characters, but I certainly didn’t feel a connection for most of the movie.
I think the biggest reason this movie doesn’t work for me is that the central premise focuses on Takaharu and Fuuka’s mother who (after a quick check) was barely, if at all, mentioned in-series. The only thing I could find from my recaps was one scene early on where Tsumuji compares Fuuka’s being strict with Takaharu and Kinji as reminding him of his wife.
We never really knew if she was dead or alive. Did they separate or something? None of that. And it never really mattered. But in this movie, she was the main catalyst for all the trouble. Not to mention she was a controlling $*%@# most of the movie.
I felt nothing about her reunion with the family or the children. Her leaving Tsumuji because he lost his money Nintality and then reuniting with him when he got it back is so sleazy.
And since I didn’t care or connect with Mommy Igasaki, that meant I didn’t care for most of what was happening in the movie.
That’s a shame since other parts of the movie were great.
Kyuuemon coming back and becoming MidoNinger should’ve absolutely been the main focus of the movie. They could’ve done a great dramatic and emotional epilogue by having the Ninningers surprised and happy to see Kyuuemon return, even if only temporary. Kyuuemon pretending to be Luna and his hinting to Kinji about their connection are the kinds of things I want to see. That’s the kind of stuff that connects me and pulls me into the story.
Especially since the series ended on the idea that Kyuuemon was always looking for a family and that Grandpa was willing to give him that family, this movie should’ve been all about that.
One of the few positives of how the story actually developed in the movie is getting Megumi Han on-screen. Her playing Luna and Kyuuemon-possessing-Luna as well as a cameo by Ariake no Kata’s voice actress Kotono Mitsuishi were two of the best parts.
But everything else in the movie just missed the mark.
The other big subplot was Fuuka building up her confidence and skill and Takaharu acknowledging his little sister’s progress. That too should’ve been a much bigger plot in the movie and done in a way that didn’t need their mother suddenly appearing out of nowhere.
But in turn, that left Kasumi, Yakumo, Nagi and even Kinji with nothing to do. Nagi was just his usual happy-go-lucky maknae/youngest self. And Yakumo and Kasumi’s roles in the movie were basically to further some fantasy incestuous ship between the two.
Speaking of… Bringing back Ariake no Kata was great, but then they had to bring back her disgusting asshole of a son too. Mangetsu was just too disgusting and almost over-the-top in his being complete scum. I’ve never seen a more unredeemable villain in all my toku-watching ever. Bringing back this disgusting misogynist meant dragging Ariake no Kata into the mud by making her a battered mother again. And to top it all off, a battered mother who apparently was in love with her son. WTF.
Me describing the disappointment to the fun highs and concluding with the twisted destruction of Ariake no Kata’s character is a great illustration of the messy clusterfrak and the tonal whiplash this movie had.
For someone like me who actually liked and enjoyed Ninninger the series, it pains me when I actually felt relieved at the goodbye scene in this movie. Relieved that it was over instead of sad and emotional that the cousins and our friends that we’ve come to know for almost 50 episodes are going their separate ways again.
The series wasn’t perfect, but Come Back! Shuriken Sentai Ninninger: Ninnin Girls vs. Boys FINAL WARS majorly dropped the ball. And maybe because I enjoyed the series, I am so harsh with this movie when others actually loved it. Crazy times. But this was definitely a crazy, messy movie that wasted a lot of potential.