While it sounds like something dreamed up by a DC otaku, 'Batman Ninja' is a totally real instalment in the weird and wacky world of anime. The 2018 Japanese animated film – available on Netflix here – was a collaboration between Kamikaze Douga and Warner Bros. Entertainment featuring Batman in Feudal Japan. Now, the superhero hybrid film has been adapted into a stage production set to premiere in Tokyo in October 2020 at Shinjuku Theatre Moliere.
The story begins with Batman in present-day Gotham, but a battle with supervillain Gorilla Grodd gets him caught in the villain’s time machine, sending the Caped Crusader back to Feudal Japan. Batman encounters more bad luck when he crosses paths with Catwoman, who informs him that she, along with Gotham’s most menacing villains, arrived two years earlier. Worse still, Batman’s arch-nemesis, The Joker, has conned his way into becoming a feudal lord and sent a group of samurai after Batman.
As chaotic as it sounds, Batman's rogues gallery getting a two-year head start in wreaking havoc on ancient Japan and altering history is just the tip of the iceberg in this anarchic saga. Bats also encounters a giant crushing robot, a sumo Bane, and the Bat clan of Hida – of course, there’s more, but we won’t spoil it for you.
General consensus on the film is that while the plot is utterly hectic, it's a riveting spectacle that manages to hold its own in a world now awash with Batman movies, so it’ll be interesting to see how this translates to a live-action theatre performance.
The production will be playing from October 10 to December 31, but there's a special premiere week starting on October 3 so avid Batman fans can see it early. The cast hasn’t been announced yet, but that’s not likely to stop fans booking premiere week tickets, which are already on sale.
Learn more about the stage adaptation of Batman Ninja on the production’s official website. Want to catch the movie first? It's on Netflix Japan in Japanese and English, along with heaps of other great movies and series with English subtitles.