Ninja Nonsense - Production Nonsense
By David Olsen, Assistant Producer, 2005
There are many things that can attract you to a show: the artwork, characters' likeability, the overall storyline, the pacing of the show… but when it came to Ninja Nonsense, the appeal was definitely in its relentless (and usually psychotic) comedy. Ninjas, unending parodies, toilet humor, the clever puns, even the not-so-clever puns… it definitely struck a chord with us… a very twisted chord.
Ninja Nonsense follows the story of Shinobu, a cute, enthusiastic and ditzy ninja trainee who invades the life of every-day average school-girl Kaede. Poor Kaede's life is thrown into chaos the night that Shinobu attempts to break into her home and steal her panties (of all things) because it was her ninja school assignment for the night… and that's just the beginning!
With her trusty "hawk" Onsokumaru (a pudgy yellow sphere with wings… sometimes arms… occasionally legs… he's just sorta like a big ball of moldable clay) and under the tutelage of her ninja school "Head Master," Shinobu dedicatedly undergoes many strange trials in the hope that she can one day become the kind of professional ninja she's always read about in manga and seen on television (‘cuz you know, that's were all the real ninjas hang out).
Unfortunately, Shinobu is too naive to realize that Onsokumaru and her Head Master are really one in the same (because that beard Head Master wears is SUCH a convincing disguise) and that he rarely teaches her anything but dirty and perverted things. Her ninja classmates, who all look the same and are collectively known as the "Sasuke Army," are equally as hopeless as they lounge around reading sleazy magazines, playing video games, watching TV and participating in Onsokumaru's imbecilic schemes.
Ninja Nonsense is a crazy 12 episode series where each episode is actually split into 2 mini-stories. It's similar to shows like Urusei Yatsura in that there isn't a lot of continuity. In one episode, Onsokumaru might be eaten by a giant crocodile, and in the next episode, he'll be back to his normal pervy self. But, because there isn't a need for continuity, it means there's room for a lot more off-the-wall comedy.
Even the Japanese scripts we received were funny… line after line of the Japanese dialogue was crossed off with new lines scribbled in, but when we watched the show we found that most of the lines in the script weren't even used - most of them were ad libbed. In fact, if it hadn't been for the amazing Japanese voice talents, the whole show wouldn't have been nearly as humorous as it turned out to be.
I've done a lot of work on other titles that we've produced, but this is the first time I've worked on English adaptations. While the story isn't hugely complex, adapting the humor in Ninja Nonsense has been quite a handful. For example, there's a scene where Onsokumaru says that he and his merry band like to "wander around looking for fights," "eat the beef that other people spent time barbequing," and "stare at girls' chests"… the joke is that all of these phrases rhyme in Japanese. Now the trick is to make the joke still work in English AND still manage to have it synch up to the visual mouth flaps. Look for our solution in episode 4! It's been a lot of fun, but very challenging at times.
We recently screened the first two episodes (with an early English dub) at Otakon 2005 and were greeted with warm complements and lots of people begging to know "What the heck is this!? When can I buy it??" As always, we appreciate all the feedback and hope that you will all check out Ninja Nonsense in 2006!