Raizo looks like a normal enough kid. Well, he looks normal enough until he removes his bandana and parts his hair, making way for a single horn popping right out of his forehead. It’s important that he keeps this secret, too, because no one wants to deal with what they might see as a “demon child.” It isn’t until he meets the buxom kunoichi (female ninja), Kagari, that he finds out the true importance behind it. The horn signals his status as the last survivor of the Katana family, someone Kagari—and eventually others like her—is willing to sacrifice her life to protect.
Once Kagari finds out who our horned hero really is, she quickly gets to work on reconstructing his empire, whether he has any interest in carrying on and living up to his family name or not. Since his house was a casualty of the first chapter’s battle, Kagari kicks this resurgence off with a complete reconstruction. She doesn’t just repair his dinky shack, though, she erects a massive castle fit for rule in record time, no doubt drawing more attention from all over the land than his horn ever did.
This becomes an issue for the next kunoichi that surfaces, Kisarabi. She has her own plan for the Katana family restoration, one that balks at Kagari’s towering architectural feat. Now Raizo, exhibiting the typically bashful and flush-faced qualities of a character in his position, would appear to be living in the fantasy world of most young men, a situation under which mangaka Hosana Tanaka continues to heat the flame.
Ninja Girls (Rappi Rangai) is, at this point, a fairly rote action-comedy that doesn’t stray too far beyond the “group of sexy girls will do anything to please their master” concept. As a result, some of the content is completely ridiculous, while the rest is passable and at times even genuinely funny. If Ninja Girls is seriously attempting to be sexy—and I personally think it’s mostly tongue in cheek—it would be a much more eye-rolling affair. The need for Kagari to be seen by “the man I want to kiss” (her words, not mine) for her special abilities to work would probably be obnoxious in a more thoroughly sincere series.
The catch to all of this is that each new kunoichi has their own idea of how to go about restoring the Katana family name to prominence. So, aside from fending off would-be enemies, there’s also quite a bit of in-fighting among Raizo’s expanding harem. This leads to a volley of awkward situations, including one in particular that serves to taunt and tease the yaoi crowd.
Aside from that gag, everyone should more or less know what to expect from Ninja Girls. There are kunoichi, their boobs are usually about one millimeter away from popping out in every panel, and they constantly dote on Raizo despite the reader knowing the closest he may get to sleeping with any of them will be when you close the manga, firmly pressing opposite panels against one another. It’s not a bad life, that’s for sure, but it’s ultimately going to fall somewhere in a tiny crevice between two spectrums of taste; too fan-servicey for some, and not enough for others.
One last thing: while typing up this review, I must have misnamed the manga every single time I attempted to type the title. I kept calling it Ninja Vixens, which is the name of a series of smutty direct-to-video Japanese movies distributed in a 10-disc collection by FUNimation. While Ninja GIRLS isn’t full of explicit T&A or anything, that consistently occurring mental slip is food for thought. (By the way, for those of you whose curiosity I just piqued, you can get said Vixens set for, like, fifty bucks. Just putting that out there.)
Publisher: Del Rey
Story & Art: Hosana Tanaka