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Shinobi “Nobody does it better —
  a fabulous mix of
  Japanese creative photo-
  graphy and special effects
  supports an exciting story
  of the destiny of the
  warrior Shinobi set in the
  time of the Shoguns....”

THE STUFF OF LEGENDS, this delightful offering about the Shinobi elite and strangely-gifted ninja warriors who live only for battle is set in the Japan of 1614, during
a time when the country is united under the Shogun.

Following hundreds of years of war, peace has come to the land and the two tribes of Shinobi — the Koga and the Iga, whose history dates back to the 14th Century and who are the bitterest of enemies — are living in obscurity.

OboroWhile at the waterside near the shared border of the two clans, Oboro (Yukie Nakama), the lovely grand-daughter of Ogen, the chieftain of the Iga clan of Tsubagakure, watches a handsome falcon and secretly meets Gennosuke (Joe Odagiri), grandson of Danjo, the chieftain of the Koga clan of Manjidani. But fate is already conspiring against the lovers.

Everything in this spiritual land seems perfect — until the Shogun's adviser whispers in his ear that he should beware the power of the Shinobi and deal with them once and for all. And so it comes to pass that Ogen and Danjo are called before the Shogun and each is ordered to choose five ninja from among their best warriors who must fight to the death until only one remains.

Having chosen their best ninja, Ogen and Danjo fight to the death themselves and both of them lose their lives. Ogen has chosen Oboro to succeed her and Danjo has chosen Gennosuke. But do they die in honour or live in love? Gennosuke and Oboro are pawns in the imperial plotting, caught in the middle of an all-out conflict with family honour at stake and deep-seated beliefs in fate — however tragic that might be.

Gennosuke and OboroThey are given just two days to prepare and Gennosuke, determined not to fight, tries to dissuade Oboro from fighting him. But she has accepted her fate: "I knew I would join with you only in dreams", she
says sadly, telling him: "Our stars
are crossed".

Gennosuke immediately sets off to confront the Shogun at Sumpu Castle and discover the truth, but Oboro and her ninjas follow. A trail of death is left in their wake as they all use their remarkable talents to protect them-selves. Among Oboro's ninjas is a faithful young girl, Hotaru-bi — who is sworn to protect her mistress — and the loyal and mysterious Tenzen. Gennosuke's ninjas include Kagero, who breathes poison.

Starring Yuki Nakama, Joe Odagiri, Kippei Shiina, Tomoka Kurotani and Erika Sawajiri, Shinobi is an incredibly beautiful but sad film — as Japanese films so often are. The music is lovely, including the credits song Heaven — words by Ayumi Hamasaki; music Kazuhito Kikuchi; arrangement; Yuta Nakano & KZB. Directed by Ten Shimoyama, Shinobi is from an original story by Yamada Futaro.

Shinobi will be released on DVD on 11 February (2008) at an RRP of 19.99. In Japanese with subtitles.

Extras: Visual FX of Shinobi Featurette | Visual FX Explanation Featur-ette | Weapons of Shinobi Featurette | Set Design and Construction Featurette | Storyboards | Original Trailers | Character Gallery | Stills Gallery.

Technical Spec: Cert 15 | Feature running time: 98 minutes approx-imately | Colour PAL | Region 2 | Feature Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 | Dolby Digital 5.1 | Japanese with English Subtitles | Cat No: OPTDO333.

Watch the trailer: Quicktime | Real Media | Windows