Warner Bros. Animation screened at Wondercon today and gave fans everything they hoped for in what was a beautifully animated, bonkers film that took the three Japanese tropes, including samurais, ninjas, and transformation and put them in a blender with the Batman mythos. The crowd loved it.
Directed by Jumpei Mizusaki (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure) and designed by Takashi Okazaki (Afro Samurai), the film is as crazy a narrative where the world of Batman is taken out of Gotham City and timeslipped into feudal Japan. It's loaded with bizarre anime takes on the Batman family and his rogues backstabbing each other to try and get a leg up in this world.
Some of the amazing visuals include Batman's Batmobile under assault from Joker's mech-castle and each time he takes a massive hit, another vehicle pops out of it, including a Batwing, a Bat-Cycle and then an armored Bat-Mech that was designed by one of the animators who worked on Robotech. Each of the major rogues have an amazing samurai design and a mobile castle that turns into a giant robot. There are multiple Robins, Bruce Wayne with a ridiculous hair gag, a sumo version of Bane (you read that right) and cute monkeychis.
Gorilla Grodd (Fred Tatasciore), who is typically a Justice League villain is also a prominent character as he is helping supply the technology in this world, which brings in themes of technology being bad, and nature being good. Batman is finding out that he need not rely so much on his tech gadgetry because he has no choice.
Tony Hale is electric voicing the Joker who has Tara Strong to play his sidekick Harley Quinn and they steal every scene that they're in, including an artistic interlude scene where they lose their minds and go sane.
"So much of the work is in the animation," Hale said. "I just came in and acted insane and laughed a lot." He undersells his performance and while he was conscious of the Joker work by Mark Hamill and Troy Baker, he found his own way there.
One of the screenwriters who translated the script to English, Leo Chu, stated that "they wanted to keep it authentically anime, and authentically Batman."
"We just tried to observe the acting that was being put into the drawings."
If there was a huge star of the film it had to be Takashi Okazaki's designs, which dominate the film. Every freeze frame could be a framed work of art and the general consensus of the panel was that the cosplay that will come out after seeing this will be incredible.
If you want to see Batman Ninja, look for it digitally on April 24th and on DVD and Blu-Ray May 7.