The Caped Crusader takes a journey through time and space, along with the usual cast of sidekicks and supervillains, to feudal Japan in the new anime Batman Ninja. While subtitled previews have popped up at various expos going back to the San Diego Comin-Con, this is the first English-language trailer, along with announcements of the voice cast.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the story of Batman Ninja comes from writer Kazu Nakashima (Futagashira) and character designer designer Takashi Okazaki (Afro Samurai). It’s directed by Junpei Mizusaki, who last helmed the 2005 anime Zoo.
The script was then reinterpreted and rewritten for English-language distribution by award-winning screenwriters Leo Chu and Eric Garcia (Supah Ninjas, Afro Samurai).
This is the first full-length anime film for the Batman franchise. “Batman Ninja is an absolute feast for the senses, a stunning spectacle of anime wrapped around a thrill ride of a Batman story,” Warner Bros. said in a statement announcing the release. “We can’t wait for fans to see this film.”
Voicing Batman is Roger Craig Smith, who gamers will recognize from Batman: Arkham Origins. Tony Hale of Veep and Arrested Development plays the Joker, with Grey Griffin and Tara Strong as Catwoman and Harley Quinn, respectively.
The storyline revolves around a time displacement machine created by Gorilla Grodd, a rather obscure character in the Batman universe, who’s voiced by Fred Tatasciore from Family Guy. Joker, Penguin, Two-Face, and the other villains are feudal lords in medieval Japan, and the Dark Knight sets out on a quest — without his Batmobile or array of Bat-gadgets — to restore order and return to modern-day Gotham City.
The title says it all — what more do you need? The trailer features samurai sword fights, thundering chariot races, pirate ship battles, and even a cameo from a giant robot.
The film will be released digitally on April 24, followed by the DVD ($20) and Blu-ray ($25) versions on May 8. Batman Ninja will also be available in 4K UHD for digital only, with a release planned for Summer 2018. A Blu-ray steelbook package is also available for $30, which includes some features about the portrayal of Batman in anime, as well as the New York Comic-Con discussion of the movie.
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