As Mr. Caffeine of Ubisoft would say if he were writing this essay, let’s go back several hundred years or so ago to feudal Japan, deedily-deedily-deedily-I’m-a-fucking-moron-deedily-dee! Okay, so, the place seems pretty cool right? Pretty chill yea? Let’s just say you’re some big land owner guy’s son, your next in line to inherit that shit, and to top it all off, your old man’s like, 100 or something, he’s gonna kick the bucket any day now. But while you’re life may seem pretty awesome by day, just wait until after dark- nighttime in feudal Japan was worse than f-ing Minecraft on crack. And why was that? Because wimpy little rich kids like you were prime targets for quite probably the scariest mother-fuckers this side of little Tokyo that’s why! I’m talking about them goddamn Ninjas brother.
|He's either a ninja or the youngest Black Panther member ever.|
Admittedly, in recent times, they have not been cast in a very realistic, let alone favorable light (pretty ironic for people whose entire way of life was dedicated towards staying out of the light), what with the obvious Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 3 Ninjas, Beverly Hills Ninja, all great movies in their own way, but in no way do they even manage to somewhat capture the horrifying epic-ness of what the real Ninjas were about. First of all, the proper term for ninja is actually shinobi, but really, when a crazy bad-ass masked figure just jumps out of the dark with a super sharp blade that’s probs going straight through your skull, you probably don’t care about anything other than pissing your pants and crying like a little girl. Ninja are so scary, that the Japanese actually believed they descended from some sort of half-man half-bird demon creature, when really, they were just exceptionally terrifying assassins, that formed over time to counter the jocky (yet equally awesome) Samurai, who people all respected, even though a whole bunch of them could be bigger headstrong dickheads than… well… actual jocks I guess.
|HONOR THE WAY OF THE SAMURAI NERRRRRDS!|
It is unconfirmed but widely believed this hostile difference between the two warrior classes is actually what inspired the creation of the fantastic film masterpiece, Revenge of the Nerds (look forward to my next essay when I stop playing coy with all the references and just straight up write The History of Revenge of the Nerds). Seriously though, this was not really something to joke about. Imagine your school- okay now give all the jocks swords, and all the nerds amazing cat-like reflexes, assassin training, and super hardcore crazy bladed weaponry. Yea. The only difference is that in your school, the two groups would probably eventually band together to murder the mutual enemy of everyone in the 21st century- goddamn HIPSTERS. As dicky as everyone was back then in Japan, you didn’t really see any guys out there who were actually big enough pricks to do things ‘ironically’, no, that’s just our generation. Yipee for us. So anyway, ninjas were also known for accepting jobs from just about anyone, unlike the Samurai, who usually worked privately, and were known to be pretty obvious about what they intended to do, because they were all ‘honorable’ or some shit. Now don’t get me wrong, the fable ninja art of ninjutsu also emphasized honor, it just taught to remember there was a difference between being honorable, and acting like a goddamn fool. A prime example being many ninja were actually Samurai before they started hanging out in the shadows and stabbing guys in the spine, and they usually turned to the shinobi lifestyle after something happened while they were Samurai, they were disgraced or something and therefore had to perform the Japanese ritual of seppuku. And no, I’m not talking about the fun little number puzzle game made popular by such delightful enthusiasts and geniuses like Will Shortz, ho ho, no no no, I’m talking about seppuku, which in Japan is basically where, after he’s been disgraced, your average Japanese man will dress up in the ritual robes, get on his knees, and then IMPALE HIMSELF ON HIS OWN SWORD, CUT HIMSELF FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, and after that, he’ll have some dude present to take another sword, AND CHOP OFF THE NOW DISEMBOWLED GUY’S HEAD. Why might he do something like this, you might ask? What would cause a guy to willingly do something like this to himself? He’d been disgraced, which could range from do something like losing to a guy in battle, to forgetting to close the toilet lid after you were finished when you KNEW a woman was present in the house.
|Maybe now you'll remember those goddamn TPS REPORTS BILL!|
Yea, and that’s the reason shit got so crazy between US and Japan in WWII, because, as we’ve come to learn, the Japanese are unrivaled in hardcore craziness. Anyway, when a Samurai was told he had to commit seppuku to protect his fucking honor, he basically laughed, said, ‘Screw that!’ and ran off to become a ninja so he could continue to kill the shit out of stuff. Many people called them cowards for stuff like that, but think about it, while some dudes did run off from seppuku because they pussied out, the guys who became ninjas did it because they realized that there were a lot of people in the world, and more importantly a lot of people to kill, so why should they give up on that when A) they were great at killing, and B) not dead? And it’s logic like that that lead to them becoming such a staple-mark in Japanese culture and history. In the early days though, Ninjas didn’t really have any rules. That’s kinda what happens when your entire culture is based off of not being something else (even if that thing is just a douche Samurai), so it wasn’t until some Chinese monks showed up in Japan and taught their warrior ways to the monks and ninjas that the first ninja schools popped and started teaching the now refined ideal of ninjutsu. Before I continue lets just pause for a second yea and take that in- ninja school. There is such a thing as fucking NINJA SCHOOL.
|This is your average class of ninjas. See how many you can spot.|
It’s awesome shit like that that really gives me hope in humanity- but that’s for another time I suppose. It all started when this one Samurai named Daisuke Togakure lost in a huge regional battle, so he lost his Samurai title, as well as his sweet ass land- that’s like if America not only didn’t take care of their Vietnam vets, but took their homes and renamed them all Big Loser, and Dumb Fart, and shit like that. Slightly worse than we treat them now. Anyway, so Daisuke was just wandering around in the mountains, pissed off and shit, when he ran into this wandering warrior monk named Kain Doshi. The two developed an instant bromance, and after Daisuke renounced his gay-ass bushido code, the two created the guerilla warrior style of ninjutsu. Daisuke’s kids would go onto make schools teaching this terrifying style, with such classes as How to Creep on Idiots, and How to Make People Crap Their Own Pants in Fear of You, and so on and so forth. The other important part of being a ninja was getting the job done, no matter what the fuck it took to do it. They were like the Postal Service for ass-wuppings- rain or shine, shit was going down, no matter how ‘disgraceful,’ or ‘dishonorable’ their methods were called. Unlike the Samurai, who all dressed in bright colors, and long flowing robes, like they were going to the gay pride parade or something, ninjas dressed in dark colors (usually dark blue- black wasn’t as functional as people like to believe), that could fit to their form, so they could sneak around easier. Ninjas weren’t all guys though- hell naw. Unlike the Samurai, ninjas weren’t interested in a total sausage fest, so they had many women who joined their ranks, but unlike the males, most would dress as seductive dancers and concubines and stuff, so that they could get into strongholds and castles easier, where they would usually end their nights stabbing the horny prince foolish enough to come on to them. Yes, and they also invented the ultimate cock block- get fucking stabbed in the gut. Sadly, while the ninjas arsenal of weaponry did include some pretty kick-ass nut-shriveling terrifying stuff, including swords, bladed staves, and even iron bladed fans (some ‘ol Street Fighter shit), ninjas never actually used throwing stars- no idea who actually came up with them, but damn right?
|I guess the technology was just too advanced for them|
The ninjas influence in history lasted only a few hundred years, between 1336 and 1600, but in that time accomplished much. Many periods of war existed in that time, with many civil wars, the most famous being the warring states period known as the Onin War, where basically everybody was just duking it out, and Samurai constantly used ninjas to help gain the advantage, which would usually be stolen from them a week later by another ninja, worse yet, the same one in some cases. As the wars faded out though, and the famous warlord daimyo Oda Nobunaga rose to power, he saw the problem with the ninjas, and decided in order to secure his place as massa OG supreme of Japan, they had to go. So he targeted the ninja compounds and strongholds, most notably the popular fortresses at Ida and Koga, wiping out the famous forts, and dealing a heavy blow to the ninjas. They were almost erased from existence, but some continued to survive, and teach ninjutsu to those willing to listen. But in a sad and happy ending, the Edo period finally came, bringing peace to Japan, meaning that the ninja and their ass-kicking ways were no longer necessary. History still remembers them though, their infamous and secretive exploits becoming legend not only to Japan and Asia, but to the World.