CBR nabbed a first look at the Dark Knight's new foray into anime today at New York Comic Con. Batman Ninja premiered the first footage of the collaboration between Warner Brothers Japan and Warner Home Entertainment. Director Jumpei Mizusaki (Jojo's Bizarre Adventure), character designer Takashi Okazaki (Afro Samurai) and writer Kazuki Nakashima (Karen Rider Fourze) have created a feature-length adventure that we knew very little about... until now.
The story follows Batman as he, Robin and a massive cadre of villains travel back in time to Feudal Japan where they engage in spectacular battle amidst Japan's warring states. The teaser shown to NYCC attendees was short, sweet and jam-packed with stunning visuals featuring countless familiar faces like Robin, Two-Face, Catwoman, the Joker, Harley Quinn, the Penguin and a very tricked out Gorilla Grodd. (Fun fact: he's Mizusaki's favorite character, which iswhy he gets an extra snazzy treatment.) The overall atmosphere of the film appears to be one of anachronistic glory, implementing the familiar costumes, weapons and architecture of Feudal Japan, but overlaying them with Gotham's most famous heroes and villains, along with the tech and firepower they hold so dear.
That said, as always, the primary conflict rests between Batman and the Joker. At the outset of the teaser, the latter crows, "Heroes don't care to kill, but I can do anything to you in this time," and the two eventually wind up in a climactic katana fight on a Japanese rooftop. This Joker is truly a work of art, as madly gleeful as ever, but more manic and unhinged than we've ever seen onscreen. Ever the counterpoint, the Dark Knight sports samurai armor and seems perfectly at home despite being thousands of miles and hundreds of years from Gotham.
After the all-too-brief look at the feature, the panel audience got treated to insights from Mizusaki, Okazaki and Nakashima, as well as Leo Chu and Eric Garcia, the American screenwriters responsible for the English translation still in production. Chu and Garcia confirmed the Blu-ray set will include both the original Japanese version of the film, as well as the English version, but they remained tight-lipped about which American voice actors had been cast. However, they did go so far as to mention that some would be familiar voices associated with previous Batman animation and revealed the initials of the actor voicing the Joker -- T.H.
Batman Ninja is a Warner Home Entertainment/Warner Japan production and is slated for release on DVD/Blu-Ray in 2018.