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Ninku manga vol 1.jpg
Cover of the first manga volume
GenreMartial arts[1]
Written byKōji Kiriyama
Published byShueisha
ImprintJump Comics
MagazineWeekly Shōnen Jump
Original runJune 14, 1993September 4, 1995
Anime television series
Directed byNoriyuki Abe
Produced byKenji Shimizu
Koji Kaneda
Kyotaro Kimura
Written byHiroshi Hashimoto
Ryou Tamura
Music byYusuke Honma
Original networkFuji TV
Original run January 14, 1995 February 24, 1996
Anime television film
Tomb of Knives
Directed byNoriyuki Abe
Written byHiroshi Hashimoto
Music byYusuke Honma
ReleasedNovember 12, 1994
Runtime45 minutes
Anime film
The Movie
Directed byNoriyuki Abe
Written byHiroshi Hashimoto
Music byYusuke Honma
Licensed by
ReleasedJuly 15, 1995
Runtime25 minutes
2nd Stage: Stories of Etonins
Written byKōji Kiriyama
Published byShueisha
ImprintJump Comics
MagazineUltra Jump
Original runSeptember 17, 2005September 17, 2011
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

Ninku (忍空, Ninkū) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Kōji Kiriyama. The original series was published in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump manga magazine between 1993 and 1995 manga and its individual chapters were collected into nine tankōbon volumes. The manga was adapted into an anime television series produced by Pierrot which aired on Fuji TV between January 1995 and February 1996.

A second manga titled Ninku 2nd Stage: Stories of Etonins (忍空 SECOND STAGE −干支忍編−) ran from 2005 to 2011 in the seinen magazine Ultra Jump.


The story in Ninku is about an odd-looking 12-year-old boy named Fuusuke who is a powerful warrior from the Ninku school of martial arts, a style that mixes ninjutsu and kung fu. It is explained that before the present time in the story that those who could use Ninku were targeted by an evil empire and the Ninku corps were formed to combat the menace. The names of the corps were taken from the twelve Chinese zodiac animals (干支 Eto) and each captain of the corps was called the zodiac animal Ninku master (干支忍 Etonin). Their powers are derived from nature and a specific dragon to their own element, with the Tenkudragon being the almighty master of all the elements. The Ninku were disbanded by their master before the end of the war and as such, the Empire was victorious. After which the Ninku became vilified by the Empire as the perpetrators of the war and made attempts to eliminate any surviving members. At the beginning of the story, three years later, Fuusuke, the young former captain of the 1st Ninku corps and controller of the wind and Hiroyuki, his flatulent penguin, start searching for the other Ninku captains, each of whom can control various elements. However, a new group of Ninku users has arisen and are trying to take over the world. Fuusuke and his penguin must defeat the new Ninku empire with the help of his old comrades.


Main characters[edit]

Voiced by: Rica Matsumoto[2] (Japanese); Michelle Moran (movie) (English)
Fuusuke the Wind (風の風助, Kaze no Fūsuke) is the main character in the story. He is a former captain of the 1st Ninku corps (子忍 Ne-nin, the rat Ninku). With the ability to control wind, Fuusuke searches for other former Ninku after a war with an evil empire. His techniques include:
  • Kuatsuken: Fuusuke's signature move which creates a sphere of air pressure in the users palm and is used in close combat. It is capable of blasting through most kinds of metal and armour and can damage an enemies' internal organs. The technique can also be adapted to propel the user to great distances or to create a shield to forcibly repel all attacks. It was calculated to have a power of 9,320 gigawatts.
  • Shouboyo: A genjutsu that usually uses blowing leaves in order to confuse the opponent but it can also use the swinging of a simple nut in a pendulum fashion to confuse an enemy. It can be used against multiple opponents and can paralyse them in some fashion.
  • Kushuriken: Uses air in the form of a shuriken in order to cut through steel and most other options. Can be used short range or thrown in twos.
  • Fuatsho: translates as wind pressure palm. It creates a strong wind in the users hand capable of repulsing most objects. Or even the user themselves.
  • Fubunshin: Creates illusionary copies to misdirect the enemy.
  • Kunasen: Creates a dangerous hurricane that can also hurt the user. It is a high level Ninku move.
Voiced by: Mitsuaki Madono[2] (Japanese); Rudy Luzion (movie) (English)
Aicho the Sky (空の藍朓, Sora no Aichō) is the former 10th Ninku corps (酉忍 Tori-nin, the rooster Ninku) captain and has extremely strong legs with an attitude to match, enabling him to cover large distances in a single bound and cause big damage on enemy machinery through his techniques. He also hates women, as this can be seen in his attitude towards Toji's sister, who has a crush on him. He also considers Toji an idiot.
Voiced by: Juurouta Kosugi[2] (Japanese); Rob Thomas (movie) (English)
Toji the Ground (大地の橙次, Daichi no Tōji) is the former 6th Ninku corps (巳忍 Mi-nin, the snake Ninku) captain specialising in land (ground) attacks and techniques. He owns his own personal plane which he initially dubbed the Hindenburg but he sometimes changes the name to other transport disasters. The Hindenburg usually crash-lands in the beginning of the show as a recurring gag. His technique is the FuShabakut or "Air Dessert". It turns the ground into a tsunami-like state. A high-level Ninku move.
Voiced by: Katsumi Suzuki[2]
Hiroyuki (裕行) is Fuusuke's pet penguin. He possesses the ability to release explosive farts powerful enough to propel Fuusuke and itself. The stench is described as terrible and can knock others unconscious. Fuusuke considers him a friend and not a pet. He is supernaturally powerful.
Voiced by: Megumi Hayashibara[2] (Japanese); Wendee Lee (movie) (English)
Rihoko (里穂子) is Toji's little sister. She was unintentionally rescued by Fuusuke from fake Ninku and, at the time, he was unaware that she is Toji's sister. She desperately wants to meet handsome men and immediately becomes infatuated with Aicho, but has little luck with him.

Ninku corps[edit]

Corps# Ninku Specialty Etonin (captain of the corp) Other members
1 Rat (子忍 ne-nin) Wind Fusuke of the Wind (風の風助 Kaze no Fūsuke) Suzaku (朱雀) Souta (草太)
2 Ox (丑忍 ushi-nin) Metal Kei Hayashi of the Ore (鉱の林慶 Aragane no Hayashi Kei) Baku (獏) aka. Byakko (白虎)
3 Tiger (寅忍 tora-nin) Spiritual Takeru of the Spirit (精霊の火瑠 Seirei no Takeru)
4 Rabbit (卯忍 u-nin) Light Yamabuki of the Light (光の山吹 Hikari no Yamabuki)
5 Dragon (辰忍 tatsu-nin) Flame Sekirai of the Flame (炎の赤雷 Honō no Sekirai) Yōkō (陽紅)
6 Snake (巳忍 mi-nin) Ground Toji of the Ground (大地の橙次 Daichi no Tōji) Kōshu (黄愁)
7 Horse (午忍 uma-nin) Ice Kisumi of the Ice (氷の黄純 Kōri no Kisumi)
8 Goat (未忍 hitsuji-nin) Plants Midori of the Plant (植物の緑里 Shokubutsu no Midori)
9 Monkey (申忍 saru-nin) Thunder Seima of the Thunderclap (雷鳴の青馬 Raimei no Seima)
10 Rooster (酉忍 tori-nin) Flight Aicho of the Sky (空の藍朓 Sora no Aichō) Kirin (麒麟) aka. Hamaji (浜地)
11 Dog (戌忍 inu-nin) Animal Shigure of the Wild (野生の紫雨 Yasei no Shigure)
12 Pig (亥忍 i-nin) Water Kokuro of the Water (水の黒楼 Mizu no Kokurō)
  • Rat, Pig, Monkey, Goat, Horse, Dragon, Snake and Ox classes have the ability to control their element in question.
  • Rabbit: uses the power of light to make optical illusions.
  • Tiger: communicates with spirits, control the ghosts in their favor to dominate the field.
  • Dog: most fall under this class, Ninku of this division that are humans have the ability to tame animals, or else take the form of one.


The high priest of the Empire and a master of feng shui. He is the spokesperson of the Emperor and it was he who defeated the Ninku master in a direct duel, forcing the Ninku to disband. His ultimate goal is to control the power of the tenkudragon and for that purpose he has captured Fuusuke's mother in order to draw the dragon out.
A Former Ninku captain who could command ice. After his fiancé was killed during the war he headed out to attack the Empire singlehandedly but was captured and convinced to join the Empire to prevent another war. Later reforms and helps Fuusuke and the others in their final confrontation.
A genjutsu expert. She was taken by Kouchin at a very young age and her family was slaughtered by him. Only later does she learn this and turn against him.
Col Ajirada
The sole heir of a martial arts that uses electricity channeled from arm guards into his fists and feet. Later defects after being beaten by Fuusuke.
A subordinate of Col Ajirada and a self-professed genius. He joins Col Ajirada when he decides to leave the Empire.



Ninku is written and illustrated by Kōji Kiriyama. The manga was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump from June 14, 1993 to September 4, 1995.[3][4] The series was compiled into nine tankōbon published by Shueisha between January 11, 1994 and November 2, 1995.[5][6] Shueisha also released the manga in 6 bunkōban volumes from November 17, 2006 to February 16, 2007.[7][8]

A sequel titled Ninku 2nd Stage: Stories of Etonins ran from September 17, 2005 to September 19, 2011 in the seinen magazine Ultra Jump.[9][1][10] Shueisha compiled the manga into twelve tankōbon volumes published between March 3, 2006 and November 4, 2011.[11][12]


Shortly after its release, Ninku was adapted into an anime series, produced by Studio Pierrot and directed by Noriyuki Abe, spanning 55 episodes. The anime series, originally run between January 14, 1995 and February 24, 1996, premiered on the Fuji TV network,[2] and was broadcast by the anime television network, Animax, across Japan, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and other regions. Geneon Entertainment has released the series in two DVD boxsets in Japan. The first set containing the initial 28 episodes was released on February 25, 2005 and the second set containing the remaining 27 episodes was released on March 21, 2005.[13]


The anime series spawned a television film, entitled Ninku: Tomb of Knives (NINKU ナイフの墓標, Ninkū: Naifu no Bohyō) and released at Jump Super Anime Tour in October 1994[14] and a movie in 1995, entitled Ninku: The Movie (劇場版 NINKU -忍空-), produced by Pierrot.[15] Media Blasters's AnimeWorks brand released Ninku: The Movie together with Yu Yu Hakusho: The Movie in North America in 1998.[16] A DVD version was released on January 30, 2001 as a result of a poll conducted by Media Blasters.[17][18]

Video games[edit]

A number of video games based on the series have been released for platforms such as the Game Boy, Game Gear, Sega Saturn, and PlayStation. Jump! Ultimate Stars, a fighting game for the Nintendo DS released in November 2006, has three participants from Ninku, including Fuusuke as a selectable fighter.[19]

Title Date Platform Developer Publisher
NINKU 14 July 1995 Game Boy TOSE TOMY corporation
Fighting game
NINKU 21 July 1995 Game Gear SEGA SEGA
Fighting game
Ninku Gaiden: Hiroyuki Daikatsugeki 3 November 1995 Game Gear SEGA SEGA
Mini game / puzzle
Ninku Dai-2-Tama: Ninku Sensouhen 24 November 1995 Game Boy TOSE TOMY
Mini game / Board game
NINKU 22 December 1995 PLAYSTATION TOSE TOMY corporation
Battle game "Tecmo theatre" style
Ninku 2: Tenkuuryuu e no Michi 22 December 1995 Game gear BIOX SEGA
Fighting game
Ninku Tsuyokina Yatsura No Daigekitotsu! 2 February 1996 Sega Saturn SEGA SEGA
Fighting 2d game with 3d background


The Ninku manga has sold 11 million units for the first 9 volumes in Japan.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Ninku: Second Stage Martial Arts Manga to End in Japan". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "NINKU ‐忍空‐" (in Japanese). Pierrot. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  3. ^ 週刊少年ジャンプ 1993/06/14 表示号数26. Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  4. ^ 週刊少年ジャンプ 1995/09/04 表示号数38. Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  5. ^ "NINKU-忍空-  1 ニンクウ" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Archived from the original on February 7, 2006. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  6. ^ "NINKU-忍空-  9" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Archived from the original on September 4, 2004. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  7. ^ "NINKU ―忍空― 1" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  8. ^ "NINKU ―忍空― 6" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  9. ^ "BACK NUMBERS 2005年10月特大号" (in Japanese). Ultra Jump. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  10. ^ a b 忍空 : 6年にわたる続編連載が完結 10月号に最終回 (in Japanese). Mantan Web. September 17, 2011. Retrieved March 2, 2013.
  11. ^ "忍空―SECOND STAGE 干支忍編― 1" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  12. ^ "忍空―SECOND STAGE 干支忍編― 12" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  13. ^ "「忍空」DVD-BOX発売のお知らせ" (in Japanese). Studio Pierrot. Archived from the original on 2008-12-23. Retrieved 2008-11-25.
  14. ^ 『NINKU ナイフの墓標』 (in Japanese). Anime Style. Retrieved June 9, 2013.
  15. ^ "Ninku the Movie". Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  16. ^ Ninku: The Movie - DVD details - at Rotten Tomatoes
  17. ^ "Media Blasters Poll". Anime News Network. August 29, 2000. Retrieved 2008-11-25.
  18. ^ "Ninku/ Yu Yu Hakusho". Amazon. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  19. ^ "JUMP ULTIMATE STARS" (in Japanese). Nintendo. Retrieved 2008-11-23.

External links[edit]