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Ninku manga vol 1.jpg
Cover of the first manga volume
Genre Martial arts[1]
Written by Kōji Kiriyama
Published by Shueisha
Demographic Shōnen
Imprint Jump Comics
Magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump
Original run June 14, 1993September 4, 1995
Volumes 9
2nd Stage: Stories of Etonins
Written by Kōji Kiriyama
Published by Shueisha
Demographic Seinen
Imprint Jump Comics
Magazine Ultra Jump
Original run September 2005September 17, 2011
Volumes 12
Anime television series
Directed by Noriyuki Abe
Produced by Kenji Shimizu
Koji Kaneda
Kyotaro Kimura
Written by Hiroshi Hashimoto
Ryou Tamura
Music by Yusuke Honma
Studio Pierrot
Original network Fuji TV
Original run January 14, 1995 February 24, 1996
Episodes 55
Anime television film
Tomb of Knives
Directed by Noriyuki Abe
Written by Hiroshi Hashimoto
Music by Yusuke Honma
Studio Pierrot
Released November 12, 1994
Runtime 45 minutes
Anime film
The Movie
Directed by Akiyuki Shinbo
Written by Hiroshi Hashimoto
Music by Yusuke Honma
Studio Pierrot
Licensed by
Released July 15, 1995
Runtime 25 minutes
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 manga spanned nine tankōbon volumes and was serialized in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump manga magazine between 1993 and 1995. 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.[2]


The story in Ninku is about an odd-looking 12-year-old boy named Fuusuke (Fuusuke of the wind (風の風助, Kaze no Fūsuke)) 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 (ヒロユキ), 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.


  • Fuusuke, also called Fuusuke the Wind (風の風助, Kaze no Fūsuke), the main character in the story, 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. He is voiced by Rica Matsumoto in the Japanese anime and by Michelle Moran in the English dub of the movie.
    • Techniques:
      • 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.
  • Aicho, also called 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. He is voiced by Mitsuaki Madono in the Japanese anime and by Rudy Luzion in the English dub of the movie.
  • Toji, also called 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. He is voiced by Juurouta Kosugi in the Japanese anime and by Rob Thomas in the English dub of the movie.
    • Techniques:
      • FuShabakut: Or Air Dessert. Turns the ground into a tsunami-like state. A high-level Ninku move.
  • Hiroyuki (裕行, Hiroyuki) 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. He is voiced by Katsumi Suzuki in the Japanese anime.
  • Rihoko (里穂子, Rihoko) 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. She is voiced by Megumi Hayashibara in the Japanese anime and by Wendee Lee in the English dub of the movie.

Ninku corps[edit]

Corps# Ninku Specialty Etonin (captain of the corp) Other members
1 Rat (子忍 ne-nin) Wind Fusuke the Wind (風の風助 Kaze no Fūsuke) Suzaku (朱雀) Souta (草太)
2 Ox (丑忍 ushi-nin) Metal Kei Hayashi the Ore (鉱の林慶 Aragane no Hayashi Kei) Baku (獏) aka. Byakko (白虎)
3 Tiger (寅忍 tora-nin) Spiritual Takeru the Spirit (精霊の火瑠 Seirei no Takeru)
4 Rabbit (卯忍 u-nin) Light Yamabuki the Light (光の山吹 Hikari no Yamabuki)
5 Dragon (辰忍 tatsu-nin) Flame Sekirai the Flame (炎の赤雷 Honō no Sekirai) Yōkō (陽紅)
6 Snake (巳忍 mi-nin) Ground Toji the Ground (大地の橙次 Daichi no Tōji) Kōshu (黄愁)
7 Horse (午忍 uma-nin) Ice Kisumi the Ice (氷の黄純 Kōri no Kisumi)
8 Goat (未忍 hitsuji-nin) Plants Midori the Plant (植物の緑里 Shokubutsu no Midori)
9 Monkey (申忍 saru-nin) Thunder Seima the Thunderclap (雷鳴の青馬 Raimei no Seima)
10 Rooster (酉忍 tori-nin) Flight Aicho the Sky (空の藍朓 Sora no Aichō) Kirin (麒麟) aka. Hamaji (浜地)
11 Dog (戌忍 inu-nin) Animal Shigure the Wild (野生の紫雨 Yasei no Shigure)
12 Pig (亥忍 i-nin) Water Kokuro 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.


  • Kouchin: 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.
  • Kisume: 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.
  • Mekira: 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.
  • Gaunin: A subordinate of Colo Ajirada and a self-professed genius. He joins Col Ajirada when he decides to leave the Empire.



Ninku was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1993 to 1995. The series was compiled into 9 tankōbon published by Shueisha. Shueisha also released the manga in 6 bunkōban volumes from 2006 to 2007.[3] A sequel 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.


Shortly after its release, Ninku was adapted into an anime series, produced by Studio Pierrot and directed by Noriyuki Abe, spanning 55 episodes and a movie. The anime series, originally run between 1995 and 1996, premiered on the Fuji Television network, 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.[4]


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,[5] and a movie in 1995, entitled Ninku: The Movie (劇場版 NINKU -忍空-), produced by Pierrot.[6] Media Blasters's AnimeWorks brand released Ninku: The Movie together with Yu Yu Hakusho: The Movie in North America in 1998.[7] A DVD version was released in early 2001 as a result of a poll conducted by Media Blasters.[8]

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.[9]

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 .[2]


  1. ^ "Ninku: Second Stage Martial Arts Manga to End in Japan". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ "NINKU ―忍空―" (in Japanese). s-manga. Retrieved 2017-10-15.
  4. ^ "「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.
  5. ^ 『NINKU ナイフの墓標』 (in Japanese). Anime Style. Retrieved June 9, 2013.
  6. ^ "Ninku the Movie". Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  7. ^ Ninku: The Movie - DVD details - at Rotten Tomatoes
  8. ^ "Media Blasters Poll". Anime News Network. August 29, 2000. Retrieved 2008-11-25.
  9. ^ "JUMP ULTIMATE STARS" (in Japanese). Nintendo. Retrieved 2008-11-23.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
YuYu Hakusho
(10/10/1992 - 1/7/1995)
Fuji TV Tuesday 18:30 Timeframe

(January 14, 1995 - February 24, 1996)
Succeeded by
Midori no Makibaō
(3/2/1996 - 7/14/1997)