Pirates versus Ninjas

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A pirate (left) and a ninja (right)

Pirates vs. Ninjas is a comedic Internet and gaming meme regarding a theoretical conflict between archetypal Western pirates and Japanese ninjas, generally including arbitrary "debate" over which side would win in a fight.[1][2][3] The meme is sometimes referred to as PvN and has a long history on the Internet.[4] Humorist Jake Kalish writes (in the pro-ninja column) that the reason for the popularity of the meme is that "pirates and ninjas are both cool, but kind of opposite, see, because one is loud and the other ... never mind."[5] Several competitive web sites and games based upon the ninjas vs. pirates theme appeared later, including Pirates vs. Ninjas Dodgeball.[6]

Ninja supporters hold the position that a ninja would win over a pirate because of their superior mental and physical capabilities, as well as usage of gadgets such as nunchaku and shuriken. Those who support pirates argue that a pirate's use of both sword and gun would ensure their victory in battle.[7]

The debate has accumulated a wide following in cyberculture. A wide array of YouTube videos, websites, and online debate forums can be linked to the pirate vs. ninja conflict.


  1. ^ Crecente, Brian D. (31 March 2007). "Pirate-vs.-ninja debate rages". Rocky Mountain News. Archived from the original on 8 January 2009.
  2. ^ Rehagen, Tony (August 2006). "Revenge of the Nerds". Indianapolis Monthly. p. 252. ISSN 0899-0328.
  3. ^ Ellis, Chip (24 October 2009). "Charleston's CharCon attracts hundreds of gamers". Charleston Gazette. Archived from the original on 30 August 2011. Possibly originated from the Facebook game "Pirates vs. Ninjas".
  4. ^ Seabrook, Andrea (7 July 2006). "Pirates vs. Ninjas: Which Side Are You On?". National Public Radio.
  5. ^ Kalish, Jake (2008). Santa vs. Satan: The Official Compendium of Imaginary Fights. New York: Three Rivers Press. p. 143. ISBN 9780307449665.
  6. ^ Sung, Lydia (28 August 2008). "Pirates vs. Ninjas Dodgeball heads to Wii". Neoseeker.
  7. ^ Silver, Curtis (9 September 2008). "Great Geek Debates: Pirates vs Ninja". Wired.

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