"Night of the Ninja" is the thirty-fifth episode of Batman: The Animated Series. It originally aired on October 26, 1992. It revolves around a former, fellow martial art student of Bruce Wayne's, who comes to Gotham City to get revenge for being exiled from the dojo that he and Bruce studied in.
Things seem normal at Wayne Cosmetics until a ninja arrives and steals the money from the safe. Security arrives and the ninja instantly makes his way to the roof. There, he easily disarms the guard and escapes.
Meanwhile, Bruce and Dick spar with one another but Bruce clearly has the advantage over his protégé. Dick becomes disgruntled with his ineffectiveness, but before Bruce can tutor him, Alfred arrives and reports that a Wayne Enterprises company has been robbed. Dick notes that it's the sixth one in two weeks. Bruce corrects him saying it's the seventh, and Dick makes a face behind his back.
Bruce goes to investigate the crime and sees that the criminal has left behind a throwing star. This reminds him of his time training in Japan in which he lost a sparring match to a fellow student, Kyodai Ken. Bruce is suddenly brought back to the present when Summer Gleeson asks him a few questions but he leaves without answering.
While Batman drives through Gotham he recalls the events that occurred after his loss: Setting up a ring of candles, he trained by blowing them out using only the wind from his attacks. Yoru arrives and says that Bruce appears to be obsessed. Bruce insists that he has to be the best and Yoru assures him that his loss can teach him more than if he won.
In the present, the ninja arrives at another Wayne Enterprises building and finds that Batman is waiting for him. He gives Batman a chance to leave as he has no business with him but Batman refuses. The two fight for a while but the ninja shoots him with a gas pellet rendering him unable to fight. The ninja prepares to deliver a fatal strike with his sword but Robin arrives and saves him. The ninja tries to run but Robin throws a Batarang at him. The ninja escapes but his costume is torn revealing the tattoo belonging to Kyodai Ken.
Meanwhile, Summer Gleeson decides she wants to learn more about Bruce and resolves to "pop over at the Wayne Charities reception".
Back at Wayne Manor, Dick talks to Alfred about Bruce's worry about Kyodai Ken. Alfred reveals that Kyodai was the only student that was consistently able to beat Bruce and Dick realizes that Bruce is worried he can't beat his old rival.
Bruce goes to his Charity reception and looks over a sword on display. This induces another flashback in which Kyodai Ken attempts to steal a five hundred-year-old sword from the Dojo. However, Bruce catches him and the two prepare to fight. However, Yoru arrives and stops the fight. Angered over the attempted theft, he expels Kyodai from the Dojo. Blaming Bruce for his dishonor, Kyodai vows to take all that he holds dear and kill him.
His mind returning to the present Bruce leaves the room and is followed out by Summer, who insists that she has a job to do. She explains that she did some research and knows that he stayed in Japan for a while and asks if Bruce thinks that his time in Japan has anything to do with the recent thefts. However, before Bruce can answer, Kyodai, disguised as a chauffeur, hits both Bruce and Summer with a gas pellet and kidnaps them.
The two awaken in a storage warehouse where they are accosted by Kyodai, who reveals that he has been targeting Bruce's businesses to steal his bank codes and transfer his funds into his own accounts, thereby robbing him of all his assets in revenge for his expulsion from the dojo, before killing him. However, Robin, who was concerned about Bruce, arrives and accidentally activates an alarm. Distracted, Kyodai goes to investigate and fights Robin for a while. Robin is able to hold up his own, but Kyodai cuts a leg from a water tower and pushes it over washing Robin away.
The distraction does work, however, and Bruce manages to cut himself free of his bonds. Kyodai arrives shortly afterwards and Bruce gets into a fighting stance. Amused, Kyodai discards his sword and attacks. Realizing that he can't show his fighting prowess to Summer, Bruce takes a beating while Kyodai considers him to have gone soft. Fortunately, Robin arrives and knocks over a rolled up carpet covering Summer and giving Bruce a chance to unleash his full potential. No longer having to hold back, Bruce, at the same time masking his voice, pummels Kyodai into submission. Realizing he's outmatched, Kyodai grabs a statue, breaks a window, and jumps into the river below.
In the morning, Bruce explains that he told Summer that Batman arrived and beat Kyodai. He also feels that there is no need to worry if Kyodai returns as he now knows he can beat him. As a final token, he finally thanks Dick for his help.
- Kyodai and Yoru re-appear, for the last time, in "Day of the Samurai".
Home video releases
- Batman: The Animated Series, Volume Two (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (Blu-ray)
- In one scene, a guard's flashlight is cut in half and the battery is cut in half as well. Batteries are filled with acid, but no fluid spills from the battery.
- In addition to the main plot facing Bruce against Kyodai is the subplot examining Bruce's changing relationship with Dick. In the sparring scene at the beginning, Bruce is the clear superior, and unsparing in his bouts with Dick. Also, his tension over Kyodai's return leads him to be brusque and uncommunicative toward him. But after Dick allows him to defeat Kyodai by hiding their fight from Summer, Bruce finally thanks him and admits it might have been "impossible" to defeat Kyodai without him. Although their relationship recovers, the tension between them is there, and foreshadows their falling-out in later years. Their relationship was already tested in "Robin's Reckoning", and then begins to truly fall apart the The New Batman Adventures episode "Old Wounds" before Dick makes peace with Bruce and continues to fight by his side as Nightwing.
- During the training scene, we see that while Bruce Wayne is a black belt, Dick is only a green belt.
- This and "Zatanna" are the only two episodes to show Bruce Wayne during the period of his life when he was training to be Batman. A reference to Night of the Ninja was made when Bruce rebuffed Zatanna's advances, saying he was getting ready to travel to Japan in order to further his studies.
- The plot is similar to the 1988 film Die Hard, in which terrorists seize a corporate building and mask their rationale out of disdain for the company's supposed greed and decadence, only to be later revealed the true purpose was to steal hundreds of millions of dollars from the high-tech safe.
|Bob Hastings||Commissioner Gordon|
|Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.||Alfred|
|Mari Devon||Summer Gleeson|
|Robert Ito||Kyodai Ken|
|Buster Jones|| Night Manager|
Dick: (After being thrown to the mat) Sorry. Some of us aren't perfect.
Yoru: You practice as a man obsessed.
Kyodai: So, the famous Batman. I am honored. However, my business is not with you. Leave and you may live. Stay, and... (draws his sword).
Robin: (To Kyodai) Listen, dipstick, Batman's my pal. He can be a jerk sometimes but you got to love him. And nobody tries to filet him when I'm around.
Robin: You okay?
Robin: I thought Samurai lived by a code of honor. That gas gun wasn't exactly according to Hoyle.
Kyodai: The rich man awakens. Remember me?
Kyodai: Isn't it past your bedtime, boy?
Summer: Stop it! Can't you see he's no match for you?!
(Bruce fights back and scores a hit on Kyodai)