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Ninja Kids!!!

Director Takashi Miike has been pretty busy lately moving away from the violence-laden films like Audition and Ichi The Killer that first brought him infamy. Most recently he’s seen some critical acclaim with the period piece 13 Assassins and his 3-D remake of Hara-Kiri: Death Of A Samurai that just screened at Cannes, and now he's gone in a completely different direction with Ninja Kids!!!, adapted from anime series Nintama Rantaro which itself came from the manga Rakudai Ninja Rantaro. As this first trailer shows, it’s also a fairly wild departure from Miike's previous work.

Coming across like a combination of Little Rascals and Spy Kids with some Battle Royale and Kung-Fu Hustle thrown in, it's everything you’d expect from a movie called Ninja Kids!!! with three exclamation points—a brightly colored romp with kids training to become ninjas, and the throwing-star hijinks that ensue. It’s akin to when Danny Boyle made Millions, albeit in a Japanese thriller version. The film has a July debut in Japan, while so far the only scheduled date in U.S. will be a screening at this summer’s New York Asian Film Festival.

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