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Ninja High School is a manga-inspired comic book series created, written, and illustrated by Ben Dunn, and currently published by Antarctic Press. While it was originally intended as a parodic mini-series, the comic became so popular that it became a full series, currently totalling over 160 issues and many miniseries and special issues. The annual specials Ninja High School Yearbook and Ninja High School Swimsuit Edition are entirely composed of art and stories created and contributed by fans.
The story centers on Jeremy Feeple, a student at Quagmire High, who soon encounters a beautiful female ninja named Itchy Koo (real name Ichikun Ichinohei) and an alien princess named Asrial -- who have both been ordered to marry him. The earlier stories focus on the girls' comedic attempts to marry this seemingly plain, ordinary high school boy. As the story progressed, backstories were given to the core characters, and an extensive supporting cast developed. While early stories focused mainly on slapstick, later story arcs have become more serious, delving into murder, drugs, and homosexuality.
The series contains Lawyer Friendly Cameos and Captain Ersatzes of characters from other media, usually but not always Japanese; these included Kamen Rider, Power Rangers/Super Sentai, Harry Potter, Superman, The Powerpuff Girls, Terminator, Ninja Gaiden, Transformers, Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, Urusei Yatsura the Gundam series and especially Ranma ½ (seriously looking at the early chapters, you'd be forgiven for thinking this whole series was an out and out parody of it).
Ninja High School v2 was an attempted Spin-Off set after a Time Skip, revolving around Jeremy's thrill-seeking younger brother Ricky; it originally ran alongside the original series, but the new storyline was brought back into the main title though Ricky was now the main character.
For those that wanna follow along it goes like this:
- Original series (Vol 1-9). Ran for 100 issues. 1987 to November, 2002. The first bulk is mostly that of Jeremy's adventures with a few stories focused on side characters. Later on most of the stories focused on Ricky and his own entourage of girls (In this case Lendo's step-sister Yumei, Superhero Heidi, and a Salusian Princess with a purchased title, Solora). This is considered Vol 2 of the series. There is also the mini series "Quagmire USA".
- Hawaiian series (#101-129, December, 2002 - June, 2005): Focuses on supporting character, Yumei, as she goes to Hawaii under the request of a family member and has her own adventures.
- Shidoshi series (#130-175, August, 2005-August, 2009) : Continuation of vol 2, something of a reboot of the series to distinguish it from the original. The story now focuses entirely on Ricky and a new cast of characters as they come into conflict with a deadly rival ninja clan.
The third volume of the series is currently in development. Ben stated that the new series will take place seven years after Shidoshi. Will feature a few new characters as well as a few returnees: Heres a preview of the new cast.
Ninja High School contains examples of:
- Almighty Janitor: Seen in the Hawaii issues; while he wasn't the best fighter, he was stronger and more skilled than the main character for awhile.
- Animesque: Dunn is an admitted anime and manga addict.
- Art Evolution: Not surprising since the series started in 1987. The first artwork was mostly that of a usual American comic book. Then evolved into more manga like standards, likely Ben experimenting with his art and sticking with the latter style.
- Arranged Marriage: The reason that Asrial and Ichi were initially after Jeremy.
- Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny: Akaru, Jeremy managed to use it as a weakness during their first meeting.
- Beast Man: Salusians' natural form, which resembles a bipedal skunk. When humans are transformed into this form, they, much like Salusians, retain one marker of their species - in this case, a lack of a tail.
- Because Destiny Says So: Anna, Jeremy and Ricky's mother, springs this on Jeremy after Ichi and Astral come into his life. Ironic in that years down the line, Ricky would go against this saying.
- In fact this becomes a major theme in the second half of the series and fuels the conflict with the Elder Stars who are so rooted in their traditions that the protagonists are forced to go against them if they wish to run their own lives. In fact it was because of this that the rival ninja clan, Shidoshi, were created in the first place.
- Big Bad: The Shidoshi during the Ricky era of the series.
- Bittersweet Ending: The Hawaiian and Shidoshi arcs For the former, Tetsuo, being the brat he is, tricks Yumei into marrying a Ricky-bot rather then her true love dispite doing all she can defeat him and it's legally binding so she can't get out of it unless he gives the say so (though later in Shidoshi, after Tetsuo undergoes major character development, he gives her the remote to self destruct the bot and annul the marriage). For the latter, Yuudai dies without having his final battle with Ricky, getting the last laugh in their rivalry as well as a century long revenge against the Red Ninja (though if this is good or bad considering his back story is up to you). Ricky's group take on the Elder Stars and have to settle for just bankrupting them then defeating them in combat. Tetsuo can't marry his true love, Nanashi, but for the time being everything's worked out in the end.
- Bleached Underpants: Dunn also wrote a satirical adult series entitled NOT Ninja High School, at the same time as the original. (Other writers and artists have continued releasing sequels.)
- Blood Knight: Many characters in the series. Destructo in the original series, and more recently, Yuudai.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Arnie the 7 foot tall gun-toting jock, who also shows elements of being a Genius Bruiser with his weapon-building expertise and debates with Professor Steamhead on science matters.
- Captain Ersatz: Oh so many, is it any wonder this and Gold Digger get along so well?
- One description of the artist's works, and characters. If it's in Ninja High School, it's Ben Dunn.
- Catgirl: Has a few, the most notable being Meppy, a Drill Sergeant Nasty -like gym and health teacher, who fought Nazis during World War II.
- Catch Phrase: "The world shall be saved by STEAM!!"
- Even more frequent are references to Salusians of imperial birth ("It's simple for...", "Your strength is no match for...", and so on).
- Cerebus Syndrome: Started off as a fairly slapstick action adventure series. Then later story arcs got much more serious. The Ricky Feeple era is especially notable for this.
- City of Adventure: Quagmire
- City of Weirdos: Quagmire as well - despite it being much smaller than many other examples.
- Clip Art Animation: A 1995 Ninja High School collection CD did this to the first story arc. It was... controversial.
- Cute Witch: Mimi
- Daddy's Little Villain: Zardon princess Leanna
- The Dark Side: Mimi
- Deconstructor Fleet
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Ichi initially as she only wanted marry Jeremy to become leader of her ninja clan. But the more she comes to know Jeremy the more she seem genuinely willing to marry him. Ultimately it doesn't happen and she marries Lendo.
- Disappeared Dad: Jermey's, subverted as he finds out his dad is Trapped in Another World, a mouse based one, highly ironic in that Mr.Feeple's profession is a rat exterminator. What's more, he is now the king of the land and can't return to the human one as the mouse people don't have the technology to do so without fatal side effects.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Yuudai was a huge victim of this thanks to the Elder Stars' displeasure at the growing closeness between him and Empress Meisho.
- Fan Service: Many and varied, ranging from panty shots to occasional nudity. The Swimsuit Special has this as its defining feature.
- Foe Yay: Essentially canonized with Leanna's feelings for Asrial during the "NHS vs Giant Monsters" arc.
- Friendly Neighborhood Vampire
- Gentle Giant: Arnie
- Generation Xerox: Jeremy and post-timeskip Ricky, although the writers play with this.
- Gold Digger: Ichi's original reason for pursuing Jeremy was because it would result in her gaining leadership of her ninja clan.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Several throughout the series.
- Heir to the Dojo: Ichi again and Ricky post second Timeskip.
- Highly-Visible Ninja: Nearly every ninja in the series.
- Hot Librarian: Mimi Masters, Mita Celande.
- Hot Shounen Mom: Jeremy's mother, Anna.
- I Choose to Stay: Anna when she is finally reunited with her husband in the mouse world. One can't blame her considering how long they've been apart.
- I Know You Are in There Somewhere Fight: When Jeremy is first brainwashed by Lendo in issue 3, Ichi uses a ninja spell to break into his subconscious and undo the mind control. Also appears later in the Copier issue.
"Please. You're not this person. You're not this person."
- Jerkass: Lendo, before Character Development post-Timeskip turned him into a Badass Normal version of a Replacement Flat Character. Tetsuo took his place as the resident Jerkass to Ricky in the second series.
- Keep Passing Around The Comics: The volumes of the original series only cover one half of the comics. The other half, including the volume two comics have yet to have any volume sets.
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Mostly due to all the expies running around.
- Love Dodecahedron: Natch.
- Middle of Nowhere Street: Subverted. The strange events are quite well-known, but so commonplace that they are no longer news.
- Missing Mom: Yumei Katana's during the Hawaii series We later find out she had went into hiding to get away from her abusive husband (helped out by Anna) and tricked Yumei into coming down to Hawaii so she can look after her. She also married to the above mentioned janitor of the series.
- Ninja: Itchy Koo, Lendo, many others.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The series STARTS here, and gets WEIRDER.
- Older and Wiser: The original cast members after the Time Skip.
- Petting Zoo People: Salusians transformed into human form retain their original ears poking out of their hair... in addition to having human ears.
- The Power of Love: Jeremy seems to have this in spades.
- Powered Armor: Asrial was able to pull out a set at the drop of a hat.
- Put on a Bus: Inevitable in a series featuring Loads and Loads of Characters.
- Putting on the Reich: The RNC's Private Military Contractors follow this trope.
- Replacement Flat Character: Lendo became this post Timeskip, after spending most of the series as the antagonistic Jerkass. His role was then filled by a new Jerkass, his younger brother, Tetsuo. Who is, post-second-Timeskip, turning into a Badass Normal Niles himself. Looks like it runs in the family.
- Unfortunately, for Tetsuo, at least, it didn't take.
- Actually... We find out later this was a ploy to save his girlfriend, Nanashi from the Elder Stars. When he learned that his grandfather, head of the Elder Stars, would have Nanashi killed if Tetsuo did not comply with the arranged marriage to a Chinese Amazon princess his family had set up for him, he chose to go along with his family's wishes to save Nanashi's life. To atone for this betrayal, he sets up a multi-million dollar account for Nanashi, unbeknownst to her..
- Retired Badass: Anna Feeple.
- The Rival: Rival-san Lendo again. He could hardly be anything else with a name like Rival-san. He also heads the Rival Ninja Corporation.
- His younger brother, Tetsuo, later becomes this to Ricky.
- Rival Science Teams: Professor Steamhead vs. Professor Hossenfeffer.
- Royal Blood: "A human is no match for a Salusian of Imperial Birth!"
- Royal Brat: Asrial and her sister Andromeda, though not all that bad they have an annoying habit of letting everyone know it when they get the chance.
- Samus Is a Girl: Introduction of Sammi, who was forced to cross-dress due to her father not wanting to lose a bet and go into bankruptcy.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money: Rival-san Lendo and Tetsuo Rivalsan.
- Screw Destiny: Or rather "Screw Tradition" which Ricky does, bringing him into conflict with the Elder Stars.
- Shapeshifting Lover
- Shared Universe: NHS is loosely in the same continuity as Fred Perry's Gold Digger, with several crossover arcs and miniseries between the two.
- Shout-Out: Plenty, in fact the comic pretty much runs on this. In the picture above, Asrial is pretty much wearing the Gundam Double Zeta
- Start of Darkness: Yuudai during the Shidoshi era
- Stupid Jetpack Hitler: Seriously Ben loves his (fictional) Nazis
Ricky: That gotta be the second biggest Hitler robot I've ever seen!
- Super Strength: One of the powers of a "Salusian of Imperial birth" like Asrial.
- Super-Powered Evil Side: Cute Witch Mimi has one which nearly took over Hell. Suzume (one of Ricky's ninja partners) also has one that can't tell friend from foe due to her clan's very brutal training from birth.
- Take a Third Option: How Tetsuo manages to get one over on the Elder Stars After they deny him the choice of marrying his true love. He decides to play it their way and follow tradition, which means he could spread his secrets to other ninja clans and bankrupt them financially without breaking from their iron clad traditions. Say the least while he doesn't beat them psychically (he tried but was no match) he manages to do so by sheer wit and turning their customs back at them.
- Testosterone Poisoning: Akaru, an island native who doesn't know anything about modern civilization and largely judges everything on how manly it is.
- Troperiffic: Or a Cliché Storm; your mileage may vary.
- Time Skip: Starting with Issue 75, which picks up 5 years after the original series, and later in Issue 168, which takes place seven years after that.
- Took a Level In Badass: Rival-san Lendo after the Time Skip. Sora, when she had her chi unlocked by her grandfather.
- Unfazed Everyman: This is pretty much Jeremy all over. Despite the fact he takes ninja training, he hardly ever uses it.
- Unsound Effect
- Weirdness Magnet: The Feeple Family and the town of Quagmire in general.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: A literal example of this occurs in Issue #14, when a (normal sized) talking rat appears before Jeremy with a message from his father, Bob Feeple inviting Jeremy to Dimension X, where Bob has become Emperor of the Rats. The rat uses a dimensional beam gun to spirit Jeremy, Asrial, and Ichi to Dimension X which is populated by human sized anthropomorphic rats. The original rat is never seen or mentioned again.
- What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: This is actually Jeremy's shining trait in the first series. Despite being surround by supernaturals and extraterrestrials, he can calm a situation simply by being himself and attempting to talk it down. Course if need be he will fight if he has to but the former is his true "power".