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The Nether Side: Band of Ninja (Ninja bugei-cho) [1967]

Nine years before Nagisa Oshima released his extremely controversial and highly seminal In the Realm of the Senses film, predating Lust, Caution by about thirty years, he was already involved with much experimentation: his film, Band of Ninja, may or may not be considered anime, depending on how one defines anime. It has moving pictures, indeed: there is animation, but not the kind one has grown to expect in anime. Unlike the stylistic slideshow of Bakemonogatari, Band of Ninja is essentially a slideshow. Motion can be noted, but it is not even the motion that can be seen in the earliest forms of anime such as Astro Boy: it really is a slideshow.

This is the most illusive movie poster I've seen.

This is the most illusive movie poster I've seen.

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In celebration for four years: The Nether Side

It’s been four years since I’ve started to blog here at AnimeBlogger. I asked for suggestions in a previous post of mine, but it seemed no one had something in mind. I was thinking about what to do as thanks for my readers; luckily I was able to browse through a decent recommendation thread in /a/ (yes, I did not write that wrong). I saw a picture that was full of experimental and artsy anime offerings: I then realized that it was going to be what I will be doing in celebration of my four years. I will be talking about anime OVAs, series, and movies on the fringes of the medium: these are the entrees that even a significant number of anime fans are unfamiliar of, experiments and gifts that try to push the envelope of anime. Interspersed among my regular commentary on current anime series, I hope this segment brings more attention to these mostly unknown works of art. I won’t try to dissect them as surgically as I did with Tatami Galaxy; I’ll just try to invite more people to enjoy these works.

nadeko

I’m calling this segment The Nether Side, primarily to pertain to these anime being below the radar of most anime viewers. It’s also a colorful title in itself.