|Written by Kōji Kiriyama|
|Published by Shueisha|
Imprint Jump Comics
Genre Martial arts
Music by Yûsuke Honma
|Original run June 14, 1993 – September 4, 1995|
Magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump, Ultra Jump
Similar Flame of Recca, Hoshin Engi, Yu Yu Hakusho, Hell Teacher Nūbē, Fushigi Yûgi
Ninku (NINKU -忍空-, Ninkū) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Kōji Kiriyama. The original manga spanned nine tankōbon volumes and was serialized in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump manga magazine between 1993 and 1995. A second manga titled Ninku 2nd Stage: Stories of Etonins (忍空 -SECOND STAGE 干支忍編-) ran from 2005 to 2011 in the seinen magazine Ultra Jump.
Shortly after its release, Ninku was adapted into an anime series, produced by Studio Pierrot and directed by Noriyuki Abe, spanning 55 episodes and a movie. The anime series, originally run between 1995 and 1996, premiered on the Fuji Television network, and was broadcast by the anime television network, Animax, across Japan, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and other regions. Geneon Entertainment has released the series in two DVD boxsets in Japan. The first set containing the initial 28 episodes was released on February 25, 2005 and the second set containing the remaining 27 episodes was released on March 21, 2005.
The anime series spawned a television film, entitled Ninku: Tomb of Knives (NINKU ナイフの墓標, Ninkū: Naifu no Bohyō) and released at Jump Super Anime Tour in October 1994, and a movie in 1995, entitled Ninku: The Movie (劇場版 NINKU -忍空-), produced by Pierrot. Media Blasters's AnimeWorks brand released Ninku: The Movie together with Yu Yu Hakusho: The Movie in North America in 1998. A DVD version was released in early 2001 as a result of a poll conducted by Media Blasters.
A number of video games based on the series have been released for platforms such as the Game Boy, Game Gear, Sega Saturn, and PlayStation. Jump! Ultimate Stars, a fighting game for the Nintendo DS released in November 2006, has three participants from Ninku, including Fuusuke as a selectable fighter.
The story in Ninku is about an odd-looking 12-year-old boy named Fuusuke (Fuusuke of the wind (風の風助, Kaze no Fūsuke)) who is a powerful warrior from the Ninku school of martial arts, a style that mixes ninjutsu and kung fu.
It is explained that before the present time in the story that those who could use Ninku were targeted by an evil empire and the Ninku corps were formed to combat the menace. The names of the corps were taken from the twelve Chinese zodiac animals (干支 Eto) and each captain of the corps was called the zodiac animal Ninku master (干支忍 Etonin). Their powers are derived from nature and a specific dragon to their own element, with the Tenkudragon being the almighty master of all the elements. The Ninku were disbanded by their master before the end of the war and as such, the Empire was victorious. After which the Ninku became vilified by the Empire as the perpetrators of the war and made attempts to eliminate any surviving members. At the beginning of the story, three years later, Fuusuke, the young former captain of the 1st Ninku corps and controller of the wind and Hiroyuki (ヒロユキ), his flatulent penguin, start searching for the other Ninku captains, each of whom can control various elements. However, a new group of Ninku users has arisen and are trying to take over the world. Fuusuke and his penguin must defeat the new Ninku empire with the help of his old comrades.
Kouchin: The high priest of the Empire and a master of feng shui. He is the spokesperson of the Emperor and it was he who defeated the Ninku master in a direct duel, forcing the Ninku to disband. His ultimate goal is to control the power of the tenkudragon and for that purpose he has captured Fuusuke's mother in order to draw the dragon out.
Kisume: A Former Ninku captain who could command ice. After his fiancé was killed during the war he headed out to attack the Empire singlehandedly but was captured and convinced to join the Empire to prevent another war. Later reforms and helps Fuusuke and the others in their final confrontation.
Mekira: A genjutsu expert. She was taken by Kouchin at a very young age and her family was slaughtered by him. Only later does she learn this and turn against him.
Col Ajirada: The sole heir of a martial arts that uses electricity channeled from arm guards into his fists and feet. Later defects after being beaten by Fuusuke.
Gaunin: A subordinate of Colo Ajirada and a self-professed genius. He joins Col Ajirada when he decides to leave the Empire.
The Ninku manga has sold 11 million units for the first 9 volumes in Japan .