As I have said very often since the beginning of this blog, one of the main functions of a cartoon, well before the entertainment or the educational aspect, is selling toys! And it's especially true when it's a brand of toys which is originally the cartoon as it has been for Transformers Rescue Bots for example or as the series Ninjago, the masters of Spinjitzu discussed in this article.
Before being a cartoon, Ninjago is a range of toys from the Lego Group in 2011 based on the principle of routers that compete in an arena, riding on the success of Beyblade. It embodies a young Ninja, recruited by the Sensei Wu to fight against the forces of evil, embodied by Lord Garmadon and his army of skeletons. The universe developed, which is surprisingly dense and complex, will be the basis to a driver of a cartoon series.
The pilot of 40 minutes, cut into 2 episodes, aired for the first time in the United States on Cartoon Network in January 2011 (and that I've ever seen), knows a huge success to the point where a season is produced, at the same time what is launched a new collection of sets and figurines on the snakes. The series includes 2 seasons of 13 episodes each, and a third season is in production after the broadcast, still on Cartoon Network, two episodes new drivers. In France, the two seasons are released a little loop on France 3 and the DVD sets are also available for sale.
It is an animation entirely in CGI (computer-generated synthesis images) with a very nice rendering: the characters are clearly Lego figurines, as well as most of the vehicles and buildings. The side very cartoon and toy plastic is that it is a cartoon aimed at a very broad audience (to guesstimates, from 4-5 years) even if youth and adults can adhere easily to the characters and the very universe. I have not yet spoken but the VF is enthusiastic and successful with voices that stick well to the characters. The opening credits is not translated but remains an excellent rock and catchy song that suits perfectly the atmosphere of this cartoon.
The universe of Ninjago
As I said, for a cartoon created initially to sell toys, Ninjago has a universe rich and complex.
The story goes to Ninjago, a world of Asian-inspired (landscapes, pagodas or mythical creatures like dragons are obvious signs), whose creation is due to the first Spinjitzu master (a portmanteau between spinner which means in English "spin" and ju-jitsu), an ancient martial art that not only is effective to grind the face of the bad guys , but which is also the source of creation of all things in this universe, but which can be used to chaos and destruction.
Sensei Wu, a descendant of the first master of Spinjitzu, has recruited four young boys, to combat Lord Garmadon, brother of Wu, who wants to rebuild Ninjago in his image. To do this, the young ninjas receive basic powers (fire, ice, lightning and Earth) to combat the skeletons (in the pilot), the snake men (in season 1) and an army of Peter, who seems invincible (in season 2).
A legend speaks also of a mysterious green Ninja that will be the only way to confront and defeat the Dark Lord. Lets see example of Lego Ninjago bricks unboxing: