[22 October 2008]
PopMatters Features Editor
Ever since the mysterious ninja from Askaninja.com was given permission by the International Order of Ninjas (ION) to divulge the secrets of the ninja path to non-ninja folks like you and me, the shadows have never been more dangerous. And now, just as the ninja prophecy foretold in the ancient scrolls, this infamous ninja has allowed Douglas Sarine and Kent Nichols to transcribe The Ninja Handbook, a manuscript as deadly as it is enlightening.
Honestly, not even three pages inside this treacherous book, and the disclaimer cautions:
We’re not trying to scare you, friend. It ain’t about fear, it’s about survival. By continuing to read this, you’re tearing off your logic suit and jumping into Lake Stupid. Now, we want you to put down this book and scurry your Beta-buying, trailer-rebuilding, crazy-ex-drunk-dialing, Yahoo-e-mail-using, “I can do that” saying, F.D.A.-believing, USA Today-reading butt outta here.
But should you prove brave enough to turn the page and risk being torn limb from limb by disgruntled trolls with agonizing hemorrhoids, then you’ll see that the wealth of ninja secrets and exercises within this trusty handbook is surpassed by no other tome, neither past, nor present.
Read on, and learn how to name your clan with awesome nouns, kick-ass verbs, and cockamamie adjectives like “truck-shaped”. Learn the safe and proper use of the kasuri-kama, not to be used to clean ears, nor remove appendixes, unless used by a certified ninja. Learn how to jump, spin, kick, punch, duck, dodge, crawl, walk, run, stab, slice, strangle, choke, confuse, distract, escape, and reach five different plains of consciousness while making a chocolate soufflé.
Still hungry for more ninja knowledge? Then feast your eyes on some handy diagrams detailing how to hide knives under your skin or some life-saving tips on how to psyche out your opponents with various compliments that feed their already overweight egos. From ninja history to sewing your own gui from the rare, yet rubbery flabricorn hide to dispelling those terrible misconceptions about ninjas, The Ninja Handbook is full of practical advice for the joe-shmoe following (or dying trying to follow) the path.
Some Misconceptions about Ninjas
1. All ninjas are Japanese: Offensive not only to ninjas, but the entire Japanese population.
2. Batman is a ninja: Far from the truth. Batman is Bruce Wayne, a misguided rich guy with a really nice belt.
3. Ninjas are constantly at war with each other: They’re ninjas. It’s like two glasses of water fighting over who’s wettest.
4. Ninjas fight slow enough to be captured by film cameras: What was that?
5. Ninjas are not very very violent: Honor-shmonor. Ninjas Kill. Deal with it.
Don’t wait either! Start your daydreaming kids on the ninja path by reading them the timeless tales that baby ninjas learn in their formative years. One listen to “The Story of Snuggle Snuff and the Wonder Nut”, during which the ninja rabbit must brutally slaughter everyone in Hoppy Town to protect his magical nut, and your bright-eyed, bouncing boy will never be the same. Maybe one day he’ll even attain ITAN (Is that a ninja?) status, the highest level of ninjaness any non-ninja can hope to achieve.
Dead serious now, reading The Ninja Handbook and watching the Askaninja.com arsenal of episodes online, you’re sure to relish in the deadly puns and delight in the devious ninja witticisms. Case in point, the handbook itself is peppered with Opinjas on topics that range from pirates down to Woody Allen.
OPINJAS: What Ninjas Think
Green Night, age 21, says of pirates:
Sometimes I pretend like they might defeat me, just to listen to the funny way they talk for a while. It’s a hoot.
Swart Dart, age 65, says of Woody Allen:
He’s hilarious. He’s like a nebbishy, weak, untrained Ninjew.
My only fear is that the normal human mind can’t yet cope with the vast amounts of killing knowledge contained within this seemingly harmless, 336-page paperback. When the Askaninja.com master was asked if the non-ninja world was ready for this book, he shrugged and concluded The Ninja Handbook by answering:
I don’t know, but I probably should have considered that at the beginning rather than now. If not, it will at least be a great push forward. I’m quite confident that the first generation to truly understand this manuscript will hail it as the best piece of literature ever to have been penned. The fact that I am largely responsible for its brilliant existence is just a cool bonus.
Still alive? Managed to read this book review and dodge the dirt nap with six feet of covers? Impressive. Pretty fancy footwork for a non-ninja. But always remember, The Ninja Handbook’s one ultimate lesson is that knowing too much about the ninja path is risky business and you never know what lurks in the shadows, just waiting to run you through with a flaming katana laced with poison before you even finish writing your last ... gurgle, gurgle, ahhhhhhhhhhhhh ...