Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu

Ninjago - Masters of Spinjitzu





Kennedy Unthank

TV Series Review

There’s a lot of evil lurking around the realm of Ninjago, desperately wanting to break into the land and conquer it. Fortunately, the realm has its very own masters of spinjitzu to protect it.

By Season 10 (the show’s final season before it was renamed, simply, Ninjago), six teenagers have been well trained to fight back all the evil that’s thrown their way. Lloyd, Jay, Nya, Kai, Cole and Zane are each masters of one of six elements. Through the 10 seasons, the six of them have learned just how effective they can be—not only by themselves but especially when working together.

And working together will be more than necessary since the threats they face aren’t your standard ninja threats. No, these threats include talking humanoid snakes, cult members, colossal beasts and even gods of destruction.

It’ll take more than a couple throwing stars to deal with these mythical threats.

Some Disassembly Required

Playing with LEGO consumed a large portion of my childhood. I constructed monstrosities that vaguely resembled cars or spaceships, and my young mind created grand adventures upon which my brick men would embark.

But the detail of lore in my childhood stories amounted to a maximum of a “there and back again” quest. If we were to compare my LEGO worldbuilding with the one viewers get from Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu, it’d be comparable to the difference between my bedroom and the solar system.

Much of this lore centers around the mystical threats which constantly assail Ninjago, one of the very few “safe” realms in a sea of very unsafe ones. These realms—Ninjago included—are the battlegrounds of a war between creation and destruction (and I’m sure you can guess which side the good guys are on). The only difference between Ninjago and many of the other realms is that our protagonists reside there to protect it from said destruction.

As our heroes battle against evil, we’ll see surprising amounts of character depth and backstory for a series about LEGO ninja. We’ll also learn of the benefits of being good instead of bad. But in general, the show seems made more for entertainment than for providing true moral lessons: it’s hard not to root for the good team when the bad team is full of perpetually angry spiritual beings bent on the destruction of the world.

There’s some obvious issues to be found in Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu, primarily centered around its use of various Eastern spiritual and moral beliefs. But when you sit back and realize that you’re just watching a show about LEGO figures whose personalities somewhat resemble the Ninja Turtles beating up the typecast bad guy LEGO figures, it becomes abundantly more obvious that the show’s main goal is to entertain, not teach.

Episode Reviews

Dec. 2, 2011 – S1, Ep1: “Rise of the Snakes”

The ninja discover a strange prophecy, and they argue over which one of them will fulfill it. Meanwhile, a dangerous ancient enemy reemerges.

We hear a reference to Ninjago’s creation story, and we hear of a prophecy. Master Wu has a vision via “spirit smoke.” A snake hypnotizes villagers. Golden weapons are used and have magical properties.

Nya is hit in the face by a training obstacle. Lloyd is hit by vegetables. Lloyd falls into a cavern. The ninja fight snakes.

Jay is called a “windbag.”

Jul. 18, 2012 – S2, Ep1: “Darkness Shall Rise”

The ninja rent an apartment in the city so that they can begin training Lloyd to be the Green Ninja. However, the ludicrous rent causes team members to be too busy working their jobs to properly train him.

A city is named after the ouroboros from Gnostic tradition. Lord Garmadon uses magic to put a ship back together.

A lightbulb smashes on the ground. Cole tackles a robber, and Jay runs over muggers with his motorcycle. (Being made of plastic, the muggers are not permanently harmed.) Kai is jumped on by children. Snakes fight the ninja.

Someone is called an “imbecile” and an “idiot.”

Jan. 29, 2014 – S3, Ep1: “The Surge”

The ninja visit New Ninjago City and marvel at its technological advances—until, of course, those advances begin attacking them.

Kai is seen on a home video in the shower (though nothing is shown). A bus crashes into another car. An elevator explodes. The ninja fall off a building, and they fight robot attackers.

Someone is called a “tinhead.”

Feb. 23, 2015 – S4, Ep1: “The Invitation”

Troubled by Zane’s death, the ninja go their separate ways. However, when Lloyd brings the clan back together, they discover a strange invitation.

Lloyd destroys robot attackers. Kai fights a man after the man tries to steal a woman’s coat. Kai also breaks apart a living skeleton. Garmadon knocks a person off a boat. Men rob a restaurant and are beaten by the ninja. A woman is hit by an obstacle.

Apr. 19, 2019 – S10, Ep4: “Endings”

The darkness of the Oni threatens to envelop the ninja. Cole, lost in the darkness, desperately tries to escape.

Cole runs over multiple Oni with his car. Lloyd is buried under rubble. Lloyd meets a mystical man in another realm. Ninja fight an onslaught of Oni. Garmadon is temporarily knocked out during the fight.

There are two uses of “heck.”

[Spoiler Warning] Jay asks Nya to be his “yang,” much like a marriage proposal. Lloyd temporarily dies before being magically brought back to life.

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Kennedy Unthank

Kennedy Unthank studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He knew he wanted to write for a living when he won a contest for “best fantasy story” while in the 4th grade. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that he was the only person to submit a story. Regardless, the seed was planted. Kennedy collects and plays board games in his free time, and he loves to talk about biblical apologetics. He doesn’t think the ending of Lost was “that bad.”

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