Ninja High School

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Ninja High School (also known as NHS) is a comic series created, written, and illustrated by Ben Dunn, and currently published by Antarctic Press. It was at first published by Eternity Comics. On occasion other artists and writers have contributed to the series.

NHS takes place in a suburban town known as Quagmire, located "Somewhere in the Midwest". The series originally centers on the misadventures of one Jeremy Feeple, a 16 year old boy attending Quagmire High School, an alien princess named Asrial from a planet called Salusia, and a young female Ninja named Ichi-Kun Ichihonei, from Japan. Originally intended as a mini-series, the comic hit such a boom of popularity that it became a full series, currently totalling over 160 issues (as well as two mini-series, Ninja High School V2 and Quagmire USA); as well as the color mini-series The Prom Formula. There has also been two-issue furry parodies which went by the name Furry Ninja High School and Furry Ninja High School Strikes Back. Fan-contributed editions of the series include the "Ninja High School Yearbook" and "Ninja High School Swimsuit Edition". The series plot started rather simply: Princess Asrial was sent to Earth to find Jeremy Feeple and marry him, an act that was described as required to ensure that their enemies do not lay claim to the planet. Since Earth was a non-aligned world, anyone could claim it, and the Salusians were desperate to keep it from being used against them. Ichi went to America to marry Jeremy as well, although her reason's for the trip were different, in order to become leader of her clan, her grandfather informed her that she had to marry the boy, the reason behind this is that Jeremy's mother was raised by this grandfather, and they wanted to be blood related. Unfortunately, shortly after landing, Asrial, Ichi, and Jeremy Feeple get caught up in a whirlwind of comic mischief, fighting, and plots by local villains to take over the planet. The comic often features parody versions of other comics or television shows, usually Japanese, like Kamen Rider, Power Rangers, Harry Potter, Superman, The Powerpuff Girls, Terminator, Ninja Gaiden, Transformers and the Gundam series.

History

To the left, the original main characters, Asrial, Jeremy, and Ichi-ku. To the right the current cast, centred around Ricky Feeple.

NHS started out as a miniseries that mainly parodied famous anime and manga conventions (Urusei Yatsura appears to be the main influence). The story centers on Jeremy Feeple, an ordinary student at Quagmire High, living an ordinary life. Shortly into the story, a beautiful female ninja named Itchy Koo (real name Ichikun Ichinohei) and an alien princess named Asrial appear. The earlier stories focus on the girls' comedic attempts to marry this seemingly plain, ordinary high school boy.

As the series progressed, more backstory was given to the main characters, and a rather large and unwieldy cast was created. Most of the cast are manga archetypes of varying degrees. The book originally featured mostly slapstick humor, but later story arcs have become more serious, delving into murder, drugs, and homosexuality.

While not reaching great heights in critical or financial success, Ninja High School is one of few successful, long running manga-styled comics produced in America. It has contributed greatly to their continuing saturation of the American comics market.

More recently the background has been reground and re-presented. Antarctic published a 12-issue Volume 2 miniseries focussing on Jeremy's younger brother, Ricky. Issue #74 of the original series closed off the Jeremy storylines, and from issue #75, the Volume 2 cast were carried over to populate the ongoing series (though there are still ninja princesses, alien girls, and associated weirdnesses to be encountered on a daily basis).

From #101–126, the comic was written and drawn by Katie Bair (with assists from Robby Bevard), had a title change (shortened) to just "NHS", returned to black and white, and the setting changes to Hawaii. The only major character who carries over from the previous cast is Yumei Katana. This run was later collected into individual volumes under the new title, "Ninja High School: Hawaii."

From #127-129, the comic was cooperatively developed by Fred Perry and Ben Dunn to transition from the Hawaii storyline back to the Quagmire location. The focus returned to the Volume 2 cast.

In #130, Ricky Feeple returns to the spotlight, in what, after the events of the second Quagmire US miniseries, may or may not be an alternate timeline.

Plot notes

  • The V2 spinoff has little to do with the actual storyline, although several main characters are used in the plot. It was created by Ben Dunn because it gave him the ability to tell stories he never got a chance to do with the original cast of characters. Further, it allowed him to update the NHS timeline a bit.
  • Between issues 75 to 100, the storyline departed from the main line and started focusing on Rickey Feeple and his temporal trips to alternate timelines on a bid to save the universe from being destroyed. In this time, Asrial had been seen to have left Earth for Salusia on important yet unknown business at that time. Eventually the universe is saved.
  • Asrial's return to Earth following her trip came included with two children named Kassy and Lexus. Their age at introduction places them as at least 6 to 8 years old. Further, they refer to Jeremy as "daddy" and Asrial admits to the children's genetic parenting being both hers and his. It is then assumed that the reason Asrial left was because Jeremy impregnated her and thought it safer to raise them on Salusia in a more stable environment. Likewise, this time gap could be explained by the temporal hopping Rickey did in his efforts to save the universe. This is the first time that the connection between Jeremy and Asrial has been confirmed as mutually romantic although there may be earlier evidence of this romantic interest in earlier issues.
  • Jeremy gets involved at least twice in Salusian affairs, one time on accident, in which he manages to uncover some secret plots to bring the Salusian Conglomerate to ruin. Information of this is sketchy at best.

Rating

The comic itself is often violent, depicting fights and on several occasions partial nudity of some characters. The rating was set early in the series when Jeremy walked in on Asrial after a shower and got a face full of exposed breasts (for which he was clobbered). Such instances do not occur with the same result consecutively, but it does happen in one way or another.