Ten years after his popular feature Ninja Scroll (1993), Yoshiaki Kawajiri returned to the adventures of super-ninja Jubei Kibagami in a broadcast series. A wanderer who can cleave enemies in two with a single sword-stroke, Jubei gets drawn into a ghoulish war while trying to get a peaceful night's sleep. The Hiruko and Kimon ninja clans are fighting over the mysterious Dragon Stone, which confers extraordinary wealth and power. It's somehow linked to Shigure, a woman whom the ninjas call the Light Maiden. With some faltering help from thief Tsubute and Dakuan, an aged but powerful monk, Jubei sets out to deliver the magical Stone to Shigure. What follows is a repetitious gore-fest: Jubei splits, beheads, and skewers an endless array of bizarre-looking demons. At one point, a ship literally floats away on a sea of blood. Despite some simple computer animated effects, Ninja Scroll looks more like a series from the mid-'80s than 2003. The designs of the characters, endless duels, and meandering storyline recall Fist of the North Star and other early, blood-soaked epics.