Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Like most 12 year old boys, Ken would like nothing better than to spank his monkey, but his monkey spanks back. And kicks! He’s a Ninja Monkey, a deadly assassin trained in the martial arts and together, they must save the world!
KEN MURAKAMI, age 12, is the child star of a Monkey Show (Saru-mawashi). A Monkey show is a traditional Japanese performance: a showman commands a monkey that performs tricks such as splits, dancing, flying trapeze, acrobatics, wrestling, soccer, etc. In Japan, monkeys were once considered a lucky symbol, so monkey showmen were invited to festivals and samurai’s residences, traveling far and wide.
Many monkey showmen used their profession to cunningly mask their true craft: martial arts—they were secretly ninja! As monkey showmen, they were able to travel incognito, covertly gathering information and attacking the enemy.
Monkey shows and ninja were historically tied together. But following the industrial revolution and the advent of modern warfare, ninja became obsolete. Ken’s grandfather, Hiro Murakami, the last ninja posing as a monkey showman, and of the hundreds that once prospered, only his monkey show survives.
Ken’s mother and father have run the Monkey Show since just before Ken was born. So Ken has been raised with a monkey named Sarukichi, and has been trained to be a monkey showman since he was little. Ken travels the world with the circus, performing and training to be a monkey showman himself—and secretly, a ninja, too!
Grandpa is teaching Ken and Sarukichi to be “Monkey Ninja” and they are proving to be naturals in the Ancient Way. This makes Grandpa happy. He is ready to retire and needs a successor. But Ken’s father i s not happy, not at all. They live in a modern world and he wants his son Ken to focus on school and forget about all this ancient silliness.
Ken and Sarukichi endure Grandpa’s ninja training but what they really love is to perform in the monkey show—especially when there are pretty girls around. Being kids, they’re pretty lazy by nature and nothing motivates them more than having cute girls in the audience, cheering for them. But Sarukichi can’t get too close. Anxiety makes Sarukichi flatulent. When he gets nervous, he farts. And pretty girls make Sarukichi nervous.
Ken and Sarukichi have a pretty cool life, performing with a traveling circus , and they’re not sure that Father isn’t right about the secret ninja training being a waste of time. Then a young lady named Jessica McConnell enters their lives. She turns their heads, not just because of her beauty, but because of her job. She’s an undercover FBI agent. She needs their martial arts skills.
And here the Ninja Monkey’s real adventures begin…