If the previous episode of Ninninger were a food item it woulda been something like your basic hot dog: tasty, none too filling, with a distinct taste of hog anus. Sure it's enjoyable but nothing much you can report on after the fact. Today's story is more like a chipotle burrito in how it's almost dangerously overloaded with goodies. Of course this show isn't as nutritionally beneficial so maybe throw some Twizzlers in that burrito to make the analogy work. Now enough about food, we've got a lot to discuss.
First on the agenda is further conversation about the former apprenticeship of Kyuuemon under gramps. Apparently the kid had some major potential until self-doubt and second guessing led them down the wrong path. Oh, and we still don't get any solid answers on that whole gender question since gramps uses lingo like “they” throughout his tale. The old man relates this directly to Kinji's current situation as the guy is getting too friendly with the grandkids to kill them. According to oldie, since there can only be one last ninja, they must be willing to do whatever it takes without hesitation. It's very much the nut up or shut up mentality.
Meanwhile. Kyuuemon is busy bring another general back from the depths of hell. This time it's Tsugomori Masakage. He's the strategist and kind of a creepy dude. Like he's a bug with a partial human mask on. According to him the big bad's almost ready to return as well. We get several villain scenes throughout this ep, leading up to the last one where Tsugomori reveals that he knows Kyuuemon is lying about originally being part of their group but he doesn't really care so long as (s)he proves to be useful.
As for the team. They get themselves wrapped up in a ninja competition masterminded by the baddies. We get some light action and comedy bits as Starninger tries to kill them during different challenges. Eventually it all shifts focus to Nagi and Kinji and the show tries to work out one of it's lingering problems. All this time, Nagi hasn't really had a set role or personality but now we finally learn that he's the nice guy whose good at getting everybody to work together. Not the most complicated role to play but at least it marks him as a decent guy. We also get the backstory on that family photo Kinji keeps with him. Seems both his father and older brother were also yokai hunters who died when or cowboy was just a lil shit. That's why he set out to be the best hunter around and learn from the last ninja himself. Getting back to that whole Nagi's good at teamwork thing though. It ends up coming in handy when half the team is kidnapped and the only way to save them is a three legged race against a cheating monster made out of track shoes. This is still sentai after all.
After the token action scenes both big and small we arrive back at the dojo where Kinji stands by his decision to no longer help the team out so much, lest he become weak. Then grandpappy shows up to reveal that with a new evil guy on the loose, the team must find a flying ninja ally. Whoever finds it first will receive the end shuriken as their prize.
Whew! Like I said before, this one was just bursting with content. It's kind of amazing how it served as a main plot line, self contained, and character focused episode all at once and still did most of it fairly well. It would be nice for Nagi to get a story truly focused him for once. Poor kid can't catch a break. Overall, I'd rank this as one of the top episodes so far. Very close to number eight but that one had lots of Fuuka to bump it up a notch. Speaking of which, she's the focus for episode fourteen. Be sure to come back for that one.