By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Fans of LEGO Ninjago living in Canada were treated to an early broadcast on Oct 26 of Day of the Departed on Teletoon. The American broadcast is slated for October 29, and it will most likely be on Cartoon Network. This animation continues after the events of season six where Nya was meant to die (a plot point to recall) but due to a wish, the event was undone. A few months have passed and Sensei Wu, Cole, Jay, Kai, Zane and Nya honouring their fallen comrades and respected ancestors in this world’s version of Halloween.
Technically, the time spent feels very much like Chinese Ghost Month being compressed to a night. During this year’s celebration, the moon is going to eclipse and will take on the look of yin and yang. This omen can bring either good tidings or mourning for all of Ninjago.
In the spirit world, the enemies have gathered to talk about what they want to do to Cole and team. Revenge is on their mind and each of them wants to take their grievance upon their mutual rival who sent them to the Cursed Realm. For example, Wu and Morro have a sordid history together. Wu recruited him and when the young warrior was in training, he believed he would become the Green Ninja. As most viewers know, that honour went to another lad.
This one-off is great to watch as it ties up loose ends and further develops the complex relationships found in this series. Lloyd has to contend with his father’s legacy when he was once the team’s enemy. Sensei Yang is behind this plot and in what I like about this latest episode is how certain spirits find redemption. Sacrifice is needed to achieve the greater good and that’s where the balance gets restored.
As long as the quality of the writing stays consistent in exploring themes common in Asian style storytelling, I’m looking forward to the Ninjago movie being developed and slated for release for September of next year. The humour is light and the drama is heavy. Series writers Dan and Kevin Hageman never fail to disappoint.