Batman Ninja looks like a film that was born out of a fever dream. Warner Bros and Kamikaze Douga (Pop Team Epic) collaborated on the project, which has Batman and his stable of characters transported to feudal Japan to battle for the fate of history.
Warner Bros wanted a team of Japanese creators to give a unique spin to the Caped Crusader, but the localization of the film presented a series of challenges for writers. Leo Chu and Eric Garcia. In an interview with Gamespot, they revealed that there are two versions of Batman Ninja.
“The Japanese version is different,” Chu told Gamespot. “All the visuals are exactly the same in the movie, but the dialogue is maybe 90% different.”
“In Japanese animation, the writing and acting typically come at the end of the anime process, wherein the Western process, the writing comes at the beginning,” Chu shared. “You start getting storyboards and animation before you know exactly what the story is, so a lot of our job was trying to cobble it together and figure out how pieces fit together and what people could be saying.”
Garcia said that the Japanese team sent a 6-page literal translation of the Japanese script, but much of the dialogue was jumbled. The storyboards were also very rough, and at times, they couldn’t make out which character was speaking. Garcia revealed that they would go back and re-write months worth of work after additional context was sent.
The duo said that the Japanese team and Warner Bros trusted them with the localized story and that they had the approval to make any changes. Chu said, “They wanted the Japan team to make it very authentically anime, and our job was to make it authentically Batman.”