Beautiful scenery, exquisite swordplay, and lots of dead ninjas abound in Karma Kula: Mystic Warrior, the new live-action martial arts web series by The Ninjai Gang, the folks who brought us animated epic Ninjai: The Little Ninja.
The series stars Ninjai Gang members in their first on-screen appearance together, the trio of badass international siblings – Satya (Uma Thurman’s martial arts double in the Kill Bill films), Subhadra, and Siddha Bellord – all of whom have a deep background in wushu and taekwondo. The Hong Kong natives also co-directed Karma Kula, bringing on fellow martial arts actors Theo Coumbis and Australian actress Rena Owen along with fellow Ninjai members Harsha Brennan and Chang Xing behind the camera.
Karma Kula is essentially a blend of the best parts of kung-fu movies, spaghetti westerns, and samurai flicks; each episode consists of five minutes of long, moody atmospheric shots, highly stylized fight scenes, and awful one-liners. Sounds like a recipe for instant web success to me.
The series was picked up by IGN for a ten episode run, four of which are already out (“The Ninjas“, “The Frog In The Well“, “Harvesting The Ohas“, and “Bogi Yogi.” The next episode isn’t too far behind, either – it’s slated for a July 8 release. So far, plot exposition has been decidedly minimal – the protagonist is a mystic warrior who is being targeted by demons – but why bother asking questions? Just stop by the site, catch up, and enjoy the ride.
If you’ve never heard of Ninjai or the Ninjai Gang, you might like to give it a shot. While both Karma Kula and Ninjai share an affinity for Asian martial arts action, Ninjai is a Flash animation series that has been running since the early 2000s, albeit at a somewhat glacial pace (it is currently twelve episodes long, though more are in the works). Here’s to hoping Karma Kula won’t suffer a similar fate.