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Ninjis were originally portrayed with red teeth and clawed feet in artwork, but later appearances remove their claws and replace their teeth with either cheek-blushes or round buttons. Their large eyes are also made rectangular, closer resembling eyeholes in a stereotypical ninja costume.
Super Mario series
Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic / Super Mario Bros. 2
Ninjis first appear in Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic and Super Mario Bros. 2. In this game, Ninjis serve Wart, a mischievous monster who had siezed control of the dream world known as Subcon. There are two types of Ninji: the first type charges at Mario, suddenly jumping as it approaches; the second type remains in one place and jumps up and down. Ninjis are depicted as purple instead of black in Super Mario All-Stars, BS Super Mario USA and Super Mario Advance. Giant Ninjis also appear as somewhat rare enemies in Super Mario Advance. These giant Ninjis only jump in place. Like most enemies in Super Mario Bros. 2 and its remakes, all variations of Ninjis can be picked up and thrown at other enemies to defeat them. Giant Ninjis yield a Heart if they are thrown to the ground or defeated.
Super Mario World
Ninjis also appear in Super Mario World, using their previous 8-bit sprites. In this game, they serve Bowser during his rule of Dinosaur Land. They only appear in the Front Door and Back Door courses, where they blend in the darkness and are difficult to see unless the searchlight is activated, which may be why they used said tricolor sprites. The 1991 Mario Mania Nintendo Player's Guide describes Ninjis as Mini-Ninjas, stating that they have been driven mad by their isolation in Bowser's Castle. They jump in place and can be defeated with stomps, fireballs, or a cape attack. They are one of the few enemies not seen in the credits.
The artwork for this game reinterprets their red spots as buttons, while previously they had been depicted as parts of the creature's mouth. Other than remakes of Super Mario Bros. 2, this interpretation is used for all further depictions, as well as the artwork for Super Mario Advance, despite not looking like the sprites in that game.
Super Mario Run
Ninjis appear as an enemy in Super Mario Run for mobile devices, acting similarly to how they did in Super Mario Bros. 2; jumping periodically in one place. Their running variants do not appear. They appear in the levels Airship Cannons...Fire!, Firing the Airship's Burners, Throwing It All Overboard, and Airship Armada. Their design in this game is similar to their Super Mario Bros. 2 or Super Mario World sprites, but with a chubbier body similar to their Super Mario Advance artwork.
The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!
Despite appearing prominently in its opening sequence, Ninjis only appear once in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, in the episode "Karate Koopa", where they aid Karate Koopa in his plan to capture Princess Toadstool and sell her into slavery for a fortune. Somewhat parodying their namesake, they are skilled in hand-to-hand combat and speak in thick Japanese accents.
Super Mario World television series
In the Super Mario World animated series, Ninjis appear only in the episode "The Yoshi Shuffle" as spectators to Yoshi and Mario's football game against Bully, Big Mouth and Cheatsy and several Koopa Football Players in the Neon Castle. Here, they are brown in color, have red teeth, distinct fingered hands, and stubby feet without claws.
Ninjis make a few appearances throughout Super Mario-Kun. Not only are they in arcs dealing with Super Mario Bros. 2, they have appeared in the first few volumes, which deal mostly with Super Mario World. Their depiction in this appearance is used in some later artwork.
Nintendo Comics System
In Nintendo Comics System, Ninjis only make minor appearances, with one appearing in the background of the story The Legend, while several, having been beaten senseless by a sleepwalking Mario who believes himself to be Dirk Drain-Head, appear in Bedtime for Drain-Head.
Nintendo Adventure Books
In Unjust Desserts, some Ninji are shrunk by Magikoopa and eaten by Yoshi, though Mario never encounters any in the dinosaur's body, only in the palace garden. In Brain Drain, if Luigi (who has had his mind switched with a Koopa Troopa's due to the Synapse Switcher) gets a serving of gooey rations in the cafeteria of Iggy Koopa's base, a Ninji he sits beside tells him that the gray gunk is better than the blue. Some Ninjis are also spotted loitering around the WMUSH radio station when Iggy takes it over.
Super Mario Bros. & Friends: When I Grow Up
A Ninji makes a small cameo in the coloring book game Super Mario Bros. & Friends: When I Grow Up, on the Veterinarian page.
Super Mario Adventures
In Super Mario Adventures, spear-wielding Ninjis make several appearances, first appearing in the siege of Princess Toadstool's castle. Ninjis also appear when Princess Toadstool attempts to escape her confinement in the Koopalings' tower, aiding Wendy O. Koopa and a brigade of Koopa Troopas in stopping her escape. Later, a Ninji, apparently buying a camera from Friendly Floyd, appears at Bowser's wedding to Princess Toadstool.
The Ninjis in Hotel Mario are called Mini Ninjas but otherwise are no different from any other variety.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong
Mario Party Advance
Paper Mario series
Paper Mario: Sticker Star
After a long absence, Ninjis appear again in Paper Mario: Sticker Star. They only appear in the forest world as enemies—however, they are not very powerful, making them the weakest enemy in World 3, but a little stonger than Goombas, and don't patrol like most enemies do, but they are aggressive and chase Mario if they should see him. In the overworld, Ninjis tend to hide in the poisoned waters or trees of the forest levels much like the Bzzaps! in Paper Mario. In battle, a Ninji can either turn itself into a throwing star and hurl itself at Mario, or it can just run up to Mario and slam him. Mario must watch the positions of Ninjis; if they are jumping, they cannot be hammered, and if they are standing still, they cannot be jumped on. If they are jumped on/hammered at the wrong time, they disappear in a cloud of smoke and leave a log (also known as a decoy) behind, meaning the attack misses, then run back into battle while falling from the top screen. This may cause Mario to fall on his face. Ninjis can be hit with the Hurlhammer sticker even when they're jumping, but this means that the player has to have good timing or else it does not count. They can also dodge Shell sticker attacks if they are jumping. If Ninjis are sleeping, crumpled, stopped or dizzy, they are not able to dodge Mario's jump attacks. Sometimes after battle, a Ninji may occasionally drop a Throwing Star sticker when defeated. They are quite sneaky, and dodge commonly when attacked with Mario's combat moves.
Paper Mario: Color Splash
Ninjis return in Paper Mario: Color Splash keeping their appearance from the previous game. Unlike in Paper Mario: Sticker Star, Ninjis cannot dodge jump attacks, though they still dodge hammer attacks. When approached by Mario outside of battle, they disappear briefly, and then reappear in front of him.
Ninji are primarily found in Fort Cobalt, where they are found in a corridor filled with crates that is entered if Mario fails the last fence puzzle. One Ninji can be found sleeping, and wakes up if Mario hits his hammer nearby. Ninjis make a brief appearance among the minions causing havoc at the Toad Trainworks when the Sunset Express needs repairs. The Ninjis fought in Toad Trainworks are unavoidable.
Mario & Luigi series
Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam
Ninji make their first Mario & Luigi appearance in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam in Gloomy Woods. The game features both normal and paper variants of the Ninji enemy. They now act more like how actual ninjas would, even using camouflage sheets to hide themselves in the overworld. In battle, regular Ninjis use ninjitsu-styled attacks, such as creating shadow clones of themselves to attack the trio. The fake Ninjis can be told apart from the real one by their blue-colored buttons, as opposed to the genuine one's red buttons. Jump or Hammer attacks also cannot be used consecutively against them, as they avoid taking damage via substitution with a log. If there is a Paper Ninji present, a regular Ninji can fold it into a shuriken and throw it at a bro, who must hammer it back.
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Jr.'s Journey
Ninjis reappear in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Jr.'s Journey, as allies in the Bowser Jr.'s Journey mode. They are ranged troopers.
Official profiles and statistics
Super Mario Bros. 2
Super Mario Run
Paper Mario series
Mario & Luigi series
Names in other languages