HOUSE OF NINJAS on Netflix is a new thriller-action series that had so much more depth and heart than I ever expected. It’s a Japanese series (org. title: Shinobi no Ie) with 8 hour-long episodes. Read our full House of Ninjas Season 1 review here!

HOUSE OF NINJAS is a new Netflix series from Japan (org. full title: Shinobi no Ie or 忍びの家 House of Ninjas). It’s a thriller, drama, and action series that also has elements of crime and mystery. Overall, the very character-driven storyline of this series has a lot more heart than I ever dared expect.

At its core, this Netflix series asks the question: What if Ninjas were still undertaking missions in modern society to protect Japan? Just as they’ve done throughout history. The story takes place in today’s Japan and focuses on the Tawara family. They are the last ninjas but have recently retired. Now, a crisis calls the family back into action.

Look, I grew up watching Karate Kid and also various Jean-Claude Van Damme movies, so I love martial arts movies. That’s probably why I expected this new Japanese series would be entertaining and fun to watch. I just didn’t expect that it would also get so deep and work with family dynamics. All 8 episodes were watched for this review!

Continue reading our House of Ninjas season 1 review below. Find the series on Netflix from February 15, 2024.

The legendary Tawara ninja family

In House of Ninjas, we meet the Tawara family which is a legendary ninja family. After a mission six years earlier, where they lost their oldest son in battle, the Tawara family decided to abandon their ninja duties. Instead, they want to live a normal life among regular people.

Before long, however, it becomes clear to us as viewers that most of the family members are missing their missions. They end up using their Ninja skills in their everyday life. Maybe even doing things they shouldn’t. Just to stay sharp!

The family now consists of the lead character Haru (Kento Kaku), his father Souichi Tawara (Yosuke Eguchi), his mother Yoko Tawara (Tae Kimura), his younger sister Nagi Tawara (Aju Makita) and his grandmother Taki Tawara (Nobuko Miyamoto). Also, we see his older brother Gaku Tawara (Kengo Kora) in many flashbacks.

Finally, there’s the youngest family member, Riku Tawara (Tenta Banka), who is only eight years old and has no memory of their ninja ways. However, he does wonder why their house is so much bigger on the outside than on the inside. And how come his grandmother is so insanely fast and quiet when moving around the house?!

Pulled back in after a mass poisoning

The Tawara family may be in mourning, but they’re also bound by duty. When a mass poisoning incident on a cruise ship takes place, the world needs the help of ninjas. Majin Hamashi (Tomorowo Taguchi) is their contact at the secret organization BNM (Bureau of Ninja Management) and he reaches out to the Tawara family for help.

At first, the patriarch Souichi Tawara refuses to get involved to avoid more danger for his family. However, other family members do get involved – both to help and because they missed being Ninjas. The BNM is in place to protect Japan from danger, and most of them want to help when called upon.

Coming in from the sideline, we also see magazine reporter Karen Ito (Riho Yoshioka). She’s very interested in the mission that took place six years ago and knows the Tawara family must have answers.

House of Ninjas – Review | Netflix Thriller-Action Series

Not Ninjas, but Shinobis!

It’s a running joke in this series with the full title of Shinobi no Ie: House of Ninjas that you really shouldn’t call them Ninjas. They’re Shinobis and it’s something they’re proud of. After all, the ninjas, sorry, the Shinobis come from a long line of fighters. Clans that go back centuries and have helped keep Japan safe at the worst of times.

Unfortunately, it does seem like they may also be exploited in the current climate. It’s difficult to figure out exactly how, why, and by whom. However, they are sent on missions with no background info and have been taught not to question anything. This is obviously dangerous as they may be used for bad as well as good.

When season 1 of House of Ninjas ends, we know more, but still not everything. Not even close. We do, however, know that the Shinobis have many rules to follow. Both in terms of what they can eat, who they can love and live with, as well as having to follow orders.

Ironically, the orders for the Shinobis come from a secret organization called BNM which is short for Bureau of Ninja Management. As I said, it’s a running joke that Ninja and Shinobi is used interchangeably, though the Shinobi definitely do not want to be called Ninjas.

Will there be a season 2 of House of Ninjas?

I think most people will be waiting for word that we’ll get a House of Ninjas season 2 when episode 8 ends. Sure, this Japanese Netflix series could end after just one season. However, the ending of House of Ninjas season 1 definitely leaves plenty of room for a second season.

In fact, it feels like the eight episodes in season 1 are just laying the groundwork for what will happen in season 2.

A second season of Shinobi no Ie: House of Ninjas could pick up where this first season left off. Or it could even do a time jump to really sink its teeth into a Japan that looks different from what we’re introduced to in these eight episodes.

Whatever the case may be, I just really want more episodes of Shinobi no Ie: House of Ninjas. I for one am keeping my fingers crossed for a season 2 to be greenlit by Netflix. Preferably sooner rather than later!

Watch season 1 of Shinobi no Ie: House of Ninjas on Netflix

The creator of House of Ninjas is Dave Boyle, and he based it on a story by writers Takafumi Imai, Yoshiaki Murao, and lead actor Kento Kaku. Yes, the star of the series also contributed to the original story. This may help explain the breathtaking intensity he delivers in his portrayal. Also, he is a producer on the series – his producer debut.

On top of being the developer of this Netflix production, Dave Boyle is also a director of episodes in the series. Previously, Dave Boyle has written and directed several movies – including Man from Reno and White on Rice. Also, he directed an episode of the genre anthology series Dimension 404.

Again, I’m not sure what I expected from House of Ninjas, but I can tell you that it delivered so much more. It’s extremely binge-worthy, character-driven (by awesome fleshed-out characters), and has a gorgeous production design. Do not miss out on this new Netflix series. And don’t call them Ninjas. They’re Shinobis!

Shinobi no Ie: House of Ninjas is on Netflix from February 15, 2024.


Director: Dave Boyle
Writers: Dave Boyle, Masahiro Yamaura, Kota Oura, Kanna Kimura
Story: Kento Kaku, Yoshiaki Murao, Takafumi Imai
Cast: Kento Kaku, Yosuke Eguchi, Tae Kimura, Kengo Kora, Aju Makita, Riho Yoshioka, Nobuko Miyamoto, Tomorowo Taguchi, Tokio Emoto, Pierre Taki, Kyusaku Shimada, Mariko Tsutsui, Tenta Banka


Years after retiring from their formidable ninja lives, a dysfunctional family must return to shadowy missions to counteract a string of looming threats.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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