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The masters of invisibility and deception.

"Word of advice. White isn't a good color for stealth."

The result of Mook Chivalry when applied to Ninja.

While suffering from the law of Conservation of Ninjutsu, Ninja Mooks not only forget how to fight properly and how to take advantage of their superior numbers, they also forget what a ninja is.

Back at the dojo, didn't their sensei explain that the whole point is to be stealthy, secretive, even invisible? Why do they suddenly feel the need to appear in stereotyped kabuki-theater stagehand costumes in broad daylight, yell "Kiai!" as loudly as possible, and perform gymnastics and twirl their weapons like they're putting on a show? Even worse, they feel the need to do these things from a distance of about fifty meters, even when they know the enemy have guns (though this isn't always a problem).

The real reason is the works need to make sure the audience sees the ninja. There's also this funny paradox: ninja are assassins. Assassins traditionally killed people through underhanded methods — stabbing In the Back, poisoning, etc. — not direct battle. Not only is this not honorable, it's not as exciting as a full fledged fight. Heroic ninja don't resort to this, while villainous ones still need to entertain the viewers.

Typically the justification for visible assassins are that if you can actually see the ninja, then you're either going to die soon, or you are a Worthy Opponent. There is also Truth in Television at work here, since, historically, ninja rarely ever wore black garb when looking like a commoner or somebody else more uninteresting would be easier. After all, if you're caught doing something suspicious as a commoner, you can probably pull a satisfactory explanation out of your ass or blend into a crowd if a chase starts. If you're caught wearing stereotypical ninja garb while doing something suspicious, the enemy isn't going to wait for an explanation.

The Theme Park Version of ninja. Often seen in McNinja. See Highly-Conspicuous Uniform for the military version of this trope. Contrast with Technicolor Ninjas, who are stealthy despite their brightly-colored outfits (and whom any surviving Highly-Visible Ninja may eventually become).

Examples of Highly-Visible Ninja include:

Anime & Manga

  • Quite a few members of the cast of Naruto. Even ignoring the title character's road cone-orange wardrobe, it sometimes seems ninjutsu in the Naruto universe is less about stealth than showing off flashy, awe-inspiring jutsu. To be fair, they also have a range of supernatural powers that allow for deception and stealth in spite of all that, such as illusions, teleportation, and clones amongst other things.
    • There are "real" ninjas in the form of the ANBU Black Ops and their equivalents in other villages, who hide their faces behind masks (also hiding their headbands of allegiance) and specialize in espionage and assassination.
      • The fact that these guys are the red shirts of the Naruto universe goes to show how much the mangaka holds actual ninjas in esteem.
  • Black ☆ Star from Soul Eater not only calls his attacks out, but also screams loudly before he enters a scene. "YA-HOOOOOOOO" indeed. All while his Empathic Weapon Tsubaki reminds him that he's supposed to be stealthy.


    • Although he can be stealthy when he needs to, as we see at the end of his prolog. He just has to be stealthy in a flashy way.
  • Played straight and lampshaded in the early chapters of Nabari no Ou but then dumped in favor of ninjas who could actually sneak around and kill people in good disguises.
    • Played with, too.
    • "I mean, seriously, what kind of shinobi would we be if we allowed our hidden village to be seen by everyone in the outside world?"
  • Ninja Master Gara from Bastard!!. Not only is he a 7'7, 320lbs man, but he also throws shurikens the size of an aircraft tire and wields Murasame, a legendary 2-metre-long katana. He also has a knack for making long, drawn out speeches before a fight (so drawn out his allies don't even wait for him to finish and attack their opponent before he's done) and later in the story he gains a bunch of overpowered light based abilities. Not very stealthy.
  • Subverted by Ranma ½'s Konatsu the Kunoichi. Even though his uniform is bright red, he's incredibly stealthy, surprising even the most sensitive martial arts masters in the series.
    • Also subverted, surprisingly enough, by Sasuke, who despite his cringingly obvious ninja outfit often manages to be incredibly stealthy even though he's totally incompetent at anything else.
  • Ninja Ninja in Afro Samurai is loud-mouthed and ridiculously visible (although he's somewhat stealthy in the second episode, hiding in the rafters of a house), especially considering that he's hanging out with a samurai who kills everyone he meets. But then, he's a hallucination anyways.
  • In New Getter Robo, the main characters are attacked by a ninja Oni. Doesn't sound so bad at first, but since the protagonists are Humongous Mecha pilots, and said Oni is around 200 feet tall...
  • Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo has Bougainvillea and Mintao. They seem like semi-regular ninjas at first, complete with identity-concealing masks... until they discover Itsuki Kannagi's apparently dead body and completely freak out, at which point the masks come off (fall off, actually) and never get put on again, and the two become comic relief characters.
  • The title character of Ninin ga Shinobuden wears pink. The only time she even attempts to be stealthy is in the first episode when she fails to make herself invisible when sneaking into Kaede's house, leading to a You Can See Me? moment.
  • In Rurouni Kenshin, the Kyoto owanibanshuu under the leadership of Misao's grandfather has gone more or less public, winning the support of the townspeople.
  • In Ninja Senshi Tobikage, you have robots designed as after ninjas. Somehow they can pull off the stealth, though.
  • Sayoko in Code Geass, whose ninja outfit is pink, white and has a flowing scarf.
  • Flame of Recca, anyone? The main characters are supposed to be ninjas. They are also as Hot-Blooded as someone can be, and start the final battle by throwing fireworks. Right in front of the Big Bad's fortress. Now that's highly visible.
  • Surprisingly lampshaded in Pokémon, of all things. In episode 32, The Ninja Poké-Showdown, Misty asks Aya (a supposed ninja clad in bright pink), "Don't you think that color is a little bright for a ninja?"
    • Lampshaded again in another episode where Jessie and Meowth sneak into the home of James' wealthy parents while disguised in "invisibility suits" (basically kabuki stagehand outfits, which are the basis for ninja outfits) confident their ploy was working because nobody seemed to notice them. But as it turned James' folks weren't fooled for an instance.
  • Soi Fon from Bleach is actually a good ninja who gets the drop on AIZEN at one point, but her bankai... isn't, something that she expresses annoyance about. Its a cruise missile that is bigger than she is.
  • In Shina Dark there's Hajime. Seriously, is she even trying?
  • The various Musha-themed SD Gundam series usually have at least one. SD Gundam Force's Cobramaru is purple, though it's at least a very subdued shade and the flamboyant cobra headdress he wears is removeable, though the massproduction Cobramaru line that shows up later come in a rainbow of riddiculous colours. Onmitsu Gundam from the classic Sengokuden OAV shorts also has a very visible paintjob, but he at least makes an effort to stay out of his enemies sight untill he's ready to strike.
  • In La Blue Girl, the kunoichi tend to wear very flashy (and Stripperific!) outfits. (Kind of justified, as it is a Hentai, after all.) Miko's includes a large pink bow...which acts as a seal for her most powerful technique.
  • Science Ninja Team Gatchaman and all its attendant spin-offs, though they could represent an Unbuilt Trope, as they're one of the earliest examples. They're ninja superheroes, each wearing the traditional bright skin-tight outfit of The Cape (except for The Lancer), but they're incredibly stealthy for all that. They even go undercover in disguise sometimes (y'know, like real ninja), and it even works sometimes. Still, when it's time to do that superhero thing, they fly around in their flashy outfits and beat the crap out of the eight million Mooks working for the Big Bad.
  • The Maniwa Corps from Katanagatari, who all wear highly colourful and decorative animal-themed outfits, makeup and hairstyles.
  • Digimon Xros Wars seems to have a thing for ninja characters, all of whom are highly visible. The Monitamon are recon experts, but with heads consisting of enormous CRT televisions you have to wonder how. Similarly, there's Tuwarmon, a combat-oriented ninja Digimon... who's enormous and coloured bright yellow.

Comic Books

  • Ninjette from Empowered. Girlfriend, if the shuriken-themed headband, necklace, earrings, and navel-ring were not bad enough, wearing short-shorts with "NINJETTE" printed across the seat is a bit of a red flag. Of course she noted that her look was at least in part to tick off her father and the squad that eventually tried to haul her back to her New Jersey clan were rather more subtle.
    • The t-shirt she occasionally wore that said "Ninja Princess" might just have been Refuge in Audacity. Might.
    • Ninjette is actually very good at disguising herself (one character noted she had consummated someone else's wedding night while disguised as the groom). So she is a competent ninja disguised as a Highly-Visible Ninja.
  • Ghost Rider villain Deathwatch had an army of red-clad ninjas. Somewhat justified in that they were actually just street thugs who he'd picked up and had trained.
  • 'The Hand' from Marvel Comics. A secretive cult of ninjas into all sorts of evil stuff. They run the gamut of ninja cliches but in one instance, they subvert this trope by walking around in broad daylight as accountants. Which, considering The Hand, they probably are.
  • Elektra, Daredevil and their (now dead) teachers prefer bright red (or bright white) costumes.
    • It can depend on the colorist how "bright" the actual costumes are, with Daredevil's grittier series portraying it as almost oxblood at times. This would make more sense for his crime-fighting largely including night missions (since he's got the lawyer day job and all), as it's much harder for the human eye to see dark red in low-light or dark conditions.
    • Frank Miller likes this trope. Miho from Sin City wears a pretty standard kimono which stands out quite a bit in an urban setting. According to the coloration on the covers, she wears red, usually.
  • Many of the ninja in the G.I. Joe comic book series (and related media) wear bright, primary or even neon colors (like most of the trained fighters). Of course, the most famous ninja, Snake-Eyes, is all in black (some of his costumes even give him drab grays and greens). Weirdly, during the late-series Retool of the comics where it was retailed as GI Joe Starring Snake-Eyes With Ninja Force, his suit started off with a bright blue vest over the charcoal-gray suit underneath (this was eventuallychanged).
    • Aside from his all white look, Storm Shadow also sported (in the comics and toys) a white outfit with random, grey Tetris-like blocks on it, allegedly for camo...?
    • Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow were still luckier than the other "Ninja Force" characters, as shown here. Yes, that's a ninja wearing lavender and bright blue...
  • The Marvel Comics character Night Thrasher and related ninja in his oh-so-weird life tend to wear black armor plating... with -red- highlights.
    • In-canon the armor (and colors) are based on those worn by a group of ceremonial temple guardians from Vietnam. Thrash's colors are actually a more subdued version.
  • Anna Feeple from Ninja High School is one of the top five ranked ninjas in the world, kicks ass on a regular basis, and does housework in her gi. Given that she's also a Hot Mom, nobody's complaining.
  • As shown in the picture above, parodied to the point of ludicrousness in the original comic of The Tick. Note that they literally were The Theme Park Version of ninjas (as in, they were based in a ninja franchise that developed a theme park).

Fan Fic

  • Dreaming of Sunshine Plays with this. Shikako notes that wearing clothes that are good for stealth is less important than blending in with a civilian population.
  • In Thirty H's the surf ninjas from Surf Ninja Moon X, silent killers of the night negate their innate advantage by only plying their craft on surf boards. During the day.
  • In The Omakeer's Teen Titans: Earth, Blood, and Shade, Robin tells Raven why a throwing star is in his back as:

  Robin: And to answer your next question, twenty guys in florescent green ninja costumes seemed to think it was a good idea to rob the bank at five in the morning. One of them managed to get a lucky shot in.

    • Raven immediately lampshades the fact ninjas are supposed to be invisible, only for Robin to reply that he's "seen worse ideas".


  • Most 80s movies with "Ninja" in the title, especially the American Ninja series and any ninja movie from Joseph Lai and Godfrey Ho.
    • Oh, the American Ninja movies... At least some of them have brains enough to use some degree of stealth, but the majority are less stealthy than the bikers the Big Bad hires as extra mooks!
  • Lampshaded in the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie:

 Splinter: Were you seen?

Leonardo: Of course not, Master Splinter.

Donatello: We practiced ninja.

Michaelangelo: The art of invisibility.

Splinter: (holds up newspaper with a picture of the Turtles on the front page) Practice harder.

    • Earlier in the movie, they absolutely panic when April's apartment is visited by Keno the pizza boy, who had not only already figured out they lived there, but also had no trouble finding their "hiding" places. This is even more embarrassing when compared to the first movie, when April's boss and his son visit her apartment, and the Turtles reveal that they're skilled at vanishing at a moment's notice.

 April: Can you guys-- (turns around, finding that the Turtles who were just waking up and standing next to her are already gone) --hide?

    • Also occurs in one of the Ninja Turtles video games. Splinter explains that they must move silently and invisibly. Is the player in for Metal Gear Solid type stealth? No, the game is a standard Beat'Em Up in which the heroes walk through the streets in full view, beating enemies up.
    • In the comics, they tended to actually act like ninja. In the arc when they infiltrate TCRI, they sneak into the building, spoofing cameras and using card spoofers and suchlike. When they're in a lounge and two employees walk through, they don't notice anything. Then we see the reverse angle with turtles hiding behind couches, plants, etc. After the employees leave and the turtles come out, one asks the other where Mike is. "On the light, where else?" Mike then bounces off a chair to the ground, on his way down from the lightshade which could not possibly support a 150 lb turtle)

 Pretty sweet, huh?

  • Spies Like Us: In the woods at night, they turn on floodlights, so that they can show off better! Then, when the Scary Black Man general wants to show how tough he is, they obligingly rush him one at a time.
    • Meaning either that the "ninjas" were under Colonel Rhombus' employ from the start, or -the less logical but more entertaining explanation- they were just a pack of wild ninjas roaming the forest with a portable floodlight setup.
  • Spoofed in Surf Ninjas, in which Rob Schneider's character comments sarcastically on how the ninja's camouflage uniforms really give them a "chameleon-like ability to blend in with their surroundings."
  • In Lady Ninja: Reflections in Darkness, the female ninja wear (or almost wear, as the case may be) brightly coloured Stripperiffic ninja outfits.
  • The "evil" ninja in Three Ninjas. I'll leave it to the Nostalgia Critic to explain. "You're only supposed to wear [ninja outfits] in the dark, you morons!"
    • High Noon at Mega Mountain takes this to a whole new level - three men called "Big Dawgs" chase Colt and Tum Tum to the set of a Western play. The Big Dawgs actually take off their clothing to reveal their ninja outfits underneath! In the middle of the day, and in plain sight of the kids, too! Subverted, however, late in the movie, where the boys are appropriately fighting off ninjas in a dark basement.
  • Played straight and subverted in Beverly Hills Ninja starring the late Chris Farley. While Haru (Farley) is absolutely terrible at blending in, his brothers are exceptional at coming up with concealing outfits, usually in a truly mind-bending way (living statues makeup, costume pieces that create a misdirecting outer shell). They only wear black uniforms in night exercises or for ceremonial purposes.
  • Full Metal Ninja has a ninja with a pink uniform and other brightly colored ninjas who wear a bandana that says NINJA on their foreheads.
  • Ninja Assassin. Ryu Hayabusa would be proud. Also averted, however, as the enemy ninjas do take advantage of darkness and surprise at times. When they lose those advantages and need to fight soldiers with automatic weapons...
  • Cheerleader Ninja. Yeah. "By popular demand!"
  • Ali G Indahouse - the rival gangsmassivs get together to raid Chequers, wearing trainers and day-glo camouflage gear.
  • In one of the first major film appearances of ninjas in the popular media, a James Bond film titled You Only Live Twice, the ninjas actually DO dress in appropriate camoflage. When infiltrating a rocky basin, they are all wearing grey outfits that let them blend in perfectly with the gray rocks. These are more "practical" modern ninjas, though; they use guns, for example.
    • Not only that, but in order to get near the volcano lair, they have to infiltrate the island first, which they do disguised as local fishermen. Presumably, more than a few of them might go even further and bring along fake wives, which Bond does.
    • In the novel, Bond doesn't use a gun only because he wants to be silent. He uses makeup and appropriate clothing to pretend to be a gardener.
  • Ninja Cheerleaders (not to be confused with Cheerleader Ninjas) has this, up to the point where they get arrested in the end. However, it's Handwaved at the beginning, which shows them getting the title of Ninja (also a handy explanation for why they suck so badly at swordfighting).
  • The Ninja Squad. In this scene both ninjas in the fight wear headbands that say ninja on them.
  • Averted and then played terribly straight in Sam Peckinpah's The Killer Elite. In the climax, the heroes have a Battle Royale with a team of ninja assassins who are all dressed in gunmetal grey robes, the same color as the hull of the derelict battleship on which they had laid out an ambush. But then the head ninja appears, and he's wearing the stereotypical black robes that make him stick out like a sore thumb.
  • Kanzo Hattori plays this trope straight in Nin x Nin. While he does try to hide, he doesn't quite pull it off. Partly justified in that one of the main characters is blind.


  • Averted in Discworld's Night Watch, where a young Vetinari is able to assassinate the Patrican by shunning the traditional, stylish (and comparatively conspicuous) assassins' black for green paint and tiger stripes. However, he still carries the black for the final inhumation (like exhumation but before you're dead) as it would be terrible form not to.
    • Not only does he wear black, but he walks up to the guy in the middle of a brightly lit room. Of course, since nearly everyone's in on the conspiracy this isn't half as stupid as it would be in other circumstances.
    • The point of the outfit was that it was the firing of a Chekhov's Gun from earlier in the book, where the young Vetinari had been reading about camouflage in the wild. The facepaint would have been to dull the shine from his skin, whilst the tiger stripes would have been to make him look like a blur from a distance. It's pointed out that members of the Assassin's Guild wear black during missions, despite the fact that it is often more visible than other colors. In fact, the Assassin's Guild, being "gentlemen", adhere to a number of rules which are inefficient. Commander Vimes mentions that they seem to always try to kill him at his booby-trapped home, refusing to easily shoot him down in the street "like a common criminal". Vetinari is the exception, in that he will wear gray rather than black because it actually blends in better; he cares about results, not image.
    • Vetinari also failed his camouflage classes in the School of Assassins, because the teacher marked him as absent for every lecture, having never seen him in class. Consider that for a second.
    • Not a ninja, but Hogfather featured a safecracker who always got away from crime scenes without being arrested, simply because he A) dressed neatly, B) maintained a businesslike demeanor, and C) always walked a block or two from the place he'd robbed, then turned around and walked right past it again, as if he'd been approaching from the other direction. Being Highly Visible was the whole point!
    • Lu-tse is the ultimate ninja. In the guise of a humble sweeper he goes everywhere unchallenged and unnoticed.
  • In one of the "Samurai Cat" books by Mark Rogers (no relation to the Samurai Pizza Cats), Tomokato faces a Hollywood Ninja (seriously, that's his name) who insists on wearing white when in an underground dungeon and black during the day. He uses a ridiculously long sword that takes a full minute to draw. He's also a blonde blue-eyed white guy under the mask, possibly a jab at Michael Dudikoff.
  • Justified in Another Fine Myth, in which the distinctive Guild cloak worn by a professional Assassin's Guild member is found to be double-sided and reversible. The assassin is presumed to wear it dull-side-out when sneaking up on his target, and only switch to the Highly Visible side when he's got his target cornered and no longer needs to be stealthy.
  • the children's book "Wink, the Ninja Who Wanted To Be Noticed"

Live Action TV

  • Deadliest Warrior had an episode pitching a Ninja against a Spartan, the dramatized battle of which happened in the open in broad daylight. However, the show then lampshades this; the ninja representative points out that, in real life, the ninja would see the heavily armored Spartan, hide until wall of bronze goes away, and then kill him later that night while he was sleeping. Also, the fight as shown was admittedly much cooler.
  • The two "ninja competitions" seen in the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (one which was used as a vehicle to get Jason and Tommy to work together, the other used to introduce the first replacement Rangers) seem to be just regular martial arts tournaments, except one or both sides are dressed in stereotypical ninja costumes.

  "Because nothing says covert like bright red, yellow and blue spandex."

  • In the Lonelygirl15 video "My School Project" - actually Danielbeast's school project, "When Ninjas Attack" - two highly visible ninja sneak stealthily into a house... then stand in the kitchen drinking water until they get spotted.
  • Dara O'Briain has a stab at taking the mick during his "Talks Funny" tour - Albeit a bit unintentionally... ( Y 7 GODI 5 Dw&feature=related You're looking for about the 7:00 mark)

Tabletop Games

  • Hilariously played with in Legend of the Five Rings. The Scorpion Clan employs black-garbed, shuriken-throwing ninjas in assassination attempts... as a tool of distraction and confusion. Guards and investigators are of course drawn to chase after the stealthy yet obviously up-to-no-good infiltrators in the black pajamas. Meanwhile, as the "ninjas" make a distraction, the real shinobi on the scene (who has probably spent a month or more posing as a courtesan/guard/farmer/doctor/whatever and positioning themselves perfectly for their objective) accomplishes whatever actual wetwork needs doing while everyone is busy.
    • In fact, the act of being a Highly-Visible Ninja is called The Gauntlet by the Scorpions, and is essentially the rite of passage for anyone who wants to become a shinobi - first you spend a year bouncing around in black pajamas, confusing people and looking like a grand idiot (and still managing to be sneaky... somehow). Survive that and then you're worthy to learn how to do it properly.
    • Then there was Matsu Hiroru, a ninja assassin trained by the Kolat to be their secret weapon. His original card artwork showed him in an all-white ninja suit - which would have been this trope or even a Technicolor Ninja, if it weren't for the fact that he was blending in perfectly with the white stone wall behind him. Later appearances had him always wearing pure white and doing rather little sneaking, which would seem to be playing this trope rather straight. But then later sourcebooks for the RPG explained that his white gi was actually a special gift from the Kolat that allowed him to magically blend in with his surroundings like a chameleon.
  • Space Marines from Warhammer 40000 take pride in their chapter colours to Honor Before Reason levels, with the overwhelming majority of them refusing to wear camouflage, resulting in things like the yellow-clad Imperial Fist marines trying to Infiltrate, The latest scout models justify this by having the bright yellow scouts come with camo cloaks that can cover them.
    • The Tau stealthsuit can be painted bright purple without negatively affecting its stealth. Of course, it does have a cloaking field...
    • And then there's the Blood Axes, an Ork clan. While camouflage is generally considered un-orky, they manage a decidedly orkish approach anyway: Since camouflage is good, more camouflage has obviously got to be better. And since camouflage is based on the enemy seeing the camouflage's colours instead of yours, the effect can be improved by using clashing colours so the enemy can see how well-camouflaged you are from farther away!
    • Considering one of the space marine's mottoes are 'camouflage is the color of cowardice' this isn't too surprising.
    • Bright purple is also considered to be the stealthiest of all colors by Orks, since when was the last time you saw a purple army? This being the Orks, it actually works.
    • It seems like the Striking Scorpions (Eldar ninja units) and Harlequins (Other Eldar ninja units) would be very easy to spot with their bright green/checkered uniforms, but the Scorpions are so good at hiding it doesn't really matter and the Harlequins have displacement fields that make them look like they are a few feet away from their actual location.
    • The game does contain many aversions, however. Imperial Guard almost always wear camouflage designed for their combat theater (and some other armies do as well, especially Tau), the Imperium's Assassins all are completely dressed in black
  • The grand prize for this trope goes to the bio-engineered ninja of the Shadow Sun Syndicate in Monsterpocalypse. How visible are the ninja? As soon as a fight breaks out, they suddenly become the size of buildings. The Zor-Raiden and Zor-Maxim reach sixty feet tall.
  • In Scion, there are titanspawn called shinobi. Their job is to Zerg Rush you. They do have a power that lets them hide in the shadows, but unless they're stronger than average, they can only use it once an encounter.
  • D&D provides no penalties to Hide checks for wearing bright pink.
    • An issue of Dragon Magazine introduced elemental-based ninja variants, one of which was the fire ninja. The text noted that while a flashy ninja seemed counterproductive, it doesn't matter whether you turn invisible or blind your opponent with flashes of light — the end result is the same.
    • The Complete Ninja's Handbook among "other organizations" has Her Majesty's Ministry of Intelligence who operate with panache. The explaination is that some rulers get it and some don't, so they intentionally train agents to act in the daredevil style. Because the more agents' exploits entertain the current monarch, the better their funding is.
  • Ninja Burger, a series of games about ninja delivering hamburgers, has as their prime protagonists the "white ninjas", legendary masters of stealth that dress in bright obvious white suits.
    • The ninja burger ninjas themselves aren't exactly in modern camo either.
  • Warhammer has an Ogre Ninja model. An ogre. As in, a thing large enough to swallow a horse!
    • It's a man-eater, a mercenary that adopts ways to fight from the culture it fights with and is a highly elite type of unit. You might laugh at the disguise but big things can be stealthy. Otherwise the game averts this as Skaven and Darkelf assasins wear dark clothing and disguises and the opponent won't find them before it's too late.
    • Some Skaven manage to invoke the trope effectively. The Skaven will always be visible on the board throughout the entire game, but he looks just like all the other regular Skaven, so the opponent won't know he is there until he attacks a unit far more effectively than a normal Skaven.
  • Possibly inspired by the "Ogre Ninja" from the Ogre board game published by Steve Jackson Games. It's a stealth tank which just happens to be the size of a warehouse, with a lot of ECM...
  • Munchkin Fu has the Robot Ninja, a 50-foot tall Humongous Mecha who is also a Ninja. It snuck up on you... Somehow. It even gets bonuses against fellow ninjas; presumably they're too ashamed to be associated with it to fight properly.
    • The original Munchkin features the Giant Ninja who "squishes you very quietly".
  • Crystal Chameleon Style Martial Arts in Exalted are a variation on this, which got the style dubbed Disco Ninja Style on the forum- they avoid the usual Exalted issue that Power Glows by making it into a blinding psychedelic lightshow. You know there's a Crystal Chameleon Stylist around somewhere, but not where they are...
  • There are very few ninja in Magic: The Gathering, but the ones that exist tend to go back and forth on this. Ink Eyes, Servant of Oni, on the other hand, is an especially notable example of this trope. There is absolutely no way that outfit can be considered in any way stealthy, especially with chalk white fur.


  • In Assassin's Creed the playable Assassins wear distinctive white hooded robes that hide their face at certain angles but are still fairly easy to pick out in a crowd. That, combined with all the blades that they carry around in plain sight, makes it a wonder why they are not instantly spotted by every guard that lays eyes on them.
    • Also, Altaïr and Ezio both have the options of doing low-profile assassinations (walking slowly to the target, than stabbing them quietly in the back or chest), which are sometimes difficult to pull off, or high-profile assassinations (usually either jumping down on the target or taking a nice running start towards them). The latter tend to be highly visible, and attracting a LOT of attention.
    • For the Assassins the aim is to get close to their target stealthily, usually in public, to perform some sort of awe-inspiring assassinations. The greatest illusion from a successful assassination is, an Assassin seemingly materializes from nowhere, kills a corrupt public figure, and promptly vanishes into the depth of the crowd or environment. If an Assassin is spotted stalking their target, the supernatural effect is diluted, it is a form of psychological warfare to make the Assassin order seem more imposing by sending a message to their other targets and the people. It doesn't always go off that way, sometimes a more stealthy assasination is needed, but that's why they have the option.
      • This was the Order's MO in Altaïr's time: by the Renaissance, Altaïr had transformed the Assassins into a more covert organisation. By 2012 they operate entirely in small cells.
      • Revelations suggests that it's a regional thing, as while Ezio essentially instituted the uniforms in Rome, the rank-and-file Assassins under Yusef Tazim in Constantinople wear stylized white uniforms, and the Ottoman Assassins have a different Assassin logo. In contrast, Embers introduces Shao Jun wearing a black outfit that itself suggests ninja, but all other depictions of Assassins in China (i.e. Wei Yu in the second game, or Fang Xiaoru in a Revelations-related Facebook game) have shown them in "civilian" robes.
    • In Brotherhoods multiplayer modes you can take this route by running about and climbing walls. However, the game rewards you with more points for killing your target without blowing your cover. Doing this sort of stuff, which NPCs do not do, is a quick way to give yourself away. Furthermore, performing High Profile actions while having line of sight to your target will quickly result in the game automatically tipping your target off even if s/he was not actively looking out for you.
      • Conversely, in Revelations multiplayer, the higher your stealth meter (based on how long you spend stalking a target), the quicker and less overt your melee kill animation; at Discrete your character may hack at his or her target quickly, at Incognito it's a quick and quiet stab of a hidden blade.
    • Worth pointing out is that the gameplay is itself gameplay in universe - the inconsistencies of stealth are representations or representations of the memories of Altair and Ezio. Since memories don't tend to include every detail - the exact outfit worn, for example, the Animus would have little to go on. Add to that the fact that the Animus itself would be simplifying things to be viewed/played/lived by Desmond, and the game simplifies things... it's unsurprising that the stealth isn't 100% believable.
  • Alpha Protocol 's advanced stealth armor is... shiny. This can lead to unintentional hilarity, since some characters make comments about what you choose to wear.
  • Splinter Cell 's Sam Fisher. He is a master of stealth (Almost as ninja-as-can-be without actually being one) who stalks the shadows and hides in the dark.. wearing a three-lensed visor unit that glows green. Enemies never notice that, though.
    • The visor doesn't actually glow, it just does that as a guide for the player (and because it looks cool).
      • While ambiguous in the singleplayer mode, this can be observed in the multiplayer mode of Pandora Tomorrow and Chaos Theory, in which a Spy hiding in or against a full shadow, not using any gear and not moving (to prevent both EM detection and motion detection) is perfectly invisible, despite his suit sporting glows visible for himself and his team mate.
  • Most 80s video games with ninja villains, especially Bad Dudes vs. Dragoninja.
  • All the ninjas of Ninja Town especially the Anti Ninja.
  • Joe Musashi in every Shinobi that came after the original arcade game. It seems difficult for a ninja to blend in when he's decked out in high-contrast red and white pajamas (not that he ever really tries to), let alone when he's walking around with his Ninja Dog in tow. His contemporaries also have an impractically loud fashion sense: Hibana wears a red-and-white ensemble similar to his own (that has giant pink contrails flowing from it) , while Hotsuma wears spiky black armor topped with a bright red scarf that's thirty feet long.
    • Hotsuma at least has the excuse that he's armed with a sword that routinely glows bright red, so concealment isn't much of an option. This doesn't do anything to explain the Oboro clan's routine use of ridiculous colours among their rank and file mooks, some of whom are wearing bright orange outfits.
    • Even in the arcade game, Joe was hardly trying to blend in; he was waltzing around in broad daylight.
      • None of the enemy ninja in the first three games are particularly difficult to spot either. Shinobi III had a few somewhat hidden enemies, but this was usually due to them hiding behind layers, as opposed to effectively camouflaged character designs.
  • Ninja Gaiden's Ryu Hayabusa fights in the open with a wide variety of impractical-for-stealth weapons, pulling off moves that are flashy and all-too-obvious, including casting spells where he stands still while fire or electricity swirls around him. In fact, some fans have reportedly called him more of a samurai than a ninja. Probably not too much of a falsehood.
    • It might also be added that even though Ryu might sort of at least dress in the black pajamas, even if he WAS somewhat stealthy in his actions,following where he's been would not be a difficult thing to do.
      • On the other hand, if there are no surviving witnesses within a several mile radius. . .
    • Best one has to be when he apparently gets a ticket for an airship, rides in the airship, and is seen in his cabin reading a magazine... ALL IN HIS NINJA OUTFIT!
    • Though it could be said that since Ryu isn't really a ninja, but a SUPER Ninja (as stated in the DOA 3 manual), he doesn't need to follow traditional ninja rules.
    • In the original games, he wore a pastel blue Ninja outfit in broad daylight.
  • While we're on the subject of Team Ninja games, none of the "ninja" in their Dead or Alive series seems all that eager to avoid notice (not just Ryu).
  • Rikimaru from the Tenchu series typically has no problem hiding from his enemies, though you'd think he might have an easier time about if he'd cover up his BRIGHT WHITE HAIR!
    • In part 2, his outfit was green.
    • Averted in Tenchu Z, where you can wear a 'traditional' ninja outfit with a mask and everything. Or you can wear a real traditional ninja outfit and make yourself look something like a farmer. Or you can run around in a loincloth. None of these make you any easier or harder to spot.
  • Mai Shiranui from Fatal Fury. Come on, she's practically half-naked as well as *really* well-stacked. And in fact, in the SNK vs. Capcom series, several characters call out on her (namely Ryu, Ken, and Chun-Li) in their introduction dialogues. Ultimately, even SNK has made fun of this: Maximum Impact 2 has Hattori Hanzo as a playable character, and when he faces Mai, their intro has him question what the hell has happened to ninjitsu since his day.
    • At least one Fan Fiction presented the theory that the whole Stripperiffic "nimbo" persona was a form of hiding in plain sight. Anyone who hears she is a ninja, or sees her at all, would dismiss her as a bad joke until she caves in his head.
      • Also, like anybody is going to be looking at Ms. Gainax's face in that outfit.
    • Fan fascination with Mai has prevented mention of the much more obvious Andy Bogard, who wears mostly white and doesn't even tie back his long blond hair.
    • Maximum Impact 2 also introduced Nagase, "The Ninja Computer Geek", who dresses in what can best be described as a bright yellow J-pop bumblebee dress. However the trope is justified in that Nagase has no intention of being stuck in the shadows all her life: she wants to become famous.
    • Yeah, the "fanservice ninja" thing seems to fit Sheena Fujibayashi pretty well, too.
    • The Tales of Phantasia counterpart of Sheena, Suzu Fujibayashi isn't a fanservice ninja girl. But that doesn't take away the fact that she wears a bright red outfit along with a bright Yellow scarf.
    • To be honest Mai seems more like the Kuniochi types aka seduce your foes then burn/cut/maim them minus the kill yourself part their kin is known of
    • Similar case with Taki from Soul Calibur. She wears a red skintight suit and jumps around screaming a lot. But then again it might be hard to spot the ninja hiding behind those enormous, uh, talents of hers.
      • Those "talents" of Taki's jiggle so insanely that you have no choice but to notice.
      • Seriously, it seems more like she's naked and simply painted her whole body red, rather than wearing a skintight suit.
  • Frank the Polish-American Brazilian Ninja from Shadow Hearts: From the New World is about as stealthy as a clown (and kind of looks like one too). In his introduction scene he attempts to hide himself by using the classic ninja trick of holding a piece of wall-patterned cloth in front of himself (the "Art of Hiding" he calls it) - but uses a brightly-coloured flag. Obviously it doesn't work. His new teammates immediately call him out on how much he sucks at it. His clanmate Britney is almost as bad, being a blonde who wears a bright pink gi.
    • In the ending, Johnny notes that Frank's appeared on TV a few times... then muses, "Aren't ninjas supposed to be invisible?"
  • The Taraba Ninja from Shinobido may be crowned as the kings of this trope. They wear huge, Scary Impractical Armor wich makes a lot of noise at the slightest movement and totally covers their body, and their main weapon is a mortar cannon strapped to their back. The only advantage seems to be their Nigh Invulnerable defense, since Goh can kill them only by stabbing them in the neck. Their boss Kabuto is like them, ubut Up to Eleven.
  • The Mortal Kombat series has only one ninja, Scorpion. In the early 2D games when all the "ninjas" were simply palette swaps of each other this was easier a mistake to make. Sub-Zero is an assassin of the Chinese Lin Kuei and as such takes offense to being labeled ninja in Mortal Kombat Mythologies Sub Zero. The cyborgs Cyrax, Smoke and Sektor are all also Lin Kuei. All of them are highly visible though, having brightly colored costumes. These "ninja clones" have since evolved into increasingly diverse, but no less visible, looks after the series went 3D. Amusingly despite being the only real ninja Scorpion is also the most visible of all these warriors wearing a bright yellow outfit, and occasionally being on fire.
    • Smoke and Reptile partially subvert this however. Both of them typically can turn invisible as a special move (Reptile's intro in the reboot has him appearing out of thin air).
  • Every Ape Escape game has at least one Japanese-themed stage with traditional dojos and ninja paraphernalia, usually including a few monkeys decked out in ninja garb. Of course, they still have helmets with large flashing lights on top, and start screaming and running around as soon as you approach.
  • Namco's arcade and PS2 light gun game Ninja Assault. Long story short, you play a ninja with guns!
  • Destroy All Humans! 2 had an island in Japan where black and white ninja were fighting. Not surprisingly, they wore complete black, or complete white in public. Every time Crypto questioned or lampshaded this or the existance of ninjas in 1960's Japan, everyone would reply "Everybody loves ninjas."
  • Yukimaru and Fubuki from Disgaea 2 are members of a ninja clan whose village is perpetually covered in snow, making an all-white uniform the perfect camouflage. Well, at least it would, if the Snow Clan did all of their missions within their village.
    • Of course, their traditional outfits also include light blue and even magenta, so...
    • Done very deliberately with Kyoko Needleworker, a ninja who makes a point of always challenging her opponents in broad daylight.
    • The ninja class from the first game also have very few "ninja-ish" traits: they use the same weapons any other class does and are best with fist and axes and the only thing that would be good for stealth (which the game really doens't have) are their high speed and movement.
    • While they aren't quite ninja, the Thief units are a bit brightly dressed to be stealthy (then again, the more advanced versions of the class wear darker colours).
  • A.N.V.I.L. saboteurs in Evil Genius are Highly Visible Ninjas wearing (in order of increasing ability) black, red, blue and white uniforms. Actually, the white uniforms blend in well in the brightly lit stainless steel hallways of the Elaborate Underground Base, but that advantage is lost when they step into any other type of room.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics your male ninja wear blue, and your female ninja wear red. They walk in plain sight in the vast open fields of Mandalia to battle monsters. On the other hand, they do have reaction abilities that makes them invisible.
  • Kasumi from the Suikoden I&II wears a quite pink/red outfit for no real reason.
    • Then there's Fuma, also from the first Suikoden, who claims to specialize in invisibility and stealth... while wearing an outfit so incredibly red that staring at it too long would make your eyes bleed. But on closer inspection, Suikoden tends to avert this trope (aside from Kasumi and Fuma), as the Suikoden ninjas (of which there are at least two in every game) tend to dress either like traditional ninjas (I's Kage, II's Mondo and Sasuke, and III's Watari and Ayame), or more like normal people (IV's Akaghi and Mizuki, V's Shigure and Sagiri).
      • Fuma's idea of invisibility and stealth, apparently, is to exploit the 2D nature of the game and hide behind the back wall of a castle, where the camera angle renders him invisible to the player.
  • Slightly subverted by Guilty Gear's Chipp Zanuff, who can actually turn (partly) invisible with a special move. Hilariously, as he does so he yells, "Find me!" Other than that, though, he sticks heavily to the trope... but then he's an American who just really wants to be a ninja. The quote at the top of the page is directed at him, and follows a Cluster F-Bomb Chipp gives when Bridget reads off a very unflattering description of his "ninja skills".
  • Bang Shishigami from Blaz Blue is one of the most highly visible ninjas of all time, sporting a bare midriff(on a male character), a flowing red scarf, a 5-foot long NAIL on his back, and prone to frequent Hot-Blooded yelling. He also subverts typical ninja characters in fighting games by being more of a well-balanced brawler than a Fragile Speedster, having the 3rd highest HP in the game.
    • In fact, if you fight him with Arakune in one of the single-player modes, Bang Shishigami's wardrobe is one of the first things he notices with the line "Very...loud."
  • Izuna, the Unemployed (and Very Hot) Ninja dresses in a bright red outfit with thick hose and fishnets.
    • After stealing a village's crystal and upsetting the gods, the villagers (specifically, the innkeeper) starts a tab for the protagonist and her ninja clan and declares they must stay until it's paid off and the villagers won't let them leave. One of the ninja point out "But hey, we're ninja. We'll just sneak out." To which another ninja declares "But they'll just find us. We'll never get out of this."
    • She's not at all helped by her voluminous assets. As she so succinctly puts it in the manual for the first game, "That's me, Izuna, big as life and twice as hot!"
      • Shino seems a bit more like a traditional ninja, however. There's also the very visible Mitsumoto, but at least he wears a proper ninja outfit, even if it makes him look completely bland compared to the rest of the cast.
  • Lampshaded in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All in the final case with the "Jammin' Ninja," a ninja with a bright red guitar whose goal in life is to become a rock star. Phoenix himself notes just how ridiculous the concept is.
    • It should be pointed out that within Phoenix's world, the Jammin' Ninja is a TV character. Also, his bizarre choice of path in life is explained as being because he's not actually a very good ninja, so he chose a career that wouldn't need him to be able to do ninja things.
    • Investigations gives us Kay Faraday, a Highly Visible Phantom Thief who spends much of the game stating she is a Phantom Thief, the Yatagarasu, while doing very little actual theft, and even wears a badge in shape of the Yatasaguru's symbol on her scarf. She's also a fan of the Jammin' Ninja rather then the Steel Samurai.
  • The Jougenshuu Sennin in Beat Blades Haruka go as far as to announce their presence to the enemy Noroi prior to doing battle. Somewhat justified in that Mission Control reasoned that the best way to get the public on their side was to follow Magical Girl tropes.
  • Painkiller's Dark Ninja mooks spawn with bright particles and clouds in large groups, do high midair flips in slow motion, and yell before each attack.
  • Lampshaded in Ninja Town. The second basic unit is the Anti-Ninja, which is a super-strong ninja that dresses in bright orange. The other characters in the series are Wee Ninja, Business Ninja, Sniper Ninja, Ice Ninja, Forrest Ninja, and Fire Ninja. Among others.
  • Happens in Bahamut Lagoon. Sajin and Zeroshin are technically "Assassins", but their technique is called "Ninjutsu", and it consists of elemental attacks and attempted insta-kills. All in plain sight, as a good strategy RPG would do. When you hire them, you're also given the option of picking an assassination target for them, the 3 choices being the main heroine, a military captain and a random NPC: the first 2 both fail miserably and only the last one is successful.
  • Lo Wang, the eponymous character of Shadow Warrior, operates more like a Asian Duke Nukem than an actual ninja. The ninja Mooks also apply, their main weapon is an Uzi.
  • Yoshimitsu from Tekken (and his Soul Calibur incarnation) is...difficult to ignore. He has been entirely metallic, been partially metallic and in forest green pants, usually had some sort of skull for a face, looked like a giant beetle man, green and gold samurai armour, and blue skin with yellow and red pants. And his sword glows.
    • You forgot his Evil Counterpart Kunimitsu, who fought in royal blue, yellow, pink and purple in her different incarnations, always wearing a white fox mask (excludng her Tekken Tag Tournament third costume, which had a gold, demonic half-mask).
    • And Tekken 5 introduced Raven, a (supposed) spy who dresses (sometimes) in a bright silver jumpsuit and Cool Shades, and looks like Wesley Snipes with a noticible scar on his face. Beating up every contestant he comes across while "investigating" the King of Iron Fist Tournament does not help his case, unless he's trying to blend in with all the other insane fruitcakes participating in this competition.
  • Spoofed in this artwork for World of Warcraft: the Trading Card Game.
  • In Final Fantasy XI, ninja are the second most common "tank" job in the game, whose primary purpose is to get the enemy's attention and keep it.
    • They weren't originally meant for that. They were suppose to be ranged/melee hybrid damage dealers and use their "stealth" to avoid damage should they pull hate. After players figured that their shadow clones makes for good tanking, Square Enix just went along with it.
  • Sengoku Basara brings us Kasuga, whose Stripperiffic outfit with its gold accents and Absolute Cleavage make her a very attention-getting ninja. On the other hand, Sarutobi Sasuke wears forest camouflage and generally has a very good grasp on the concept of ninja stealth. Kotaro meanwhile is a mute who can get past opposition via pure speed.
  • Galford in Samurai Shodown. Unlike Hanzo, he doesn't cover his head, he wears blue, and he fights with his dog, Poppy. Earthquake tried ninja training, but quit because he had to be with Galford, whom he hated. For the record, both of them are McNinja (Hanzo, the Japanese Ninja is much more Badass and stealthy).
  • The ninjas in Oni are a bit eccentric: the three different classes of ninja (like all other groups of enemies) green, blue and red armour in ascending order of skill - not overly inconspicuous. However, they are also fairly skilled at hiding and surprise attacks and are bloody fast.
  • Ninja Jajamaru-kun wears a bright red uniform. But gost darn it, is he ever CUTE.
  • Taito's eponymous Ninja Warriors dress in bright primary colors. They're unstoppable killer robots though, so that matters little. Plus it's a suicide mission anyway.
  • Samurai Warriors, pick any of the ninja. You will be able to see them.
    • Bonus points go to our dear, sweet Cloudcuckoolander Nene, who wears a discrete color combination of yellow, some golden and a few bits of orange. And whose idea of stealth is to fly in on a huge-ass bright yellow kite. To no-one's surprise but hers, the attempt fails and she would have face-planted several hundred feet down if not for Hanzo.
  • Mega Man X Command Mission got party member Marino, an Highly Visible Thief. Her armour's PINK, along with other eye-catching features.
  • The ninjas in Red Steel 2 use swords and guns like every other enemy before them, just with more ability and acrobatics. That said this is a beat-em-up, but still...
    • More applicable to the special ninjas; huge musclebound guys who attack with big spiked, double-bladed staffs.
  • Garry's Mod can be ripe with moments like 6:45 in survival mods.
  • In the Descent series, if you have an Invisibility Cloak and fire your weapons, bump into a wall, or have your headlight on, the enemies will all open fire on your last seen position.
  • The main character in Ninja Five-O is pretty much like that.
  • Played straight and averted in Dragon Age - While Shrieks are invisible ninjas that pop up on you when you least expect it as ninjas do, Genlock Rogues aren't quite so stealthy. You might not be able to see them, but their extremely loud grunting and chattering gives them away long before you can actually see them, making them Highly Audible Ninjas.
  • Kingdom of Loathing features Lo "Commotion" Ping, who "began his assassin career as a traditional ninja; that is, as a deadly assassin who dresses in civilian clothes so he won't be spotted, who kills quietly and leaves behind no evidence of foul play." However, annoyed by having to constantly explain to people that he was, in fact, actually a ninja, he decided to act more stereotypically; while he became a much worse assassin as a result, "at least he never again will say, "well, actually, the commonly accepted 'black pajama' uniform is a by-product of the way ninjas were portrayed in Japanese theatre. . ." because seriously, nobody likes that guy."
  • Shadow Yamato of Eternal Champions is an assassin who practices ninjutsu. While wearing Stripperiffic clothing in the original game or a highly visible green Qipao in the Sega CD update.
  • Guy from Final Fight wears red ninja suit and fights people in broad daylight. Maki from the sequel is even more visible and revealing than him.
  • Ninja in the Total War series all wear the classic black pajamas (except in one assassination in the first game, where the ninja is dressed as a peasant), even when it would look quite out-of-place. Unsurprisingly, being spotted once usually leads to large quantities of armed men chasing them down while shouting "Ninja!". This includes the battlefield-used Kisho Ninja, who presumably consider dressing as ashigaru and taking enemy units by surprise to be unsporting.
  • The three ninjas in League of Legends. Akali is probably the most reasonable. She throws down smoke bombs that make her invisible as long as she stays within that area, and is an assassin class and consequently a big part of her purpose is jumping out at people unexpectedly and killing them. Kennen is at least small and wears dark clothing, but this has no practical effect. He spends most of his time throwing around lighting in a highly noticeable manner. And Shen is a tank, whose ability Shadow Dash forces enemies to attack him. This is a ninja for whom an important skill is "HEY! I'm over here! Attack me!"
  • The 4-player co-op trailer for the reboot of Syndicate has a hilarious moment where the text says "infiltrate" and immediately cuts to a tense firefight. What really takes the cake, though, is the blaring obvious flamethrower.
  • In Ragnarok Online, both the Assassin and Ninja classes. Although the Assassin does have a grey color palette that makes them hard to see (and almost invisible in Nibelheim) with the right hair color palette, few to none of the players use it. The ninja, on the other hand, has no hope at stealth at all.


  • Subverted in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: You'd think Dr. McNinja would have a hard time sneaking around, dressed like a doctor with a traditional ninja outfit underneath that. Nope, actually, he manages to keep to close-quarters combat most of the time... If he gets shot at or has to throw a soda machine at a team of security guards, it's generally implied that the situation is a pretty rough one. Of course, most non-villains who recognize him just accept that he's eccentric. "Yeah, he's using someone else's ID as a disguise again."
    • Played straight in a flashback comic to his college days. He justifies it via the alt text: "I wore bright colors because I was a young, cocky ninja. And because it was 1989."
    • In the McNinja comic There's a Raptor in my Office, Dr. McNinja meets a strange silhouetted man in a darkened warehouse. Alt text lampshades this by pointing out that the only person you can see in a darkened room is the one who is a ninja. And the Raptor riding banditos but that is neither here nor there.
    • The good doctor's father at least justifies always wearing a mask so every ninja, if they ever get too in deep and have too many enemies, can just take the mask off and escape the life. Since it wouldn't be effective after repeated uses, it means that they have to learn to eat through their masks.
    • The Doctor also has a bunch of paintings which include lots of ninja on them. However, the ninja are so exceedingly well-painted that you can't see them anywhere.
    • Memorably lampshaded in the first Thanksgiving Katanaka arc, in order to get into his parents home he has to sneak past his mother(who is a much better ninja than he is) and he's speculating on his death.

 "But if he wanted to enter the cave undetected," the coroner will ask, " Why did he wear a white lab coat?"

"Because he was a doctor and he knew science" someone will reply.

  • Ninja on a plane in Yosh!
  • Subverted in Freefall with, of all things, French ninja waiters. Winston and Florence never actually see any of them[1], except for one short, portly, otherwise indescript man who distracts them while other ninja deliver their food. The chef explains what is going on.

 Ninja waiter: That man does not look anything like ninja

Chef: Ah, but this is exactly what a ninja should look like.


 Belkar: Wait, I think I just failed a spot check.

Haley: Really? I don't see anything.

Belkar: Exactly.

Ninja: (Standing right in front of the group) Um... we're like RIGHT here.

Belkar: Wait, I think I just failed a listen check!

  • Seriously lampshaded in Elf Only Inn.
  • Partially subverted in Eight Bit Theater by Thief's gang of "law ninja". Despite wearing bright red, they remain completely unseen unless summoned by Thief himself.
    • Oddly, the Ninja class in the first Final Fantasy wore bright red in the first place, at least in the original version. They're probably an example of this themselves, if it comes to that.
      • Referencing this, the three strips or so after Thief first became a ninja, he wore the bright red Highly-Visible Ninja suit from the original. They were then remade, and the strips replaced with him wearing a black ninja suit from the class change onward.
  • Randy Milholland pokes fun at the trope in this con sketch.
  • Raymondo Person recently introduced "Barry Scrumbles, Non-Stealth Ninja". He has business cards.
  • White Ninja, although this is possibly not an example because he may not even be a real ninja for all anyone knows. White Ninja is not something you can or should try to apply regular logic to.
    • He's a white ninja because black ninjas are harder to ink.
  • This page of Torio lampshades this trope.
  • Furry webcomic Macropod Madness/Macropodia (the name changed during a particular arc) had Tree Ninja, a tree kangaroo with a habit of hiding in barren, leafless trees. This was lampshaded in one episode.
  • The Ninja Mafia in Sam and Fuzzy is an organization made of Highly-Visible Ninja, the trope being played intentionally for laughs. The only exception to this are Blankfaces, who are fully capable of subverting this trope but usually don't need to because they're just that good.
  • In This I Got Nothing page, the safety regulations require ninjas to wear high-visibility vests.

Western Animation

  • Played with in the Samurai Jack's episode where Jack fought a shinobi. The shinobi was completely invisible in the shadows, so Jack made himself a ninja headwrap from his robe, thus being completely dressed in white, allowing himself to become completely invisible in the light.
  • An episode of Duckman had two ninja running back and forth next to the title character, passing a package back and forth while bemoaning their fate should it fall into his hands. It was part of an attempted Evil Plan on the part of the episode's villain, which failed due to Duckman's obliviousness:

 DUCKMAN: Damn ninjas! The streets are lousy with them!

  • The Sumo Ninja in Kim Possible sort of misses the whole point. It's funny in its own way.
  • Storm Shadow from G.I. Joe dresses in a pure white ninja outfit. Useful if you want to hide in snow, but not in many other circumstances. Of course, in the comics, the ninja clan Storm Shadow belongs to are explicitly described as being different from the original ninja.
    • Classic GI Joe had neon orange, green, blue, yellow, and red ninjas.
    • Snake Eyes at two points early in the series actually bothered to disguise himself--once as a Cobra grunt, and once as a dancing woman in a kicky dress and wig. In neither does he bother to remove his trademark Ninja-riffic outfit before donning the "disguise."
  • Ninja Monkeys in Skunk Fu! tend to be horribly unskilled at actually being ninjas. This is played for laughs, though.
  • The 80s cartoon of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, where they have no qualms about going out in the day and screaming "Cowabunga Shredhead!" Also, their arch-nemesis, The Shredder, who, in the comics, movies and 2003 series, was the head of an entire ninja clan and was very secretive about his organization often had no problems about being a public menace and addressing the world like a typical Mad Scientist or terrorist. The 2003 revival averts this.
    • It varied in the remake. The turtles would actually sneak in and out of places (interesting comment with an ally Miyamato Usagi saying that it "is making him more ninja and less samurai"), but the same couldn't be said of their enemies. The regular foot ninja never even bothered sneaking up on the turtles, or anybody. The only stealthy enemies the turtles fought were the Foot Tech Ninjas, who could turn invisible.
    • Mikey had a bad tendency to be very visible and very loud (sometimes becoming the very, very visible Turtle Titan), but he was frequently rebuked for it by the others.
  • The Shadowkhan of Jackie Chan Adventures are a subversion as they are actually very good at being stealthy and unseen in spite of their numbers (maybe because they're supernatural beings) - of course, this doesn't stop them from getting their stealthy behinds kicked over... and over... and over again by the titular character of the show.

Real Life

  • Historically, ninja used multiple disguises to appear as everyday members of Japan's social castes, which involved training themselves in the target speech patterns, lifestyle habits and mannerisms - quite a lot more than wearing a costume. They went as far as burning specific incense or spices into their clothes so they would smell like the person they were impersonating. Thus, the perfect modern ninja disguise would be something like a janitor or a security guard. (Something similar was actually used by a National Geographic special, where the "ninja" actually pretended to be a part of the show's crew.)
    • The sterotypical ninja costume is actually the costume of a Kabuki theatre prop handler, or Kuroko. Since the handlers were on set all of the time and simply ignored by the audience, it was high drama for one to suddenly brandish a weapon and attack the hero.
      • Other forms of theatre have employed the same technique: for example in stage-play of His Dark Materials, or at least the National Theatre's staging of the plays, the puppets representing the characters daemons were manipulated and voiced by puppeterrs dressed fully in black, with black fencer's masks. The audience is so used to ignoring them and focusing on the puppet it comes as something of a shock when Pantalaimon's handler pulls off his black mask to reveal that he is Lyra's 'Death' and has always been with her.
      • Then again, ninjas might have used them during night raids where they would have to sneak into an area where conflict was inevitable. In the first Real Life instance (and the main description), we are looking at the watch-wait-strike principle. Before anything else, they needed to get a feel for the location they needed to infiltrate. Not something that happens overnight, as any Caper Crew feature Shown Their Work will attest. Right down to the jumpsuit, which was probably not entirely black (see McNinja), kabuki training came in handy. (That’s part of what we associate with the ninja culture.) No loose parts, not overly tight, room for a few weapons, excellent to avert notice on the way in (the main objective), and excellent for covering as many bases as possible when they needed to leave, whether or not the goal was achieved. Anyone who worked as a prop handler was well-served in this regard.
  • Near Halloween in the United States, check out the kids' costumes available. There will inevitably be a few "ninja" outfits that mimic the Mortal Kombat/Power Rangers style.
  • Debatably "real life," one SCA War had a member dressed in "standard" ninja attire, muttering "I am ninja, you cannot see me" whenever anyone spotted him. While several warriors played along for fun, he apparently ticked off one Scotish Highlander too many, who clobbered him hard enough to lay him out for several minutes (ninjas don't wear armor), then claimed that he "didn't see him there."
  • Local guides in Iga-Ueno wear pink ninja outfits for demonstrations. Yes, it is true.
    • Naturally, there are quite a few ninja theme parks in Japan. Since the attendants must look like ninja to uninformed or Genre Blind visitors they dress according to stereotype and Rule of Cool. Some of the parks have devices and architectural features that facilitate stealth regardless of the flashy costumes.
  • This My Life Is Average post. Lampshade included.
  • Not really real, but amazing to find in real life, Ninja Fighters are brightly colored plastic ninja. They make great figurines for Ninja Burger.
  • This Youtube video from Adelaide Flash Mob.
  • Another debatable "real life" example: at some Comic-Cons in San Diego, the stagehands have worn black T-shirts with white text that reads "Stage Ninja: You don't see me."
  1. at least during the meal; Florence leaps up into the ceiling to snag the beret off of one of the ninjas, unnoticed by Winston