Sunday, August 18, 2013

Short Analysis of Symbolism in Mark of the Ninja

XBLA Release Date: September 7, 2012
PC Release Date: October 16, 2012
Developed By: Klei Entertainment
Published By: Microsoft
     In  Mark of the Ninja, from Klei Entertainment, the nameless ninja protagonist receives a tattoo of a red dragon using special toxin laden tattoo ink.  This special tattoo grants supernatural powers; like the ability to stop time. Whenever something new is added to the tattoo the ninja gains another power.  

      I have chosen to focus mainly on Japanese culture when looking at the symbolism of the tattoo because the dragon in the tattoo has three claws. Traditionally, dragons with 3 claws are from Japan, and dragons with 4 or 5 claws are from China.  Side note: Japanese culture believes all dragons originated in Japan, and as they moved away they grew more claws.  

      Japanese culture views dragons as protectors, as well as symbols of the paranormal. Dragon tattoos also signify protection and raw power. Japanese culture sees red as a color symbolizing reproduction, or birth. The red dragon tattoo could signify the ninja’s rebirth as a super powered protector of his clan.  

      The power from the magical tattoo comes at a price; it drives whoever receives it insane. Anyone who receives the tattoo must agree to commit seppuku when their mission is complete.

      The final part of the tattoo is a black panther. In Pagan cultures black panther's are seen as a way to help people understand darkness and death. Pagan culture's believe understanding darkness and death allows people to harness their powers.
     In Christianity, a black panther is said to help keep Satan (a.k.a the diabolical dragon) away. Perhaps the final tattoo is meant to protect the ninja's sanity.

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