Shinobi (忍び) is the formal term used to classify the ninja of the Senran Kagura series.
Shinobi were once servants of the feudal lords that ruled Japan in the past, specializing in espionage, subversion and assassination.
With the influx of western culture after the Meiji Restoration, the feudal system began to collapse, causing them to fade from public consciousness.
However even in modern times the need for shinobi still exists. Their employers are primarily politicians and corporations. Most who employ them merely as tools to satisfy their own greed.
As a result, shinobi are responsible for crimes throughout Japan, and the government moved to confront them. This spawned the creation of Good Shinobi schools to combat Evil Shinobi who break the law.
There are three Classifications for shinobi:
- Good Shinobi (善忍, Zennin): The general term for Shinobi who work under the government to further national interests. They do not use their powers for personal gain, and will always help other good shinobi. Good Shinobi are trained in a specially designated academy. Graduates are then sent on missions by the national government. Most missions involve protection, espionage, and other various tasks of national interest. They're sometimes also asked to do dirty work like assassinating enemies of the state, so the label isn't as clear cut as it seems.
- Evil Shinobi (悪忍, Akunin): The general term for Shinobi who work behind the scenes, typically for corrupt businesses or politicians. They are trained at clandestine schools to mercilessly to preform any task at the client's request, no matter how illegal or dirty. Though a client's orders are absolute, Evil Shinobi are generally so devious that it's not uncommon for them to turn on the client. In truth, they act only in their best interests.
- Renegade Shinobi (抜忍, Nukenin, also called Rogue Shinobi): Shinobi, good or evil, who have been exiled from the shinobi world and marked for death.
See Also: Ninja Art
Ninja Arts are based on a shinobi's mental ability. The body is merely a tool used to execute them. Shinobi can only learn skills when their body is powerful enough to keep up with their mind.
The same concept is also why joint Ninja Arts are possible. If two shinobi share the same mindset it is possible to combine their Ninja Arts into a new one. This is also why a linked Shinobi Barrier is possible.
Shinobi have noticeably more physical capabilities than a normal human being, able to execute feats of strength that would be otherwise impossible for a civilian, even at relatively low levels of skill. For example, their ability to jump and their above average speed. Shinobi are capable of leaping many times their own height and permitting them to clear buildings and structures, especially when moving across rooftops or traveling through trees.