A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Intended to entertain, not educate.
The teammates must learn to work as a team and learn to appreciate each individual's unique skills throughout the series. In addition, there are lessons about patience and perseverance as the team decides to continue their quest despite setbacks.
Positive Role Models
Kai is impatient and hot headed but cares for his sister and is selfless. The black, white, and blue ninjas work well as a team and are generally supportive of each other. All four ninjas are guided by Sensei Wu, their sometimes-silly but wise master who guides the ninjas through their quest as well as providing lessons in patience, planning, and focus. Nya, Kai's younger sister, is a brave and capable young woman who's more patient than her brother.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of action and cartoon martial arts battles. The villains are LEGO skeletons who fall apart or are rearranged in battle. There's no blood, and the characters all look like LEGO toys. Some of the monsters who guard the magical weapons may be scary to very young viewers. The good guys always live to fight another day, and the bad guys are almost always defeated.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Nya, Kai's younger sister, has a crush on Jay, the blue "lightning" ninja. The two sometimes flirt, and in one episode Nya gives Jay a kiss on the cheek.
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Products & Purchases
The series provides a back story to the LEGO Ninjago toy line and serves as an extended advertisement for the toys.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that LEGO Ninjago: The Series is essentially an extended advertisement for the LEGO Ninjago toy line. The fast-paced series is packed with lots of cartoon martial arts battles involving ninjas, skeletons, and guardian monsters, but the action is completely bloodless and at times humorous. Very young viewers might be a little scared by some of the monsters and skeletons, but kids in early elementary school grades and older are likely to find the series exciting and funny. The ninja characters learn lessons of patience and teamwork from their wise sensei.
Is It Any Good?
This series, like any extended toy commercial that wants to accomplish its goals, has enough plot and humor to hook young viewers ... and, ultimately, their parents' pocketbooks. LEGO Ninjago: The Series mainly focuses on the red "fire" ninja Kai and his hero's journey from hot-headed teen to focused team member. Older viewers will be familiar with this well-worn story; the common archetypes of the funny sidekicks, the damsel in distress, the evil empire, and the wise old master are all there, too. If you've seen Star Wars or anything remotely similar, the plot to LEGO Ninjago will feel like old news.
But the fantastic all-LEGO design of the series, along with some genuinely witty moments, provides much-needed excitement and levity. All the characters are LEGO toys come to life and, as such, are fun to watch. The animation is smooth and colorful, and the exciting martial arts sequences make the most of the blocky little characters and their "clip" hands. The plot moves along at a decent pace; if anything, it's sometimes a bit too fast. And characters learn lessons of teamwork and patience thanks to the wise and respectable Sensei Wu. Better still, it's full of silly, winking humor, thereby making the peril seem less intense. Even for a series-long toy commercial, it doesn't pander and seems to have been made for the amusement of parents as well as kids.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.