Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja

(i)

 

Action-packed toon attacks messages with mixed results.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The story raises the issue of popularity and the "cool" factor as it relates to high school and, separately, as it's affected by a person's actions. Randy is the school's hero, but the anonymity that surrounds him means that he still struggles to prove himself among the "in" crowd at school. Messages on this issue are mixed; Randy is comfortable with who he is but still considers stretching the boundaries to fit in. Potty humor.

Positive role models

Randy is a likable hero who tries to fill the big shoes he's been given and make his own mark on a legacy. He's not perfect, but he's willing to rely on his friend when needed, and he tries to play by the rules of the ninja lifestyle. Most of the characters fall into stereotyped groups, like the "in" crowd, the dorks, and the nerds.

Violence

The story is designed around action sequences that include kicking and punching exchanges as well as weapon use (swords, knives, martial-arts devices) that results in loss of limb and life for the robotic monsters that Randy faces. No blood or gore, just tangled heaps of body parts. Other monsters take the form of spirits that possess teens and control their actions.

Sex

Partial nudity shows a teen's butt, and guys are shown in underwear. At least one mother figure wears tight clothing that reveals her large breasts and plunging cleavage. Occasional innuendo includes euphemisms, as when a teacher tells a band student, "Put your dinger in my hand."

Language

No traditional cursing, but the teens use their own blend of substitute words like "honkin'," as well as "kickin' butt."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja is an action-packed cartoon geared toward tweens. Expect a lot of physical exchanges marked by martial arts-style fighting, as well as the use of swords and other weapons that disable and destroy some of the robots or monsters who attack the school. Because the violence isn't bloody and typically doesn't result in human injury, it won't have an upsetting effect on tweens. There's a mild sexual tone to some of the content, including some innuendo and partial rear nudity on guys and revealing clothing on female characters. The series touches on relevant social issues like status and striving to fit in, so there's a fair amount of content you can talk about with your tweens afterward.

What's the story?

RANDY CUNNINGHAM: 9TH GRADE NINJA is the story of a teen (voiced by Ben Schwartz) who steps into the longtime legacy of his high school when he's named the successor to a line of ninjas who protect the students and staff from a series of villains and mishaps. With his best friend, Howard (Andrew Caldwell), always willing to lend a hand and his ninja handbook, the Nomicon, by his side, Randy has to simultaneously learn the ropes of being a hero and tackling the ups and downs of his freshman year.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja taps into a familiar plot point: An unlikely hero emerges from the shadows to be his compatriots' saving grace in the face of danger. It's a fun concept to run with and offers plenty of opportunities for humor and chaos as Randy and his best friend attempt to keep his true identity hidden while duking it out with the bad guys, but the show misses the mark somewhat when it comes to exploring and defining heroism itself. As Randy adjusts to his new role, viewers see him rely more on the tricks that his ninja suit holds and the play-by-play advice his book offers than on his own skills and instinct. Plus, he finds that his prowess as a fabled, if anonymous, ninja does little to change his fortunes on the popularity front, which is the other battle he's fighting at school.

Of course, none of this will bother the tweens that this cartoon hopes to rein in. They'll be so absorbed in the fast-paced story and quirky characters that they might not even notice that there are underlying messages to be heard, but if you can draw them into a conversation about the issues -- including the definition of popularity as it relates to your kids' experiences -- there might be some value to the show after all.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about popularity. Is this something you're concerned about? Are your decisions or actions ever influenced by your desire to fit in with a certain crowd?

  • Tweens: How do you define a hero? Who are some of your personal heroes? Have you ever been disappointed by the actions of someone you admire?

  • What are some of your favorite shows? What, if anything, could you say you've learned from them? Is it important for TV shows and movies to have positive messages?

This review of Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 9 and 11 year old Written bynard dog February 2, 2013

I absolutely love watching this with my kids! You're all nuts!

This show starts off a little shakey but the more it goes on the more I love it. Give this show a chance and don't be so quick to pass judgement! It is a bit cheesy but that is absolutely part of its charm. I hope this show runs for a long long time ...try not to base all your opinions on a few misguided fart jokes in the first few episodes.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Parent of a 5 and 7 year old Written byjenn1001 September 26, 2012

Not for the younger ones.

Very fast clipped style of animation. Lots of violence - the "popular guy" is a bully. Not appropriate for younger kids.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 15 years old Written bySp824 March 19, 2015

This Show makes me want to throw up

This show is sooooo stupid! The characters think they're all that but the really are not. The stupidest one is Randy. There is legit no problem solving with this dude. His stupid ninja book literally tells him what to do. Other characters from other(BETTER!!!) shows actually have to figure out the solution, and even then they aren't entirely sure its gonna work. What I Find really annoying is two things. One- He always yells out his attacks. When he throws a smoke bomb, all you can hear him say is "Ninja Smoke bomb!" I MEAN COME ON!!!! Also, there is only like two villains in the WHOLE show. Some weird sorcerer dude that live beneath the school, and a billionaire named McFist(really) who is dead set on destroying randy. I know this guy thinks he's the most awesome thing and he could take on anyone, I'm pretty sure the Crystal Gems(Steven Universe) would kick his butt. Heck even one of them could take him downtown!!!

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