Mr Ninja

Konishiwa! 'I think it was the views that sold the place to me.' Mr Ninja is sprawled across a sofa as we talk, his soft voice somehow reverberating around the spacious living room. 'It's quite a hike to get up here, and I had been wondering if it would really be worth it, but when I reached the top and looked out that was it. I knew this was the place for me.'
He's not kidding about the views. You can see for miles from the top of the mountain where he has chosen to live. But the location also has the advantage of keeping the rest of the world away. Talking to him, it is obvious that Mr Ninja is an intensely private person.
So how does such a person end up as the world's hottest new celebrity? 'It was an accident, really. I was approached by an independent film company not long after the success of 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon'. They were looking for someone with ninja skills to star in a short film that would be in a very similar style. I was persuaded to try out, and eventually I was lucky enough to get the starring role.'

That film, of course, was Toy Shelf Studios production, 'The Shogun's Sword'. Shot at Rayriggwood, it was Mr Ninja's first step on the road to superstardom. Bringing him into the public eye, it also caught the attention of the woman who was to help him the rest of the way up.

'She always says it was the outtakes that convinced her to take me on. She could tell we both had the same sense of humour, and would work well together.' She wasn't wrong. Claire Death became the guiding force behind his talent, scripting and filming the adventures that he stars in. She also brought him together with other actors, creating an ensemble that supports and enhances him.

I can see my house from here!

The top of the tallest tower in the castle.

Ooh, yummy!

The sumptuous dining room.

'I owe my fame to a lot of people. I've only got this high because there's a whole group of people holding me up, and I'll always be grateful for that. All the guys that have worked with me have been great, they've helped me up without a trace of bitterness on their part. They all seem to be happy to leave me in the limelight without wanting any of it for themselves.'

But then, it is not as if they get none of the limelight for themselves. Mr Ninja himself mostly tries to resist the attention that fame brings. He gives very few interviews, so his co-stars can always gain extra publicity by talking about him. The only one more reticent than he is is Claire. She has never appeared in public, except to categorically deny the rumours of a relationship between her and Mr Ninja, something he also strenuously denies.

'It's ridiculous. We're just good friends, that's all. I don't even come up to her ankle, for goodness sake. What kind of relationship could we possibly have?' Still, it is noticeable that there is a certain twinkle in his eye whenever he talks about her.
So does this mean that he is currently single then? 'I am indeed, though it's not for lack of trying. I just haven't met the right woman yet.' He smiles ruefully at this. 'I've met plenty of women, that seems to go with the territory, but none of them were quite right for me.'

It looks like it could be a while before Konishiwa! brings you pictures of what will no doubt be the Wedding of the Year (whichever year) then.

Talk of women seems to make Mr Ninja restless, and he leaps up and offers to show off the rest of the castle. As he walks, he offers a potted history of the place. 'The basic foundations have been here since the 12th century, when this was the stronghold of a Japanese lord. But obviously, over the years pieces have been knocked off, or added on, and there's not a lot left that's actually original. Then of course when I moved in here I made some alterations of my own, modernising some pieces, updating the security, that sort of thing.'

My, that looks nice and comfy.

The lavish guest room, where he entertains visitors.

He also made, but doesn't mention, some cosmetic alterations to the outside so that it now looks very similar to the castle in 'The Shogun's Sword'.
Ooh, shiny...

The Magenta Destiny, the valuable antique sword.

He shows off the dining room and the guest chambers, and even allows a peep into his bedroom (though he will not agree to it being photographed.) Then he pauses at the top of a stairway that leads down into the rock of the mountain itself.

'I had this room hollowed out of the rock especially. It makes it a particularly safe place to keep my treasures.' He heads down the stairs and straight for an item in the centre of the room. Placed carefully on a golden ceremonial table is a beautiful sword. 'This is my most prized possession, the Magenta Destiny. It has been handed down through my family for many hundreds of years. It was forged by a master craftsman, and is only to be used in the direst need.'

It appears that this is where both the tour and the interview end. As he stands in the gateway, a smile passes across his face and he says, 'See you again soon.' For a moment, he almost sounds as if he means it.

All original work 2001-2007 Claire Simpson.
Thanks to Lego and Fujifilm for the inspiration and tools that make this possible.