In the series of Mortal Kombat, there are many ninjas which appear as playable character or non-playable enemy. They follow their own set of unique fighting styles and special moves, but they share some things in common. Ninjas in Mortal Kombat have mostly been depicted wearing skintight clothes, with few exceptions.
The most important thing about most ninja characters is that they all use weapons in battle. The fact that they rely on melee fighting means that they cannot be killed from a distance by projectile attacks or other ranged weapons such as guns. On the other hand though, when one has to get up close and personal with an opponent to deal damage, another factor comes into play: speed. This is where a ninja character’s greatest weakness comes into play.
The average human being has a speed of around 16.6 miles per hour (mph). And while many ninja characters in the Mortal Kombat series have been able to push their speed up at least threefold, they will always be outspent by another human opponent who is using a projectile weapon against them. In the attempt to close the gap between themselves and ranged opponents, ninjas often use teleportation abilities to arrive quickly from one location to another. This can also be used as an evasive tactic when faced with projectiles or melee attacks from multiple enemies at once. Many ninja characters have even been known to develop techniques that allow them not only to travel through space but time as well.
Ninja characters in Mortal Kombat are also known for their ability to use shuriken (throwing stars), kunai (daggers), and other hidden weapons. As seen through the series, characters like Scorpion will often have a supply of these small but lethal tools at their disposal.
Ninja characters tend to follow one of two fighting styles when it comes down to close combat: either they use an unarmed style that combines hard hits with crippling, fast movement or they wield a weapon that is relevant to their country of origin. The most common examples are swords and staffs/sticks/spears. Both kinds develop several unique moves which can be categorized into offensive attacks, defensive counter-attacks, evasive maneuvers, and teleportation abilities. This teleportation ability tends to be the most noticeable trait of all ninja characters in Mortal Kombat.
The following is a list of Mortal Kombat ninjas and their country/association (if any):
- Scorpion (ninja spectre from the Netherrealm)
- Raiden (Ethereal God of Thunder & protector of Earthrealm)
- Fujin (Wind God & guardian deity of Earthrealm’s Mountate of the Elements)
- Sub-Zero (Cryomancer grandmaster and elder from Earthrealm)
- Smoke (human Ninja turned wraith after being murdered by Sub-Zero who was possessed by the Lin Kuei Grandmaster at that time)
- Kenshiahashi (descendant of the Ethereal God of Wind Fujin)
- Shujinko (human who was taught the ways of kombat by the Elder Gods)
- Kira Ijui (Iga Ninja turned Samurai after serving Kenshiahashi in his quest to become stronger)
- Nitara (Vampiress who seeks to suck the blood of other beings for nourishment and survival)
- Dairou (southern Earthrealm warrior enslaved by Noob Saibot who eventually becomes a mercenary, joining forces with Tanya & Kabal until he betrays them later on. He is also Kenshiahashi’s cousin.)
- Tanya (female human mercenary from an unspecified part of Earthrealm)
- Darrius (southern Earthrealm warrior enslaved by Noob Saibot who eventually becomes a mercenary, joining forces with Dairou & Kabal until he betrays them later on. He is also Kenshiahashi’s cousin.)
- Kabal (western Earthrealm warrior enslaved by Noob Saibot who eventually becomes a mercenary, joining forces with Dairou & Tanya until he betrays them later on. He is also Kenshiahashi’s cousin.)
- Hsu Hao (member of the Red Dragon clan from Outworld)
- Tremor (former member of the rock tribe from Outworld)
- Rain (ninja spectre from the Netherrealm)
- Ferra/Torr (Inconnu male and female from the mysterious realm of Chaos who co-operate as a team to fight their adversaries)
- Li Mei (daughter of the late Shaolin Monastery leader Bo’ Rai Cho and an old friend of Kung Lao. She is also Kenshiahashi’s cousin.)
- Shang Tsung (Elder God who possesses former Elder God Shinnok’s body & tends to enter the Mortal Kombat tournament along with fellow Elder God Shao Kahn for personal gain by taking control over Earthrealm through mass corruption and genocide)
- Kintaro (member of Shao Kahn’s extermination squad. He was killed in battle by Kung Lao during Deadly Alliance but later revived as a Cyber Lin Kuei cyborg under orders from Sektor)
- Sheeva (member of Shao Kahn’s extermination squad who became enranged with the fall of her fellow Tarkatan Clansmen due to Earthrealm’s victory over Outworld during Deception thus rendering their race extinct)
- Motaro (centaur like member of Shao Kahn’s extermination squad who was killed by Raiden in MK3 but later revived as a cyborg under orders from Sektor early on during Mortal Kombat Armageddon until he was ultimately killed by Nightwolf)
- Sektor (cyborg ninja spectre from the Netherrealm & leader of the Lin Kuei automatons whose sole purpose is to eradicate all opposition. Due to his mechanical nature, he lacks a sense of humanity and cares.
The ninjas of Mortal Kombat are a mix between mysticism and advanced technology. Many ninja characters in the series were trained since birth to become skilled warriors possessing mystical powers which enhance their physical prowess. The MK universe is a mix between fantasy and reality but it has a few supernatural elements from Earthrealm’s past. In essence, human beings from Earthrealm have been able to tap into the realms for greater power over time while some other realms can not do that without corrupting themselves along with everyone else.