GOKETSU JIRAIYA 豪傑児雷也 (Jiraiya the Hero)(1921)
This classic silent film is one of several versions of the legendary ninja folk hero, Jiraiya. Based on the novel Jiraiya Goketsu Monogatari (The Tale of Jiraiya the Hero), written in 1806, along with picture books published from 1839 to 1868.
This short feature has Jiraiya fighting off the bad guys with a large array ninja magic, which includes teleportation, flying, and water attacks. Best of all Jiraiya is a shape-shifting ninja that can transform into a giant toad. In one scene you get to see the toad actually swallow some people whole.
This simplistic feature ends with Jiraiya confronting Orochi-maru who transforms into a menacing snake. We also get to see Tsunade, Jiraiya’s love interest join the battle and change into a snail.Other versions of Jiraiya include several silent features as early as 1912, like Jiraiya Goketsu-Den (1916) and Yokai Jiraya (1923). Shintoho’s Ninjutsu Jiraiya (1955) and it’s sequel Gyakushu Orochi-Maru (1955) took the story of Jiraya to the next level with better effects and slick monster suits.
The most famous version of all would definitely be Toei’s Kairyu Daikessen (1966) aka The Magic Serpent. Filmed right before Giant Robo (Johnny Sokko) and Kamen no Ninja Akakage, this was one of Toei’s first entries into the Kaiju Boom. The hero Jiraiya had never been seen like this before. You get to see a giant spider, giant eagle, and of course a giant toad battling a very cool Chinese-styled dragon.