Laughter, pity and an undeniable sense of intrigue are all evoked within the opening seconds of Ninjababy, “Sperm. That shit sucks.”, are the first words we hear from eccentric graphic designer Rakel, breaking the fourth wall along with any expectations we have going in. 'These blunt few words set the tone for the slightly cringey, but comedic and uncensored trip we take with her.
Rakel ultimately discovers she is pregnant, and whilst she fears having her unwanted child, she also develops an attachment to the affectionately named “Ninja-baby”. The tone of the film flits accordingly between these two mindsets as she struggles in her path towards motherhood. From the car rides to the hospital drenched in natural lighting, to close-up shots of her baby bump - the realism of her experience is captured in a familiar way for the audience. But Rakel’s disconnect with her child is depicted more uniquely, breaking away from the demure archetype we often see of pregnant women on the screen. Her lens of childhood is established from the very first shot of the film- as we see her mental landscape explored through black and white sketches. However, the elements of fantasy we gain from her escapist pen eventually overwhelm her and dominate the plot entirely, as Ninjababy becomes increasingly vivid - going on to develop a voice of its own (quite literally) .
Director Yngvild Sve Flikke has intertwined her feminist ideals into this graphic novel motif. This undertone blossoms by the denouement, where the film makes room to comment on the patriarchal elements of “western society”. The father of Rakel’s child, “Dick Jesus”, initially makes seemingly innocuous sexist comments, 'but his presence soon looms over her pregnancy'. Proclaiming “I have rights”, he rests on the bed she gave birth on. The dramatic question becomes, will Rakel break away from this toxic masculinity? Flikke was keen to challenge “how to be a woman or how to be a man,” throughout this film, and this is the deeper question at the beating heart of Ninjababy.