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Day of the Departed is a Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu TV special, preceded by Season 6 and is followed by Season 7. Cole was the focus ninja and mascot character, Yang served as the main antagonist, and Yang's students and several past villains' henchmen serve as the villainous factions.
A teaser featuring the opening scene was released on August 18, 2016, while the official trailer was released on September 30, 2016. Day of the Departed aired on October 29, 2016, in the United States. It follows the ninja as they commemorate their ancestors and fallen friends on a sacred holiday. During this, Master Yang manipulates Cole into ushering in the return of the ninjas' arch-enemies—forcing them into an unexpected and dangerous conflict.
An alternate version of the episode, titled Attack of the Cursed Specters, was released on January 31, 2017, for several other countries such as China. This version is not in English and was produced by a different company than the original TV series. While it mostly focuses on the same plot, there are some differences that set it apart from the English version.
When Cole returns to Yang's haunted temple to seek revenge on the former Airjitzu Master, who turned him into a ghost, he accidentally uses a powerful Dark Magic blade that unleashes the spectral forms of Ninjago's greatest villains and traps himself in the temple! While Cole battles for his freedom, the ninja must return their ghostly foes to the Departed Realm before they gain the power to remain in Ninjago forever!
On the Day of the Departed, the ninja hurriedly travel across the Sea of Sand, en-route to the Ninjago Museum of History. Upon their arrival, Wu reminds them of the holiday's significance: for remembering fallen ancestors and cherishing family. Dr. Saunders arrives, greeting Wu and the ninja before presenting the museum's new exhibit, the Hall of Villainy, which houses life-sized mannequins of the major villains fought by the ninja over the years, as well as a plaque describing the rare Yin-Yang lunar eclipse. Cole finds a painting of Master Yang, as well as the Yin Blade, which is on display. Cole calls out to Saunders and asks what the weapon is, but realizes nobody is paying attention to him. Cole hears Yang's voice imploring him to "close the circle." Realizing he's fading away as one of the departed, Cole takes the Yin Blade and sets off to face Yang.
The ninja divide for their own personal memorials: Lloyd and Misako commemorate Garmadon at the Corridor of Elders; Kai and Nya remember their mother and father at their blacksmith shop; Zane remembers his father in Birchwood Forest; Jay spends time with his mom and dad at their junkyard, and Wu goes to the old monastery to remember his father. Realizing everyone is out celebrating, Ronin decides to steal from the deserted houses. Cole arrives at the Temple of Airjitzu, which is still floating in the sky. Cole confronts Yang, who he attempts to strike with the Yin Blade but misses, instead of smashing it into an orb.
Consequently, the Departed Realm is opened, and the spirits of the ninja's old enemies escape while Cole is detained by Yang's students. The spirits possess five of the six mannequins in the Hall of Villainy, bringing them to life. Speaking through a painting, Yang tells the villains they can remain in Ninjago by slaying the ninja that defeated them. Pythor then enters the museum and joins the villains as they discuss who to go after. Chen chooses to go after Kai and Nya, Pythor chooses Lloyd, Cryptor chooses Zane, Morro chooses Wu, and Kozu chooses Dareth, which leaves Samukai with facing Jay. Pythor proposes they gather reinforcements from the Hall of Sidekicks to better have the chance of defeating their enemies.
Cole is imprisoned in Yang's temple, where he learns of Yang's history. Yang taught his students to master Airjitzu, and around this time he found the Yin Blade, which contains enough dark magic to imbue immortality. Yang tested the blade on himself, but its powers backfired, turning him and his students into ghosts and defacing his temple. Yang then reveals to Cole that he plans to use the Yin Blade to tear open the Rift of Return to revive himself, while the revived villains distract the ninja so they won't thwart his plans as Cole realizes his friends are in danger because of him.
At that moment, the villains begin their attack on the ninja all around Ninjago. With help from Eyezor and Zugu, Chen uses his dinosaur mech to attack Kai and Nya, who flee on the Raider Bikes. Cryptor and three Nindroids confront Zane in the snowy forest. Meanwhile, Samukai fights Jay as Krazi and Frakjaw apprehend his parents, and Pythor fights Lloyd and holds the latter's mother captive. Kozu and several Stone Swordsmen confront Dareth, who was responsible for taking control of the Stone Army.
Wu gets a bad feeling as Morro confronts him, though Wu is pained at having to fight his former student again, he states that he won't hesitate to do it again. However, Morro reveals he really has no intention of revenge; instead he tells Wu of Yang's plan and they set off to reunite the ninja.
Back at the Temple of Airjitzu, Cole breaks free and makes his way up through the temple after escaping his captors, fighting Yang's students along the way as Yang opens the Rift of Return. One by one, the ninja defeat all the revived villains, except Pythor, who flees after realizing he can't win his fight. In the meantime, Yang does Airjitzu to reach the Rift, but Cole stops him, and a fight breaks out between them.
The ninja reunite at the museum, telling each other what happened before Wu arrives with Morro, who the ninja prepare to attack but Wu stops them and Morro proves his innocence by unveiling Yang's plan and how the ninja forgot Cole. The ninja journey to Yang's temple while Morro's spirit peacefully returns to the Departed Realm. Cole battles Yang as the ninja fly over on the Bounty. Yang soon overpowers Cole and mocks him as being another forgotten ghost. However, with his friends approaching and calling out to him, Cole's heightened vigor makes his arms rock-solid, and with them, he shatters the Yin Blade. This act frees Yang's students from his control, while Cole tells them to cross through the Rift, and after they do they become human again. Yang admits he failed his students and wanted to live forever so no one would forget him, to which Cole says he'll be remembered as the creator of Airjitzu.
Cole then persuades Yang to accompany him through the rift. Together, they ascend towards the Rift, but Yang tells Cole that someone has to remain in the temple as a ghost to be the "master of the house" due to the curse. Yang then decides to settle his own "debts" and launches the confused Cole through the Rift, just as it starts to close. The shockwave of the Rift closing causes Destiny Bounty to have a hard landing at the Airjitzu temple. The ninja soon start to worry if Cole didn't make it in time, as Jay states he'd give anything to have his friend back. At that moment, Cole emerges from behind a rock, a human again, while asking Jay will include the Sonic Raider Jet.
The ninja celebrate the return of their friend before looking at the restored Temple of Airjitzu which Cole suggests they make into their new base. Not long after, the ninja and their allies gather around a fire outside of Yang's temple after Cole told the story. Jay asks him if he was going to tell the story every time the holiday comes to which Cole replies only if Jay admits he was scared the temple was still haunted to which the latter states that were the case but says he was wrong as there are no more ghost. Cole confirms this while looking back to the temple and winks at Yang, who stands inside and winks back in return. Those surrounding the fire let their lanterns float into the night sky, concluding their celebration.
- Chen - Ian James Corlett
- Cole - Kirby Morrow
- Cryptor - Richard Newman
- Dareth - Alan Marriott
- Dr. Saunders - Michael Daingerfield
- Ed Walker - Colin Murdock
- Edna Walker - Jillian Michaels
- Jay - Michael Adamthwaite
- Kai - Vincent Tong
- Kozu - Paul Dobson
- Lloyd Garmadon - Jillian Michaels
- Misako - Kathleen Barr
- Morro - Andrew Francis
- Nya - Kelly Metzger
- P.I.X.A.L. - Jennifer Hayward
- Pythor P. Chumsworth - Michael Dobson
- Ronin - Brian Dobson
- Samukai - Michael Kopsa
- The Royal Blacksmiths singing voice - Jeppe Riddervold
- Wu - Paul Dobson
- Yang - Michael Donovan
- Zane - Brent Miller
For the transcript of the episode, click here.
Cole was the mascot ninja, and the promotional and box art was approprietly focused on the Crashcourse Canyon. The collectible items were the Departed Blades, except the Sword of Sanctuary. The sets mostly consisted of ninja vehicles. 70751 Temple of Airjitzu was released as part of the Possession wave over a year before "Day Departed" aired. However, it ties into the story of the special, as the set depicts the ninja using the Temple of Airjitzu as a base which happened at the end of the special after the temple returned to its original state.
- 70751 Temple of Airjitzu
- 70588 Titanium Ninja Tumbler
- 70589 Rock Roader
- 70590 Airjitzu Battle Grounds
- 70592 Salvage M.E.C.
- 70595 Ultra Stealth Raider
- 70596 Samurai X Cave Chaos
The Trivia on Day of the Departed needs to be organized.
The Trivia on Day of the Departed needs to be divided into the Trivia and Continuity sections.
- This is the last episode to air in 2016.
- This is currently the only Ninjago special released. However, The Island has been alternatively released as a special in some countries.
- Instrumental versions of "We Are Ninjago," "The Rift Whip," and "Day of the Departed" are heard in the first two scenes.
- The next time the Rift of Return can be opened will be in 3,721 years. This is a reference to The Empire Strikes Back when C3PO says "the odds of navigating an asteroid field are 3,720 to 1."
- When Dareth puts on the Helmet of Shadows, he controls all of the Stone Warriors, including Kozu, although it may not seem this way. The Stone Warriors immediately turn on Kozu given Dareth's orders.
- "Day of the Departed" was confirmed during San Diego Comic-Con 2016 along with The Hands of Time. During the event, the opening scene of the episode was shown to the audience.
- This is the first episode not written by Dan and Kevin Hageman due to scheduling conflicts with them writing Trollhunters. It was instead written by David Shayne.
- Krux appeared in this special as Dr. Saunders. This marks the third time a villain has appeared in an installment before their installment. The first is Morro and the second is Yang.
- "Day of the Departed" does not have an episode number. The first episode of The Hands of Time was episode 65.
- On September 30, Ninjago co-creator Tommy Andreasen confirmed via Twitter that the spirits of the deceased villains will possess the museum mannequins. In doing so, he confirmed that Chen and Morro died when the Cursed Realm was destroyed, while Kozu was destroyed upon the Overlord's defeat. On October 8, he confirmed that the original voice actors for the villains would reprise their roles.
- Andreasen also confirmed who the hero/villain pairings would be when a fan guessed them correctly.
- Andreasen confirmed various other aspects of the special, including that Pythor would appear in the flesh and the special would feature several locations from early seasons.
- This is the first episode to feature several villains at once, including Samukai (last seen in "Wrong Place, Wrong Time"), Kozu (last seen in "Rise of the Spinjitzu Master"), Cryptor (last seen in "The Titanium Ninja"), Pythor, Zugu and Eyezor (last seen in "The Corridor of Elders"), and Chen and Morro (last seen in "Curseworld, Part II"). Some of these villains have appeared within the last ten episodes of the previous season, while others, such as Samukai and Kozu, had not appeared in over forty episodes, which aired four years prior.
- Nya is seen doing Spinjitzu for the first time since "Return of the Overlord." However, her tornado's colors have changed from crimson to dark blue, which is due to her unlocking her true powers as a Master of Water instead of using Spinjitzu gained from Dark Matter corruption.
- This is Lou's first speaking role since "The Last Voyage".
- The episode marks the first time that the term Skulkin is used in the show instead of the Skeleton Army, with Samukai calling himself the "Skulkin general."
- The statues of Morro and Samukai are the only ones that look exactly like their original forms; Pythor is wearing clothing resembling his Rebooted robes, Cryptor's printing is slightly different, Kozu's color scheme has changed to include black as a predominant color, and Chen doesn't have gloves (though he does have gloves as a statue and in the sets).
- The new designs were a product design choice to make the villains unique to the sets of this wave. This explains why Morro and Samukai did not change in appearance, as they had no minifigure counterparts in this set wave.
- In "Attack of the Cursed Specters", the museum mannequins were colourless before possession, whereas in the original version the mannequins had their colours, albeit a little faded (perhaps due to dim lighting within museum).
- Nadakhan and the Sky Pirates do not appear, as Jay's final wish in "The Way Back" erased most of the effects of Skybound. The Sky Pirates are the only villainous faction that do not appear (excluding the Serpentine, who have since allied with the ninja, and Captain Soto's crew).
- Skybound is referenced, however, by the fact that the Temple of Airjitzu is on a floating island.
- This marks the first time Pythor has fought one of the ninja since "Enter the Digiverse."
- Borg Tower returns to the Ninjago City skyline, despite being absent since The Tournament of Elements.
- While holding up the head of the statue, Lloyd says, "You are still with me, dad!" This echoes part of Garmadon's last words to Lloyd in "Curseworld, Part II:" "Whatever happens to me, wherever I am—I will always be with you."
- In actuality, Yang doesn't ally with the revived villains. He uses them to distract the ninja so they won't interfere with him opening the Rift of Return. This special focuses on Yang's conflict with Cole, while the return of the villains acts as a subplot.
- Similarly, Morro is the only revived villain to not seek vengeance, but instead redemption and forgiveness. This is likely due to the concluding events in "Curseworld, Part II" when he realizes the true meaning of being the Green Ninja. His claim of having "unfinished business" with Wu in front of the other villains was a ruse to hide his true intentions of helping the ninja.
- A recurring character model in the crowd at The Royal Blacksmiths performance wears a Lord Garmadon mask using the same upside down paper bag design as the one seen on "Marmaduke Wellington" (Garmadon's "voice actor") from the 2014 blooper reel.
- While Dareth is examining the costumes, a couple of human Anacondrai warriors can be seen in the crowd.
- Pythor allies with Yang despite having helped to save Ninjago before, going out of his way to harm Lloyd; he is also the only villain to appear in the special that isn't either sent back to the Departed Realm, redeemed, or both. This indicates that Pythor's assistance against the Anacondrai warriors was motivated by personal anger over them mocking his heritage with their false Serpentine transformations, not a genuine change of heart regarding the ninja.
- Each deceased villain died very similarly to their respective deaths.
- Samukai was almost victorious but got overwhelmed (first the Golden Weapons, then Ronin supported Jay).
- Kozu had an off-screen but implied death (Lloyd defeating the Overlord destroyed him, then Dareth turned his troops against him).
- Cryptor was destroyed inadvertently (first by him being frozen and shattered, then by falling out of a tree).
- Chen almost succeeded but had the tables turn and died on his own throne (almost won the Second Serpentine War but only to be banished by Arcturus, then launched a missile only for Nya to project it back).
- Morro accepted his fate (by letting the Preeminent take him down and by returning to the Hall of Villainy then to the Departed Realm).
- Pythor didn't die but he did slip away (first by Garmadon destroying the Great Devourer, then by jumping off a statue).
- In "Curseworld, Part II," Nya destroyed the Cursed Realm which consequently resulted in Chen's death. In "Day of the Departed," Nya destroys the mannequin Chen is possessing using one of his own missiles—defeating him a second time. Zane also defeats Cryptor a second time, having indirectly frozen then shattered him apart at the end of "The Titanium Ninja."
- Each villain's choice of target is due to their certain history.
- Pythor chose Lloyd due to "defeating" his father and their ongoing conflict.
- Chen targeted Nya for stealing his Spell of Transformation, and he presumably targeted Kai for turning Skylor against him and destroying the Staff of Elements.
- Cryptor presumably challenged Zane because he inadvertently destroyed him by slaying the Golden Master.
- Morro had unresolved business with Wu, as he claimed, but in reality, he sought to help him.
- General Kozu presumably pursued Dareth for stealing control of the Stone Army, indirectly leading to his destruction by enabling Lloyd to reach and defeat the Overlord.
- Samukai went after Jay due to process of elimination, as the other villains all claimed a target before he could. However, it's worth noting that Jay was the first ninja to use Spinjitzu against the Skulkin (in "The Golden Weapon"), inspiring the others to follow suit.
- The golden statue of a Hypnobrai general, which was previously seen in "Winds of Change" shortly before Morro possessed Lloyd, can be seen at the entrance of the Hall of Villainy.
- The Helmet of Shadows makes its return in this episode, having last appeared in "Rise of the Spinjitzu Master." In its last appearance, it served the same purpose—for Dareth to control the Stone Army.
- This marks the last appearance of Cole as a ghost and the first appearance of him as a human since "The Temple on Haunted Hill."
- Chen, Cryptor, and Samukai are all killed within one minute of each other.
- At one point, Kai asks Nya if she thinks that they'll ever find out what actually happened to their parents. This hints to the next season, The Hands of Time, where the siblings do find out what actually happened to their parents.
- This is the first episode to feature Krux (though he previously appeared in the Villain Throwback promos), though he remains under the identity of Dr. Saunders throughout the whole episode.
- In this episode, all of the ninja (except Cole) used their signature weapons to battle their old enemies: Lloyd, Kai, and Nya used katanas, Jay used a pair of nunchucks, and Zane used a pair of shuriken.
- There is an alternate version of the "Day of the Departed" known as "Attack of the Cursed Specters" (乐高幻影忍者: 魔咒幽灵的进击). It includes an exclusive intro written by Tommy Andreasen, featuring the ninja fighting to decide who gets the Raider. The desert scene is shorter as the ninja have already been introduced. There are some other small differences between the special and this version, with brand new scenes and replacements. It is available only in Chinese.
- The Rock Roader's jet function, only seen in the sets, is used in this version of the special.
- Villain Throwback videos (called "The Story of (Villain's name)") shows the Hall of Villainy before it is opened to the public. There are slight differences, such as objects lying on the floor or cracks on the walls. Dr. Saunders lets the viewer in (the trailer is from the camera's point of view), saying, "Welcome to the Ninjago Museum of History! I'm Dr. Saunders, the curator of this museum. This is the all-new hall of villainy exhibit, not yet open to the public! You come, you see!" and tells the viewer the history of one of the villains shown in the hall.
- This line of sets is the first to not include a dragon for either the heroes or the villains.
- Saunders refers to the Overlord and Golden Master separately when he explains not all the villain statues are unpacked. This is either an error or it indicates the general population of Ninjago is not aware the Golden Master was the same entity as the Overlord.
- The Circus Clown from Minifigures Series 1, previously seen in "The Art of the Silent Fist" and "The Way Back," is also seen in the crowd, next to the Garmadon impersonator.
- In the first draft of the script, Cole and Lou were going to light a lantern for Cole's aunt, but it was changed to imply it was his mother. In "Attack of the Cursed Specters", however, the first draft of the script was used.
- Despite appearing in the Rock Roader set, Lil' Nelson does not appear in the special because "The idea was to isolate Cole".
- The ending can be interpreted two ways, as happening later in the same night or years in the future.
- Tommy Andreasen stated, "I like DoD a lot. The action got cut up more than it was in script, and some (in my mind) important scenes were left out. But it's good."
- Before the special's release, he hinted, "It's fun, action packed and very emotional."
- When battling Yang's students, Cole says, "This isn't a fair fight. I'm handcuffed. [...] So you might want a few more guys." This is nearly identical to his quip in "Enkrypted": when Soto pointed out that the other Kryptarium inmates had weapons while the ninja were handcuffed, Cole said, "Yeah. Sounds like it's almost a fair fight." In-universe, it makes sense that Cole would reuse this line, considering the events of "Enkrypted" took place in an alternate timeline that Cole does not remember.
- This special was created to fill the void in the second half of 2016 after The LEGO Ninjago Movie's release date was pushed back a year.
- Samukai claims to be a "fearsome master of the axe" even though he was never shown wielding an axe before this special.
- When asked what "Close the circle" meant, Tommy Andreasen stated, "Finish the job. Get even. Settle the score. It is basically a trap to make Cole go to Yang."
- This is the first time characters have been shown without studs on their heads (as opposed to the studs present on the Skulkin's heads before Skybound), when the Stone Scouts appear without their hats toward the end of the special.
- Interestingly, Season 7 still had a stud under Nya's hair in an animation error.
- Before the special was released, Tommy Andreasen responded that "Yang only invites bad guys to the party" when asked if Garmadon could return on the Day of the Departed. However, this statement proved to be false when Morro revealed himself as an ally to Wu and the ninja.
- In addition, Garmadon's next appearance to affect the future of the timeline would be as a villain.
- Cole was the focus ninja of the special. His conflict with Master Yang was what framed the other ninja's stories, and his transformation from ghost to human acted as the closure to the story.
- Cole unlocks his RX powers and gains his ghostly scar at the end of the special.
- The other five ninja (Kai, Jay, Zane, Lloyd, and Nya) had very minor roles in the special.
- Kai and Nya fought Chen and the Anacondrai warriors.
- Jay fought Samukai and the Skulkins
- Zane fought Cryptor and the Nindroids.
- Lloyd, and Misako, fought Pythor.
- Wu also had a minor role in the special.
- Wu conversed with Morro, which helped the ninja discover Cole's whereabouts.
- Master Garmadon was memorialized in the special.
- P.I.X.A.L. had a cameo at the beginning of the special, before the introductory sequence. Misako, Dareth, and Ronin also made appearances in the special.
- Master Yang served as the main antagonist of the special.
- Several past villains from previous seasons (Samukai, Pythor, General Kozu, General Cryptor, Master Chen, and Morro) returned and served as the secondary antagonists of the special. Morro was the main antagonist of Season 5, but he helps Master Wu in the special. Pythor helped the ninja in Season 4, but he becomes an antagonist once more in the special.
- Master Yang's students and the past villains' henchmen (Frakjaw, Krazi, two Stone Swordsmen, two Stone Scouts, three Nindroid warriors, Zugu, and Eyezor) serve as the villainous factions of the special respectively.
- When Jay says "Jay to save the day" in the introduction, the road in the background mysteriously appears to float up in the air.
- Chen and Morro's statues are in different styles.[ Clarify ]
- The Fangpyre symbol is visible on the replica of Pythor's Anacondrai Staff.
- Cole has a lantern with him while viewing the Hall of Villainy, but when he goes off to Yang's portrait, his lantern disappears for the rest of the scene.
- Cryptor is seen missing his armor for the first scene that he is revived in.
- When Cole phases through the group as they walk through him in the museum, Misako's arm can be seen clipping through Lloyd's back.
- In the shot before Jay connects the Ultra Stealth Raider Jet to the rest of the vehicle, his eyebrows are absent.
- In the shot where Chen comes back to life, he no longer has his Departed Jadeblade and black gloves, despite having both when he was a statue. As Yang said, the Departed Blades are needed for the villains to be resurrected, so in actuality, Chen's lack of a blade meant he never had a chance of being revived.
- When Samukai is first seen at the junkyard carrying Edna, he's wielding two bone daggers. Yet afterward, the daggers are nowhere to be seen, having been replaced by his Departed Bone Axe.
- After being brought back to life, Cryptor's mannequin no longer has shoulder armor. The armor is absent all throughout the scene up until the last shot when Pythor proposed they go to the Hall of Sidekicks. This shot, as well as all the scenes after it, featured Cryptor with the armor on.
- Yang's flashback depicts him as a relatively young man at the time of his transformation into a ghost even though there was a painting of him in human form at an older age within the temple in "The Temple on Haunted Hill."
- During the credits, Paul Dobson is listed as having voiced Kozu and Pythor, but he only voiced Kozu. His brother, Michael Dobson, voices Pythor. In fact, both Michael and Paul were credited for voicing Pythor with their names sitting next to each other.
- The revived Nindroid Warriors, Stone Swordsmen, and Anacondrai warriors were meant to have a green/ghostly appearance to them, but due to an animation mishap, they do not.
- When the Chenosaurus' boxing gloves are replaced by buzzsaws, the gloves disappear in thin air.
- As Samukai does rock-paper-scissors with Kozu, Morro's statue can be seen on in the background, despite Morro being in possession of it at the time.
- In the same shot, the Pythor statue can be seen holding the Departed Anacondrai Staff, despite the real Pythor taking it earlier.
- Cole's Spinjitzu appears normal when the ninja arrived at the museum, yet later, when he fights Yang's students in the temple, his Spinjitzu has a ghostly appearance.
- This could be because he was fading away.
- When the ninja arrive on the Bounty and Kai says "We have to help him," he and Lloyd were wearing their Jungle Robes.
- When Kozu jumps onto the stage, there is a Stone Swordsmen instead of a Stone Scout.
- When Lloyd was about to be attacked by Pythor, he had a golden katana strapped to his back, despite not having it on his back during the first half of the special.
- When Cole was going into the rift, he can be seen in his new human form.
- In the ending credits, Revenge Will Be Mine is misspelled "Revanche Will Be Mine".
- In the credits, Pythor is listed twice under Paul and Michael Dobson.
For the gallery of the episode, click here.