Ninjas were "hyped up" in the story of One Piece through Oda's continuous reminders they exist, Luffy's reactions and even Franky's statement. Raizo and Shinobu are fine but what the ninja lacked were balanced and adequate focus. The character doesn't necessarily have to be badass but they do need to have moments that highlight their character and abilities. I love Buggy and consider him one of Oda's best characters. He is completely memorable. I don't believe this is the case for any One Piece ninja.
The fact that the Ninja Pirate Mink Samurai Alliance exist conveys how the four groups were elevated to the same level yet 2 of the 4 groups got shafted - Ninja and Mink. Is anyone really happy with how the Ninja and Mink were treated as background characters during the raid on Onigashima? Would you really not have preferred the ninja and Mink be more an on-screen feature during the arc? I for one would have loved more dynamic ninja fights, especially between Raizo and Fukurokuju beyond just standing there. Raizo and Shinobu also possessing Devil Fruits does to an extent take away from their imagery as ninja. I can accept this though as Devil Fruits are a central power in the One Piece world and the Fruits were themed after ninja powers (kind of). Orochi's elite ninja squad, the Oniwabanshu, weren't even that impacting. The majority of them were taken out off screen or in one panel. The relevance of the group peaked at their introduction when they caught Robin investigating.
When the alliance formed, it was expected that all the factions would be important but when Oda features the majority of the ninja and Mink efforts during the raid in the background, it is hard not to conclude that Oda considers them less important to the other parties in the alliance which in turn does snuff out the enthusiasm one had (speaking for myself). Oda's writing tells us the ninja and Mink aren't that important to warrant screen time which consequently reduces the interest and excitement I have for such characters. The emotional substance generating attachment just isn't there. I would love to embrace the presentation of the ninja and Mink during the Onigashima raid wholeheartedly but it felt so half-baked that all I am left with is sadness at how underutilized and minor (relative to their set up) such factions were.
I don't see Oda giving the ninja significant time to feature going forward. I get that the Wano arc is bloated and excessively long but Oda chose to remove focus away from the ninja (and Mink). There is a reason Jack felt so underwhelming relative to the treatment Queen and King got especially when Jack was set-up to be really important and was the first billion dollar bounty revealed in story.
@electricmastro Who is Gataro? Did he appear in the Naruto manga? I don't remember him at all.
The specific ninja you have in mind is still coming, aged-up Tama! :ninja: