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Witch Hunter Robin Review

Genres: Drama Supernatural All
Series' Year of Release: 2002
Number of Episodes: 26
Review Date: 6-7-2010
Review Language: Dub
Review DVD Region: R4 Available in Australia
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Review By: Bradley Beeck

Witches exist in the modern world and the STN is charged with resolving witch related crime. Robin, a witch who was raised by the church, transfers to the STN's Japan branch. There she assists Amon and the other STNJ members in capturing witches, but things begin to fall apart and Robin finds herself on a course to uncover the truth of her origin.

witch_hunter_robin006Witch Hunter Robin is another series that takes it's time to get started. Things don't get interesting until the third disc, when the proverbial hits the fan. It's starves the viewer of any answers for an awfully long time, and that's asking a lot given the nature of the character's actions. They're hunting witches in the modern world after all.

witch_hunter_robin002There's so little explanation at the beginning of the series I didn't even know that some of the members of the STNJ were suppose to be witches themselves. Aside from Robin obviously. You don't even know what happens to the Witches once their caught until the last third of the series, because the characters don't ask. This is made worse by the series' odd mix of mysticism/religion and science. On the one hand there's Robin using symbols/Witch Craft and on the other the STNJ is using genetics/computers to track down descendents of Witches and catch them. They're mutually exclusive when you provide no quasi-scientific explanation for why a Witches' powers exist. It also strays into genocide territory, something which no one acknowledges.

witch_hunter_robin001The series is also lacking in character exposition. Amon, Robin's boss, is extremely important to the show's story but he's a complete mystery from beginning to end. We really get no detail, especially not about his relationship with Robin. He's hardly ever around her so why does he go to such lengths? Robin herself comes across well enough; she's demur and doesn't say much but has a certain innocence about her. Which fits with her supposedly being 15, which is another thing that ought to have some attention but doesn't. She has the power of fire so she burns other Witches to death sometimes; she's killing her own kind. She's even surprised the STNJ captures Witches alive. In other words Robin's a 15 year who old murders people, and apparently no one has a problem with that! The other members of the STNJ have a lot of screen time, much more than Amon, and are handled better but there's still several outstanding questions related to them. Witch Hunter Robin is definitely a frustrating story, and you're probably going to need to switch your brain off to really enjoy it.

witch_hunter_robin024By now you're probably wondering what the series actually does with it's run time. For the first half it's as the description outlines, the STNJ track down witches who have awoken to their powers and committed serious crimes. The other half consists of that to a much lesser degree, as the truth is revealed about Robin's past and the goal of the STNJ. There's also some political maneuvering inside the STN origination but this is confusing because the parties involved remain largely faceless. The conclusion of the series was okay, I guess, it did provide a resolution to some things but it suffers from the lack of exposition earlier. This is particularly true for Robin and Amon.

witch_hunter_robin008Aesthetically the series is pretty good, and it has some impressive use of CG. It's used for backgrounds and blends in with the character animations almost seamlessly. The character designs are a little odd, a bit egg headed at times, but it's okay. Musically the series is fantastic, with both the OP Shell and ED Half Pain setting the mood perfectly. The background music does much the same and the track Robin deserves special mention.

Witch Hunter Robin is series that moves slower than Kiddy Grade, which is saying something. This is a mistake because the serious nature of the character's actions, and the mix of science and mysticism raises too many questions. The lack of character exposition, especially regarding Amon, is also another source of frustration. Ultimately if you're going to enjoy Witch Hunter Robin you're going to have to be patient and switch your brain off for much of the series.