Witch Hunter Robin

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Witch Hunter Robin
Witch Hunter Robin volume 1.png
The cover of Volume 1 of the Witch Hunter Robin DVDs released by Bandai Entertainment.
ウィッチハンターロビン
(Witchi Hantā Robin)
Genre Occult detective
Supernatural
Anime television series
Directed by Shukō Murase
Studio Sunrise
Licensed by
Network Animax, TV Tokyo
English network
Original run July 2, 2002December 24, 2002
Episodes 26 (List of episodes)
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Witch Hunter Robin (ウィッチハンターロビン Witchi Hantā Robin?) is a Japanese anime series created by Sunrise. It follows the STN-J, the Japanese branch of a secret global organization called "SOLOMON" or the "Solomon Toukatsu Nin'idantai" (roughly "Solomon Executive Organization"), abbreviated as "STN".[1]

Solomon fights the harmful use of witchcraft using a database of witches, which includes those who have obtained the power of witchcraft through genetics and others who carry the gene (called "seeds") in order to arrest or eliminate them should their powers "awaken". The series focuses on one STN-J member, Robin Sena.

Plot[edit]

Robin Sena is a "craft user", born in Japan and raised by the Roman Catholic Church in Italy. She is trained to use her craft of fire to hunt down witches. Witchcraft is a genetic trait, dormant within a number of individuals within the human population. Powers can be "awakened" in these dormant human "seeds" at any time, which seems to also drive the awakened witch into various forms of homicidal madness or sociopathy. Trained hunters, craft-users or "seeds" themselves that have not become full witches, are needed to keep watch over "seeds" and hunt those whose abilities become active, serving in secret organizations, such as the parent branch "Solomon" and the "STN-J" branch in Japan, as self-appointed witch police to curtail the use of witchcraft in society, and to keep the witch kind a secret from the public. Even the police, who cooperate with STN-J in abnormal criminal cases, do not know what STN-J does.

The series begins when Robin arrives in Japan to gain information for Solomon headquarters about a fabled item that holds the "secrets of the craft", while acting undercover as a new hunter to the STN-J in their efforts to capture witches. It is hinted that she subconsciously understands something of the STN-J's use of Orbo.

Orbo is a green liquid that negates witch abilities. STN-J's hunters carry small vials of it on necklaces in the shape of a cross as a form of protection against their targets' craft. Hunters also carry air pistols which fire darts or pellets of Orbo that dampen witch powers when it enters the bloodstream of the target witch. Hunters who are craft-users or seeds can use Orbo with little ill effects, although their own powers are reportedly diminished while using it. Robin, a craft-user herself, says that she will not keep Orbo on her because she says it is "disgusting" ("気持ち悪い" or "bad feeling" in Japanese).

As the series goes on, Robin grows increasingly uncomfortable with her role in hunting and capturing other witches. She begins to question the treatment they receive while incarcerated in the mysterious "Factory". After the discovery of "secrets of the craft," she is entrapped and attacked twice by "witch bullets". Subsequently, the STN-J is attacked, presumably for "secrets of the craft," although the Solomon attack was carried out to find what Zaizen, the director of the STN-J, was planning.

Robin begins to worry that she will become a target and grows to suspect that her partner Amon will hunt her. Eventually, Robin does become a target of Solomon and labeled a witch, becoming "hunted". In the end, Robin finds out more about her craft and that of witches than she knew at the beginning.

Initially, the series appears to take a "monster of the week" approach. About halfway through the 26-episode season, the characters and the relationships between them are established and the main plot gets underway.

Characters[edit]

  • Robin Sena (瀬名 ロビン Sena Robin?) is a soft-spoken 15-year-old Hunter with pyrokinetic abilities. She carries thousands of years of witches' memories, enabling her to understand the sadness arising from the conflict between humans and witches. This understanding is supposed to allow her to find a way for humans and witches to peacefully coexist as "Eve of witches." She was raised in a convent in Italy before she joined the STN-J. Her ultimate fate is unknown. The reactions of the other characters show that she is believed to be alive. In the series, it is implied that Robin has a romantic attachment to Amon. Robin is voiced by Akeno Watanabe in the Japanese version and Kari Wahlgren in the English version.
  • Amon (亜門 Amon?) is a 25-year-old S-class Hunter and Robin's partner. Although he is not a witch, he carries the witch gene. Once Robin accepts her fate as the "Eve of Witches", Amon volunteers to be a watchman who will terminate her if she becomes destructive. His ultimate fate is unknown. The reactions of the other characters show that he is believed to be alive. It is implied that Amon is not only Robin's protector and possible destructor, but also Robin's romantic interest. Amon is voiced by Takuma Takewaka in the Japanese version and Crispin Freeman in the English version.
  • Haruto Sakaki (榊 晴人 Sakaki Haruto?) is an 18 year-old Hunter and is the newest member before Robin. He is initially afraid of being replaced when Robin arrives. Haruto is supportive, but brash, slightly hot-tempered, and ambitious, often rushing into danger during hunts, with regrettable results. He is voiced by Jun Fukuyama in the Japanese version and Johnny Yong Bosch in the English version.
  • Michael Lee (マイケル・リー Maikeru Rī?) is a hacker and the STN-J's technical support expert. After he is caught hacking into the STN-J's computer network, he is given the option of working for the organization or being killed and is confined to the STN-J headquarters building for all hours of the day. He avoids Robin at first, but gradually warms up to her. He is able to dig up extensive information regarding witches and police reports without leaving tracks. In the end, he is finally given permission to leave STN-J headquarters. Michael is voiced by Hiro Yuuki in the Japanese version and Dave Wittenberg in the English version.
  • Miho Karasuma (烏丸 美穂 Karasuma Miho?) is a 19 year-old hunter with the craft of psychometry, a craft which allows her to touch an object and read strong emotions and thoughts a person had while holding it. She can also see past events that happened to, or around, an item or place and uses this power when examining evidence or crime scenes. Miho gives Robin advice on how to improve control over her power and also acts as her mentor. In the end, she takes Amon's place as team leader. She is voiced by Kaho Kōda in the Japanese version and Wendee Lee in the English version.
  • Yurika Dōjima (堂島 百合香 Dōjima Yurika?) is portrayed as carefree, lazy, vain, and immature; and she would sooner go shopping than go on a mission any chance she gets. She does the most minimal work during missions and leaves the others immediately when her task is finished. She is really a Solomon intelligence operative sent to uncover more information about the Orbo. In the end, she begins to take the task of hunting down witches more seriously. She is voiced by Kyoko Hikami in the Japanese version and Michelle Ruff in the English version.
  • Chief Inspector Shintarō Kosaka (小坂 慎太郎 Kosaka Shintarō?) is a rather short-tempered man who works directly under Zaizen, and passes on reports of the organization's progress as well as other related information. He was originally a member of the city police force and he possesses connections that become useful when the hunters are unable to use the STN-J databases. In the end, he becomes the new administrator of STN-J. He is voiced by Shinpachi Tsuji in the Japanese version and Doug Stone in the English version.
  • Takuma Zaizen (財前 琢磨 Zaizen Takuma?) is the administrator of the STN-J and the Factory. He is in charge of transforming the blood of witches into the substance called Orbo, which the Hunters use to stop witches. His Orbo research came under suspicion and his relationship with Solomon headquarters is strained. He is eventually incinerated by Robin after an unsuccessful attempt on her life. He is voiced by Michihiro Ikemizu in the Japanese version and Jamieson Price in the English version.

Media[edit]

Anime[edit]

The original concept for the series was created by Hajime Yatate and Shukou Murase. The episodes were directed by Murase and produced by Sunrise, which also contributed to planning, and Bandai Visual. Character designs were provided by Kumiko Takahashi and Taku Iwasaki was in charge of music.

The series originally aired across Japan between July 2, 2002 and December 24, 2002 on TV Tokyo and Animax, who later broadcast the series across its respective networks worldwide, including East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and other regions.

The series was licensed for North American distribution by Bandai Entertainment. In October 2003, it debuted at the 3rd Annual Metreon Festival of Anime in San Francisco, followed by a Q&A and autograph session from Kari Wahlgren, who provided the voice for the title character.[2][3] It was later aired across the United States on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim network beginning February 16, 2004 (it was given a second full run on Adult Swim in the Fall of 2004 before the broadcast rights were left to expire). It has also been aired across Canada on YTV's Bionix block from September 10, 2004. Following the closure of Bandai Entertainment in 2012, Sunrise announced at their at Otakon 2013, that Funimation has rescued the series, along with a handful of other former Bandai Entertainment titles.[4]

In the United Kingdom and Ireland the series was broadcast in a daily stripped timeslot on AnimeCentral from January 5 to January 30, 2008, with an immediate rerun from January 31.

Soundtrack[edit]

The music of Witch Hunter Robin was composed by Taku Iwasaki. Both the opening and ending themes were performed by Bana. Two soundtrack CDs have been released by Victor Entertainment. The first Witch Hunter Robin Original Sound Score I was released on September 21, 2002. It contains twenty-three tracks, including TV edits of the opening and ending themes.[5] The second soundtrack Witch Hunter Robin Original Sound Score II was released on November 21, 2002. It also contained twenty-three tracks with a guitar version of the opening theme.[6] A shortened version of this guitar-only theme was used as the ending theme for Episode 15 "Time to Say Goodbye". A single containing the opening and ending themes and karaoke versions was released on August 21, 2002.[7]

Live action series[edit]

On April 5, 2004, the SciFi Channel released a press release stating a listing of new shows and movies in development for the future, one of which was a live action version of Witch Hunter Robin produced by Roy Lee and Doug Davison, who were credited as the producers for the movie The Ring. No premiere date was given.[8] In December 2005, it was revealed that the live action version developed by Sci-Fi had been dropped from production.[citation needed]

Reception[edit]

The series has received many comments from staff of Anime News Network. Bamboo Dong, a columnist from the website, has stated that she cannot make enough positive comments about the series and that it is "a show that everyone must absolutely see".[9][10] She also comments that the ending "is a wonderful way to cap off the series" and that it retained the series' solid sense of action. However, she comments that the ending moved a little too fast and spent much of its time with plot revelations, missing its chance to give the series "that extra kick".[11] Carlo Santos praised the series, saying that it was a unique tale that was gorgeous and engrossing to watch and one of 2004's best adventure anime.[12] Ryan Matthews has praised the cast choices in his column, saying that the cast is well-suited to their roles, but the performances were flat. He also notes that the ADR script was filled with clumsy wording and mid-sentence stops. He comments that it seems that the script was written without trying to match the animation.[13] In his review, Zac Bertschy says that the series is highly original and very well executed. Bertschy praises the sound track. He notes that the character designs fit well with series' visual style and the characters' expressions were convincing. Although he says that the slow plot pacing is a more negative point, he points out that action is not the focus and that once the series' picks up, the "wait is more than worth it".[14]

Jason Bustard from T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews comments that the supernatural and spooky undercurrent in the setting would fit perfectly into The X-Files or Millennium television series. The characters are received as a "mixed bunch". The main cast is said to have "distinct and fully rendered personalities", all of which are well-done. Character interaction is fun, but characterization sometimes falls into cliché. In contrast to the review from Anime News Network, Bustard believed that the story moved at a brisk pace. Although he agreed that action fans would find the series dull and added that comedy and romance fans would not enjoy the series either.[15]

Tasha Robinson of Sci Fi Channel's Sci Fi Weekly commented that it was difficult to decide who to "root for" as the witches seemed to be insane killers, but the protagonists were "killers of a colder, more controlled stripe" and were generally unpleasant, with the exceptions of Karasuma and Zaizen. She also noted that the characters give no indication as to why they work for the STN. Robin and Amon's character designs are said to be strange. The series' setting was said to be "a fairly severe, almost oppressive gothic design" and that the color palette and the plot's focus on the occult contributed to the dark feel. The pace steeply picks up once the protagonists head into battle. It is also noted that the series' could have afforded to reveal more information earlier in the series instead of teasing the audience with mysteries; just like many other reviewers, she comments that the mysteries were worth the wait.[16]

Witch Hunter Robin placed second on a list of top anime properties for 2004's first quarter and placed sixth for the third quarter.[17][18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ http://postproduction.digitalmedianet.com/article/Metreon-Hosts-Third-Annual-Festival-of-Anime-Saturday-October-11-20418
  3. ^ http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2003-09-24/kari-wahlgren-at-metreon-festival-of-anime
  4. ^ "Funimations Adds Code Geass, Tales of the Abyss, Angel Links, More". Anime News Network. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  5. ^ "Victor Animation Network【m-serve】 作品詳細 ウィッチハンターロビン" (in Japanese). Victor Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-02-20. 
  6. ^ "Victor Animation Network【m-serve】 作品詳細 ウィッチハンターロビン" (in Japanese). Victor Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-02-20. 
  7. ^ "Victor Animation Network【m-serve】 作品詳細 ウィッチハンターロビン" (in Japanese). Victor Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-02-20. 
  8. ^ Sauriol, Patrick (April 6, 2004). "Sci Fi Channel goes supernova with new shows, series and specials". Mania.com. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  9. ^ Dong, Bamboo (May 2, 2004). "Bitter like marmalade – Shelf Life". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  10. ^ Dong, Bamboo (June 21, 2004). "Column Power! – Shelf Life". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  11. ^ Dong, Bamboo (September 14, 2004). "Highlights and Skylights – Shelf Life". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  12. ^ Santos, Carlo (January 26, 2005). "Anime Highlights – 2004 Year in Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  13. ^ Matthews, Ryan (November 4, 2003). "Witch Hunter Robin – The Dub Track". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  14. ^ Bertschy, Zac (October 25, 2003). "Witch Hunter Robin DVD 1 – Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  15. ^ Bustard, Jason. "Witch Hunter Robin". T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  16. ^ Robinson, Tasha (September 22, 2003). "Witch Hunter Robin | Anime Reviews". Sci Fi Channel. Retrieved 2009-02-19. [dead link]
  17. ^ "ICv2 Looks at Manga Channel Shift". ICv2.com. July 7, 2004. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  18. ^ "Manga Competition Heats Up". ICv2.com. October 18, 2004. Retrieved 2009-02-19. 

External links[edit]