Anime Review: Witch Hunter Robin

So… Dave over at Justus for All suggested that I write some anime reviews because I’ve been talking about anime so much on my blog of late. Here’s my first anime review for all you random fans out there:

So far, I’ve seen discs 1-4 of Witch Hunter Robin. The complete series has been released, and a boxed set of all six discs is due out on October 26th. This may be old news for some of you who caught the series on Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim” but you’re stuck with this review anyway, since it’s today’s fascination.

Synopsis: Robin Sena travels from Italy to Japan to hunt witches with an elite police style force known as the STNJ. During the process of hunting witches, Robin begins to discover the true depth of her powers and talents and begins to question her place as a witch hunter.

Animation: Simply beautiful. The artwork is typical of most anime, but the backgrounds, smooth, fluid motion of all the characters and amazing special effects make this one stand out. Special attention to detail is paid with places of particular importance. One of my favorite scenes is at the end of disc 2, where there is a long shot of Harry’s bar. Unless you put the DVD on pause to appreciate the full amount of detail in the background art, you’ll miss it.

Soundtrack: Simply beautiful. I’ve been discussing a trend in anime where the opening theme doesn’t quite sync up with the animation with my husband. The opening track for this series, Shell, seems like it was designed to move and flow with the opening animation precisely. Full of energy and with an electric guitar sound that will haunt you in the back of your mind for weeks, this tune in particular stands out. Each piece of music blends wonderfully from scene to scene and takes you through the width and breadth of emotions felt by each character on the screen. Quite possibly the best put together anime soundtrack I have ever heard.

Dubbing: I am not a purist. I have no problem with watching anime with subtitles, but I prefer to watch the English dub. There are cultural differences that make characters seem off to me when I watch a series in Japanese. (A truly polite woman in Japan has a very high pitched voice that makes it hard for me to take her seriously, among other things.) There are exceptions to this rule, but this series is absolutely not one of them. The voice acting in Robin is on par with some of the better done dubs I’ve seen in anime over time. The casting is superb and even inconsequential voice acting is done with care and concern for the consistency of the series overall, making this series quite enjoyable to watch in the English dub.

Plot: This is what really sets this anime apart from others I’ve watched in the past. The story is very engaging and gripping. The first two discs are filled with standalone episodes that give you hints to what is to come in the future. The foreshadowing in this series is handled with delicacy, and is not so overdone that you see what’s coming before it happens. The story teases you for a while, then drops this amazing brick in your lap that leaves you thirsty for the next episode.

I am absolutely loving this series. It has the action that I am looking for, with a solid story and beautiful animation that makes watching anime worthwhile for me. All the key pieces are in place, the stage is set. Now… I have to wait until next month for the last two discs and let me tell you the waiting sucks. But the great part about that is that I know it will be worth it. The series so far has not failed in keeping me on the edge of my toes, waiting with baited breath for the next episode.

Expect a more complete review when I have the last two discs in my grubby little hands.