Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Review: Witch Hunter Robin (2002)

Witch Hunter Robin (2002) is a Japanese supernatural anime set in contemporary Japan. The plot revolves around witchcraft and mystery. It contains 26 episodes, and is available to buy on DVD.

Robin Sena, a 15-year-old female craft user, arrives from Italy to work for an underground global organization named STN Japan Division (STN-J) as a replacement for one of STN-J's witch hunters who was recently killed. Solomon headquarters tries to capture the witches alive in order to learn why and how they became witches in the first place. Witches are individuals with special powers like telekinesis, mind control, and extrasensory perception. It fights witchcraft by using a database of witches, which includes those who have obtained the power through genetics and others who carry the gene (called "seeds"). It also uses witch hunters to arrest or eliminate them should their powers "awaken".

During her mission, Robin begins unravelling the secrets of both the witches and STN-J. What is the fabled item that holds the secrets of the craft? 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." She is also uncertain about her origins, and the truth may reveal the meaning behind the secrets of the craft.

Although this anime series came out a decade ago, it still feels fresh and original. There was no one to root for because both sides seemed to engage in devious behavior. As one of the top-ranked anime in 2002, I can understand now why critics highly recommend the show. There is little romance and comedy, but the plot does pick up quickly to avoid dull moments.

There is also a hint of romance at the end when Amon decides to stay by Robin's side when the Factory collapses. Rumors said they either died in the destruction or fled the scene undetected for their own safety. Amon said that if Robin loses control over her burgeoning powers, he will have the duty to destroy her. Overall, this anime contains many philosophical elements; serious fans would reap the most benefits from learning the secrets and truth behind Robin's existence.


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