[Review] Witch Hunter Robin

Hey guys! And welcome back to another anime review. Actually, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve had the urge to pick up this series again and with the weather getting warmer and my strength depleted, I thought it was time to just stay in bed and rewatch this childhood gem! I don’t actually remember where I first watched it but eventually something led to my owning the box set and rewatching the ending song over and over until it became one of the first Japanese songs I learned as a kid. Surprisingly, I still remembered most of the lyrics so you bet I started SUBETEWA ITAMI WO TOMONAUHODO AZAYAKAing to that beauty

But what is this series about? Well, it’s an older one so if you all haven’t heard about it, I’m not surprised

Witch Hunter Robin follows the life of Robin Sena, a 15 year old fire craft user, who was trained to hunt down witches, craft users who use their powers to commit crimes. One day, she is transferred from her post at SOLOMON Headquarters to join the STN-J, SOLOMON’s Japanese branch, as a replacement hunter. On her first day, Robin learns that operations at the STN-J are carried out differently. For one, they don’t kill witches. Through a combined use of hunters that incapacitate witches and “the Factory”, the STN-J captures and imprisons witches, a practice that they believe makes them more humane. While this sort of incapacitation would normally be difficult, the STN-J has developed a substance called “orbo” that hunters wear in order to negate the craft if used directly against their person

But as the cases pile up and Robin’s power grows, trouble begins to brew. What does it mean to be classified as a witch? And do all witches deserve to be hunted?

Rating: PASS

Actually, there’s SO MUCH happening in this anime but I feel like if I say even a peep more than this, I might start to fall into some spoiler territory so let’s leave it at that

I have to admit that re-watching this series was like watching it for the first time. I clearly remember that the first few episodes followed the typical case-by-case premise that many crime and mystery series have, but once the plot kicks off, I was in the dark. Even as I’m writing this review, part of me is still trying to untangle all the webs that were revealed, both the politics and mythology. Actually, like many older series, I felt this one was heavily influenced by religion, not just because Robin was raised by the Catholic Church and appeared to be a devote catholic, but also in relation to the mythology of witches

Yes, I understood what was happening by the time the last few episodes were rolling, but I have to admit that I feel like I’m missing something. While this might be a turn off for others, I actually really like this since it keeps me thinking about a series

In terms of characters, I have to admit that I got attached to everyone pretty quickly. Robin has always been a favorite of mine because I’ve always loved fire powers, but also, I just really like her personality. She appears to be aloof but she really cares about the people around her, often bringing them food, keeping them company, and both directly and indirectly giving them advice and confidence. She’s very perceptive but also very innocent and naive, which is ironic since she was originally trained to kill witches. Plus, she’s always dressed like she’s from a different century and PULLS IT OFF AMAZINGLY!! Actually, Robin is one of the first characters I ever wanted to cosplay so yes, that’s how much I really like her

The other STN-J hunters, while minor, were also very interesting. Out of the bunch, I think it was Doujima who made me uneasy, which is funny since she appeared to be the more “useless” of the bunch. She was always coming in late and rarely hunted. We did get some background on why she was in the STN-J but I often wondered which of her “personalities” was genuine. Or maybe that’s not the right phrasing because they could have all been genuine but I felt like I didn’t know her, making it hard to really like or trust her

Funny thing I noticed while watching this was that many of the voice actors reminded me of the s-cry-ed cast, which was funny because…well Martin Zigmar. I also believe that Sakaki was played by a VA from Digimon so I often felt an even greater nostalgia while listening to them

And Amon. Amon!! Oh boy, oh MAN let me fan myself a little!! Starting up the series, I knew I shipped him with Robin (ships, I rarely, if ever, forget) but OH MY, I had forgotten how HOT he was. And yes, I still ship them and can you guys see his gorgeous hair?! He really drove me crazy the whole series, not just because he’s attractive as heck but because he was a sneaky bastard! I always just wanted to jump into his head, that’s how frustrating he was as a character, like WHAT are you thinking! He also always seemed to try and distance himself from others. Yes, everyone liked him and he sometimes even joked with the others but his work and duty were always first. But when he’d be nice, damn, my heart would skip a beat and I’d think, yup, I want to date this man

He is basically the definition of mysterious but like Robin came to learn, while sketchy, he was also loyal and had a good head on his shoulders. In fact, his leadership skills and experience pretty much hold the STN-J together, as we come to learn when he gets hurt. If anything, I just wish he wouldn’t burden himself with everything so much. Like, I was so close to crying during this one scene…

Just thinking about it makes me emotional! Although good riddance to a certain someone~

I don’t actually have much to complain about for this series. The quality of the animation is obviously lower than what’s out now, but I think that it holds up decently. I have to admit that the first episode felt really stiff but once Robin starts to find her place within the STN-J, the animation gets better. If I had to defend it, I think it works really well to convey how she felt being in a country and society she hadn’t been in since she was a child (potentially even born) and how she was a new member in a company that seemed to be weary of her being a craft user. That said, I always let out a few giggles whenever people walked since they had that constant uniform shoe tap. I don’t think I’ve heard it in newer anime but it’s very common in some older ones

The character designs and overall color fit really well with the dreary environment that I often associate with crime and mafia series, as well as the pacing. Each case took up a whole episode and even though their jobs were to capture witches, sometimes there wasn’t a lot of fighting. But when there was, you bet I was in awe of Robin’s fire and Amon’s strategy! Actually, I would have been all for it if there had been more episodes of just them solving mysteries. What can I say, I’m all for that shipping goodness

The pacing does slow down about midway into the series when the plot begins to unfold, which I think can bother some people but I didn’t mind as everything was progressing smoothly to the climax of discovery. Every episode counted for some sort of development, even if it didn’t seem to be obvious at first inspection

Wait…I lied! I do have a complaint! I want to know if my ship is a ship or if it’s canon. SOMEONE SEND ME A SIGN. I did understand the implication, but that doesn’t really mean anything compared to evidence. Why must I be tortured thus?! Also, THIS scene, FML he didn’t have to get all up in her business but you know I SCREAMED when he did. Actually, it was in this episode where I felt the animation was very repetitive but it makes sense so I won’t nitpick, just know I’m aware

But I’m curious, has anyone watched this series? Or maybe wants to watch it after seeing Amon? OOMPH that man! If you did watch it, what did you think about it? Did you like it? Dislike it? I realize this series isn’t for everyone. Usually these types aren’t. Actually, I noticed that a blogger buddy of mine recently wrote about this series too so check out his post here. He’s usually really good at explaining things that I don’t even think about. I mean, who knew this type of series fell into the Noir genre? Not me. And if you decide to skip this series, it’s all good but may I recommend checking out at least the ending song? It’s so good!! The opening song is too but I have a soft spot for the ending

p.s. If you guys don’t mind spoilers, I also screamed about this series in this here twitter thread

warning: This series contains violence, death, blood, human trafficking, organ selling, etc

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