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Witch Hunter Robin

Witch Hunter Robin

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is a Japanese anime
Anime
is the Japanese abbreviated pronunciation of "animation". The definition sometimes changes depending on the context. In English-speaking countries, the term most commonly refers to Japanese animated cartoons....

 series created by Sunrise
Sunrise (company)
is a Japanese animation studio and production enterprise. It is a subsidiary of Namco Bandai Holdings. Its former name was Nippon Sunrise, and prior to that, Sunrise Studios...

. 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".

Solomon fights the harmful use of witchcraft
Witchcraft
Witchcraft, in historical, anthropological, religious, and mythological contexts, is the alleged use of supernatural or magical powers. A witch is a practitioner of witchcraft...

 using a database of witches, which includes those who have obtained the power of witchcraft through genetics
Genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

 and others who carry the gene
Gene
A gene is a molecular unit of heredity of a living organism. It is a name given to some stretches of DNA and RNA that code for a type of protein or for an RNA chain that has a function in the organism. Living beings depend on genes, as they specify all proteins and functional RNA chains...

 (called "seeds") in order to arrest or eliminate them should their powers "awaken". The series focuses on one STN-J member, Robin Sena.

Plot


Robin Sena is a "craft user", born in Japan and raised by the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. She is trained to use her craft of fire to hunt down witches. Witchcraft is a genetic
Genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

 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


  • 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, but she is said to be dead for her own safety. In the series, it is implied that Robin has a romantic attachment to 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, but he is said to be dead for his own safety. It is implied that Amon is not only Robin's protector and possible destructor, but also Robin's romantic partner.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Anime



The original concept for the series was created by Hajime Yatate
Hajime Yatate
is a pseudonym for the collective contributions of the Sunrise animation staff.-Name:"Hajime Yatate" is considered named after a quote of Matsuo Bashō's Oku no Hosomichi:-Credited series:...

 and Shukou Murase. The episodes were directed by Murase and produced by Sunrise
Sunrise (company)
is a Japanese animation studio and production enterprise. It is a subsidiary of Namco Bandai Holdings. Its former name was Nippon Sunrise, and prior to that, Sunrise Studios...

, which also contributed to planning, and Bandai Visual
Bandai Visual
, is a Japanese anime, film production and distribution enterprise, established by Bandai Co., Ltd. and a subsidiary of Namco Bandai Holdings, Inc., which is based in Minato, Tokyo, Japan. Since the reorganisation of Namco Bandai Holdings in 2006, Bandai Visual now heads the group's Visual and...

. Character designs were provided by Kumiko Takahashi
Kumiko Takahashi
is Japanese animator and character designer. She is noted for her work as a character designer and animation director on numerous anime series, such as Cardcaptor Sakura, Witch Hunter Robin and Ouran High School Host Club....

 and Taku Iwasaki
Taku Iwasaki
is a Japanese composer and arranger. His hometown is Tokyo, Japan. He is a graduate of Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. Iwasaki is generally known for his jazz-like score music.-Anime:...

 was in charge of music.

The series originally aired across Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 between July 2, 2002 and December 24, 2002 on TV Tokyo
TV Tokyo
is a television station headquartered in Toranomon, Minato, Tokyo, Japan. Also known as , a blend of "terebi" and "Tokyo", it is the key station of TX Network. It is one of the major Tokyo television stations, particularly specializing in anime...

 and Animax
Animax
is a Japanese anime satellite television network, dedicated to broadcasting anime programming. A subsidiary of Japanese media conglomerate Sony, it is headquartered in in Minato, Tokyo, Japan, with its co-founders and shareholders including Sony Pictures Entertainment and the noted anime studios...

, who later broadcast the series across its respective networks worldwide, including East Asia
East Asia
East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...

, Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

, South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

, and other regions.

The series was licensed for North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

n distribution by Bandai Entertainment and was later aired across the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 on Cartoon Network
Cartoon Network
Cartoon Network is a name of television channels worldwide created by Turner Broadcasting which used to primarily show animated programming. The channel began broadcasting on October 1, 1992 in the United States....

's Adult Swim
Adult Swim
Adult Swim is an adult-oriented Cable network that shares channel space with Cartoon Network from 9:00 pm until 6:00 am ET/PT in the United States, and broadcasts in countries such as Australia and New Zealand...

 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
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 on YTV's Bionix
Bionix
Bionix was a late night anime program block on the Canadian television channel YTV. From September 2009-February 7, 2010, it aired on Friday nights around 4:00pm to 2:00am and Saturday mornings/afternoons from 6:00 am to 9:00 am and 12:00am to 3:00pm , beginning on September 13,...

 block from September 10, 2004.

In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 the series was broadcast in a daily stripped timeslot on AnimeCentral
AnimeCentral
Anime Central was a British television channel owned by CSC Media Group. The channel launched on 13 September 2007. It was first announced on 5 August 2007 though its licence first appeared on the Ofcom website in January...

 from January 5 to January 30, 2008, with an immediate rerun from January 31.

Soundtrack


The music of Witch Hunter Robin was composed by Taku Iwasaki
Taku Iwasaki
is a Japanese composer and arranger. His hometown is Tokyo, Japan. He is a graduate of Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. Iwasaki is generally known for his jazz-like score music.-Anime:...

. Both the opening and ending themes
Theme music
Theme music is a piece that is often written specifically for a radio program, television program, video game or movie, and usually played during the title sequence and/or end credits...

 were performed by Bana. Two soundtrack CDs have been released by Victor Entertainment
Victor Entertainment
is a subsidiary of Japan Victor Company that produces and distributes music, movies and other entertainment products such as anime and television shows in Japan. It was formerly known as...

. 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. 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. 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.

Live action series


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
Roy Lee
Roy Lee is an American film producer who regularly takes well known Asian films and remakes them for American audiences. Examples include The Ring, The Grudge and The Departed...

 and Doug Davison, who were credited as the producers for the movie The Ring
The Ring (2002 film)
The Ring is a 2002 American psychological horror film directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Naomi Watts and Martin Henderson. It is a remake of the 1998 Japanese horror film Ring....

. No premiere date was given. In December 2005, it was revealed that the live action version developed by Sci-Fi had been dropped from production.

Reception


The series has received many comments from staff of Anime News Network
Anime News Network
Anime News Network is an anime industry news website that reports on the status of anime, manga, Japanese popular music and other otaku-related culture within North America, Australia and Japan. Additionally, it sometimes features similar happenings throughout the Anglosphere and elsewhere in the...

. 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". 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". Carlos 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. 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. 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".

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
The X-Files
The X-Files is an American science fiction television series and a part of The X-Files franchise, created by screenwriter Chris Carter. The program originally aired from to . The show was a hit for the Fox network, and its characters and slogans became popular culture touchstones in the 1990s...

or Millennium
Millennium (TV series)
Millennium is an American television series created by Chris Carter, creator of The X-Files. Millennium aired on the Fox Network from 1996 to 1999. The series was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, though most episodes were ostensibly set in or around Seattle, Washington...

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
Cliché
A cliché or cliche is an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has been overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel. In phraseology, the term has taken on a more technical meaning,...

. 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.

Tasha Robinson of Sci Fi Channel's
Syfy
Syfy , formerly known as the Sci-Fi Channel and SCI FI, is an American cable television channel featuring science fiction, supernatural, fantasy, reality, paranormal, wrestling, and horror programming. Launched on September 24, 1992, it is part of the entertainment conglomerate NBCUniversal, a...

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.

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

External links