It’s almost nearly two decades ever since Witch Hunter Robin made it to the world of anime. But there is no looking back for this fictional Japanese anime series directed by Shūkō Murase.
Running through the latter half of 2002, Witch Hunter Robin’s sequences were carved with a typical mysterious stereotype that captivated many anime lovers with its 26-episode series.
If you’re a fan of the occult detective genre that has a blast of supernatural and action-filled sequences, then a recap of the anime series might be a perfect idea, especially during this quarantine period.
Shūkō Murase’s Witch Hunter Robin is not for the audience that looks forward to diving into the usual romantic dramas and high school love comedies.
Witch Hunter Robin fosters a neat message that “witches” aren’t fairytale beings that simply use their supernatural tactics to bring about an occult ambiance in the world. They are born the way they’re meant to be!
The Plot | Witch Hunter Robin
The plot starts with Robin, a 15-year old craft user who arrives from Italy to initially work for a Japanese organization named “Solomon Toukatsu Nin’idantai” Japan Division (STN-J). She is ultimately a replacement for one of the witches who was recently killed.
Robin was born in Japan but she is raised in a Roman Catholic Church in Italy where she’s trained to mindfully use her ‘craft of fire’ to kill witches.
The Japanese anime series fosters a fictional belief that witchcraft is a genetic trait that is born with a specific number of selective people within the normal human population. The awakened witches possess abilities that could be uncontrollable and unpredictable and drive them into a state of madness.
And this is where certain groups of trained witch hunters or craft users who haven’t yet transformed into full witches are given the duty of keeping an eye on emerging “seeds/witches” and hunt them down before they become fully active.
Witch Hunter Robin begins when Robin sets foot in Japan and goes about her conquest of gaining some information of the STN-J headquarters.
She keeps her identity and purpose hidden and interrogates about a fabled item that typically holds the “craft” while stepping into the shoes of an undercover hunter to the STN-J in their combined efforts to capture and hunt down witches.
As the series keeps the eagerness of the audience at their curious best, Robin is characterized by her discomfort with her ‘witch-hunting’ role.
Her restlessness towards her duties and curiosity force her to question the treatment given to the other captured witches in a “mysterious” factory.
Robin soon discovers the secrets of the craft after which she is trapped and eventually attacked by two witch bullets.
The story pulls over to a sequence where the STN-J is attacked owing to their “secret of the craft’s mission”. But this attack was planned and carried out to unveil the intentions of STN-J’s director, Zaizen.
The series of unfortunate and sudden events and unpredictable occult sequences build Robin’s disbelief towards life. She suspects that she was nothing more than a secret target of her partner, Amon, and expects a sudden hunt down by him.
But eventually, she does become Solomon’s target after being labeled a “witch”. While the whole story pulls off to a neat finish, Robin explores in-depth details about her craft and the other witches.
A Perfect Balance of Elements
Witch Hunter Robin seemed to have had that mysterious and monstrous approach in its initial “Monster of the Week” trope.
But halfway through the 26th episode, the main characters and their underlying relationships are given deep emphasis, and this somehow pulls down the main plot of the thrilling anime series.
The 26-episode series was aired on Animax and TV Tokyo for the Japanese audience. Various English networks namely YTV (Bionix), AnimeCentral, and Adult Swim were part of the English distribution network, making it one of the most enjoyable supernatural anime series across the globe.
The artistic anime was exposed to mixed reviews and critics alike who also went on to suggest the drama as a “must watch” Japanese series.
Witch Hunter Robin’s soundtrack holds up fine over the course of the 26 episodes.
The opener “Shell” is one of the soulful rock numbers whose visual and vocal aesthetics pushed it to become one of the best anime title openers of 2002.
Taku Iwasaki sure finds a perfect balance between light jazz and heavier numbers with his effective and ominous composition.
While Robin and Amon’s impeccable chemistry caught the attention of the young audience across the globe, the seamless plot and ‘twist of the tale’ touch to each of its episodes left viewers with the “what’s going to happen next” curiosity.
Witch Hunter Robin was one of the hottest properties in the North American market in the early 2000s. The famous anime series was nothing less compared to a pair of commercially successful genres aired on Adult Swim.
Re-incarnation of the Gothic Series
Witch Hunter Robin wasn’t just about a young heroine depicted with the most attractive and unique hairdos in anime.
It was ruled by a gothic-style epic drama that was extended beyond most of the traditional anime aesthetics we’ve known about so far. However, the show’s popularity could have reached elevated heights with longer episodes.
Witch Hunter Robin’s official DVD release came in the second half of 2006 and was ultimately brought back to life by Funimation with their re-release license.
In 2013, Funimation paved the way for the free screening of top anime series, and on October 23 that year, Witch Hunter Robin saw its re-release on the Bandai Entertainment’s home video.
Witch Hunter Robin was more of a magical and mythical girl warrior show that had almost no Yuri content to dig out.
Nevertheless, Witch Hunter Robin never failed to make a subsequent impact on the young audience who were stuck to watching all its episodes without a halt.
But I feel that the final fates of some of the characters are left swinging in the air. The final truth and revelation about Robin aren’t completely defined the way most of the audience would have expected it to have been.
But overall, the anime series does enough to portray its own unique perspectives on witch-based occult beliefs and mythological characters.
From the perspective of an ardent anime fan, I love the artistic touch brushed to Robin’s iconic characterization and design. Whether it is her odd hairdo or the choice of gothic apparel or even that signature trench coat, everything falls in the perfect place for a supernatural series themed in a world away from reality.
Most of the characters in this series are given a distinctive approach from the usual anime norms and that gives a definite sense of adding a realistic tone to its imaginary sequences.
Apart from the exceptional architecture, Witch Hunter Robin’s peculiar backgrounds give us the feeling of strolling through eerie locales engraved with dark alleys and spooky streets.
I feel that Witch Hunter Robin is perfect for mature audiences that look forward to indulging in an entertaining supernatural anime series encrypted with full-fledged sequences and a mirage of magical tropes.
For those of us who are awaiting Witch Hunter Robin’s sequel, well, there hasn’t been any official announcement on this yet.