Witch Hunter Robin – Series Review

Recently I decided to dust off my Witch Hunter Robin DVDs and rewatch the series with my sister because she’s never watched the whole thing and I was curious how it’s held up. It’s been over four years since I’ve watched it and I remember liking the series a lot. Also, this show has the personal honor of being the first anime series I bought on DVD without first seeing on TV.

Final Series Score: 6/12 B- 3/12 D, I was way too kind the first time
Rewatchablity: very low
Pros: animation still looks nice, dub has Crispin Freeman in it,premise was orginal, nice opening
Cons: Second half was boring, too much of the plot sees to come from nowhere and we had to be told the plot instead of us being shown the plot, characters – while likeable -could have been fleshed out better, poor pacing

Here’s the opening, I couldn’t find a good copy of the closing

Witch Hunter Robin didn’t hold up nearly as good as I thought it would. I wanted it to be as good as I remember itbut there were so many things that were poorly done in the show.

The show starts off with the Japanese branch of a witch hunting organization, the STNJ, getting a new hunter from Italy. Her name is Robin and she has the ability to create and control fire. The STNJ’s job is to hunt and subdue witches for transport to “the factory”. The first half of the show follows the ‘Witch of the week’ format and was pretty decent.. The second half of the show delves into Robin’s past and the STNJ’s operating practices.

One factor came into play while I rewatched this show that I wanted to mention. Having already seen it once, and remembering the end, I was not surprised by what was revealed and thus concentrated on how the show went about giving us the plot. For the first time watcher, the plot twists will be unexpected and will probably give a higher opinion of the show.

The first misstep of the show is not fleshing out the characters better during the first half. So while they’re a likable bunch, it’s only a shallow likeability because they feel generic – being a role instead of a person. This particularly bothered my sister and she remarked as to why Robin’s co-workers care for her so much. Good question, I don’t think they did a good enough job of showing the camaraderie between them.

This probably could have been overcome if show’s second half was interesting. It wasn’t though. Everything was way to cut and dry – go to person A, learn secret B, meet person C, learn secret D, meet person E, etc. And when we learned something new, the information always felt like it came from left field. Since I try not to spoil people who haven’t seen the show when I do series reviews I won’t repeat some of the pieces of plot that display this failing.

Then there’s the pacing. This show is a very porkish 26 episodes long. I bet this could have been trimmed down to 13 episodes without much loss. Or alternatively, a bunch of scenes could have been added to shore up it’s weak points. Either way, the pork makes watching this series very boring for the repeat watcher.

On the positive side the animation remains top-notch. I knew this was a slightly older series but was surprised to see it’s copyright was 2002. Also the premise is pretty original and is one that I wish could have been explored better.

So to sum it up: Witch Hunter Robin could have been a very good show but it was executed poorly. It’s worth a watch if you haven’t seen it before (Netflix, for example) but almost assuredly not worth buying it on DVD. Unless you happen to have a thing for strange hair cuts and bustles, then this show might be up your alley.

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4 thoughts on “Witch Hunter Robin – Series Review”

  1. At first I felt bad about rating this show so low since it was very nostalgic but giving it a B was bothering me since I had a very hard time even forcing myself to finish it. That obviously meant this show didn’t deserve a B but a rating more in line with being a painful watch.

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  2. Very informative review – I wish I would have read this before I bought the show. As of right now, I’ve seen ten episodes and feel as though I’ll never get through it. It worries me a litttle that you seem to think that the first half was actually better than the second – and I’m already choking on the first half. Anyway, thanks for the review.

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  3. @ElfDuchess: Your welcome, you might like the second half more if this is your first time watching it. This review came from a rewatch I did several years after first watching it, the first time through I liked it a lot more (though it was like the third anime series I ever watched so I was unacquainted with the tons of great anime series out there).

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