The often overlooked occult detective drama Hunter Witch Robin is probably as close as you’ll get to a Buffy the Vampire Slayer anime. Certainly a product of its time in terms of it’s style and motifs but is there still a reason to flock and see how it holds up? As someone who hasn’t heard of Robin before I decided to do a first impressions review, watching the first couple episodes and seeing what kind of takeaways or thoughts I have on it.
Usually I would not do this, as it does feel somewhat of an incomplete assessment. However, I see this no different than an episodic review or as something that’s completely unsubstantial. If you’ve seen the show maybe it’s interesting to see how someone with fresh eyes views it, and if you haven’t then here’s an unbiased peek and we can determine whether it’s maybe worth taking a chance. At the end of the day, this was to examine something that I was recommended to watch and I’d rather get around to doing a little, rather than nothing at all. Here’s what I got after watching the first 4 episodes of the show.
Robin is a Delicate Bird
The show so far has been less main character centric as being named after the titular character implies. I’d argue that Robin is even really a main player until the third episode, a trend I’m sure breaks after but it is somewhat unique. Given the sort of grungy 2000s aesthetic you maybe would assume that Robin would be a typical sassy, coolheaded, or badass that would fit the design. However, Robin appears to be rather gentle, displays traits of a wallflower or even kuudere.
Robin is sort of a distinct and fascinating character from my initial impression. Distinct in her demeanor and roundedness not just her hairstyle. I can’t make fun of it, I have my “no fan of Yu-Gi-Oh gets to make fun of someone’s ridiculous Marie Antoinette haircut” citation. I think her calming aura extenuates both the melancholic tone, and the thematic messages. I’m sure her representing the antagonized witches of the world, helps in illustrating her confliction of loyalties and duties. As an audience we don’t get a real sense of how dangerous or problematic witches are as a whole. Is Robin an exception, or are witches willing to assist the STN more likely than we may think?
It’s an interesting dilemma that begins getting viewers to question the motives of the individuals and organizations that in habit the world. Does the STN operate more out of fear or civic duty? Why is Robin willing to help in their agenda? I think the show is looking to handle it’s themes with a bit of nuance and I think having a character such as Robin who has subtle characterization and one that might have to be pushed or pulled into confrontation is a rather interesting springboard that makes the world feel that the more open.
The Witchin’ World of Robin Sena
So one thing that I noticed is that this show has not exposition dumped at the very beginning. 4 Episodes in, and I feel like the bells and whistles of how this world works is still a mystery to me. Now, that’s actually a trait that I really enjoy. It does make it a bit of a slow burn, but it does feel like you’re piecing things together and making progress in understanding the world as a whole.
How does the witches’ powers work exactly, and other pieces of lore and backstory has mostly eluded me to this point in the series. I think it’s done enough to explain circumstances but keeping an air of mystery as to what could possibly coming next. Both extremes are annoying, it’s not fun to have no clue what’s happening and needing to rely on Wiki’s or source material to understand it. Or the opposite with so much screen time dedicated to characters who are literal plot translators constantly interrupting the flow of scenes.
I don’t know what kind of powers could come up; I don’t know how exactly the work though I believe there is some scientific element. It’s a good blending the genre and making it an intriguing world for an occult detective story. I feel appropriately left in the dark to some of the mechanics of the world and that’s why while it might be tough to become fully enarmed with the characters or action I did want to watch further.
A Very Nostalgic Dub
The interesting thing is that I was able to recognize a lot of the voice actors right away, at least acknowledge one of their previous performances except for Robin herself. Robin was one of the earliest roles of Kari Wahlgren. Let me tell you, you might not recognize the name, but I assure you that if you’ve watched anime/animation then you’ve heard her voice. The crazy thing is that she hasn’t done many notable or top billed characters. With few exceptions such as these maybe these will be familiar to you:
- Celty Sturluson – Durararara!
- Jessica – Rick and Morty
- Haruko Haruhara – FLCL
- Phosphora – Kid Icarus Uprising
- Saber – Fate/Zero
Even though outside of Saber, not an abundance of marquee characters, Wahlgren has stupendous range and has done a lot of multi-role/additional voices on productions. Usually, voicing multiple characters are voice actors considered to be professional respected voice talented veterans. That or it’s a really cheap production trying to cut corners, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for Wahlgren who has done it a lot. I’m going to assume that the producers and directors of Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness enjoyed having her in the booth or they wouldn’t have given her 50+ characters during the shows run.
The rest of the cast is composed of some of people’s favorite voice actors and one’s that I consider to be pretty great:
- Crispin Freeman – Alucard (Hellsing), Itachi (Naruto), Kyon (Haruhi Suzumiya)
- Dave Wittenberg – Kakashi Hatake (Naruto), Teddie (Persona 4)
- Johnny Yong Bosch – Lelouch (Code Geass), Ichigo (Bleach)
- Michelle Ruff – Luna (Sailor Moon), Yoko Littner (Gurren Lagann), Yuki Nagato (Haruhi) Rukia(Bleach) Sinon (SAO II)
I guess this only applies if you’re a dub watcher. From now on I will refer to dub watchers as “Dub eaters” because all we do is eat dubs. Sub watchers, I will call you bottoms, because that’s where, we’ll find you in the trash bin. Am I doing it right, this debate exists to hurl playground insults at people right…nobody actually takes this stuff seriously…..right?
In general, I always like seeing careers prosper and do enjoy getting to recognize certain voice talent. There’s something uniquely enjoyable about it, unlike with regular actors you know when you’re going to see Nick Cage in a movie. It’s always slightly surprising and gratifying to go “Oh wait, I know/recognize that voice from somewhere. Oh Wendee Lee is in this how cool”. Or maybe that’s just me and I’m some kind of ultra-loser, but my point still stands, I enjoyed the voice talents on display for this one.
I Don’t Like This Post Format
FUNimation! why must you cut off when the going gets good! Episode 4 was the most exciting episode and the one that really feels like we’re past the set-up and starting to kick things into gear… I’m paywalled by FUNimation oh darn.
I think the truth of the matter is for better or worse, Hunter Witch Robin is a show you can’t get a great feel from in just four episodes. I appreciate the overall atmosphere and premise of the show but, there’s little to say about the execution of the plot at this point.
However, this is an appropriate insight to make a nice little first impression post such as this. This is part of recommendation November (Yes there still isn’t an official name, branding is hard) and I feel good about 4 episodes feeling equivalent to the length of a film. So, it’s great that it feels appropriate time allocated so I could focus on some other things people have suggested. Not so great because it puts another series up there with Lain as “old series that I want to check out but I’m currently watching other stuff and I’m not sad enough at the moment” list.
This is one of my oldest recommendations so while it is incomplete, it does feel good to maybe promote this show and encourage others to maybe check it out. I wonder, if they even remember they recommended this to me, it’s been a while. This spawned from a Twitter interaction, where I asked my followers to name a series and I would tell them what I thought about it. This show got brought up and… I had never heard of it before. While I did give insight on how I judged from the promotional material, art design, I was recommended the series.
This post is thanks to Nyan from BiblioNyan. One of the most aesthetically pleasing sites to visit (It looks a little better than my parent’s fridge thumbnails), and one full of content worth reading. Thank you for the recommendation, sorry it’s a little short of a full one but it certainly was an experiment that wouldn’t be possible without readers like you.
Thanks for reading, also umm…. I never said to stop sending me recommendations. I have a couple that I am giving priority to but feel free to give me something you think I should complain at…er I mean review and maybe I’ll do it. Eventually, in the future. Catch ya, next time here at the movies!