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?

Marie Antoinette Hair History – How Marie Antoinette's Hair Was a Harbinger  for the French Revolution
Marie Antoinette was either a powerful witch or really good at children’s card games. Just sayin’

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.

Also to be clear Saber has been dubbed by multiple actresses. Wahlgren is from Fate/Zero and Unlimited Blade Works. This video is not the best but if you wanted to compare the different voices actresses. Also the comments seem to paint Wahlgren as one of the consensus favorites.
Of course voicing 6 characters on the best show ever! BOSS BABY!!!!

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!

15 thoughts on “4 Takeaways After 4 Episodes of ‘Hunter Witch Robin’

  1. Ah, too bad about the paywall. I’d say Robin takes a good while before it really pays anything out, for better or worse. Of course, I have a review of the series on my site which I know you haven’t read now :p Anyway, enjoying your series of random recommendations 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. IDK man I like post watch material more than pre-gaming…ironic as it is to say on this review. Yeah, it’s one that I would like to continue but at the moment personally and blog-wise I do kind of want to do some variety so I feel like it was enough to get a feel for it and at least give me an understanding of what it is.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, I just dug myself up from the trashbin being the sub bottom that I am😂😂 No offense taken by the way!😂😂
    I loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer back in the day, and was a huge fan. I have all the episodes on dvd, and have a whole bunch of books and other stuff from that show. So after reading this, and you saying it’s as close to Buffy the anime we are going to get, this one is most assuredly on my list now. Great post!😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s always something amusing about some of my comments, and how there’s a split second were I’m very confused before I realize “Oh, yeah I did say that”. Hahaha it’s all good honestly I probably watch a 50/50 dub vs sub split so I see the merit in both of them I just like clowning around a bit.

      I mean the Buffy comparison isn’t exactly a 1 to 1 perfect match and I don’t consider myself an expert on either but I do stand by it. I think both shows just Reek of the early 2000s in the best way, the both have a similar fascination with the occult and supernatural, and both leads seem to find balance in being badass but still feminine. I think tone’s are drastically different so I think they offer widely different experience but aesthetically and on paper they are very comparable.

      Of course thanks for stopping by to read and comment it is appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. *old lady voice* Ahhh, a young whippersnapper has found ol’ Witch Hunter Robin eh? Back in my day, I had to walk all the way to my TV, through the snow and rain, while fighting off bears, and wait until it was on to watch it on Adult Swim. Not in yer fancy Interweb with your phones and your apps.
    *cough*
    I mean, great review! 🙂 I used to love Witch Hunter Robin. It’s a really cool and unique series with a great dub cast (and a really nice soundtrack). The ending is a little cliffhangery, and I wish they continued it, but if you ever get the chance to get beyond Funimation’s accursed paywall to see the rest, I think you’d be happy finishing it off.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think I would like the series as a whole too. I definitely feel that this one is a product of it’s time, but not that it’s outdated and has lost merit but it is almost intrinsically nostalgic property just for how well it captures when it was made. I agree I didn’t talk about the soundtrack but I think it is another positive in the shows favor from what I have listened to.

      Thanks for commenting, the comments definitely got me wanting to finish it sometime.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t watched the dub (probably won’t), so I can’t comment on that, but everything else you said is pretty spot on. The pacing reminds me a tiny bit of Shiki, where it seems like nothing substantial happens plot and character development wise until we get closer to the middle to last quarter of the series. Robin was someone whom I had a difficult time really liking or even being able to empathise with due to her seemingly nonchalant attitude with being a witch who hunts witches, so to speak. As JS said, she gets more depth but it takes its sweet time getting there.

    My favourite parts of the series (and it’s been quite a while since I have seen it, so they may be outdated a bit; planning a re-watch here in a couple days) was the atmosphere and the hatred/fear surrounding witches. The two vibe really well together to great a dark and ambiguous atmosphere that fuels the themes that come up later. This was also my first noir-ish type cop anime, so there is that spot of sentimentality too. Plus, I’m a sucker for the OST haha.

    Thanks for taking the time to check this out. I appreciate it. 🙂 (Would’ve commented via BiblioNyan, but saw it here first, so viola lol.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed my musing, and I’m glad to hear I did not seem to misrepresent the series with my incomplete assessment. Yeah, I see what you mean I admittedly thought it was a little slow out the gate and while I think in concept I think Robin is a good character because she seems greatly passive and I’m assuming that events are going to push her to become active in conflicts and form stronger convictions which is a neat arc. But I can see that being kind of frustrating especially because I’m getting a sense that the development might a tad slow and her complicit-ness might linger quite a bit.

      I hope you enjoy yourself upon rewatch, it’s always fun to reassess and it’s an interesting way to measure how we’ve grown by how our tastes have so that’s always pretty neat.

      Thank you for checking out this review, it was my pleasure and it’s fine I’m aware you are the author of both accounts so I got you.

      Like

  5. I saw clips of Witch Hunter Robin, but never full episodes. Weirdly enough, the first time I saw anything involving that anime that wasn’t the trailer was at a museum where Crispin Freeman himself was a keynote speaker for an anime exhibit. There was a mini-theater where Witch Hunter Robin and other anime played. Good review though.

    Liked by 1 person

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