Type: TV Series
Episode Count: 26
Genre: Supernatural Thriller / Drama
Version reviewed: Japanese Subtitled
Date of Review: 04 Feb 2006
Fans of the supernatural or occult themed episodes of The X-Files would do well to check out this dark and suspenseful series.
The STN-J is the Japanese branch of an organization that hunts and captures Witches who are deemed dangerous to society. Their Craft user (one who can control an elemental power) was lost in the line of duty recently, and Robin Sena, who possesses the Craft of fire, has been sent in to replace the fallen team member. The team hunts Witches, protecting themselves with a vial of a substance that repels the Witches’ powers known as Orbo, except for Robin, who is repulsed by it. Things go smoothly, until Robin stumbles onto what may be the secrets of her own past during one particularly challenging hunt.
Witch Hunter Robin is a deliberately paced character drama with a supernatural twist that readily fills the role that similarly themed episodes of The X-Files did. It is certainly one of the moodier shows in my collection, and a welcome counterpoint to the warm and fuzzy shows on my shelf. The look is almost gothic; always dark, but never angsty. The music in the show sets just the right mood, with the feel of a crime-drama and an air of the mysterious.
A large part of Witch Hunter Robin‘s success is due to the variety and authenticity of its characters. The STN-J team is made up of some people who you probably know in real life:
Robin – soft-spoken, and seeks acceptance
Amon – lone-wolf who rarely speaks unless absolutely necessary
Karasuma – second-in-command, and very serious on the job
Sakaki – accident prone, always wanting to prove himself in the field
Dojima – the slacker who doesn’t seem to take her job seriously
Michael – resident computer genius
Add to this the stern cue-ball headed chief and his yes-man lackey, and you’ve got a lively office environment that is entirely plausible. These characters are hardly static, though. As the series progresses, we learn more about each, and they all grow and change.
The story is an interesting one as well. It starts out following the team on a different hunt in each episode, which helps to set the foundations for the world it takes place in (an alternate present day) and the character relationships. About halfway through the series, while on one of the bigger hunts, Robin meets somebody that makes her start to question her powers and what her role is as a Hunter. This is when the series turns from the individual hunts to Robin’s search for the truth.
Though very low-key, Witch Hunter Robin is far from boring, and never drags. It has a style all its own and isn’t easily compared to other shows, keeping the viewer engaged without having to be a constant rush of adrenaline. Highly recommended to those who enjoy investing time in a series and connecting with its characters.