Ross founded the UK Anime Network waaay back in 1995 and works in and around the anime world in his spare time.
Witch Hunter Robin Vol. 1
Date 22 May 2005
Following the operations of the clandestine STN-J, Witch Hunter Robin has found massive success on the other side of the pond, and now it looks set to do the same in Blighty - make no mistake about it, the company that bought us Cowboy Bebop just raised the bar in achingly cool anime.
The STN-J are charged with tracking and detaining witches using advanced technical and mystical methods. These supernatural powers are hereditary, and the STN keeps close tabs on all known witches, only apprehending these unfortunate people should their powers surface. The titular Robin is a 15 year old craft user, who can weild flames as a weapon. The series opens on her first day, and things are particuarly tense. Her partner, the leader of the STN-J and full time silent-type Amon, wants little to do with her, having just lost his previous partner. However, once she gains access to the STN-J headquarters, she is quickly assigned her first mission, and sets out to track her prey with the rest of the team.
From the stylish opening (which has shades of Lain for my money) to the beautiful and gothic character design, WHR sets itself up as almost arthouse fare, and continues to impress well beyond its first episode. The pacing is always considered, with an intelligent script and intriguing plots, it borrows elements from both the X-Files and Angel in terms of style and pace.
The music does a superb job of backing up the gothic visuals, with some of the best tracks I've heard since Ghost in the Shell - if Beez were to release the soundtrack I'd be first in line to snap it up ^.^
That said, the series isn't for action junkies, and the slow pace may not work for everyone. However the muted pallet and adult nature of the series is a breath of fresh air for this reviewer, and I'm looking forward to the next disc with anticipation!
Visually stunning, well paced and intelligent. Perhaps too slow for some, but a wonderful start to the series for those with a little patience.