Posted by psgels on 25 September 2007 with categories: Anime Reviews, El Cazador de la Bruja


This may be one of my more biased reviews, simply because I’m such a large Bee-Train fan. Their particular style of storytelling may aggravate some, but I personally love it. Still, there’s one thing about this series that nearly nobody can deny: the soundtrack is awesome. Yuki Kajiura is behind it, and some of the tracks are among the best of her works. But what about the rest?

Well, El Cazador is the final instalment of the girls-with-guns trilogy of Bee-Train, with Noir and Madlax as its predecessors. One thing that you should know before watching is that while Noir featured some excellent gunfight, El Cazador… err… doesn’t. Believe me, you do NOT want to watch this series for the action, because quite frankly: it sucks.

Luckily, the director realized this quite early on, which leads to a change-of-focus in the middle of the series. The first half is basically a case-based series. Ellis and Nadie basically travel, and as they travel they meet people and explore their cases. These cases are definitely interesting to watch and thought-provoking, and in the meantime the story slowly develops, with nearly every episode brining a small bit of new information to keep the viewers on their toes.

The second half, however, is where El Cazador really starts to shine. The change of focus I mentioned above basically means that the different cases for each episode get abandoned, and instead the characters start developing. Because they already had been fleshed out by the first half, the results turn out absolutely amazing, with an excellent Shoujo-ai relationship if I say so myself. This continues up to the point where Ellis and Nadie become amazing characters, no matter what they do. When the final quarter began, I found myself not caring about the plot anymore, as long as the characters were on the screen. Now that’s a sign of good development.

But yeah, the plot does move awfully slow. The creators chose a very original setting of rural Mexico for this anime to take place in, and it manages to really show this throughout its storytelling, though the plot remains very simple, and just a tool for the characters. I liked how it was so incredibly down-to-earth, though, and how we finally don’t have such a huge plot deciding the fate of the world and stuff. This series is just about Ellis and her strange powers, and the few people that get caught up in her story, nothing more, and nothing less.

The simple storyline does have another advantage: the ending, while cheesy, is finally another one of those endings that isn’t rushed at all. There’s probably only one character (Lilio) that needed more development and background, but apart from that the final episode closes off the series perfectly, without any bad feelings.

Regarding the graphics, well it’s Bee-Train, so the character-designs look great, and the background-art doesn’t look as impressive as with other shows, but it really gives off the feeling of Mexico, when compared to nearly 90% of all other anime, which are set in Japan. About whether you’d like this or not depends on your patience, whether you find the different guests of the first half interesting and don’t mind that at a few times, the show delves into cheesiness. If that’s the case, then you’ll get rewarded with some amazing characters in the second half.

(On a side-note: with Shoujo-ai, I really DO mean Shoujo-ai. There is no yuri in this series.)

12 Responses

  1. kacpy says:

    I’m a BeeTrain fan too, but ever since Tsubasa Chronicle… EH. Maybe I used to be a BeeTrain fan…

  2. Taibideyo says:

    El Cazador is different to Noir and Madlax totally.

    El Cazador leaves some doubts…
    Who is Lirio? Why she travels with Ricardo? And what is the Nadie’s past?
    And the most important… who is the masked man??? xD

  3. Petrouchka says:

    I’ve read somewhere (forgot where exactly) that the masked man from the ED could be death in human form. When I rewatched the ED sequence with that in mind, it made sense. No idea as for the sniper cat, though…

    The main difference between El Cazador and its two predecessors is that it focuses on the characters and not the plot, and that turned off quite a few people, I think. I got the feeling that each side-character, each part of the plot was just there to help or try to separate Ellis and Nadie. But well, it might explain why I enjoyed it so much. It also has one of the best endings I’ve ever seen, which, for once, left me totally satisfied.

    …I think this show has made me a Bee Train fan ^^

  4. Windcutter says:

    I really wish they made a second season focusing on Nadie’s past. A little more info on Lirio and Ricardo would be awesome as well.

  5. Kgw says:

    “Shôjo-ai” doesn’t exists. All girl-girl relationship is plain called “yuri”. At least, that’s what they say in Japan (one might think they know what they are talking about).

  6. psgels psgels says:

    Kgw: really? I was under the impression that shoujo ai was simply a love-relationship between girls, while with yuri they’re actually getting it on with each other. I must’ve heard that one wrong.

  7. andygrove says:

    Psgels, have you ever taken a look at Maria-sama ga Miteru? It has beautiful character development, and the relationships are half way between friendship and romance (typically). Yumi and Sachiko seem to have become a classic couple.

    (Psst, it’s about catholic schoolgirls, but don’t put it in the same boat as Strawberry Panic ;) I’m surprised you haven’t given the show a mention on your blog yet!

  8. Sai-Sorai says:

    In western countries, shoujo-ai refers to not romantic, but more than friends relationship between two girls (like Marimite mentioned above between Sachiko and Yumi or in Noir between two main protagonists). But the term is only used in the west. Yuri depicts “a very close relationship between a woman and a woman not spoiled by a man”, it does not state the kind of relationship they should have, so generally, all shoujo-ai anime fall under the cathegory of yuri. Western anime fans and otakus tend to believe that yuri anime is about romantic relationships between two females, like in Strawberry Panic! or in Kannazuki no Miko. Even though I still believe El Cazador to be more of a yuri than shoujo-ai type of series, considering the fact that relationship between Ellis and Nadie is much closer than in your normal shoujo-ai show and has that “romantic air” hanging above it, so even if it is not shown clearly, it should still be considered a yuri anime :D

  9. charlie_l says:

    Bah, I can’t give El Cazador anything more then a 60-65/100. I have actually decided not to watch a Studio Bee Train Production again after this. Why? Well, I didn’t like Noir or Madlax because of the same problems as El Cazador. The animation is always dull, the characters are poorly made, the stories move WAY to slow, and in general it just gets repetitive and boring. I can’t forgive Studio Bee Train after doing a hack-job on a perfectly good manga…I’m talking about Tsubasa, which they completely ruined. It takes Studio Bee Train to turn something great, into a utter piece of garbage. Their direction and vision with series is always limited and narrow.

    El Cazador should of been a 13 episode series. Then, IMO, it wouldn’t of been nearly as painful to watch. The constant amount of fillers was terrible….Actually, I could almost consider this whole anime one big filler. There was hardly any character development or plot development from one episode to the next. There had to have been 10 episodes that just had there stupid little encounters with L.A. that didn’t progress anywhere until the end. Speaking of the end, I don’t even want to start on the problems of that. The action was lame and not even exciting. At least Noir had interesting action occasionally.

    I think this is the worst anime I have watched that has been released in 2007. :(

  10. Kane Nash says:

    While not a challenge for Noir in terms of action scenes (gogogo Kirika gothic lolita =D ) or Madlax in plot complexity I am agree the guys of Bee Train focused this time more in the characters, heck, yeah! At least they got a happy and funny ending (those gay guys simply rock!), something I cant say from other animes which I dropped bcs they got bad endings (eg. School Days , Kotonoha apparently was the younger sister of Kirika 0_o…!), ok I will give them a 7.5/10, bcs it was really funny and got a lot more of sense of humour than the other series, and now lets see if Bee-Train decide to make a second season, but now with tons of action, gore, showdowns and witch powers =D !!!!

  11. Solaris says:

    I am doubtful, i liked the characters, the scenarios and backgrounds and the music too, but something seems wrong here. I mean the technical stuff is great and the plot is well performed, but something is missing!
    I’m quite satisfided by the ending too…

    What then? Ah the plot, maybe? It’s soooooooo sloooooooooow… ok with character studies, but pretty much NOTHING happens for 22 episodes and then everything happens in one shot! The grand finale is just resolved with one shot too (and a lame revive crap spell). Too bad!

    PS: Is it possible that in 26 useless episodes we never happen to know ehere Lilio and Ricardo come from? Couldn’t they just use the last episode instead of showing us those gay crap? Ep #26 shines for how useless it can be!

  12. sovayfox says:

    I just had time to watch this series long after you blogged it. and, I had to watch it twice more to really watch the relationship between them develop. If you notice Ellis understands her feelings for Nadie before Nadie does her own for Ellis.

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  • k-off
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:34 AM)
    @Vincent No shit.
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:14 AM)
    @Bam Slightly. Did americans use manifest destiny as an excuse to steal land from the natives?
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:05 AM)
    @Vincent: I guess we were slightly more honest about it. It is funny how we use the fact after the matter as evidence of our divine providence. It’s like holding a gun to somebody and saying “fate wants you to die”, proceed to shoot them, and then say “see! I was right” lol
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:56 AM)
    @Bam But unlike the american concept of manifest destiny, the Japanese used it as an excuse to wage what they were really doing: a war to hoard resources.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:52 AM)
    @Vincent: I see. A similar doctrine to Manifest Destiny.
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:49 AM)
    @Bam Not to my knowledge. From the government, at least. It was always about expanding the glory of the homeland or something like that, which is why the Japanese took glee with the invasion of Manchuria and the Philippines, places they had no ethnic ties to.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:46 AM)
    *admitably
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:46 AM)
    @Vincent: I am admirably not too knowledgeable when it comes to the history of that region, but I still know that atrocities were committed.
    The interesting thing is that Japnese believe that their ancestors actually came from Korea. I wonder if this fact was ever used as a propaganda for why they have the right to annex Korea.
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:40 AM)
    @Bam There also was the fractures within the Korean Peninsula itself. Quite astounding, really, that a nation as small as Korea is divided to this day. Not even counting the Japanese and Chinese aggression.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:39 AM)
    @Vincent: you probably know of it twinfold: both with the aborigines and then again with the Japanese invasion of Korea.

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