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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  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 06:18 AM)
    @K-off: let him be m8, it’s only natural to get hated on after writing the fanfic of the century.
  • k-off
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 06:11 AM)
    @Miyako “Look how cultured I am, comparing an anime to a completely irrelevant comedy classic,” is what you’re saying m8. Who the hell says “For my holy grail references?”
  • MiyakoJungle
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 06:06 AM)
    “Ooh, you can’t compare things from two different mediums!!” *Figuratively vomits
  • k-off
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 06:03 AM)
    @Miyako Did you really just compare Monty Python and the Holy Grail to Fate?
  • MiyakoJungle
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 06:00 AM)
    Fate sucks. For my holy grail references, I’d recommend Monty Python.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 04:51 AM)
    (3/2) There’s also a competition between Gilgamesh and Irvine to take over the Archer position, plus any cross-universe shipping that you can imagine! Angra Mainyu Vs. Void? sure. Skull Knight/Saber power-couple? why the fuck not.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 04:28 AM)
    (2/2) He mows thru the competition while screaming his battlecry “Griffith!” and then manages to absconder the Grail for himself, which he then wishes to reverse the Eclipse with. This causes a 2nd (or 3rd?) eclipse which sacrifices the whole population of Fuyuki. The result is the emergence of an apostle Band of the Hawk that forces Guts and all the magi to get together to once again seal away.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 04:20 AM)
    Best FS/N fanfic concept ever:
    During the 6th Holy Grail War (which is made possible by some handwaving and Deus Ex Machina plot twists regarding Akasha or whatever) the Heroic Spirit summoned as the berserker class happens to be Guts. they don’t have to be real remember? And given the timeline he should already be established into people’s psyche way more than Gilgamesh that nobody really knows anything about.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 03:24 AM)
    @Ninja: nah I’ll give it over episode 5 or so when they assume that we are deeply caught up in the current drama and have almost forgotten about him. I think it’s going to be a satisfyingly big moment, Like when Snake looks at the camera and goes “miss me already?”.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 03:18 AM)
    I was expecting this season to feature a society on the verge of breakdown, which would’ve made for a pretty good setting for the plot to thicken through the upheavals and then finish up with the establishment of the new order. Now that would be a more satisfying conclusion to the Sibyl System, since the ending of the last season was pretty anti-climactic.

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