The more I watch from Sunrise, the more I’m impressed at their pre-Mai Otome and Gundam Seed Destiny works. Seriously, Witch Hunter Robin shows that even without mecha, they just kept going for mature and imaginative premises with a surprisingly good amount of characterization.
Witch Hunter Robin is for the people who like the maturely told anime: aside from Robin herself, every character in this show is an adult, and even Robin herself feels unlike your average squeaky teenager due to her professionalism. The characters in this series all have jobs, and this actually feels like it, rather than focusing on a group of people that just lives for the plot. It’s very down to earth and the acting is subtle and restrained. There are some problems with a lack of characterization on some of the bad guys, but overall this show has a very good cast here.
The series follows the “first half random episodes, second half plot”-format, and it’s pretty good at both. The random episodes are especially recommended if you like morals in your anime: the cases that Robin and the other lead characters run into continually question what’s right and wrong. Characters keep hopping back and forth over the moral scale and it really tries to be thought-provoking. The second half meanwhile successfully creates a multi layered plot. The focus on morals gets a bit simplified, but the way in which the plot grows definitely makes up for it: the series just changes constantly with a very interesting intrigue plot.
Now, the biggest fault with this show is that it probably could have used more variety. It’s a consistently bleak show, and the slow pacing at times will take some time to get used to if you don’t like the characters. The ending is also neither particularly disappointing, but neither very interesting or well done either (again: bad guy, plus a number of strange plotholes in an otherwise quite solid series).
Witch Hunter Robin has character designs in a style that was unfortunately abandoned in the past six years, in favour of the moe and bishies of today. It’s a shame though, because they look gorgeous and unique, putting aesthetics before pandering. The animation itself ranges from unrefined to decent, but this show was always great to look at.
|Storytelling:||8/10 – Mature and very nicely atmospheric. A bit one-sided at times, though.|
|Characters:||9/10 – Great and solid characterization. Characters are mature yet likable.|
|Production-Values:||8/10 – Certainly not the best that Sunrise has done, but still it’s a great series to look at with very nice music.|
|Setting:||9/10 – Thrives on being thought-provoking, and puts a lot of symbolism in its back-story, remaining morally vague on purpose.|