Posted 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.)

Posted on with categories: El Cazador de la Bruja


Now this is what I call a terrific ending! It manages to flawlessly combine both the feeling of the first and the feeling of the second part of the series, and it still gives enough closure for each character in the series. One of my main gripes with Noir was how the final episode was so incredibly rushed, and it seems that the director realized this as well and learned from it, because there are no signs of rushes AT ALL in this series. This episode was everything a final aftermath-episode should be!

Okay, there were a few questions left unanswered. Most importantly, we never know what’s up with Lilio, and the cat and the guy in the mask we see in the ED actually don’t appear anywhere. Something tells me that somewhere in the beginning, the director changed one of his plans for the outcome of this show and decided to focus more on the characters than action and a huge plot. This could explain the huge change-of-focus of the middle of the series. Ah well, I’m not complaining, because I absolutely loved the second half of El Cazador.

In any case, Ellis and Nadie indeed settle down in a small town and start to work at a local inn, complete with different outfits and hairstyles. Of course, they end up travelling at the end of the episode, but what makes this episode stand out is when Nadie starts talking about staying at the inn forever, it just feels weird somehow. I could somehow tell that both of them secretly longed to go back to their days of travelling, even though they never really said anything about it.

Blue-eyes’s visit also was a nice touch to give the closure to the story of Ricardo and Lilio: they’re still travelling with each other, and while it’s still a bit disappointing that we never really got to know about Lilio’s mother, seeing her practice the Boomerang and trying to sing the taco-song was awesome. Blue-eyes also returned to being a business-lady, and got engaged with a guy who looks suspiciously much like Rozenberg. Seriously, that has to say something about the impression he made on her. ^^;

And the two bounty-hunters! I know their huge amount of weight gained is a tad improbable, but it’s awesome to see them back again. They really were some of the minor returning villains and they were really fun to watch while they lasted, and it’s great to see that they finally get a bit of development as well.

Posted on 18 September 2007 with categories: El Cazador de la Bruja


Whoa! This episode is THE climax of El Cazador, and I’m not sure why, but it was absolutely cheesy and I absolutely LOVED IT.

I think we can thank the huge focus on both Ellis and Nadie for this. I seriously must give Bee-Train credit in developing its characters so that they can even be awesome with plot twists as cheesy as we saw in this episode. I mean, in the end, Rozenberg did everything not for revenge, but because he LOVED Ellis. You can’t get cheesier than this, but somehow I ended up loving it. :)

Still, there’s another thing I love about this series: it’s so delightfully down-to-earth. It’s an adventure-series, but for once the fate of the world doesn’t have any part in the climax. This is just a small part of the world that tells its story: the story of the artificial witches. The entire series also has only a few recurring characters in the same style of Noir, and somehow this causes this series to become incredibly focused, with excellent results if I say so myself.

And Lilio! She did have a role after all, although the reasons and background for it aren’t clear yet, we should see these in the next episode, which should be a full aftermath. I personally like this, in this way, the ending isn’t going to be rushed at all, and I’m actually looking forward to it, especially now that Rozenberg is DEAD. I’d love to see how Ellis and Nadie spend their lives afterwards. The most awesome thing would be if the creators pulled a Simoun: show all the characters, X years after everything. (note I didn’t watch the next-episode preview).

Blue-eyes also turned out quite interesting, and I liked how she was able to save Ellis, after she was shot down by Nadie. It seems that she has been unconsciously holding back her powers, which is why they didn’t want to work.

Overall, I’m never sure what to think of endings, and often my mood with them is as random as can be, especially compared to the rest of a series, but I’m definitely enthusiastic about El Cazador’s one! In any case, I adored this episode. Especially Rozenberg’s end was magnificently directed.

Posted on 11 September 2007 with categories: El Cazador de la Bruja


For the people who have been watching El Cazador for its storyline (are they still there?): this is the episode you’ve been waiting for. This is probably THE episode with the most plot developments and revelations of the entire series. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the more incomprehensible ones, meaning a huge load of trouble for me, trying to understand it.

So, let’s hope I got this right:
– The one who caused Ellis and Nadie to travel was Rozenberg. Apparently, he had to find a way for her to get to the witches’ village, and it was too troublesome to just directly transport Ellis there.
– Rozenberg’s objective: the witches’ power.
– It seems that all his efforts were in order to get Ellis’s powers in their final stages.
– Because of that, he’s going to try and kill Nadie. The shock will be a heavy emotional impact for Ellis, causing her to finally awaken. Fair enough.
– Originally, Rozenberg was indeed the one who sent Ricardo after Ellis, to make sure that she follows the right trail, and to get him LA at one point. The reason why Ricardo stayed after he was fired is simple: he wanted to protect Ellis and Nadie.
– LA seemed to have fallen in love with Ellis, ever since he saw her, when they were still in testtubes.
– A flashback seems to suggest that Ellis indeed was the one who killed the professor. And I finally realize the truth behind it: Rozenberg used the same technique we’ve seen him use against LA: mind control. Hence why she doesn’t remember.
– Rozenberg’s father was the one who started the research about the witches’ power, and a certain thing called “Maxwell’s Demon”. Blue Eyes explains what it is, but there was no way I could make sense out of it through all the techno-babble.
– The research was cancelled once the government started getting involved, and Rozenberg’s father killed himself because of all the failures that came out because of that. I assume that Rozenberg picked up the project afterwards, and created Ellis and LA. It’s probably because of this that he wants the power: to take revenge.

Okay, I think that’s all of the major relegations. Please notify me if I got some of them wrong. Anyway, about Ricardo, he indeed didn’t have a deep reason for sticking with them. He just didn’t have anything else to do, so he went along with his feelings, and I think that’s why he wanted to see how Ellis and Nadie would fare. I think the decision came in the onsen, when they finally got to know each other. I assume that he had been thinking of a way to continue, after which the duo of Ellis and Nadie popped up. I’m interested: will we ever find out what his relation is with Lilio?

Also, the production-values surprised me in this episode. They were awfully low, there were especially an awful lot of distance-shots throughout the episode, even more than usual. Something you wouldn’t expect when there are only two episodes left. Still, LA’s death did make up for it. He just is a character that is beyond rescue, and he’s lived a miserable life, ever since he was born. Insanity hasn’t been used in too many anime lately, possibly because it’s too easy to screw up with it, but LA has been a wonderful character. I’m at least happy that he’s finally put out of his miseries.

It’s a pity that LA, Ricardo, Lilio and Rozenberg all took time away, so there wasn’t really much time for many scenes between Ellis and Nadie, though at least the finale was quite thought-provoking. It’s often easy to kill off characters as the end of a series draws near (*coughwolfsraincough*), but LA’s death feels right within the storyline.

So, there are two episodes left. I’m not expecting much of the ending, as Rozenberg currently has the potential to screw this storyline up. I’m hoping to see lots of Ellis and Nadie together, though. Rozenberg will probably start controlling Ellis as well at some point. LA already showed that you can break the mind control through pure love. While it is cheesy, it’s also interesting for the storyline: Ellis said she loved the professor, but right now I doubt she really did it: she both couldn’t escape the mind control, and seeing him dead did make her sad, but it didn’t fully awaken her powers like it should have. I just wonder how Rozenberg found out that Ellis has fallen in love with Nadie instead.

Posted on 4 September 2007 with categories: El Cazador de la Bruja


Today, it’s time for the final pieces of development before the finale starts. Blue-Eyes explains everything she knows, after which she leaves the stage as a major side-character, LA finds out that Rozenberg has been controlling him, destroys it and ends up as a nervous wreck, Ellis learns that Nadie would go through fire for her, and at the end of the episode, we see the encounter the entire series has been building-up to: Rozenberg and Ellis finally meet again.

I’m not sure if I understood everything Blue-eyes said. It seems that she was a witch herself, though she lacked any power. She went after Ellis, because she finally wanted to see the powers of a real witch. There seems to be some godly power that Rozenberg is after, and Ellis seems to be the key for this. I’m still not sure why Ellis and Nadie have to go forward anyway, though.

Anyway, Ellis, Nadie and LA were as awesome as ever. I loved how Ellis tried to leave Nadie, to keep her from getting hurt, and went to LA instead. She then got freaked out by his obsessive fears of Rozenberg and left. Poor LA; his confidence of the first half of the series is entirely gone now.

Anyway, next episode, we’ll probably find out why Rozenberg has acted the way he did throughout the series, and most importantly: the role of Ricardo and Lilio. There are still three episodes left, so Rozenberg is actually faster than his counterpart in Noir, and this also means that something still is about to happen. The question is: what? And will it be natural?

Posted on 28 August 2007 with categories: El Cazador de la Bruja


And the finale has started!

And boy, it’s promising to be awesome. I wouldn’t have guessed this during the majority of the series, but El Cazador is really becoming one of my favourite series at the time, and this episode proves it. It may have had its lesser points, but the past couple of episodes have been amazing due to Ellis and Nadie’s great characters. Seriously, only Les Miserables and Kaze no Shoujo Emily have at the moment an even more likable character than Ellis and Nadie: Eponine and Emily, respectively.

And OMG: Plot twist! Rozenberg has been the one who controlled LA all along! It makes so much sense, he had him captured for a while, and didn’t worry about the guy escaping. Of course he wouldn’t mind; he messed with is bracelet to control the guy!! That’s why he went to his laptop in the past few episodes: to remotely activate the bracelet. That’s why Ricardo and Lilio were fired: because he now has a more useful servant than the two of them.

But the most exciting event of the episode was obviously Ellis, reaching her place of destination. We now see why Rozenberg had no intention to stop her from reaching her goal, since he intended this to happen from the start. In the next episode, we should see the guy, getting back into action, and we see him fly from the United States, back to Mexico at the end of the episode.

There are now four episodes left, and I’m really curious about how the finale will take place. Rozenberg is now really going to have to prove himself, since he had little to do for most of the series. But then again, the final bad-guy from Noir had even less of a role, and when compared to her, he’s actually quite active, with his little trip to the desert to control LA. At the moment, I actually consider El Cazador a bigger success than Noir, though Noir had the strength that it nearly had no flaws, apart from being slightly annoying when the True Noir showed up again. El Cazador is quite different in that, with some of its rather questionable plot events of Ricardo and Lilio suddenly following the same path that Ellis and Nadie go, and the fact that the blue guys have stopped going after our twosome, even during the night.

Oh, and to close off this post: it’s quite surprising that Nadie actually got hurt quite badly. I wonder how this is going to affect the climax. The next episode is promising to be awesome in any case.

Posted on 21 August 2007 with categories: El Cazador de la Bruja


This was another one of those typical Bee-Train episodes. Nearly nothing happens, and the entire episode just builds up for one major event. There’s no action, just one huge chunk of atmosphere. While others may hate it, I loved it. Basically, the entire thing is about one of the lesser interesting members of the cast: Blue Eyes. At the end of the episode, though, I liked her a whole lot more, despite the fact that the twist at the end of the episode had it coming: Blue-Eyes deserts her mission.

She was supposed to personally kill Ellis and Nadie, who are meanwhile busy with vulture-hunting for a local vulture-dealer. While listening to their conversation, waiting to get a good shot of either of them, she decides to leave. Freedom is a huge theme in this episode, and it was overall carried out very well. But yeah, apart from that, nothing really happened. Oh, except for LA. He actually helped a random girl he ran into.

5 episodes left! The finale is about to begin! The only thing I’m afraid of is Rozenberg. Every character has been developed really well, with especially Ellis, Nadie and LA standing out. And yet Rozenberg remains stale and dull. Get off your lazy ass and start doing something, Dagu!!!

Posted on 14 August 2007 with categories: El Cazador de la Bruja


I don’t know about others, but personally I absolutely LOVED this episode. It’s all about the relationship between LA, Ellis and Nadie this time, with a huge focus on LA, and it works out perfectly. So what if the action-scenes in this series suck? Ellis, Nadie and LA totally make up for this, and they again show how much I love Bee-Train’s style of character-development.

So, basicaly, in this episode LA starts working with the police and gets Nadie arrested, but that’s just the least interesting part. Basically, the last episode, in which LA saw Ellis and Nadie so close together made a huge impact on LA, and when the night falls, he tries to kill her, along with the other policemen at the station where Nadie is locked up in.

Ellis, meanwhile, proves how closely she is attached to Nadie when she goes to save her. Even when LA reveals that Nadie worked for the ones who kidnapped Ellis, that still doesn’t matter for her, and she claims that she won’t forgive him when he tries to harm Nadie. In the end, LA leaves, though he’s in an even worse shape than he was before.

I also finally realized that Blue-Eyes’s necklace is somehow linked to Ellis. It’s probably made of the same stone that Ellis keeps holding. We again see her in this episode in a car, about to arrest Ellis, though somehow she refuses to act. Could it be because she knew of the dangers LA gave?

Rozenberg also finally starts getting active again, as we see him doing something else than playing chess with his loved one. It’s about time, though, as the finale is about to start. Seriously, the ending has to screw up really bad if they want me to dislike this series.
El

Posted on 7 August 2007 with categories: El Cazador de la Bruja


Heh, it’s awesome to see that El Cazador is developing in a shoujo-ai series. ^_^ Ellis and Nadie were yet again so cute together. With this episode, we’ve arrived in the final quarter of the series and the main storyline should be kicking in very soon now. In the meantime, we get to see some very effective character-development. This episode really reminded me why I liked the first season, as it’s got a perfect timing. Add that to Ellis and Nadie’s relationship, and you’ve got a success of an episode.

The plot-development came from Blue-Eyes in this episode. The patience of the cult she’s with has finally run out, and they’re desperate to catch Ellis, which they make very clear to her. Basically, she tries to kidnap Ellis. I loved the timing, though. That main theme can be used very effectively if it starts at the right time, and this episode was a great example of this. Nadie and Ricardo and Ellis and Lilio are in a restaurant, at two different tables. The first two power-outs are used as tests, after which t seems that Ricardo rushes to protect Lilio every time, while Nadie remains seated, so they moved Lilio to Ricardo and Nadie’s seat, after which they take Ellis away with the third attempt. Ellis gets saved again easily afterwards, but then again, that has never been one of the strongest points of this anime.

We also saw something new from LA. His little bracelet lighted up and stunned the guy for a few minutes. Who the heck was behind that? The cult? He also didn’t like it when he saw Ellis and Nadie close together. Blue-Eyes also hints that Ellis can do more than her little tricks with fire and wind, and that her real power is something really extraordinary.

Well, the time is about to come for El Cazador to prove itself. I predict that episode 21 will fire off the finale, and it will be then when this anime has to show the fruits of the character-development of the series. It’s then when we’ll learn whether this series is a huge flop or a huge success.

Posted on 31 July 2007 with categories: El Cazador de la Bruja


Thankfully, this episode restored my faith in El Cazador perfectly, when it not only spends time developing Ellis, but also finally introduces other magical elements, other than Ellis and LA. The fact remains that Ellis is now rapidly starting to become more critical of the things that happen around her. In this episode, she carries it a bit too far, and even starts to mistrust Nadie. Luckily, she didn’t go emo, and the situation was resolved at the end, and Ellis and Nadie have yet again gotten a bit closer together. While it wasn’t as cute as seeing the two of them in the hot springs together, the ending of the episode really was adorable. I was also pleasantly surprised by a couple of new quiet tunes that got introduced in this episode. Even though they’re not really up-beat, they were nice to listen to.

This episode also features the ghost of the writers of those love manga that we saw Ellis reading, a few episodes ago. He’s totally friendly, actually, and not angsty like most ghosts you see in other anime, which was quite refreshing. The interesting thing was that he used the same kind of fire magic that we saw Ellis use, and he actually teleported people to random locations (in this case, LA and Blue-Eyes). I liked the guy, and the air of mystery around him.

Blue-Eyes also decides to make her move and take Ellis away. She fails, due to mr Ghost(see above), but it’ll be interesting to see where she’ll go from now on. She also seems to know something about Ellis’s destination, and it doesn’t seem to be good. I’m also beginning to understand why Ricardo and Lilio keep running into Nadie and Ellis. Something tells me that they’ve got the same destination. While this by no means explains how they met in episode 17, seeing him say “We’ll be going ahead” seems to suggest that they need to be around the same place as where Ellis is going The question remains: why? Is this still for Rozenberg?

By the way, I’m actually glad that El Cazador didn’t end up focusing on action, because let’s face it, the action scenes we’ve seen up till now weren’t really that good. This show is more about its atmosphere and characters. And not only that, but the fact remains that Nadie isn’t the best gunman. She may be strong and accurate, but she does have a tendency to screw up once in a while. If this happens too much, and she kept getting saved, this show would lose its credibility quite fast (see episode 17 for the perfect example for this).The quiet and mysterious approach of this episode worked much, much better.

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  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 01:07 PM)
    @Mario, you were worried that you would be covering too much slice of life style anime this season, at least with this I will likely be taking one off your hands. I don’t want to cover it but hey if the public says so…guess I will have to suffer.
  • SuperMario
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 07:15 AM)
    Also it’s nice to see there was heated arguments on EVA even before I start to do any post review. The way I see it thou certain films/ series are classic/ influential for a reason, if they are brilliant I certainly can still see its sparks. Like I can still amazed of Potemkin Battleship on its montahe editing, or It Happens one night fot its influential on romantic comedy. So I really look forward to see how I feel about EVA hahaa
  • SuperMario
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 06:52 AM)
    Jezz, I was almost certain that I would cover Orange, mainly because I never have thought it would be on top of the polls. Anw, it’s good to see how Aidan cover it as it appears I’m a much more easy-marker than Aidan
  • Bam
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:40 AM)
    There is a hipster movement of contrarianism, that they just like to hate on whatever’s popular and deemed kinda mainstream. I get defensive when they shit on classics like Akira, Berserk and Ghost in The Shell. I see that wasn’t the case here. Anybody can sincerely dislike Anything; that’s fine.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:31 AM)
    I see your point too. We can certainly take the stance of judging a thing by its own merit, unobstructed by social influences and constrains of time. Yet even at that Evangelion is a fairly slick piece of science fiction, and an interesting watch. At worst it’s boring and contrived, but that’s harmless. Never really fair to call it shit.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:20 AM)
    @Aidan: looking back soberly I did come back a little too heated. That’s uncalled for and I’m sorry for that. I usually don’t lash out of unrelated daily stress, but there are mistakes here and there.
  • mamamoo
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 03:22 AM)
    @Aidan hahaha can’t wait for the episode reviews for Orange. It’s gonna really test you.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 02:58 AM)
    Look I knew how this would end before it began. We have done this already and neither of us are changing our stance. K-Off laid out things perfectly with his response so I see no reason to elaborate. Only reason I jumped in was because you brought Fate into it and if that was the bait then congrats, you won. I see no reason to continue the farce with no compromise in sight.
    In other words, need sleep. Goodnight.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 02:53 AM)
    @Bam,”I never said the problems it has gets erased by its early release or cultural significance”
    Neither did I. I said you are hand waving it’s problems by stating so, which you are.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 02:32 AM)
    …And orange is still top of the poll…ugh. Seems like this is going to be torture for me. Kiznaiver was already trying my patience with those speeches but if Orange is even worse…oh boy…

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This will be the first time in my anime blogging career that I have ever done one of these anime OST review. It should be known that I have a complete bias for Hiroyuki Sawano as he has become one of the biggest composer for anime in recent years in some of my favorite anime […]

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Chinese Animation Guide – Part 2: Chinese Anime shows

As much as I hated the term Chinese Anime (Anime stands for Japanese animation, strictly speaking), this is the exact term for those shows. Their influence from the Anime was so heavy that apart from the voice cast and some scene settings, you can’t tell those apart from the original anime. With that said, judge from […]