El Cazador de la Bruja Anime Movies Reviews.
This is based on the preview disc, not the retail release. The disc contains only the feature with the English dialogue, no extras, no menus.
Story and Characters:
The story appears to be set in Latin America (Mexico?) — an interesting change. In the first scene we’re already into the action with a flashback to a corpse, a young mysterious girl, and some narrative to describe a new theory on physics. A good start in my view… Characters pass each other by coincidence with no knowledge of relationships yet, except one — a bounty hunter (Nadie) looking for a young girl (Ellis). Several hints and teasers get dropped within the first few episodes, many of them intriguing. The bounty hunter makes a promise to protect the girl. Ellis shows some mysterious powers just to prove that things aren’t always as they seem on the surface, and the two end up helping each other. So starts a story of a girl with guns and another with special abilities who have to cooperate to find out about the mysteries surrounding each other. The story doesn’t move quickly — but it is still early days. I’d suspect things will pick up as more hints about each character becomes clear; and this is really a character-driven storyline, rather than loads of action.
The two main characters seem to be interesting enough, and well-rounded with regular hints dropped on their past to give you enough of a tease. Ellis’ power only seems to manifest under stress or in desperate situations and is unpredictable. There is a narrative to explain some of the story behind the characters with plenty of flash-backs from dream sequences. Other regular characters are a mixed bag and are introduced regularly. Bounty hunters include a mercenary with his daughter, a pair of transvestites (!), and assorted others. Several characters operate sort-of behind the scenes who are also looking for Ellis and pull the strings. I think there is enough of a decent story and set of characters here to pique my interest at least.
Main character designs are, well, hardly original. The bounty hunter is a feisty red-head. The mysterious girl is young short-haired blonde. They look pleasant enough, though. There is nothing to complain about the overall designs here. Settings are well rendered and painted. They seem to portray what I’d think as Mexico well with pastel coloured buildings, rough dirt roads, and blue skies and a slightly hazy look to focus on the characters.
With the English dialogue there is plenty of cursing, mainly from the bounty hunters. The cast comes across well, though, with Nadie’s voice providing her feisty, casual attitude – but not laid back or careless. Ellis’ voice is soft and unsure, consistent with her character. Other characters appear to be well cast with Rosenberg coming across as cunning and calculating; Ms Haywood comes across with two distinct characteristics depending on the situation. What music there is has a distinctive latin flavour with guitar and plenty of percussion. It actually works well with the animation and action sequences.
The Bottom Line:
You know, I actually found this one quite enjoyable. If I was going off the title alone, I wouldn’t have been so sure. There would have had to be an awesome trailer before I’d consider this one as a potential purchase. I always got the impressions that hints of Kiddy Grade or Dirty Pair without the sci-fi setting; and some references to other Bee Train Studios stories such as Noir or Madlax. A bit of background research (thanks Google) revealed that this was, at least spiritually, the third in the series of “girls with guns” from Bee Train (the others, of course, being Noir and Madlax. If you have already seen the other two, which I haven’t, this one may follow on in a similar vein with a different setting and, possibly, objectives of the characters. If anything, I am tempted to follow this one with the retail release to find out how the original Japanese audio sounds and see more than the first seven episodes. A solid 3 stars for a decent (albeit slow-paced) story and plot twists at the early stage, interesting characters, nice character designs and a competent English audio track.