What follows is a description of Witch Hunter Robin, I've adopted an FAQ
style to highlight specific elements of the show. I have taken care not to spoil the show, any details that I give are revealed within the first episode of the show.
What is Witch Hunter Robin?
In a nutshell, Witch Hunter Robin is a 26 episode anime show, originally broadcast by TV Tokyo in 2002. The Cartoon Network broadcast the English version in February-March 2004 as part of its Adult Swim block of programming.
What is Witch Hunter Robin all about?
Witch Hunter Robin takes place in a present day alternate reality, where witches walk among us. Witches are those who have special genetic traits that give them various powers (like mutants in X-men). An organization known as STN hunts down rogue witches, with highly trained operatives (including witches) around the world. The show follows the exploits of the Japanese branch of STN, known as STNJ. Unlike other branches of STN, STNJ captures witches alive using a substance called Orbo to subdue a witch's powers. More specifically the show revolves around the title character, Robin Sena (pronounced Seina). Robin is a 15 year old 'craft user' (another word for witch) who was born in Japan but raised in an Italian convent and has the power to create fire. Robin joins STNJ at the beginning of the show to replace of a member who died 6 months before.
What kind of story does is tell?
Witch Hunter Robin ultimately deals with the growth of Robin as a person, as she struggles to find her sense of identity and her place in the world. The story is probably best described as a dark mystery. Robin is never quite sure what is happening to her and neither is the viewer, and the various layers are slowly revealed as the series progresses. The story is very serious and has very little comedic elements.
How is the story told?
Initially, the show is episodic in nature, with each episode featuring a different witch that STNJ must hunt. The series begins a more complex (story arc) at around the tenth episode. The story is told in a slow methodical manner. While the slow pacing of the show may make it unappealing to some, it adds to the dark and moody atmosphere of the show.
How does it look?
Sunrise, the animation production house in charge of Witch Hunter Robin chose a very dark subdued style. The majority of the scenes are colored in a dark washed out style, but are occasionally punctuated by outdoor shots with lush colors. The colorful shots serve to contrast the world that Robin and STNJ live/work in, with the rest of the world. The characters are drawn in a realistic manner, with the same subdued color scheme as the rest of the show. An interesting artistic element of the show lies in its backgrounds. The show uses a combination of traditional hand-drawn backgrounds and realistically rendered CG backgrounds. While these rendered backgrounds are for the most part unnoticeable, they occasionally jump out at the viewer. The artwork complements the tone of the story very well.
How does it sound?
The score written by Taku Iwasaki (岩崎 琢) is very subtle, but varies in style throughout the series. Iwasaki's score ranges from synthesized rock sounds to simple piano tunes. Also, the opening theme song titled 'Shell' sung by Bana (葉菜) has gained popularity among viewers of the show. The Japanese voices are very well acted and match the looks of their respective characters very well. The English dub is also quite good, although some of the voice actors deliver their lines a little dry.
Who would enjoy Witch Hunter Robin?
Anyone who enjoys dramas with a darker tone will enjoy Witch Hunter Robin. It should be noted that due to the occult nature of the show, some scenes may be disturbing to some viewers. People who enjoy fast paced action may want to pass on Witch Hunter Robin, as it moves rather slowly and the action is sporadic. Comedy lovers may also be disappointed by the show.
Where/How can I see Witch Hunter Robin?
While the Cartoon Network will probably rerun the show, your surest bet will be the Region 1 DVDs released by Bandai Entertainment. The 26 episodes have been split up into 6 volumes, with a MSRP of $29.98 (US). The DVDs include both the Japanese (with English subtitles) and English soundtrack. Various extras such as interviews with the Japanese voice actors are also included.
Witch Hunter Robin DVDs
Dates taken from Anime News Network's Anime Encyclopedia