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Witch Hunter Robin, TV Tokyo / Animax
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Adult Swim describes it thusly: "Think X-Files meets Vampire Hunter Miyu at coffee shop for espresso on a double date with friends The Exorcist and Carrie. That's kinda it." Sounds good to me, even though the only one of those things I've seen to date is X-Files. But here's my attempt at describing it:

The STN is an international group of witch hunters, which I believe is headquartered in Italy... Tuscany, I think. The name Solomon is used a lot, I guess it's just another word for the STN, though it also seems like it may refer to the European headquarters. I think the organization has been around for a long time, and seems to have strong ties to the Church. Anyway, the series follows the cases of the STN-J (the Japan branch of the STN), who hunt and capture witchcraft users who abuse their power. This is, I think, different from how it's done in Europe, where witches are, I think, generally killed. The STN-J has a new division called the Factory, which develops a substance called orbo, used in special amulets and bullets, to counteract the effects of witches' craft powers. The Factory also sends teams to collect witches after the hunters take them down. The STN has a database of suspected witches, based on hereditary connections to known past witches.

Six months before the start of the series, a hunter named Kate was killed, and she's now being replaced by a very reserved, 15-year old girl named Robin Sena, who is a Craft user herself (her power is fire). She was born in Japan, but has been raised most of her life in Italy, by the STN; specifically, by a priest named Father Juliano. Robin is partnered with the senior hunter at the STN-J, the mysterious and very serious Amon. Other hunters include the equally serious Miho Karasuma, who has the power to scry objects, get visions of past events from them; Haruto Sasaki, who just seems to be something of an impetuous maverick; and Yurika Dojima, who often shirks her responsibilities, doesn't take the job very seriously. Another member of the team is Michael Lee, who was caught hacking into the STN-J's computer system, and then was forced to work for them, running their system and hacking other systems to obtain information for them. He is now confined to STN-J headquarters. He is in constant contact with hunters in the field, providing them information via the non-linear filters in their cell phones. The STN-J office manager is Chief Shintaro Kosaka, who is usually fairly gruff, especially toward the apathetic Dojima. There is a bar (or coffeehouse?) that the hunters go to called Harry's, and the guy who runs the place, Yuji Kobari (or just "Master") kind of creeps me out for some reason, even though he generally seems a kindly and helpful enough fellow. The head of the STN-J is Administrator Takuma Zaizen. He is the father of Robin's roommate, Touko Masaki, though Robin didn't know this until after she was attacked....

This is when the series really starts getting interesting: eventually, Solomon decides Robin's power is too dangerous, and sends a team to her apartment to kill her, though she escapes. There is a subsequent attack on STN-J headquarters, which also fails. Robin escapes, with Amon's help (though he was apparently under orders to kill her). He tells her to stay with a man named Shunji Nagira, and then disappears. Robin becomes a bike messenger for Nagira, who runs a law firm and is opposed to the STN calling people witches and locking them up. Meanwhile, the STN-J team have their hands full trying to go about their business without Amon or Robin, and try to pick up the slack, especially Karasuma.

Eventually it will become clear that there were other reasons for the attacks. Solomon doesn't like Zaizen and the Factory's development of orbo and their plans to hunt witches without hunters. A conflict is brewing between Zaizen and Solomon, and the rest of the STN-J members will be caught in the middle, not safe from either side. Other secrets will emerge about the STN-J members themselves, and some secrets even they're not aware of, going back 15 years. It gets pretty complicated. Now I'm running out of useful things to say.

Earlier in the series, Robin had her Vespa shipped from Italy, but it was always breaking down, and she had to leave it behind with her friends at the STN-J when she went into hiding. Some episodes begin with Robin reading some cryptic text, the start of which is always "Three hundred and twenty years have passed since the coven sank in the dark," followed by... well, something different, each time. In any event... it's a very noir-ish series. Beautifully drawn, very rich, with complex, interesting stories, characters, issues, moral questions and ambiguities, and so forth... though I'm not always entirely clear on what's going on. But I don't mind. I enjoy it just the same. Also I should say Robin has a very gothic Victorian style. I really like her clothes and how she wears her hair. And the glasses she has to wear to focus her Craft power. And that's all I can think to say for now.


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