The journey begins with a single step, but also with quite a few dead bodies littered around.
What They Say:
Ellis is laying low in a border town with a case of amnesia. Bounty hunter Nadie knows something about Ellis – the girl is wanted dead or alive.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
A twenty-six episode series, El Cazador has been called the successor to Noir and Madlax in the apparent girls with guns trilogy that the creators have wanted to make. After those two series, it’s little surprise that Bee Train would return to it again even if there is an air of familiarity to it all. I’ve been a wary fan of Bee Train’s works for a few years now so there’s always some skepticism about them whenever I start up a series by them. El Cazador certainly has more than enough room ahead of itself to surprise me, but I suspect it’s going to take a bit of effort on their part based on this.
El Cazador takes place in a South American style area where we’re introduced to a bounty hunter named Nadie. She’s cute, good with guns and has an affable aura about her that makes you feel at ease. She’s in some run down little town looking for a pretty blonde girl named Ellis who has a bounty on her head, though it’s a dead or alive one. Nadie is intent on taking her alive after she’s given something of a mission by an elderly fortuneteller that she’s known for some time. Ellis doesn’t exactly cop to being who she is even when presented with photographic truth, and it almost seems like she’s playing the amnesia card at first. It’s more that she’s simply trying to disappear to some extent, but life won’t let her. When other bounty hunters show up, they cause plenty of trouble as Nadie tries to keep Ellis safe and alive, circumstances that eventually put them on the road together to find the “place of eternity” that the fortuneteller told Ellis about.
While this is the larger narrative at first, there is something playing underneath as well as we have a few scenes with someone in a suit talking about Project Leviathan. This is likely something that revolves around the little tease given at the beginning about a scientist who broke the rules of thermodynamics and labeled it as Maxwell’s Demon after himself. Though it was apparently a breakthrough that was debunked after time by others, Maxwell himself was killed and his daughter, Ellis, is now wanted since there is likely far more to the story than realized at this point. The tie in comes when the fortuneteller provides Ellis with a small trinket that’s tied to his discovery, though it’s not all that explored in this opening episode.
I do have to admit that even if Bee Train provides a familiar experience, it is one that I enjoy. Noir took place in a European setting while Madlax delved into a fairly middle eastern feel at times. For El Cazador, it’s good to see them continuing this trend by placing it in a South American setting since it gets us out of the usual locations that most anime tend to play in. The visual design is definitely Bee Train material but it’s pretty and has a certainly fluidity to it and a vibrancy to the animation that’s appealing. It’s likely that this series is going to be about the atmosphere and mood much like the other too, and it’s staking out its ground well in this first episode as it makes me want to see more of the pretty backgrounds.
The basis for the series is done rather easily here though there is likely to be a bit more explored along the way. Nadie and Ellis have very little of the background revealed here, though Ellis does have a surprise up her sleeve. There’s a lot of familiarity to be had here with Bee Train behind the steering wheel, but it’s to be expected if this is the last entry in their “girls with guns” trilogy. I don’t have high expectations in terms of plot and story – the past two series have made me plainly aware there – but as a visual simple storytelling experience, I get the impression it’ll be a fun and light adventure with plenty of bodies piled up along the way.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.